Archive for February, 2009

Is there a “Windows Cloud Home Server” coming soon?

February 6, 2009

I bought this Windows Home Server (WHS) recently.

I consider it a necessity for the home office.

The key features are:

  1. Centralized Backup
  2. File Sharing – NAS device
  3. Remote Access Gateway – remote access to any connected PC on your home network via Internet.
  4. Printer Sharing – Centralized print server.
  5. Shadow Copy – “Point in time” snapshots to recover older versions of files.
  6. Headless Operation – No monitor or keyboard. Use remote desktop or remote admin client tool.
  7. Media Streaming – Can stream media to Xbox 360 or other devices using Windows Media Connect.
  8. Data redundancy – Data is stored across multiple drives.
  9. Expandable Storage – has 4 drive bays. Two drive bays are in use, two are empty.
  10. Extensibility through Add-Ins – can host IIS web apps.
  11. Health Monitoring – Track health of all PCs on the home network (e.g., antivirus, firewall, etc.)
  12. Server Backup – backup the backup.

Some Positives:

· Fully Automated Minimal maintenance required except for the Server backup.
· Quiet Quiet enough for the bedroom/living room.
· Ease of Use Easy to use backup and restore process.


Some Negatives:

· No RAID The system uses proprietary Windows Home Server Drive Extender technology. There’s a good post on why it does not support RAID here.
· Complicated High ease of use for technologists but still too complicated for low tech folks.
· Unwanted extensions HP included two Add-Ins to WHS, PVConnect and McAffee Anti-virus. I don’t use either.
· Annoying Prompts McAffee annoyingly prompts to buy full service.
· Cloud Backup Need easy and low cost way to back up server to a cloud service such as Amazon S3.

Overall, I consider this product to be an important milestone for home computing.

However, I don’t think it will ever become mainstream until there’s zero config / zero maintenance.

I also believe that as cloud computing becomes pervasive and as costs drop, WHS will eventually be offered as a full blown cloud service with no onsite backend hardware required.

If so then Microsoft may call it Windows Cloud Home Server or even Windows Live Home Server.