This is ten days old, and I'm not sure how I missed it, but it's important: HP will be supplying some of the new software capabilities from its very latest MediaSmart Servers to customers of older versions of the servers. As you may know, I use and recommend HP's Windows Home Server-based MediaSmart Server line, so this is great news to anyone that jumped in with an early revision. Here's the complete statement:

Update on the upcoming software upgrades for MediaSmart Servers

Back in May, we announced a plan to allow current MediaSmart Server customers to upgrade to the most current software version beginning this Fall.  Below are additional details on the plans to deliver these upgrades.

HP recently announced the new EX490/495 MediaSmart Servers.  These Servers provide our latest software capabilities including an enhanced video converter, greater Mac Support including bare metal recovery, and a simplified user interface.  It is this software version (3.0) that will be made available to existing EX470/475/485/487 customers.  Note that these software upgrades are optional and will be available as a new installation DVD as opposed to a software download.

We are currently proceeding down the path of a server recovery solution that will not only upgrade your software to the 3.0 version, but also preserve the data in your shared folders.  This approach is preferable to a factory reset that would otherwise require customers to manually offload and restore all server files that the customer wants to preserve.  However, the server recovery approach requires additional testing cycles to validate the approach and the resulting data integrity.  We expect the upgrade DVDs will be available to order through hp.com beginning in December 2009.  Note that if testing shows the server recovery solution to be problematic, our plan is to change the upgrade process to a factory reset.

As previously communicated, there will be certain limitations of this software upgrade depending on your product.  For example, customers using the Photo Webshare feature in the EX470/475 products will lose this feature if they choose to upgrade (although we expect existing Webshare album photos will be moved into the Photos shared folder).  In addition, customers who have not upgraded their DRAM in the EX470/475 products will likely experience sluggish behavior or limited functionality running certain aspects of the latest 3.0 software.  Finally, the 3.0 software will not be made available for the LX195 model.

The final cost of the upgrade DVD is pending, but is expected to be in the US$25 range.

We thank everyone for their continued support of the MediaSmart Server family of products.

Thanks to Jameson A. for tipping me off to this statement, which he saw on We Got Served (an excellent resource for WHS users).