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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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By Spineless on 6/13/2007 7:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
WHS is probably one of the coolest and most useful products to come out of MS for awhile. Some like to compare the new file storage mechanism to RAID but it's not. RAID is a much lower-level mechanism. The mechanism they use is based on the data that you are storing on the drives. The coolest part about WHS has to be the ability to dynamically add new and replace old storage. Pop in a new 500GB drive to replace that "aging" 200GB drive without even having to take the server offline.

For redundancy, you can choose which folders to make redundant. And it then balances those files across the drives. Granted it doubles the amount of data stored vs going with RAID 5, but it gives you much easier management. For the target audience, adding an additional drive to make up for this difference will be cheaper than RAID array expansion.

I have a Windows Server 2003 domain at home to manage all of my family's computers, but this is going to make it so much easier.

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