Playing with Windows Home Server

25 02 2007

I have to admit, I was pretty non plussed about setting up Windows Home Server seeing that the LanDrive already meets my file serving needs and if I chose to I could set up Windows Server 2003 thanks to Technet. But I decided to give it a try (Virtually).

The installation took a while, and had to be restarted as the vhd I had set up wasn’t big enough, but once installed I have to admit I am well impressed.

The server only provides a small number of functions, but what it does provide, it does well:

  • File server – the server provides a number of shares that you can access, a nice touch is the software share where you can provide programs to be installed on client machines, such as the Server client and Restore software;
  • Backup – once the client has been installed you can configure backups to it;
  • Raid – Depending on the number of drives in the server, you can choose to Raid up the contents of the shares, it’s called File Duplication, but is pretty cool;
  • Web Front End – if you surf to the server, you get a nifty web front end allowing you to Remote Desktop (allegedly, not figured out how to do it through the web yet), and access files in the shares. The web front end also allows you to upload (neat), and search using WDS;
  • Remote Desktop – you can remote desktop into the server. I am guessing this would be of particular use if you didn’t want to expose your main machine to the internet;
  • Expandable Storage – there seems to be some DFS magic where any storage you add will be magically merged into the available storage on the server. Very clever;
  • Console – a nifty little console is provided so you can administer the server remotely.

I will be playing with the Server for a bit, I am even starting to look around to get hold of some parts to build up a dedicated box. It will be interesting to see how the product develops.

You can see and read more info on the server at WeGotServed and the Microsoft Windows Home Server forums.

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