3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2009 8:28 PM by Michael Hoyt
Michael Hoyt Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
I am questing for the ultimate DLNA capable NAS (network attached storage). Several of the manufactures list this somewhat enigmatic "iTunes Server" capability.

What the heck is an "iTunes Server"? Is this just a official title for the act of moving your iTunes folder from your hard drive to a network share or is there an actual interactive application running on the NAS that provides the holy grail of iTunes capability: the ability to maintain one iTunes library in one location (the NAS) from several computers?

They seem to toss this term "iTunes Server" around like its a real thing but I can't find any meaningful explanation of what it is.

Any insight?



Power Mac G5 1.6GHz
  • Michael Hoyt Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    To answer my own question...

    An iTunes Server is an application that honors Apple's DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol). It basically "shares" your iTunes library including playlists etc. It is NOT the holy grail of "many to one" iTunes library management. The NAS manufacturers are integrating this type of server functionality (eg. FireFly Media: http://www.fireflymediaserver.org/) into their enclosures.

    Its a nice step in the right direction but in my opinion its not really an iTunes "Server". Its more of an iTunes library "Sharer".

    Hope this helps somebody else out.

  • PSpee Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Michael,

    Yes it was useful - thanks very much. It helps me out as I was just looking at the ReadyNAS pro by Netgear. It also says it includes a "Apple iTunes 7.0 server" but without explanation.

    I'm a Windows/Apple slider and although the Apple apps seem really slick, I find them difficult to scale. I wish iTunes could work well with multiple clients from one library, and I wish the same from iPhoto. Even the more expensive Aperture is disappointing in this area. Apple has some workarounds for sharing but they are clunky at best.

    I think this all stems from the Unix file system being "user" based. Say what you want about NTFS, but it makes media sharing a whole lot easier.

  • Michael Hoyt Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    I think this feature of the Netgear NAS is in fact the Firefly Media Server software:
    http://forums.fireflymediaserver.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10070&p=23853&hilit=rea dynas#p23853

    Yeah, the missing multi-client capability is a glaring hole. My hunch is that it is a software architecture issue. I've played around with a NAS hosting the entire iTunes music library as well as my entire iphoto library. Accessing the common libraries from two macs gave different results. iTunes seemed to just cause weird corruption like problems. iPhoto would actually lock the library so two computers could not actually be using the library at the same time. The "sharing" features of both apps is a thin work around. I am hoping that some future incarnation of both apps will deliver this capability. I was really hoping to see it in iLife '09 but it didn't happen.

    Any day now...