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HP's MediaSmart Home Server  (Source: Hewlet-Packard)

Iomega HomeCenter Server  (Source: Iomega)
Microsoft's Windows Home Server hardware products are finally ready for prime time

It's been nearly a year since Microsoft first announced its Windows Home Server platform, but we are now just starting to see the fruits of Microsoft's (and its hardware partners') labors.

Microsoft is aiming to make digital media sharing, automated network PC backups and anywhere access to network files a possibility with Windows Home Server. The platform, which is built in Windows Server 2003 technology, is robust, yet easy enough for consumers to jump right in and feel at home.

Likewise, third-party software companies have the ability to create plug-ins for power users that wish to use the Windows Home Server to the fullest extent. According to Microsoft, 35 plug-ins are already available for the platform which touches on blogging, home security and home automation among other things.

The actual Windows Home Server OEM software has been available for a little over a month now, but Microsoft and its launch partners are finally ready to break out the details on the hardware products.

HP's MediaSmart Server is the headliner product for Windows Home Server. As detailed in an earlier DailyTech story, the MediaSmart Home Server is available in two versions: the $599, 500GB EX470 and the $749, 1TB EX475. Both are based on the AMD LIVE! Home Media Server solution.

"We are excited to work with industry leaders HP and Microsoft to help pioneer a new class of user-friendly consumer electronics for home networking," said Bob Brewer, corporate VP of marketing and strategy for the AMD Computing Solutions Group. "The AMD LIVE! solution was designed to simplify and enhance digital entertainment experiences, and helping consumers protect their valuable digital memories is a vital aspect of that vision."

"As more and more entertainment content goes digital, people increasingly want a simple way to access, store and enjoy the wide range of photos, personal videos, music and films they enjoy at home," continued HP Managed Home Business senior VP John Orcutt.

HP, however, isn't the only company championing the Windows Home Server platform. Storage company Iomega is onboard with its 500GB Iomega HomeCenter Server which is scheduled to ship in early 2008. Fujitsu Siemens will offer its 1TB SCALEO Home Server 1900 in late 2007 and other solutions are on the way from Life|ware, MAXDATA, Medion, Tranquil and Velocity Micro.

"Digital devices and content are everywhere in our day-to-day lives and they are more important all the time," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. "With the launch of Windows Home Server, Microsoft and its partners are creating a new consumer product category that will help people keep their digital media safe and make it easier for them to enjoy it with friends and family."

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RE: i have a bad feeling about this
By djc208 on 11/5/2007 10:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the stuff I've read doesn't imply this is supposed to replace your router, it's just going to be plugged into it. It would sit behind the router firewall but can be accessed from outside (with the right router setup or a uPnP router) if you wish. If you don't want/need access from outside your network then make sure the ports are blocked in the router and you should be fine.

I'm sure there are probably holes but that's what the patches and add-on products are for. How long until Norton has a WHS version (if they don't already).

I'm seriously thinking about building one with some old hardware I have around and some new hard drives. Only problem is the $190 price for the software. Kind of steep for such a limited OS.

RE: i have a bad feeling about this
By Talcite on 11/5/2007 10:37:43 AM , Rating: 1
You could just save yourself $190 and install linux on it. You have more functionality through linux than you'll have with this WHS. It's also more secure if you set it up properly and again... it's hard to compete with free.

RE: i have a bad feeling about this
By TomZ on 11/5/2007 10:43:26 AM , Rating: 3
WHS has a lot of functionality that Linux lacks. In addition, WHS is a lot easier for non-tech people to set up. I suggest you educate yourself about WHS before posting uninformed comments here.

By omnicronx on 11/5/2007 12:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
Don't kid yourself, the common user can maybe cope with using linux out of the box, to surf the net and maybe listen to music. But to expect the majority of the population to be able to figure out and configure a server with the same specifications as WHS would result in mass suicides worldwide.

I love nix, I use ubuntu myself, but for anything else than day to day activities linux is not an option for most people.

My parents and sister have already figured out WHS, and thats a miracle in itself.

P.S You would be hard pressed to find a remote desktop tool and remote backup gui like WHS has in linux. I don't think apps like this exist, nor will they in the near feature.

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