Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2007 11:08 UTC, submitted by Dan Warne
Windows As momentum grows around its new Windows Home Server line, which is due for release towards the end of this year, Microsoft is looking to keep the love flowing with its hardware partners, software developers and end users alike. Joel Sider, Senior Program Manager for Windows Home Server, told APC that the company intends to release a software development kit for the platform early next month.
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Am I missing something?
by Laurence on Fri 30th Mar 2007 11:23 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

What exactly is the point of this version of Windows?

Microsoft fans have Window 2000/XP Pro and the more experienced techies have *nix.

I can't understand why anyone would want a server running an OS which wasn't powerful enough to serve.

This just sounds like another classic case of MS trying to plug a market with sub-standard software....

Edited 2007-03-30 11:24

Reply Score: 3

RE: Am I missing something?
by SReilly on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:04 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I agree to an extent. I think that MS are trying to create (or feed?) a new market to better enable them to bolster they're core business, the rich client.

I have had customers ask about a home server solution (Luxembourg residence have way to much money) for file sharing. What I have done so far is set up an old or cheap box with whatever Linux distro fits, and just let them at it. The thing is, these solutions tend to run for years without hitch or downtime. It's just setting it up in the first place that creates issues.

If MS can pull of a good, easy to administer, easy to set up and secure(ish) system, they very well could entrench the idea that the PC really is Windows.

Not a bad move from a scared rich client company in a world that is becoming more and more web app based.

Just my 0.02

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Am I missing something?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I really like the general idea of what Microsoft is trying to achieve here. They are not just making a special version of Windows; they are also specifying the hardware platform for it. In other words, Home Server is not just software, it's hardware as well. Home Server is in fact not all that different an idea than Apple TV, it's just that Microsoft does it the other way around: Home Server serves the files, whereas with Apple, the apple TV receives files from other computers.

Now, I would love to be able to buy a simple server for home use, plug it in my network, and get going, without all the crap that usually comes with setting up a server. It should simply host all my files, which I can then access from whatever computer I want. The Apple TV does not fit this scenario.

The big question I have is if Microsoft will be able to pull this off. They have this annoying tendency of biting off more than they can chew, which results in products which in theory are really good and handy, but in practice always just do not do exactly what you want them to do.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Now, I would love to be able to buy a simple server for home use, plug it in my network, and get going,"

It's not like there's a shortage of embedded storage devices.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Am I missing something?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Am I missing something?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's not like there's a shortage of embedded storage devices.


Network attached storage devices are VERY expensive here in The Netherlands, especially for the functionality they actually offer. I refuse to pay a large sum of money for a glorified hard drive.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Network attached storage devices are VERY expensive here in The Netherlands"

What makes you think Home Server, an embedded storage device, will be cheaper?

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Am I missing something?
by flanque on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Am I missing something?"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Because it has to be competitive. Besides, on a feature per dollar ratio, it'll likely be much better value.

I can see this home server rapidly becoming a media hub, if not a home digital lifestyle hub.

If I could securely access "my home" via a server to control things, I'd pay for that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Am I missing something?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:46 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Am I missing something?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Because it has to be competitive."

Right, because right know theres no competition in that segment....

"Besides, on a feature per dollar ratio, it'll likely be much better value"

That depends entirely how much it will and cost and what features it'll actually have.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Am I missing something?
by jayson.knight on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Am I missing something?"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"What makes you think Home Server, an embedded storage device, will be cheaper?"

Pricing has already been announced around the 500 dollar mark. Compared to most NAS devices, that's a bargain seeing as you not only get a full fledged computer, but an OS as well.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Am I missing something?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Am I missing something?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Pricing has already been announced around the 500 dollar mark"

That's almost twice the price of the Asus that was mentioned earlier in this thread and 4 times as much as the Buffalo Pro LS-250GL (250Gb). Not really a bargain by any means.

http://www.dealtime.co.uk/xPP-network_storage-250_buffalo_linkstati...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by jollyx on Fri 30th Mar 2007 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
jollyx Member since:
2007-03-24

Then try FreeNAS ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by Budd on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
Budd Member since:
2005-07-08

I don't even need Windows/Linux to share my file, serve FTP, share printer(s), share usb storage content. That's because I have an Asus WL 500g. And (although not tested yet) the HDD version makes file server a very easy set-up. And considering they come with wireless and ethernet, you see my set-up at home.

BTW: I bought it from Alternate in Ridderkerk , it was eur 180. One year old and going strong. The HDD version is somewhere around eur 250. I don't know though if they still sell it at Alternate.
Later edit : here is the HDD version of this fine router : http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/details.html?artno=LWAA20&show...

Edited 2007-03-30 12:35

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Am I missing something?
by jayson.knight on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Am I missing something?"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

To quote a few words from your post:

"Linux, FTP, Asus WL 500g, HDD, ethernet."

The mere fact that you rattled off those words already means that you're in a different market than what MS is looking to capture with WHS. Consumers want a box they can plug in to their home network, run a couple of wizards on, and forget about.

This market is gigantic right now...a lot of home users are looking for exactly this kind of solution, though many of them may not even know exactly what to call it (server? what's a server?).

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by Budd on Fri 30th Mar 2007 14:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
Budd Member since:
2005-07-08

What's so complicated,at least for file sharing? Plug in your router, plug the machine into the eth or even better, wireless, open browser , type 192.168.1.1, share! How is WHS ( an acronym nobody knows) easier than that? Does it come with the same price? I bet not. Market is not as gigantic as you (or MS) think. To share your files,photos,music etc you don't have to buy another machine, the old one suffice. You just need an internet connection. To quote you "what's a server" ...

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by lemur2 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 14:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{ Consumers want a box they can plug in to their home network, run a couple of wizards on, and forget about. }

There are a great many of those already on the market.

Nearly all of them run Linux, but how would anyone know it? You just "plug in to your home network, run a couple of wizards on, and forget about". A lot cheaper, and a lot more reliable, than anything running Windows.

Either the Linksys NSLU2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSLU2 or the Buffalo linkstation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_network-attached_storage_serie... would be your best bets.

If you want a vast amount of storage, go for the Buffalo terastation.

Both of these have active open source communities behind them, and you can get heaps of extra functionality by adding extra free packages if you care to.

Enjoy.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Am I missing something?
by helio9000 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:45 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Am I missing something?"
helio9000 Member since:
2006-05-24

I have a Terastation NAS and have not found it reliable at all. If I had only read all the bad reviews before buying. It is terrible for serving streaming media (which Buffalo now admits) and it lacks funtionality - for instance, you can only set passwords on root level folders which sucks. The only thing that saved it were the hacks built up around it. Great but not something, for instance, my dad is going to be doing. It also doesn't work with an Xbox 360, allow for remote desktop or give you a way to set up your own domain.

The WHS doesn't work for me because they don't sell it standalone and it doesn't deal with linux (which is stupid) but sounds like it might work for my dad. The thing is, if you can set up your own *nix and automate streaming and backup etc. than this thing isn't for you and MS isn't claiming that it is.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by SReilly on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Certainly, if they can pull it off, then all the better. Being able to just plug your hardware in and off you go has allot of appeal and just as it is in the Netherlands, NAS systems are very expensive over here (can you say BeNeLux ;-).

Personally, I'd rather build my own just to give myself the control that I would really be wanting in a file server, but I do see the value of said product to those who either don't have the know how or don't want the hassle.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by Laurence on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Am I missing something?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

@ SReilly

I see what you are saying, but while a *nix server will run for years without a hitch, Microsoft will be pushing 'Home Server' users for a paid upgrade every 3 years, which I think is unacceptable given the very basic functionality this software offers.

I'm not anti-Windows, I just don't see how this system serves users at all. It just sounds like MS inventing a new cash-cow.

But then I guess if you are building a server and aren't bright enough to research into the best OS to serve you, then you probable deserve to get a little ripped off ;-)

Edited 2007-03-30 12:13

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by CPUGuy on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
CPUGuy Member since:
2005-07-06

Home Server's main purpose is for autmated backup of file across your home network, as well as fileserving, etc...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by elektrik on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
elektrik Member since:
2006-04-18

"But then I guess if you are building a server and aren't bright enough to research into the best OS to serve you, then you probable deserve to get a little ripped off ;-) "

Not bright enough? Wow, way to go to win people over-by implying that people who don't google "the best OS to serve you" aren't exactly intelligent...

...Nice

Edited 2007-03-30 12:47

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Am I missing something?
by Laurence on Fri 30th Mar 2007 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Am I missing something?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Not bright enough? Wow, way to go to win people over-by implying that people who don't google "the best OS to serve you" aren't exactly intelligent...

...Nice


I was being flippant. (Hence the wink emoticon)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by raver31 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Sarcasm, flippancy, even plain outright joking is usually lost on people around here.
It is far too hard to judge someones tone from text, so the presume that all messages are serious. Even if they have ;) stuck in them somewhere.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Am I missing something?
by elektrik on Wed 4th Apr 2007 15:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Am I missing something?"
elektrik Member since:
2006-04-18

Except that where you put the wink also implied that you were beign arrogant, not flippant

Reply Score: 1

RE: Am I missing something?
by flanque on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:30 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

From what I hear from friends who are testing this out, it's actually rather intuitive and for such an early build, quite polished and well done.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Am I missing something?
by Bit_Rapist on Fri 30th Mar 2007 14:54 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

What exactly is the point of this version of Windows?

To allow more advanced serving functions to users who might not be technical enough to set them up with the existing offerings or for people who may not wish to spend the time setting up a traditional *nix/Windows server to fill these needs.

Microsoft fans have Window 2000/XP Pro and the more experienced techies have *nix.

Non of which are setup as Windows Home Server will be "out of the box"

I can't understand why anyone would want a server running an OS which wasn't powerful enough to serve.

I think for what the intended purpose will be, file backup, photo sharing and a media hub its going to be just fine.

Its the application stack that is going to make the difference with this product. If they get the app stack right I think they'll really have something, if they get it wrong of course then it will be a dud.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Am I missing something?
by BluenoseJake on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:39 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Microsoft fans have Window 2000/XP Pro and the more experienced techies have *nix. "

WTF? Lots of experienced techies use windows, but I find the most experienced ones use what is best for them, and keep those sorts of digs to themselves.

I myself use Windows as a fileserver at home, and use FreeBSD or Ubuntu as my desktop. I have been a tech for about 20 years now, so I doubt I would call myself inexperienced. I have/do maintained Windows, AIX, Netware, Linux servers and Mac OS classic, OS X, Windows and Linux desktops. When you make stupid statements like that, you sound very condesending and more than a bit ignorant.

Who says this isn't needed for the less than technically inclined? XP's networking can be quitre cranky at times, especially when talking to Win98/2k systems, and most Linux distro's Samba config can be quite daunting to a non-technical person. This could be the thing that those customers need, at least somebody is doing it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by Laurence on Fri 30th Mar 2007 16:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Am I missing something?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

WTF? Lots of experienced techies use windows, but I find the most experienced ones use what is best for them, and keep those sorts of digs to themselves.


I think you've taken my comments a little personally. I'm by no means saying Windows is benief the an experienced techie - just that even techie minded users who don't have (or want) any experience of *nix can still cope with setting up a basic NT server.

Granted it was worded badly (english is far from my best subject) but it really wasn't a snub at Windows NT nor Windows administrators.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Am I missing something?
by MollyC on Fri 30th Mar 2007 17:12 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Yes, you are missing something. ;)

Check out these two articles, which give nice detailed info on Windows Home Server:
http://techgage.com/article/windows_home_server_preview/
http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/whs_preview.asp

And here's the Windows Home Server blog:
http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/default.aspx

Here's my own summary (but read the above articles for detail): Windows Home Server is an attempt to bring server functionality to the masses. It runs on a "headless" server box (no monitor or keyboard), and provides a server for a home network. Includes media sharing, automatic backups, etc. One thing I like about it (I haven't actually used it), is that it pools all attached harddrives into one share, so you can increase the storage capacity automatically simply by adding an internal or external harddrive. And you can set it so that there is redundancy among the harddrives, so that each piece of data exists on at least two of the harddrives. No need to deal with RAID; simply add a harddrive and your done.

But I'm not eloquent enough to do it justice, so don't rip my summary to shreds to dismiss the product. Read the articles (and take those apart, if you must). ;)

But, this is not "sub-standard" software by any means.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by thecwin on Sat 31st Mar 2007 18:06 UTC in reply to "Am I missing something?"
thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

This has a huge amount of potential. I hope Microsoft don't lay this potential to waste like they did with the Zune.

I can't wait for things like this to become integrated with every day life, maybe we'll start with like.. "media routers" (preferably *nix based though ;) ).

Edited 2007-03-31 18:09

Reply Score: 1

Old P4 and a load of hard drive...
by werfu on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:20 UTC
werfu
Member since:
2005-09-15

Get an old P4, a good 450 Watt PSU and five 750 and you get a near 3 Terabytes raid 5 server for less than 1000$. Using Linux RAID is far from complicated (any Linux distribution with a good graphical installer will let you do it in a matter of minutes) and will give you enough performance for what usual home network can lay (especialy wireless ones). If you have a good Gigabit ethernet router (Cisco, Nortell, or Linksys at last) than maybe hardware raid and a dedicated ethernet device could be used. Ars Technica got a good article about this a while ago.

Windows Home Server is just a low profile Longhorn server which integrate well in the MCE thingy from Microsoft (now integrated into Home Premium) and which is part of the (WMP + Xbox 360 stack). It's not bad as it will lay a new ground for HTPC, but I'd like to see something from Nintendo and Sony too.

Reply Score: 3

jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"Get an old P4, a good 450 Watt PSU and five 750 and you get a near 3 Terabytes raid 5 server for less than 1000$"

Wow, what a deal considering that WHS machines will be debuting at $500. With modern hardware.

Reply Score: 4

werfu Member since:
2005-09-15

Wow, what a deal considering that WHS machines will be debuting at $500. With modern hardware.


If you want to get modern hardware at 500 you could get a Athlon 64 3400+ with a 750Gig hd and 1Gig of ram. I was thinking that under 1 Terabyte of storage and without redundancy it's not worth the purchase, even if it cost less. People who would buy this usualy have a lot of high tech in their house and usualy have the cash to buy a well high capacity server.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'd like to buy MS hardware + software combo, especialy if it got trusted computing and DRM hardware ensuring you're not dumping DVD on your media center hub.

Reply Score: 1

Robocoastie Member since:
2005-09-15

"Wow, what a deal considering that WHS machines will be debuting at $500. With modern hardware."

Not with 3 terabyte raid 5 you won't.

Reply Score: 1

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

[Flame-retardant suit]

To be honest, even though I have a mixture of Linux/BSD/Mac/Windows at my house, sometimes I wouldn't mind having a Windows domain server. With AD, it so easy to administer users and resources. Don't talk to me about LDAP. It's a pain. Actually, I'm waiting for Samba 4, when I will use it as a 2003 Domain server (not an NT domain, like the current),

Flame on!

Reply Score: 3

more, more, MORE
by chrish on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:41 UTC
chrish
Member since:
2005-07-14

This is definitely what we need, more versions of Windows. With Vista's release, it's already like trying to pick a Linux distribution...

- chrish

Reply Score: 2

Hardware/Software?
by Almafeta on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:44 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

I had thouht it was just another variation of Vista, which was redundant.

But if it's a combined hardware/software package, using standardized hardware, then I can see the attractiveness.

Reply Score: 3

NAS anyone?
by Googol on Fri 30th Mar 2007 13:56 UTC
Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

Why don't people get a Little NAS box that comes pre-configured to do everything? Who wants yet another PC?

Reply Score: 1

it is actually fairly slick (for a beta)
by jtrapp on Fri 30th Mar 2007 14:03 UTC
jtrapp
Member since:
2005-07-06

I beta tested it for a short while. It had bugs, but the idea seemed fairly slick.

It did the obvious, served files, automatic redundant backups, maintains file permissions...

But it also monitors network health, it makes sure all clients on the network are patched and have security software running. You could remote network into it than use remote desktop to access your home PC from anywhere.

At the time I was beta testing it, it used a slightly modified Win 2003 Server base.

MS claims this will be a hardware/software solution, but if they make the OS available as an OEM version, I may be interested. I can certainly see Joe and Jane computer user getting a lot of benefit out of it.

Reply Score: 5

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

MS claims this will be a hardware/software solution, but if they make the OS available as an OEM version, I may be interested.

A quote from the article: "Sider also indicated to APC that Microsoft was leaning towards making Windows Home Server available to end-users who want to build their own server, either from scratch or using an old desktop PC. This would be a welcome change from the earlier plans to restrict the code to Microsoft's home server hardware partners. 'There's no absolute final confirmation on that' cautions Sider, 'but it's fair to say that we think it's the right approach to make it available to that enthusiast audience, to the do-it-yourselfers, so we're just fine-tuning that decision and working out how to do that, and hopefully we'll have confirmation on that soon.'"

Looks like Microsoft is finally remembering why it has been able to be #1 for so long -- third-party support.

Reply Score: 1

Proof is in the pudding
by Laurence on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:17 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

@pro-WHS posts:
Maybe i was a little quick to dismiss WHS. Microsoft may well be onto a great idea here.

I guess the real proof is in the final release.

Reply Score: 0

Microsoft is at a disadvantage
by jocknerd on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:24 UTC
jocknerd
Member since:
2006-01-26

ZFS will rule the file systems of home servers in the future. Why? Because ZFS will allow you to add as many hard drives as you want and ZFS will just add the storage space from that drive. To the user, it won't display as a separate drive. It will just be one drive that continues to get larger whenever you add more disks. Unless Microsoft has a file system that will work like this, they won't be able to compete with this technology.

Reply Score: 0

CrazyDude0 Member since:
2005-07-10

I don't know how ZFS does that but using mount points in NTFS you can see all drives under one drive letter as directories.

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I don't know how ZFS does that but using mount points in NTFS you can see all drives under one drive letter as directories.


That's not quite the same as shaired capacity though.

I'd dread to think what would happen if a HDD failed on a ZFS system though

Edited 2007-03-30 15:36

Reply Score: 1

RE: Microsoft is at a disadvantage
by helio9000 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:47 UTC in reply to "Microsoft is at a disadvantage"
helio9000 Member since:
2006-05-24

From the article:

The Home Server uses a "drive extender" function that masks the complexity of multiple drives by simply extending the logical space when drives are added to the system. This makes the entire pool of disks appear as a single volume. The bottom line is that users simply place their files in folders without regard to what drive the folders are on.

Microsoft says the server's drive capacity is expandable, and I was able to add a drive to my server by simply opening the box, attaching the cables and powering the server back on. The system automatically takes care of reformatting the drive and adding the new capacity to the pool.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"The Home Server uses a "drive extender" function that masks the complexity of multiple drives by simply extending the logical space when drives are added to the system."

In other words, it has a RAID array.

Reply Score: 2

helio9000 Member since:
2006-05-24

>In other words, it has a RAID array.


No it isn't. They've gone out of their way to explain that it isn't raid. For one, you aren't limited to adding drives of the same size. You can mix drive sizes (for instance adding a larger one) and not lose space. Also, any storage that you attach (usb drive etc) can automatically become part of the pool. My raid doesn't do either of those. Overall it seems like it might be easier to configure than raid but I don't see how it wouldn't be less reliable.

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

No it isn't. They've gone out of their way to explain that it isn't raid. For one, you aren't limited to adding drives of the same size. You can mix drive sizes (for instance adding a larger one) and not lose space. Also, any storage that you attach (usb drive etc) can automatically become part of the pool. My raid doesn't do either of those. Overall it seems like it might be easier to configure than raid but I don't see how it wouldn't be less reliable.


Reliability would be dictated by the quality of the HDDs I would have thought?

Excellent feature though this in itself is a large selling point.
Ive often found the limitations of mounting / RAID a pain when trying to do something useful with the last few hundred megs of disk space (too much to waste, too little to store much of anything useful).

Reply Score: 1

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"In other words, it has a RAID array."

helio already explained that this isn't the case, but I'd like to expound on it by quoting from Thurott's preview:
http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/whs_preview.asp

"Expandable storage
On the server-side, WHS finally does away with drive letters. "No-one gets drive letters in Windows Home Server," Headrick said. "They'd just forget where they put stuff." Instead, WHS aggregates all of the storage attached to the server into a single store pool, regardless of whether that storage is internal, external, or a combination. As you add drives to the server, the available storage pool simply increases.

I asked whether this technology was based on DFS (Distributed File System), but Headrick told me that this was, in fact, yet another example of new software out of Microsoft Research. Data is mirrored at the shared folder level, so that two copies of a folder are always stored on two different physical hard drives. It's quite different from RAID, Headrick says. "RAID is an insect spray," he cracked. "With RAID, you must understand the technology, add disks in sets, and its hard to remove drives." With WHS, storage is hot-swappable. You can plug in an 80 GB hard drive, for example, and configure it quickly with the WHS Add Drive wizard. When you want to remove it and replace it with a 500 GB drive, there's a simple wizard for that as well.

Headrick compares WHS storage to toast in a toaster: It's user-serviceable and there are no screws. I think it's one of the most innovative features in the server, and it could very well help revolutionize how people interact with backups, since it will be so easy to add storage and ensure that you're always retaining a wide range of backups.

One final point about WHS storage. Were you to pull a drive out of WHS and try to access the disk from another Windows-based PC, that system would see the disk as standard NTFS. So it will work anywhere, though of course the backups are written in a proprietary data format."


Edited 2007-03-30 17:19

Reply Score: 4

RE: Am I missing something?
by Luminair on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:27 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

You guys are wondering where this product fits in, and I'm wondering why you don't see where it fits in.

How many Windows users are there in the home compared to Linux users? Did you all forget those statistics?

Every dad with a Windows PC will understand how to admin a WHS box, because it is blindly easy and it looks just like Windows.

Every son with a Windows PC will know how to build a WHS box with old computer parts, thus creating the first in a long line of home servers he and his family will use.

It is only a matter of time before every connected home has a fault-tolerant home file and app server. Users are amassing more data over time, not less. And while hard drive space is becoming next to free, hard drives themselves keep breaking as fast as ever, and people keep ruining their computers with malware.

A home server that automatically backs up and restores every PC, stores all important data, and allows remote access to that data. If you don't see a market for that you must be related to the guys at IBM who thought computers would never have a place in the home.

Edited 2007-03-30 15:29

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Am I missing something?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Am I missing something?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Every dad with a Windows PC will understand how to admin a WHS box, because it is blindly easy and it looks just like Windows. "

But there are plenty of those small servers already. And cheaper to boot. Does MS really have to attempt to kill another 3rd party market segment?

"If you don't see a market for that you must be related to the guys at IBM who thought computers would never have a place in the home. "

That wasn't IBM, that was DEC's cofounder Ken Olsen.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by jayson.knight on Fri 30th Mar 2007 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"But there are plenty of those small servers already."

You're missing one huge factor: They aren't an MS Windows branded box. That's great for geeks like us, but the rest of the world wants a Windows box. Something with wizards. Something that, if it breaks, they can call for support. Something that plugs into their existing infrastructure with no hassles.

"Does MS really have to attempt to kill another 3rd party market segment?"

Show me a commercially available product geared towards (AVERAGE) consumers that does everything WHS will do. It doesn't exist yet, which is why MS is creating this market. There's nothing to kill...and if there is, well, they better step it up then and compete.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Am I missing something?
by Luminair on Fri 30th Mar 2007 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Am I missing something?"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

there are plenty of those small servers already.

There is nothing quite like WHS out there, and you shouldn't be saying otherwise unless you know for sure. I was interested in a home file server a few months ago, and since then I've trialed WHS beta 2, Longhorn Server beta 1, FreeNAS, Openfiler, OpenSolaris, and Suse 10.1. WHS is unique among the rest because of the GUI and tightly integrated features. Solaris is unique because of ZFS. And if you're curious, proprietary lightweight NAS solutions like those from Buffalo aren't very good competitors to some of these heavyweight solutions. Both in price and features.

The technology in WHS is not especially innovative or compelling. It has a cluster-based drive backup system. It has a single instance storage system to avoid file duplication. It spans drives to provide a single virtual file system. And it provides fault tolerance by simply mirroring data across two drives when you explicitly tell it to.

The storage solution isn't high-brow compared to RAID like they would have you to believe -- not only is the redundant data less space-efficient than RAID5, but you also don't get the read performance boost of a striped system. And neither system is as good as ZFS RAID-Z.

But it comes down to the overall competition, not just the technical one. And on that front the open source solutions just don't have their heads screwed on straight enough to beat WHS.


Re: computers in the home
That wasn't IBM, that was DEC's cofounder Ken Olsen.

Says who? You would be wrong to think that only one person in the 70s believed computers had no place in the home.

Edited 2007-03-30 20:46

Reply Score: 2

Better compared to FTP/Rsync etc
by CrazyDude0 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:31 UTC
CrazyDude0
Member since:
2005-07-10

I have 4 computers at home and syncing them manually or using rsync etc has always been a pain.

I like the idea of Home Server, you configure it once and it will keep syncing automatically. It will serve files where needed and also do redundant backup. You need more storage just put an extra hard drive and it will automatically configure it.

Other appeal is able to secure TS remotely and then access home machines. I hope they add smart card type authentication to that to make it super secure.

So yes Home Server is not rocket science, you can build one yourself using scripts if you are geeky sort of person. But people who don't want to implement their own solution to every problem will surely like Home Server and that is what MS is counting on.

I for sure would love such a software.

Reply Score: 2

Only storage?
by John Nilsson on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:41 UTC
John Nilsson
Member since:
2005-07-06

I was hoping for a p2p revolution. Imagine nice cheap pnp hardware that gives cheap and easy administration of your own domain, including such things as SMTP-server, IMAP-server, HTTP-server, XMPP-server and so forth.

Take Asterisk f.ex., a free software PBX that will give you free phone service over IP.

Currently you have two options
1. Install Asterisk on your current server hardware.
2. Install Asterisk@Home on dedicated hardware.

Well anyone who has looked at the Asterisk installation understands that 1 is not an options for anyone but gurus.
2 is not an option because there is no way to get cheap dedicated hardware suitable for the task. Either you get expensive, hard to assemble hardware, or you get cheap easy but overkill hardware that is ugly, big, noisy and not at all suitable for 24/7 operation in a home.

I'd like to see either a drive for more suitable hardware to make 2 an option or a suitable server solution for home with a platform dedicated to provide easy install and administration of services to make 1 an option. Hopefully MS will create this market.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Only storage?
by knightrider on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:45 UTC in reply to "Only storage?"
knightrider Member since:
2006-12-11

MS does have a PBX product. Here's what's been said about it.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/032107-microsoft-ip-pbx.html?...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Only storage?
by Soulbender on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:58 UTC in reply to "Only storage?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Take Asterisk f.ex., a free software PBX that will give you free phone service over IP."

That's not really a good example. Why would you want/need a full-fledged PBX in your home? The reason it's complex is because PBX's are complex beasts.
There are much eaier and better ways to get VOIP at home, ie a hardphone or softphone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Only storage?
by John Nilsson on Fri 30th Mar 2007 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Only storage?"
John Nilsson Member since:
2005-07-06

I tried that. Bought a Siemens c450ip. I still haven't figured out how to get it to work.

The problem is that the hardware doesn't support SIP addressing it requires a dial plan implemented in some server to work, and isn't that what Asterisk provides?

Reply Score: 2

OK
by knightrider on Fri 30th Mar 2007 15:42 UTC
knightrider
Member since:
2006-12-11

I guess nobody has heard about FreeNAS.

http://www.freenas.org/

Reply Score: 1

Who really needs this?
by jello on Fri 30th Mar 2007 17:40 UTC
jello
Member since:
2006-08-08

I get the impression MS is trying to create a market where there is none.

Most home users are just getting used to wireless at home.

This said they buy a wireless router/firewall which comes with Ethernet connections and connect it with their notebooks (wireless).

Need a file server ?
There are nice storage devices with Ethernet, just connect it to the router.

Need a scanner ?
Create scanners with a ethernet connection and connect it to the router.

Need a printer ?
Hook up a printer with a ethernet connection and connect it to the router.

Finally create easy to use software (drivers) to connect them easily to any computer running Windows, Linux, OSX etc.

Done.

Normally people that use computers at home use it for their e-mail, images etc. and are not computer geeks.

They have already enough to do to keep Windows XP Home up and running, they don't need another device with Windows on it (or any other OS).


IMO there is no need for a home server at all.

With ethernet every device can be connected to the router and work with every desktop or notebook in a home network.

Edited 2007-03-30 17:41

Reply Score: 1

RE: Who really needs this?
by Almafeta on Fri 30th Mar 2007 19:20 UTC in reply to "Who really needs this?"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

That's assuming you only have the needs of one person. Increasingly, homes are having multiple PCs -- sometimes even one PC per person. Add into that other devices that, wired or wirelessly, use networks (most gaming systems nowadays, f'rex) and you can see why Microsoft thinks there can be a market for newbie-friendly servers geared towards the home market.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Who really needs this?
by jayson.knight on Fri 30th Mar 2007 19:47 UTC in reply to "Who really needs this?"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"With ethernet every device can be connected to the router and work with every desktop or notebook in a home network."

That creates more of a P2P type network though with no central storage location, and no one point of administration. That's what WHS aims to solve. And before you say "well just pick one machine to use in the server role" bear in mind that most people are clueless when it comes to actually setting up that type of functionality. For example, no one in my family knows how to create a file share, or assign permissions to it. They dno't know how to create backup sets. Etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Who really needs this?
by nswenson on Fri 30th Mar 2007 20:26 UTC in reply to "Who really needs this?"
nswenson Member since:
2007-03-23

The coolest part of this software is the automated backup software. You can set it up to wake up the other machines on your network through WOL and do backups. The backed-up files are consolidated: meaning that even though I've got four XP machines in my house, the common files are only stored once in order to cut down on disk space.

Sure there are other solutions like this, but this is really easy to setup and administer.

Reply Score: 3

v who wants to secure their files
by maceto on Fri 30th Mar 2007 20:17 UTC
would not setup boxes soon replace this
by malla on Fri 30th Mar 2007 20:35 UTC
malla
Member since:
2007-03-22

surely there must be some setup tv boxes that will feature all this, or Play station 4...

Reply Score: 1

protagonist
Member since:
2005-07-06

I was helping some one I know who is Beta testing the software. He needed someone to come in remotely and access his setup. My first impressions were not all that good.

One thing that stood out was that is seems to be very sluggish. We both have high speed connections and there were very noticeable lags all the time. Also, if you want to access all the features on the server end remotely you had better be running IE 6 or 7 as it looks as if it is tied very closely to some of those proprietary browser extensions MS is so fond of putting in.

Probably the worst thing we came across was there were certain circumstances where he could not tell if I was logged into the system. That alone would preclude the software from being installed on my system. Just a few thoughts, but at this point I don't think it is anywhere near ready for prime time.

Reply Score: 2

another pretty positive article
by MollyC on Sun 1st Apr 2007 18:47 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

Here's another article on the beta. It's not as detailed as the articles I linked to earlier, but it's a bit easier to read, I think.
It's a pretty positive review, despite being written by a guy that hates Vista and was expecting to hate WH (so he's not a Microsoft fanboy).

http://www.intelliadmin.com/blog/2007/03/windows-home-server-beta-2...
"When I first heard of it I was highly skeptical. I thought that for my needs it would be too simple. On the other side of that coin I thought that it would try to do too much and keep the important parts hidden from me.

My first experience with Beta 2 has changed my mind. I think Microsoft really has something here...and so far it is the perfect balance between simplicity and the needs of the user."

Reply Score: 2

Robocoastie
Member since:
2005-09-15

Even Vista didn't do away with the need to reboot after updates and even software installs. I can just see the thing having to phone home daily to let MSFT know that yes it's still legal software and do weekly "updates" for gawd only knows what reasons and reboot itself and then need to be even be logged onto after its reboot etc...

For my file sharing I'm running an old Duron rig with MEPIS (because it was far easier to setup Samba with) and it's the shared drive for my desktop and laptop and crunches FAH 24/7. This way those two computers stay locked down tight in the firewall. My only concern is if I have enough controls on the Mepis server. I have no financial data on it - just music, and school work. I just wish there was a LUG in my area (perhaps I should start one), but alas only Omaha has the civilization status.

MSFT is doing this for the money though. Look at all the network ready drives out there. Dell, HP, Compaq, etc... want a share of that market so MSFT will make the software for some little rig server and they'll market to convince people they need it.

Reply Score: 1