Holiday Present: performance improvements with a cheer from Amahi!

Today we are happy to introduce three things: A makeover for Amahi’s web site, a major performance improvement to Greyhole, the technology used in Amahi for Storage Pooling, and two important beta releases: the preview of the next major version of Greyhole and Mediatomb, an on-the-fly transcoding DNLA server!

First, check out the brand-spanking-new Amahi site: new logo, new overall look, better organization and navigation, and foremost, a much improved app store, one of our most frequent requests.

Many many thanks for the donations, for the reviews and the encouragement! We hope you like it!

New App Store

The biggest change is Amahi’s App Store, one of the largest of its kind!  We are adding more categories, a new slick page design for each of the apps, and on top of it all, it’s searchable.

The search box has already had over 1500 searches in just a few days! Welcome to the new Amahi App Store!  There are more features to come, … soon!

Greyhole Update

Today we have released Greyhole, 0.7.5. This new version, along with We would like to welcome a number of new users coming from the Windows Home Server world. We posted a migration guide by popular demand and it has revealed one weakness in the way we implemented Greyhole in Amahi by default.

Many WHS users with large existing data stores wanted to migrate their large collection of data, but the default Greyhole configuration in Amahi did not tolerate a massive migration well.  The load that the network copy created, especially on today’s fast networks, would often overrun the pace at which local data copying and replication takes place in Greyhole.  The cause of this bottleneck was a decision we made early on to use sqlite3, as a back-end for Greyhole out of a caution for reliability (something Amahi cares a lot).  The idea was to keep it as simple as possible, and not rely on another layer or dependency as a data management for Greyhole (MySQL).

As Greyhole was put to the test recently, it became clear that for performance purposes, MySQL was the much better choice.  Greyhole’s performance with MySQL is 330+ file transactions per second, an improvement over sqlite3′s 11 transactions per second.  Note that this is not data transfer rate but the rate at which file operations can be managed. Quite a staggering 30x improvement!

Today we’re releasing a new release of Greyhole (0.7.5) and a corresponding Amahi platform release (5.6.5) supporting Greyhole using MySQL as the back-end (though not by default yet). Also included are language translations for Russian and Swedish … thanks to our translations team!

Here is how to transition an existing system from sqlite to MySQL.

Two new Betas: Greyhole 0.8 and Mediatomb

Partly as a result of the performance analysis, we not have a new beta of Greyhole 0.8. In version 0.8, Greyhole now use spool files to log those operations. This is similar to how email servers work, and will makes Greyhole more efficient. If you crave the latest, the downloads are here: 32bit x86, 64bit x86-64, arm (for the plug computer).

For members of our beta program, check out Mediatomb, a UPnP/DLNA media server that works well with the Sony PS3. It can even transcode media on the fly, including many 1080p MKV streams! This is a very promising application, packaged by SolaR with great help from the community. Thanks!

For the latest from our community, we have ZNC (a personal IRC “bouncer” server), DaDaBIK, and for the true hacker in you Debian Lenny Network Installer. Lots of the community contributing apps!

Special Thanks

We would like to give special thanks to the team that helped us tune up the new site, provide feedback and polish things up!

Thanks to Guillaume and the small dedicated legion of recent Amahi converts for their enthusiasm and of course for a great effort in narrowing down this performance bottleneck and for providing a Greyhole migration script! Incidentally, Greyhole got a new web page too!

Happy Holidays to you if you are celebrating at this time of the year! Cheers!

The Amahi Team

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WHS Vail Fail, Drive Extender, Greyhole and You

Check out what we have for you, a

Drive Extender migration guide

It’s a guide and a comparison of WHS’s Drive Extender vs Greyhole, the Storage Pooling technology built in with Amahi.

It’s things like this that highlight the importance of open source.

Microsoft has discontinued Drive Extender in the next version of Windows Home Server (WHS), nicknamed now #VailFail throughout the social networking sites. If this were open source software this simply could not have happened. Someone could simply fork the project and continue on – let the best code flourish!

This action riled testers, caused  thousands of angry and rude complaints, with many users now looking for a WHS alternative.

Amahi, with it’s implementation of Drive Pooling based on Greyhole, could be an ideal alternative for many.

We have not considered Amahi to be a competitor to Windows Home Server. For one, it’s not backed by a well-heeled corporation like Microsoft. However, many people have, and that’s OK. Just look at what some users have been saying about Amahi and Greyhole vs. WHS:

“[..] I am a freelance cameraman, video editor and photographer, I make high demands on reliability, usability and performance. WHS never cut it for me and the Drobo, which served me well for the past year, has a shockingly lacking performance [..]” —Axel Segebrecht, UK

“[..] So far I am extremely impressed. I have come from 4 reinstallations of WHS … From what I have seen Amahi is rock solid [..]“  –Ben Quittner, Victoria, Australia

“[..] I was an early adopter of Windows Home Server but wasn’t happy with it. It was “delicate”. Issues appeared on a daily basis and it didn’t “play well” with the non-Microsoft computers in my house. [..]” —Richard, Calgary, Canada

There are many more! See them at the Amahi testimonials page.

How You Can Help

At Amahi we care deeply about reliability. A home server has to be very reliable. Amahi is being used by thousands of users daily, most of them 24×7. Many tell us the reliability of Amahi is second to none, and much better than many routers or NAS devices. There was a lot of effort poured into the reliability aspect of Amahi from the very beginning.

Although many people in the community have worked hard to shake bugs out of Greyhole, one of the things that we know we have to do is knock out the more obscure bugs in it. While we have found and fixed a lot of the critical bugs, every software system has tougher bugs lurking. These are usually harder to expose and even harder to catch!

So, if you are interested in helping take Amahi and Greyhole to a whole new level, you can help with the Greyhole grinder initiative.

Reminder: Follow Amahi on Facebook and Twitter

Oh, and a reminder, Amahi recently got a fancy new “official” Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/amahi

So go ahead and “like” Amahi there to follow developments in Facebook. Your response has been great (about 400 fans in just a week or so!). You can also follow us on twitter.

Cheers!

Pic by: moparx

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Facebook page, CrashPlan live!

First, you should go to the new Amahi Facebook page and “like it” if you have not done that yet! You know you want to! :)

App releases have been a little sparse lately. The new Fedora 14 release is coming along very well and will co-exist nicely with Amahi. We are also working on a makeover of Amahi.org, which takes some time. Here is a teeny sneak peek to our new site :D

So we’ve picked a couple of nicely featured apps to release to the community. The testing team has been testing these apps for a bit now, so they should be in good shape. Amahi is becoming the largest App Store of its kind with the widest selection of one click webapps and media apps!

The first 3 Commandments of Data Storage and Integrity are Backup, Backup, Backup!  One of the highly sought after features  in a Home Server, is the ability to backup data from all of our network clients.  Now available as an Amahi One Click App is the versatile (and popular) CrashPlan backup solution.

Tin Can Jukebox is a very fast, full featured web jukebox that can securely stream large mp3 collections over the internet to multiple users.


CrashPlanCrashPlanCrashPlan is free for personal use and automatically backs up your computers daily. You can back up to your own drives and other computers for free, and also has a reasonably priced online solution.  For those of you running your Amahi Server headless, some extra configuration is required to access the gui interface.  Please see our CrashPlan wiki for details.


Tin Can JukeboxTin Can JukeboxTin Can Jukebox is a very fast, full featured php/mysql web jukebox that can securely stream large mp3 collections over the internet to multiple users. This app allows multiple users to stream audio with near perfect sound. Many features including Browse by Artist, Album and Genre, Single click to play all from an artist, album or genre, Automatic dynamic downsampling, and Preferences that allow per user customization.  It doesn’t get better than that!

Remember it’s your network and we’re fighting to keep it that way.

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

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Amahi on Fedora 14 Alpha Testing!

Fedora 14

Fedora 14 was released a few hours ago and we got a small flood of requests asking if it’s working. It’s getting there! :-)

We found an issue in Fedora 14 upstream that caused the Amahi installer to crash. We’re working around it and we’d like to release it for your testing.

Please see this thread on how to start testing Amahi on Fedora 14!

Many thanks go to bigfoot65 for the quick turn-around in isolating critical issues!

A few things will change, so we ask that you do not put this in a “production” system.

Cheers and happy hacking!

Carlos

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Trick or Treat?! Celebrate “All Hallows Eve” with a new Amahi release!

As we pondered in all of our geek and glory we decided to expand our story;
Amahi is here with a new release for you to enjoy, but relax it isn’t gory;
Many of the changes are quaint and contain much Amahi Lore;
There is no tapping of chamber doors, only intense mapping of the Amahi Core.
Yet as we speak, we are set to release, many more apps to the app store!
It’s not just this, it’s so much more!

It’s not Halloween without a reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and while we are not literary poets, Amahi brings poetry-in-motion for the digital management of your media. We’re happy to announce our newest release, a new logo and and update on what’s next!

Amahi 5.6

Many enhancements and some fixes:

  • New platform with a few simplifications in the user interface, major performance improvements for application installs, and some fixes: translations to Spanish/Polish/Japanese, DLNA improvements for .nfo support, enhanced support for elevated privileges in some apps, added functionality for wake-on-LAN (WOL) for dynamic leases, improvements to the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) and more
  • HalloweenA new Greyhole release, v0.6.28, the very popular Storage Pooling technology built in with Amahi, with some stability updates and a new feature: browsing the recycle bin with a share
  • A new release of Amahi Plug Edition, version 1.0, for the popular Plug Computer! This update includes over 10 performance updates and tweaks, so that Amahi can run in even the most resource constrained Plug devices with as low as 128MB of memory, like the Seagate Dockstar or a PogoPlug.

New Logo!

We’ve got a new logo! This is the “dice” logo and we’re very happy to announce this! It turns out that choosing a new logo was a pretty intense experience (with 400+ entries received and so many good designs, mixed with opinions of every kind).

We got a lot of great feedback and we will be deploying the new logo along with a makeover of Amahi’s website soon!

Skipping Fedora 13 for F14

You’ve all been asking and we’ve decided to skip Fedora 13 and head straight to Fedora 14, due in 3 days! This provides numerous advantages to Amahi, including kernel updates without reboots!

We see a pattern of supporting even releases! (We also skipped F11).

Many thanks to obinou and ppmt for testing the new release of the Amahi Plug Edition, to Mouton for the great progress on Greyhole, to all of you in the community who gave feedback for the logo and for helping test the new release! Amahi could not do all this without you!

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

Photo by euart

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