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Windows Home Server Details 234

Posted by kdawson
from the just-the-storage-ma'am dept.
phorest writes "Perhaps Microsoft read the comments from the Slashdot community on Windows Home Server? In any event Microsoft is opening up WHS for users to construct their own system after all; though I'd like to see the price of this OS release before making the jump. From the review: "At the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week... Microsoft previewed its long-awaited Windows Home Server product, a Windows Server 2003 R2-based server for consumers that dispenses with the complexities of most Windows Server versions and provides the core storage, sharing, and remote access functionality that digital media and home networking enthusiasts require... Microsoft will make WHS available in two ways: Bundled with new WHS hardware and software-only, the latter so that enthusiasts can install the system on the hardware of their choice... If you're building your own home server, Microsoft requires a 1 GHz processor or better, 512 MB of RAM or more, and as many disks as you think you need. The company will support multiple home servers on the same network, but it's still murky how that will work."
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Windows Home Server Details

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#17558768)
    The company will support multiple home servers on the same network, but it's still murky how that will work."

    Easy... Lots of Money.
    • by Ucklak (755284)
      Yeah, multiple servers and only 10 connections.

      Not that 10 connections in a home could be reached but it's possible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by laffer1 (701823)
        Oh its possible for me. I've got 10 computers here. If I were to use a windows based central file server, I could potentially use it up. Then again, I would probably use MidnightBSD with NFS, samba and netatalk. Prior to starting the MidnightBSD project, I had a FreeBSD file server/router setup. It worked out rather well. I did use it primarily for backup on my iBook, but I mapped my home directory to it in BSD and My Documents in windows to it. It worked out very well. I later needed the machine as
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Microsoft thinks people:

      1.) Want to be network administrator.
      2.) Want to spend money on yet another computer taking up space in their house.

      People already have all their data on their main computer. They just want to stream it out to things and back it up now and then. This is a product searching for demand that's not there, to make it seem like Microsoft is "branching out."
      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:57PM (#17563018) Journal
        How appropriately named you are.

        Microsoft thinks people:

        1) Are increasingly moving toward a multi-PC household, with a desktop, laptop, and one or more computers for their children.
        2) Are willing to spend money on a low-end server to accomodate the growing demand for shared files and applications.
        3) Are looking for a way to get the most out of their WMC PC and their new XBOX 360 by streaming video.

        Personally, I've been predicting this move since Media Center was announced. It's a logical step toward the "digital home" that we've heard so much about. WHS won't do anything near everything I want it to, but it's a step in the right direction. I'm hoping this will up the ante and get some good, easier-to-use OSS servers designed around home use.
  • IdiotProof-Lockup (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash.eighty+sla ... om minus math_go> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:39PM (#17558840)
    I really think that MS needs to lock up WHS to be idiot-proof tight. If you need to put software on it (plugins for mediacenters, game servers, etc.) you should have to burn it to a CD, put it in the server, and then go back to the interface to see what you're going to install, and confirm it by pushing a button on the server. Yes, it's a hassle, but makes sure it's near 99% idiot-proof. Clicking through boxes is one thing. Having to physically push different things should set off alarms for someone
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:39PM (#17558842)
    Perhaps Microsoft read the comments from the Slashdot community on Windows Home Server?


    More likely they are currently flooding the market with "educational" pieces designed to increase the public's awareness of a new category of product; its no coincidence that the forthcoming product will match what the public has been trained to expect of it in advance.

    (Hint: look up "AIDA" as a marketing term sometime...)
  • Hmm? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joshetc (955226)
    Windows Home Server = Windows XP Pro? I was under the impression that Windows 2003 was simply Windows XP with some goodies for servers, if they take that aspect out aren't they basically selling your Windows XP with a couple patches?

    I don't see why they would market something based on Windows 2003 right now anyway, with Vista here / around the corner (depending on who you are)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If you really thought that was all Windows Server 2003 was, you are confused.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kcurtis (311610)
      I could be wrong, but I think I read at one point that XP and 2003 are different platforms -- but that XP64 and 2003 share code.

      This is why the XP SP cannot be applied to XP64, but XP64 and 2003 share a service pack.

      I think also that Vista is based off of 2003/XP64 not the 32-bit version of XP.
    • The SBE (Small Business Edition) is a streamlined (in terms of set up and interface) version of W2003. It's preconfigured for common uses for small groups, but it can be tinkered with however you like. They've hobbled it to make sure nobody with a large group uses it (in which case you should probably have an IT guy who knows what he's doing, and can set up W2003 properly).

      At least, that's what it sounds like. I think SBE is about $1k at retail, I think, with promo/NFR versions down in the $400-500 range.

      I'
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ErMaC (131019) <ermacNO@SPAMermacstudios.org> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:59PM (#17559150) Homepage
      Server 2003 is a whole lot more than XP Pro. Where as Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server shared a lot of underlying tech, XP Pro is a whole different internal version (windows 5.1) than 2003 (windows 5.2), and the additional functionality added by 2003 R2 makes it do even more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      Windows Home Server = Windows XP Pro? I was under the impression that Windows 2003 was simply Windows XP with some goodies for servers

      You're apparently very well informed. That would explain why Microsoft dropped the XP-based Vista code and spend two extra years porting it on top of the 2003 codebase.

      Simply put: Windows 2003 is not just XP with "server goodies", it's a major improvement in terms of modularity, security and contains a lots of improvements centered around running in an enterprise environment.
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nik13 (837926) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:08PM (#17559280) Homepage
      It's NOT WinXP. In fact, it's not "just another version of windows" at all! It's a network appliance (based on win2003, but it's not 2003 either), aimed primarily at backups and sharing files. Headless and all that. Pretty well made seemingly - uses the Single Instance Storage (SIS) so only one copy of the same file is kept across multiple backups, and very expendable (better than RAID). There was a video about it on channel9 yesterday.

      I'd get one if I didn't already have a server to do this stuff (and more).
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:5, Funny)

      by pilgrim23 (716938) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:33PM (#17559780)
      WHS is for media? Are you sure Microsoft didn't mean "VHS" or...is it still Beta? :)
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:41PM (#17558876)
  • by moofo (697416) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:42PM (#17558884) Homepage
    By the way, the New Apple Airport Extreme Base station supports sharing USB 2 Hard drives on the network. 50 Users Limit and there is a small utility to put privileges.

    That makes an almost solid state device to:

    Provide wireless Access (N) in your home
    Act as router (3 ports)
    Share USB printers
    Share storage

    To me, it's a more integrated and "out of the box" solution.

    I know, it can't serve webpages...

    But still, it seems a little easier for laymen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      I know, it can't serve webpages...

      Can it back up the data on the USB drive automatically? Can it share other devices like scanners? What would be a cool application of this is if it could read music off of the USB drive directly and only need a computer (or a wireless remote) for control. Combine AirTunes and a USB drive. Sort of like a Sonos box with the advantage of built-in storage.

      -b.

    • by Damek (515688)
      And as soon as you realize you want to run BitTorrent, SoulSeek, or some other p2p for all those files you have on your attached storage, and to help fill it up as well, you can just get a Mac Mini et voila, instant server. And there's your scanner sharing, too, if you have a linux or OS X computer that can access shared scanners. AFAIK, there's no (cheap) way to access networked scanners on Windows machines. Someone please correct me?
    • by mspohr (589790) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:27PM (#17559678)
      The Linksys NSLU2 network storage link is a handy little unit (less than $100) that will share USB drives and serve web pages. It's open source so of course it runs Linux http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Main/HomePage [nslu2-linux.org] and an amazing number of applications have been ported to it.
    • It may be more integrated and out of the box, but that's kind of like saying an iPod shuffle is more integrated and out of the box than an xbox360. They're not even competing products! The base station is just a glorified router. Nothing wrong with this at all, but that's the extent of what it does. You could, I suppose, attach a hard drive to it externally. But mostly what it does is act as a router/network access point/printer share.

      The WHS is an entirely different beast. It's supposed to act as a r
      • by vertinox (846076)
        Would you expect a base station to help you restore your Mac from an image? I didn't think so.

        Maybe with Time Machine, but seeing the product isn't out yet, that is only speculation.
    • It also has only 100 Base T. Why they couldn't fit gigabit in an almost $200 device is beyond me. Pass.
  • NAS anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Library Spoff (582122) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:45PM (#17558926) Journal
    I appreciate people wish to share photos etc online with friends and family.
    The slashdot crowd take old pc`s and turn em into servers.

    Surely the way forward for home users is networked storage that probably use less AC than a PC?
    Especially as we are now seeing combined adsl-router-NAS with built in raid. Is there then less chance of getting owned than with a MS based system? I know server 2003 that this is based on is more secure than previous MS offerings, but still...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)
      If all you want is a NAS, why not go with something from Buffalo [buffalotech.com]? I've never used one myself, but it's a simple Linux-based NAS. From what I hear, you can also buy a version of these things that can be heavily modified, including installing debian or gentoo. But if you want something easy, the Buffalo products themselves aren't supposed to require much expertise.
    • by nmos (25822)
      Agreed about using a NAS instead of a PC but I don't think I'd want it integrated into a dsl modem/router or anything else that is directly connected to the internet with a public IP address.

      FWIW I've used the Buffalo and Infrant ReadyNAS units. Both support up to 4 drives. The Infrant units were more expensive but much faster and generally seemed better designed and built. You could also use something like the Linksys NUSL2 which you plug external USB drives into instead of installing them inside a ser
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#17558946) Homepage Journal
    This sounds pretty good, and depending on pricing, something I could use. I can, and have cobbled together various backup sever solutions over the years, but who has time for all of that? Having the choice of a hardware bundle or loading my own custom server sounds like a pretty easy path. Aside from pricing, the only other issue of concern to me is how buggy with the first releases be. I wonder if this will easily integrate with an Xbox 360 at some point. It might be just the thing to address the 20GB hard drive limitation right now.
  • Cold day in hell (Score:3, Informative)

    by Divebus (860563) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#17558958)
    Great move but it'll be a cold day in hell when I let Microsoft manage what's on my home server. Not being a deliberate troll or flamebait, I'd look for them to sell out and start locking up my media files. I just would approach this with a long stick - or just keep using my home-brew server.
  • What does this do (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:52PM (#17559054)
    that I can't already do with share level access and the appropriate client application? Does it handle sharing removable drives better (i.e. mp3 players)? Will I be able to create NT domains with it? Will mapped network drives finally stop periodically vanishing?

    I mean, really, does any home user need the kind of performance a networking OS brings? You're gonna have at most 10 computers hooked up to the darn thing. Now, otoh, it might be a cheap way to build a domain :).
    • Now, otoh, it might be a cheap way to build a domain

      Yes, but I don't like being master of my domain.
  • 512MB RAM (Score:3, Informative)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:55PM (#17559082)
    Why does something that's essentially a glorified NAS box need 512MB RAM?! This seems a bit bloated for what it does. If you want a good home/small-office server solution, why not go with something like SME Server 7? [smeserver.org] It's free, runs fast, takes about 10 min. to install and can be setup not *just* to be a NAS box - you can install whatever you want since it's a LAMP box.

    -b.

  • Home servers cost (Score:2, Informative)

    by Seismologist (617169)
    I haven't RTFA, but knowing what prices MS charges for their products, why would anyone buy into it... I can't see how a home server from MS would be any less complicated than setting up a Redhat Linux server, especially when Redhat has gui's for just about configuring everything... Plus Redhat, oh sorry, Fedora, is free. Just wondering out loud here.
    • by westlake (615356)
      I haven't RTFA, but knowing what prices MS charges for their products, why would anyone buy into it

      WHS will be priced for OEM sales to HP and Dell.

      Same as always. The home buyer is not a system builder and doesn't give a damn about retail list.

      I can't see how a home server from MS would be any less complicated than setting up a Redhat Linux server.

      Let me suggest one reason why Red Hat abandoned the home market:

      When Microsoft sought beta testers for Windows Vista, it wasn't looking for just anybody. T

  • Do any other NAS type boxes work with the 360? Thats the one thing that seemed unique about WHS was that you could use it to store media for the 360.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The company will support multiple home servers on the same network, but it's still murky how that will work."

    1973 called. It wants its system interconnectivity dilemmas back.

  • by businessnerd (1009815) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:07PM (#17559264)
    So now since MS is going to spend a ton of money on marketing the idea of home users running file servers, I think this is a perfect opportunity for the likes of Dell and HP to sell their own, less expensive HomeNAS. They take a NAS device, that they already make for the enterprise, throw on a lightweight Linux. Throw on some Samba, Apache, etc. Write some easy to use "Wizards" to make it really easy for the normal Windows user to connect their PC's, upload files, and do things like schedule backups, and you have a much lower cost solution than the likes of Microsoft. On top of that, it's more secure, more stable, and the software is OSS!
    • Honestly, I've been wishing someone would provide appropriate hardware for a home server for a long time. Save the price of any sound hardware, an expensive processors or video cards. Give me a cheap but well-made small system with lots of hard drive space. It doesn't need lots of processor or RAM, and it would be fine. Just 500GB-1TB of storage, ethernet, and otherwise just enough hardware to get Linux installed. All I want is a NAS/Apache/E-mail server that I can ssh into, and maybe a serial port tha

    • by NSIM (953498)

      So now since MS is going to spend a ton of money on marketing the idea of home users running file servers, I think this is a perfect opportunity for the likes of Dell and HP to sell their own, less expensive HomeNAS. They take a NAS device, that they already make for the enterprise, throw on a lightweight Linux.

      Those NAS servers from DELL and HP already run Windows Storage Server, so certifying the new MS Home Server is a no-brainer. Certifying LINUX and supporting it is non-trivial, especially if the t

    • If you read the article, you'd see that HP is already signed up to sell MS Home Server machines.
      http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/whs_04. jpg [winsupersite.com]
    • by westlake (615356)
      I think this is a perfect opportunity for the likes of Dell and HP to sell their own, less expensive HomeNAS. They take a NAS device, that they already make for the enterprise, throw on a lightweight Linux. Throw on some Samba, Apache, etc.

      Microsoft bears the expense of adapting a mature server OS for the home.

      A server the user can access remotely without ever thinking about the difference between a static and dynamic IP address. With data protection perhaps more robust and certainly easier to understand

  • Had a home server for years. It used to run Fedora, but I upgraded to Solaris 10.

    Why is it that Microsoft is always five years behind the times?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:20PM (#17559524)
    One thing's for sure. Servers are amongst the most interesting pieces of hardware you can hijack. They run 24/7, they usually have a good bandwidth (ok, not necessarily so for home servers) and they usually also have lots of storage space.

    The target audience for those server systems are home users. Who not necessarily have any clue when it comes to security. Actually, it is quite likely that the people buying this kind of system will not have a lot of knowledge in the IT area. And of security.

    The systems will also be very similar, if not identical. Unlike Linux boxes, which can almost never be hijacked cookie-cutter style, this would open the venue for boxes which are most likely easier to hack than current implementations of servers.

    Not necessarily because MS does a worse job than OSS developers. But it's just like with the other MS systems. The possible gain from a working exploit is incredible, so the effort will match it. And twice so if you can rely on the system running 24/7 and having lots of storage.

    I predict a completely new kind of problem for the 'net.
  • dispenses with the complexities of most Windows Server versions and provides the core storage, sharing, and remote access functionality that digital media and home networking enthusiasts require

    They sure used a lot of words to say:
    "stripped everything except DRM services"

    -
  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:29PM (#17559712) Homepage Journal
    I've got a Mac Mini at home that's set up as a fax server, a fileserver with an external USB 2.0 hard drive, a print server, a web server, and an ssh portal. Setting it up was ridiculously easy: - One click to enable printer sharing. - One click to enable file sharing - A few clicks and keystrokes to make non-admin accounts and home folders for my wife and I Then I did a couple slightly geeky things like partition the external drive and write a cron job to rsync to my web host nightly that most people wouldn't be doing, but the Mac Mini, even without a special "server" OS, is a great way to get a cheap, reliable, Unix-based server. Heck, I've even got mine running as a development server with PHP/MySQL and RoR (thanks to Locomotive [raaum.org]). And to make me feel less guilty about having a computer running 24/7, it's running the ClimatePrediction.net BOINC project. In the future, when I get an iTV, I'm definitely going to be having iTunes running in both of our separate user accounts so that we can stream our stuff to our TV. Lately I've been hooking my Powerbook up to our TV using S-Video and the headphone jack. The only problem I can see using iTV is videos I acquire through, *ahem*, alternative distribution methods will require some conversion before they're viewable. However, season passes to shows through the iTunes music store means I can finally, FINALLY, tell Comcast where they can put their $70/month internet access. From what I've read about the Windows Home Server, it doesn't give me much more capability than my Mini, other than it can be installed in tower enclosures
    • by radish (98371)
      Wow. You mean you can use a desktop Mac as a server? No way!

      *ahem*

      People have been doing the same thing with many other OS's for a number of years. I have a cheap PC running XP with a bunch of disks and it does a fine job handling print, media and web serving duties. Linux or *BSD would work just as well (the only reason I don't use one of those is that I have some software running on it which is Win only).

      The thing that WHS is doing is making this easier for the average user. For one thing, making it contr
  • And when the crappy eMachines PC you bought for $299 dies, what happens to your data? What about those backups... oh yeah, there aren't any.

    This type of niche is best filled by an appliance, with real HW. Wait, that means it will cost money, which puts it out of the niche market.

  • Headrick said that they're seeing 15-19 TB of data stored in 300 GB or less of backup space

    WHAT?
  • Time was, something like DLNA would be called impossibly bloated. Today whatever the CEO says is the word of God and bloat is suddenly good, immediately requiring the commitment of hundreds of college students to copy every bloated invention Micro* puts out.

    DLNA is one of those horribly complex things that works when it works and fills an entire career of debugging when it doesn't work. It seems to have been originally a very simple way for anyone to get home networking but as more companies became involv

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