Amahi 4.2: Burning rubber and HD streaming

Check this out! Amahi 4.2 was released today! And with it come massive performance improvements!

Amahi 4.1:   2.10 MB/second

Amahi 4.2:   14.08 MB/secondAmahi 4.2: Burning rubber and HD Streaming

That’s a well over a 6-fold improvement in file write performance in Amahi 4.2 (released today) vs. 4.1!

If you do backups or other write-intensive operation to your HDA, you will love this new version!

How do you get it?

  1. Your HDA should have 4.2 unless you disabled automatic updates. Make sure you have Platform 4.2 or greater. Check in Setup -> Settings.
  2. Make sure you change at least one setting in your shares area (Setup -> Shares) so that the new settings take full effect (depending on the OS, you may have to re-connect the client).

With this new platform you are likely to get anywhere from modest to very large performance improvements in file transfers, though your mileage may vary depending on your hardware and wiring.

We have seen 3 to 6 times improvements over a gigabit network (two routers, not-so-great cabling). This means we can now easily stream two HD streams over the network while network backups are going on without jitter

Now, … if only my desktop could handle one 1080p stream without jitter … 😀

Premature Optimizations

When we started Amahi, we picked reasonable, safe and stable settings for various subsystems, including Samba.

As we improved things around, we kind of neglected to optimize subsystems along the way. Generally speaking we’re more interested in stability and reliability. You may have heard a famous statement by Don Knuth (a legendary prof in Computer Science), “Premature optimization is the root of all evil.”

One of our entrepreneurial users, Pegasus, pointed out that the default Samba settings were more conservative than they ought to be. Lo and behold, a single setting we had been using for a while was, er, rather suboptimal. The new settings (see bug #342 for the gory details) provide massive improvements in writes performance (we have seen 300 to 670% improvements) and modest improvements in read performance, 15 to 25%.

This, along with a few other small changes, was benefit enough to warrant an unplanned release, v4.2, to the stable version of Amahi.

The upcoming version 5.0 will bring optimizations, with more than 30% improvements in performance and memory footprint for the platform! Stay tuned!

How we Tested

The testing was performed with a 3.4 GB ISO image writing it and reading it from an HDA, as an rsync copy via SMB-mounted shares from my HDA to a Mac OS X desktop. The two machines are separated by two inexpensive gigabit “green switches” chained with (below average) cat5 cable. Obviously the disks and IO subsystems of the machines matter too, but this will give you an idea how how this testing was performed. Three people in the community used these settings successfully for over a week.

Hope you enjoy it!

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Welcome, Apple home server, Windows 7!

Yummy new products from Apple and Microsoft this week!

Windows 7‘s launch today brings new life to PCs. Upgrading from that old XP box to a new Windows 7 box? Don’t throw the old out! Install Amahi and make Windows 7 come alive!

Windows 7 works quite well with Amahi, we will show you how soon.

How about the new Mac Mini Server, eh? Nice!mac-mini-server

Wwwwwait!? It starts at $1000? And you have to administer Leopard server?

Hmmm … these days you can get a lot of hardware for that money. And of course, we install Amahi on it :)

Amahi has been around for a long time, works on even your old hardware, and serves your current Mac just as well as the new Mac Mini Server!

One click installs of over 100 web applications, the proven stability of the Linux kernel, built in remote access through VPN on even a non-dedicated IP, and a fraction of the cost.

The Mac server gives you file sharing, Instant Messaging, an Address Book, email, a calendar and a webserver. Are these one-click apps? Where is the media server? A backup utility? Where is the DVD drive?

Let’s check Amahi and the under the hood:

  • One click installs of over 100 top notch web applications
  • Modern PCs/Macs/Linux PCs capture TV to your computer — store it on an Amahi server and stream it to your whole house
  • Stream your music files from Amahi to any PC/Mac/Linux box on your network
  • Backup your files from any home computer to Amahi, reliably
  • VPN (for Mac, Windows and Linux!) and Dynamic DNS, included in every install, make your Amahi box available from anywhere in the World. Stay in touch with people at home
  • Amahi reinvigorates your old hardware. Windows 7 too big for your old machine? Don’t give it to the kids! Install Amahi and bring the whole house together
  • The Mac Mini Server starts at $1000. With Amahi you can get the same power for half the cost or twice the power for the same cost.
  • Need help? Want an answer right now? The forums and the IRC chat rooms are available when tech support is busy.
  • Want a household wiki? Private wikis are immediately available as soon as Amahi is up and running!
  • Constant development of Amahi and the plugin apps. Want to see something?

Send us a suggestion! We develop based on what you want in a server, not what market surveys say :)

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Amahi reviews: the good, the bad and the ugly!

The last few months have been an interesting time for Amahi.

One of the first popular articles about Amahi was this Amahi review. Since then, Amahi has improved dramatically, and several blogs and mutlple magazines have posted hands-on reviews about how simple Amahi has made their home networking (though not all of them have been glowing reviews, which is how Amahi improves!).

We though it was about time we collect some of these reviews!

Do you know any other reviews, articles or post entries? Post them below!

And while you are sharing, how did you find out about Amahi?

lukestechnologymusingsFirst we have a recent post by Luke Addison, who has an in-depth review about his switch from Windows Home Server to Amahi, including screenshots and all. In it, there is a short “things I miss/don’t miss” list comparing them. Guess who wins? :)

“It seems to run so much better than Windows Home Server.  It must be much lighter on resources.” —

maximumpcMaximumPC posted a pretty wide review comparing several Home Networking projects including Amahi. Amahi stood well against competetors like unRAID and FreeNAS.

“This no-fuss home server software is free to operate and only requires that you have a working Fedora 10 operating system prior to installation.” — MaximumPC

flotierThe Flotier Designs blog gives a short, but positive, review of Amahi. However, if it were me, I wouldn’t have said that it “isn’t 100% reliable because it’s in Beta.” Many program and sites have been in beta for years and have been very reliable, however. He says,

“I’ve been using Amahi Home Server for a good while now and I have to say, I’d be lost without it.” —

bauerpowerThe Bauer-Power Amahi review also gives a short but positive review. He gives kudos to the community in the forum and on the IRC channel for their quick response:

“… the forums and irc channel are very active and responses to any issues are usually made within hours.” —

And finally, JetTheNjetthenerderd’s Amahi post blog details his personal experience of setting up an Amahi server of his own. Again, while he has some bumps with Fedora 9 (which is now rather dated):

“… Amahi not only gives me a great file server built on a solid foundation in f9 but it has several other cool features that my old FreeNAS server just didn’t have.” —

In the last year, Amahi has grown in large part to blogs and articles like these. If you ever wanted to help on an open source project, but wasn’t sure of where to begin, do what these people did and write about it!

You don’t have to win a pulitzer, just get the word out!

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Fedora 11 test repo + Roadmap! Half-evil fixes for Fedora 10

Hello! Here is an update on three areas! Test repo for F11, Roadmap and Some recent Bugfixes.

First, the team is happy to announce the availability of the new

Fedora 11 development repo, codenamed Quantum

Quantum, ’cause it’s not quite there — Thanks Mithran .. :)

Fedora 11This is an ALPHA repo, located at We have been working on setting up this repo for a few days now and it’s starting to shape up.

This repo is:

  • known to be broken unless otherwise stated 😀
  • 32bit only for now
  • for development and testing only, during the next few weeks
  • will only work with the kickstart method of installation, hence it will TAKE OVER AND FORMAT your entire hard drive for use in your test HDA, though, if you are working with Virtual Machines, you can snapshot the base install and use the manual method for much faster speed in development (see the wiki)
  • will only work with the new installer

If you are up for some rough testing, please check it and help debug Amahi!

We will use the Fedora 11 wiki page to communicate and note the major issues, status, etc.

As for roadmap, this Fedora 11 release is ambitious, as we want to:

  • move to rails 2.3 and mod_rails, phusion passenger
  • want to password protect the setup pages with amahi user authentication
  • have a mysql password that it’s separate from the platform
  • better support for server based apps
  • much easier native app architecture, using rails engines

Finally, we wanted to share a quick note that we had to release a quick fix for the Amahi daemon, to fix Bug 333, which could cause trouble upon installation in some small percentage of cases, under Fedora 10.

As you know, 333 is half of 666, so we did not want to let it linger to too long … :)

The fix is hdactl version 2.44-7.

The Fedora 11 repo is in much better shape today after some fixes went into the new installer, and we have seen some Kickstart installs, however, it’s not entirely functional yet.

As usual, come by the community channel to get the latest scoop!

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DD-WRT, Linksys and D-Link support, enhanced UI, stability, Release 4.1 is here!

On the heels of one of our strongest releases, today we announce the release of version 4.1 of the Amahi platform!

This release added some nice features in addition to delivering a great amount of stability updates to the core and GUI updates to the user interface!New Routers Supported

Lots of testing has been done in this release by the community. And a great job at that! A very special thanks go to Mr Orange for contributing a substantial amount of the patches and fixes included!

Changes to the User Interface:

  • Add some support for Router Control for DD-WRT routers, Linksys routers, from the WRT54G series, and some D-Link models (more on router control)
  • The dashboard and setup pages now use long URLs ( as opposed to short URLs (http://ampache), because some clients (*cough*windows*cough*) have trouble with short URLs, depending on their network configuration. Note that short URLs, a uniquely cool Amahi feature, still work, so you can still use them! Bug #274
  • Rearranging of menus in the setup area based on usability feedback, to make things run with faster response times and have more meaningful interaction – Bug #296
  • Proper support for temperature monitoring of drives when using RAID and LVM! Before, that panel would get confused when LVM or RAID were in use – Bug #8, #11, #34
  • New GUI option to change the (SAMBA) shares workgroup interactively – Bug #289
  • General stability improvements in the platform to work with apps better, better errors on bad downloads – Bug #176, #309
  • New area in the Setup -> Settings tab containing the current version of the platform and the core running (that is an FAQ after each release!)

Platform core:New Setup Area

  • New feature to allow multiple connections on the Amahi built-in VPN simultaneously
  • Introduction of a new installer, which will support things like automated installed (i.e. entirely unattended), automatic network configurations, etc.
  • Fix bug #311: making sure the DHCP server and the DNS server obey faithfully the servers settings set by the user, as well bug #313, which introduced spurious errors.
  • Add feature #308: new utility script to let the user change the network settings if they mistyped them or misconfigured them
  • Fix bug #250 and #294, which caused hdactl to not be restarted properly, causing daemonized zombie processes to be left around. Luckily this was not too harmful, as they were just sitting idle.
  • Fixed a dependency in the installer to make it easier to support the people who install with LiveCD, though it’s not really supported :)
  • Support platform changes to manage the default DHCP lease time. For some reason, some folks need this. I know the type – those who run a tight ship. (Bug #201)
  • Add a feature to set the DHCP server default time zone properly and automatically
  • Fix an error in the installer for users whose domain/settings contained the word “error” … you know who you are :)

If you have not updated yet to Fedora 10 and you are still on Fedora 9, here is a very nice guide from long-standing contributor Brandon Kernell how how to upgrade your distro!

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