Windows Home Server coming to a supermarket near you
Putting these capabilities in full view of 'regular people' when they go shopping and making the product easy to use could go a long way towards improving the reliability of data storage in the typical multi-PC household. The widespread use of digital photography is a prime reason why this sort of thing should take off.
"We have a joke within the Windows Home Server team, and that is if you lose a cherished photo, say your wedding photos, that could be a divorceable offence," Steven Leonard, Home Server senior product manager at Microsoft told the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 2007 (WinHEC) yesterday.
The backup capability appears to be reasonably smart, with periodic backup from each PC. While every file is stored on at least two drives within the server, WHS avoids duplicating files during backup. If an identical file has already been backed up from another computer, or if a file hasn't been changed since the last backup, there's no need to copy it again.
On top of that, when an altered file is backed up, only the changes are transferred to the server, saving time and disk space.
If the worst happens and a PC drive fails or becomes badly corrupted, a boot CD allows easy restoration from the server.
Windows Home Servers are intended to be small (subject to providing room for four disk drives), simple (they will be remotely managed, so a screen, mouse and keyboard are not required), and quiet (Microsoft calls for a maximum of 30dB).
For speed and reliability, they will connect to the home network via Gigabit Ethernet.
Please read on to learn about WHS' storage pooling and other features.
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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.