Windows

David Berlind has not used Windows Home Server


David Berlind has posted a response to my post on Windows Home Server over on ZDNet. He also responded to me directly via e-mail on Friday. Unfortunately, in both cases, he failed to answer my question of whether or not he had used Windows Home Server.

Finally, when pressed by a member in the ZDNet discussion forum, David admitted:

"I didn't use it."

He claims that, even though he didn't try WHS, we are all missing the point. He says that all he was trying to say is that the home server market is a tough sell to the general public. Unfortunately, he diluted that point by making claims about Windows Home Server that were just not accurate.

Now, instead of addressing the inaccuracies that I pointed out in his critique of WHS (the lack of online storage, photosharing, etc.) and admitting that he didn't use the product first, he is trying to turn the negative reaction that he received into an angry fanboy mob by claiming that the "Windows Home Server fan club" beat him up because he asked if WHS would flop.

What I (and others who responded in the TR and ZDNet forums) took issue with were the inaccuracies about what WHS can do. I think it is reasonable to expect someone to either use the product or do their homework about its features before declaring it a flop. I think that is reasonable whether you're a Microsoft fanboy (which I'm not) or not.

I actually agree with part of the point David says he was trying to make. Home servers definitely aren't for everyone. Microsoft *will* have to do a great job of raising awareness of the product and its benefits. However, I don't agree that it will fail simply because it is the first to market.

I'll leave such debates to David. I'm too busy enjoying what Windows Home Server can actually do for me. I guess I'll get to keep all of my long, luxurious hair, too :)

20 comments
timothywmurray
timothywmurray

I'm just waiting for a solution in the box for under $600. We have 4 PCs and are planning a budget to buy two chuck two next year. I looked into NAS but way too complicated (and expensive) when I looked at NAS plus RAID. For about the same money as NAS plus raid I get something easier to use more expandable and with some remote access. Don't get confused and with Vista it is easy to be confused Vista Home Premium machines will not have remote access. But the shared files (music, Home videos, my resume) will.

1955F100
1955F100

I think it is amazing that some people believe samba/unix solution is hard to configure or setup. The fact is most NAS devices that are being sold are setup as samba servers with some sort of linux embedded on them. These are as easy as plugging into the network and logging onto the configuration page.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

Dear both of you guys, 1. Mom and Dad have no idea what a WHS is that little Johny wants. 2. Who is going to cable the house for CAT 5/6 or set up a *secure* WiFi network for the family? Whole PC backups over WiFi? - oh dear.. For us who grew up on MPU's, 6800's and "D2" kits, SWTPc boxes, and adding capacitors to improve the IBM PC's reset button function; and already have the house cabled to our Server, WHS still wont cut it. We will use what we have already set up. Our robocopy and backup scripts, ghost images. Etc. As I said - a geek thing.

DanLM
DanLM

People that have multiple computers hooked up at their house that have folders shared from across different machines. They will love this. You have no idea what your talking about. Your an idiot for saying what you just did. And by the way, these are non geek types. But they DO have multiple computers. And they HAVE been looking for solutions like this. They DONT want to use unix, which I do. So THEY WILL use WHS. Pull your head out of your a$$ and realize that home servers ARE wanted and that they WILL sell. Idiot. Dan

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

I do feel like an idiot sometimes - true. We should wait and see. Sorry for stressing you out! Btw I am using W2003 server here (WHS is based in W2K3). I still can't see this working without a tech-head in the household and network _cabled_ household. Boy, I sure got the discussion going!! Dan, you are a nice person and not an idiot, just passionate about your technologies. Have a nice day. grep grep

knobhead2
knobhead2

Yes Dan - it's me (Knobhead) and the sad thing is I tend to agree with you on this one. The Microsoft plan is obviously to permeate the home, workplace and everywhere! (Funny, Novell said that with their pervasive computing strategy). But for sure, people will buy it. So many peeps have multiple PCs and would like to have unified connectivity. For the other guys with doubts about backup and security see: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/features.mspx - What's the second feature: Home PCs backed up daily, automatically. I'm not sure if you have the same services in your area, but I many areas, their ISPs and other orgs offer an on-line backup over the adsl line - yes a bit slow at first but with incremental and sythetic backups - can do a good job! As for DR: limited, but if you save all the family pix and files, the rest(OS etc) can be rebuilt from scratch. The addition of a USB disk (750GB for about $150-$200) and you can backup everything you like. I haven't seen the WHS RC but I would expect them to have at least the same backup as Vista, W2K3 or WXP. There will always be the detractors and cynics. But, what alternatives are there other than shares on workstations ( a retro-step)? Except .... maybe an Iomega 1TB storcentre - a bit slow, built-in WiFi, 1Gb Ethernet, USB ports for shared printers and other devices .... doesn't need any administration!!

Mad Mole
Mad Mole

Sorry Dan but I feel you may have missed my point somewhat. I want easy to configure, shiny menus and big buttons for my home network. I want 2sec admin my whole family can do with 2sec training. If Samba can give me that with wizards and the like fine, it's worth my consideration. If not I rather spend my leisure time using a system rather than learning to configure it. Of course at work I'm happy to spend the time to configure, optimise and improve as you'd expect, just not at home! :)

DanLM
DanLM

lol, sorry.... roflmao, thats my home server... just too easy dan

Mad Mole
Mad Mole

Geek? yup. However this concept is definitely the way forwards. Home PC's still lack redundancy or backup capabilities that normal humans can use. Families are becoming 100% digital with all their cherished data (pics/vids etc) sitting on home PC's. Schools often request their students purchase a laptop as a pre-requisite to courses. I know many families who have suffered the utter dispair of hard-drive failure and the loss of all data and when you mention backup they either look back blankly or point at a stack of ancients optical media. For all these reasons WHS and similar products deserve to succeed, indeed must succeed or traditional hardware failures us Geeks grin-and-bare, will become the mainstay of every household and help to destroy future confidence in IT as a whole. Too sweeping a statement? Unless you've a user-base of ultra-patient monks it's not exactly a leap too far. In the meantime I want WHS to sit backing up my home PC's if only to put my families minds at rest. It's a logical mid-range solution where hundreds of DVDR's are massively impractical and redundant NAS devices (e.g. Buffalo Terastation) more expensive than the PC's they're backing up.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

but wait, millions have a 360 and are starting to download music & video. The 360 has a limited HD, so...

DanLM
DanLM

Then why is raid unit's now being developed for home use? And why are they selling? I would think if there was a product that wasn't ever meant for a home use, raid would be it. But, I can go to Best Buy and buy a 500 gig raid 1 unit right now. And they do sell. Home users are looking for ways to organize the number of pc's and the amount of data that collects on them. It will sell just because of that. just like raid 1 is selling to the people that have no idea. Also, they are now selling hardware geared toward home server use. This has been the case for at least a year or more. Again, why would they go to this much trouble if there wasn't a market for it? MS is comeing in after the fact with their os. They had to have watched the previous two area's I just mentioned prior to making the decesion to release a home server os. Dan

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

WHS will go nowhere, as previously stated by others. I know of no, ZERO, NIL, GOOSE-EGG, number of people who will even realize or understand what WHS will do for them, let alone have a need for it. Then there's the fact that they will have to pay more for such a specialized product. It's a no-go, IMHO.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

Cool. I'm happy with all that, As you say though, will the masses understand it? As I mentioned in a nearby post, the virus scan support will be interesting. ServerProtect Enterprise from TrendMicro will not be 45.99. :-) Cheers.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

Dear Dan, I was thinking of the non-tech family. Probably too much. Yes I have friends and family that will "do" WHS for its plug and play - "just works" functions. Ok it could be an iPod hit in those cases I agree. I just find it a bit scary for the single point of failure it may become. If people rely on its hard disk backup for priceless photos - and they give up burning them to DVD. I just see a drift there to a rubbery situation. Then there is the virus that finds all these mapped drives to play with! Ideal hiding place for a rootkit Trojan. What Virus companies support WHS? Interesting thought. Now I'm curious. Big bucks are usually charged for "server" OS's Your Symantec 2008 is going to say what when is sees windows server 5.2?? I have no idea - just asking the question. OK, I actually looked!!!! Quote "We are working with leading anti-virus providers to help them develop solutions specific to Windows Home Server." Kay, thats a start. I also looked on the WHS site. Well you know what - I might write some code for this animal if its gona be that popular!! Yes a utility of some kind.... Hmmmmm. Time to open up VS2003. Cheers.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

Guys - you have me as some Ogre. Dunno why? OK I didn't look. I know its on MS Connect. What is it still in beta??? I can't be bothered looking. Of course I have an MSDN subs. I develop for a living. When I first heard about it I was a FAN of WHS I said to myself "hey, cool"! Only after deep thought did I begin to doubt. Lets see what the market for WHS is come the end of 2008. What are you guys smoking? Why are you so "mean worded" in posts to lil ole me? So, cyclo, thanks and have a fantastic day! Cheers.

DanLM
DanLM

Chuckle, sorry about the rant. But again, I do know people that will love WHS. Let's put it this way. How many people that you know that has to have all the new gadgets. Yes, they could use this and also be in wonderland. How many anal retentive people that you know that have to have everything in its place. I'm talking about a family person where the household has multiple computers. Again, they will love this. This might be a nice solution for small business owners too. Or someone that does a small business on the side, and holds down a full time job. Just saying, there really is a market. Dan

cyclo
cyclo

If you really have an MSDN subscription, you will know that WHS is not available yet. You probably feel threatened that people like me who don't know about the TCP/IP stack could soon do backups/create images of all the PC in the LAN without much fuzz (with WHS).

Atomsk
Atomsk

WHS is bundled with a recovery CD if you buy it from Newegg and there will be "reset" solutions for OEM machines. So get the system back to it's feets is possible with a regular/good knowledge in computer. As for data, you can configure WHS to duplicate data from your shares on 2 HDD (if you have more than one obviously). So if one HDD crash, you only lose the data that were on this drive that was not duplicated. In this regard it is way better than a regular NAS. And with shadowCopy enabled by default on every shares, It can save your life :p Yet it won't have "off site backup" like DVD burning, band or On the cloud backup bundled. But, you can easily install plugin from the console to add functionnalities. So there is a plugin to upload data to Flikr or Amazon S3 service. Or you can digg in WS2003 yourself as you can install anything on it. But I agree with you, in a household where there is no one with computer knoledge, you will still have to go to save the system.

KeReleaseSpinLock
KeReleaseSpinLock

As I have WHS with my MSDN subscription. (I joined MSDN when it first came out all on _one_ CD! Way back! :-) If I do try it - it will be in a totally simulated virtual network cloud. So, when WHS blue screens or catches a rootkit driver Trojan. Who are they (mom and dad) gona call? (Me probably :-) Look, I like servers and networking. So does WHS have a decent backup system? I mean when the WHS system disk crashes? All family eggs in one basket and no place to go. Or does it have DDS4 or higher tape system in the box? I must apologize as I am a bit paranoid about backups. I can be so, as I know where and what is important - and what to backup. But does your avg. family. I take your points though. I enjoy learning from others. So, I will take a step back here and think a little. My gut feeling though is that WHS is a single point of failure when you need it the most. (And ther is no tech-head in the family). Although a 10 year old can be quite good these days at diagnosing the TCP/IP stack!! :-)

Atomsk
Atomsk

I think this is because you are using WS2003 and not WHS that you "can't" see this working without a tech-head. This is why Ms released WHS and not Windows Server 2003-household edition. You should try it, you will see that someone with regular knowledge in computer can setup it.

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