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Microsoft moves one step closer to the RTM for Windows Home Server

Microsoft's Windows Home Server is progressing nicely and has achieved Release Candidate stage. Microsoft states that the new build will be available to over 100,000 beta testers along with people who wish to sign up now and test the software.

For those not familiar with Windows Home Server, it is a software application that can be installed on any PC in a home network to allow other networked computers access to files. Users can also have secure web access to files from anywhere in the world with a secure Internet connection.

There will also be hardware products branded as "Powered by Windows Home Server" that simply plug into your home router to provide access to files. Microsoft likes to tout that new internal or external devices added to a Windows Home Server device won't be treated as F:, G:, H:, etc. Instead, total available space will be increased by the size of the hard drive added and divisions between physical hard drives will be transparent to the user.

The first question to spring to many potential users mind is how a Windows Home Server is different from a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Microsoft responds with:

More than just storage, Windows Home Server uniquely provides pre-defined shared folders, such as "Music" or "Photos" making it easier to organize and find your files. Windows Home Server also features simple storage extensibility, and built-in search capabilities... Also, in a Windows Home Server device with two or more hard drives, you can elect to duplicate folders. This prevents you from losing any photos, music, or other files stored in a folder that has "duplication" enabled, if a hard drive fails.

Pricing for Windows Home Server devices will be set by OEMs and will be available in the second half of 2007.

You can head over to the Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows to get an overview of Windows Home Server.

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RE: I can't wait...
By imaheadcase on 6/13/2007 10:10:43 AM , Rating: 3
Look a cleverly disguised "I Hate MS post". Please move along.

WHS is a excellent product, it fills the void in home server market nicely. It has been getting good reviews all over the web. It will be a good money maker from MS.

RE: I can't wait...
By Cobra Commander on 6/13/2007 12:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
...and it wasn't even all that clever.

I just don't yet understand how this is better for any individual with either a great lean towards IT or significant-enough knowledge where they've been effectively 'doing this' for a while?

I presume this simplifies that for the Average Joe?

RE: I can't wait...
By wien on 6/13/2007 10:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the drive pooling is enough to make me want it.

I currently have a Linux server serving my files (samba), but it's a bit of a mess since the file system is spread out over 5 separate disks which I must manage space on separately. I don't really have any redundancy in case a drive fails either (for the non-important data). Adding drives is also a bit tricky since I have to mount them into the existing directory tree and move files around to take advantage of it.

Now, I know I could setup a system similar to WHS in Linux using software RAID (not really as flexible) or maybe a different filesystem (ZFS when that arrives), but I just can't be arsed to do the required research to setup and maintain a solution like that. Especially not if I can buy exactly what I need in a nice user friendly box from Microsoft.

If it wasn't for all the other services I have on my Linux server, it would be running WHS right now. I will probably switch eventually, and just virtualize my existing Linux box on top of WHS since there's nothing performance critical running there. Best of both worlds. :)

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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