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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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Whats cool... Whats not.
By skaaman on 11/5/2007 3:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
I was at an AMD show and got a nice demo courtesy of an MS rep. The good I saw was its a 10 client license, dumbed down to allow most to be able to deploy it (it can even be headless) and additional drives are plug and go. WHS just assimilates new drive space into the overall pool.

The bad part is there seems to be no redundancy built-in to the darn thing. WHS doesn't support RAID. This would seem to be the deal breaker for me. I guess I'm just being picky and odds are a server drive and my workstation drive won't crash at the same time...




RE: Whats cool... Whats not.
By TomZ on 11/5/2007 3:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
Do you feel you need redundancy beyond the mirrored folders? I think that WHS is more flexible and powerful than RAID in that respect.

Or do you mean the system volume (OS image)? I would assume that you could still use BIOS-level RAID still, i.e., RAID that is transparent to the OS, if you thought that was necessary.

Also makes me wonder if WHS can back itself up, i.e., back up its OS image and configuration?


RE: Whats cool... Whats not.
By Kenenniah on 11/5/2007 3:41:54 PM , Rating: 3
Not true. It doesn't support RAID per say, but sort of a psuedo RAID 1.
Any share you mark as redundant will automatically be duplicated on multiple drives (assuming of course your WHS has multiple drives).


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