By Shawn Morton
I really don't see this taking off. Anyone can create a simple backup plan virtually on any OS platform. Home users must find the time and make it a point to run them, thats all. If they are not backing up their data then simple laziness is the cuplrit. What other benefits would WHS offer? Security? Flexibility between applications & OS's? "REAL" automated processes? Home users will spend more time troubleshooting & patching their own home network rather than checking their emails, paying bills onlne, creating word documents & then they'll start monitoring their childrens internet usage constantly. Next thing you know, they'll carry Treo's and receive emails at 3:00a.m. about the backup failures, connectivity issues, and security alerts. Things aren't looking so bright for Microsoft OS' future as it is. Home users are gravitating towards Mac's & Mac Devices, Linux/Ubuntu; Some of these systems can be difficult to operate compared to what most people are used to but once they become second nature, I really don't see any reason to revert back to what we've all grown acustomed to. Seems like everytime I boot my laptop I first run updates and check my virus quarantine before touching anything else. We are accustomed to doing this so we deal with it. I'm sure in the near future, it'll all change.
Sure, people *could* sit around and create a backup plan for all of their PCs, but why should they? Most people don't like to tinker with their PC settings. They want to actually use it as a tool to get things done. MSFT is trying to solve a problem that is only going to get worse as more people store more digital media -- data loss. And when you're talking about all of the digital photos that you've taken over the past several years or your entire iTunes music collection that you spent a few hundred bucks on, it's easy to understand why people will be interested in WHS. It has nothing to do with laziness. It's about convenience, ease of use and a feeling of security. Once WHS is setup, the end user doesn't really need to do anything to it, unless they want to restore their PC from a backup. Updates are handled automatically. My backups occur overnight. As long as I see my little green WHS icon in the taskbar every morning, I know everything is working and that my data is backed up.
Don't get me wrong. I completely understand the concept of WHS and the abilities that it may withhold. It completely makes sense to me. Its just that when I hear the words "Home" and "Server", I immediately think of the average person walking into their preferred tech store & asking about storage, backups, security, etc. It may be to much for the average person to handle. I'm sure even the sales associate may agree. Who will the sales really go to? To people like you and me willing to sit down and make WHS work to its ability; putting in the effort. The average user will end up spending more time worrying about his/her WHS rather than downloading iTunes and sharing digital photos. The average joe most likely does not put work & entertainment together in the same sentence so to speak. They do not want to worry about it. But trust me, I wish the best.
Of course it'll all change. It's changing already with Vista and will change too with Windows Home Server 2003. P. S.: You say things aren't looking so bright for Microsoft OS' future as it is? Then why is Vista selling twice as fast as XP did (having in mind 85+% of computer world uses XP)?
Also probably because people are realizing Macs are not that secure afterall (being hacked every month and receiving 25 or more security pacthes every month) and Linux people don't want to have to read a manual to get a microphone to work.
Do you remember what it took to create the ever so stable XP? XP is what ME was supposed to be. Even when XP came out there were atleast 2 years of flaws that we all had to go through just to get it where it was supposed to be. So far XP now is probably the best OS to use in MS's arsenal. As far as Vista sales go? Do you think people have a choice when purchasing a PC? They are practically forced to buy it! They go to Compusa, Bestbuy, where ever, and talk to a saleman who was probably told to really push the Vista PC's out the door. And why?! This way Microsoft can start working on the patches for the errors that end uses will start to see. Give Vista a bit more release time before you make a statement like that.
Personally, I can't wait for this. I first heard about something like this several years ago (I think on the Harrow Report). Back then, they called it the Information Furnace. The idea was that it would sit in a closet in your basement and just run -sort of like a furnace. At the time, though, I think that they were also talking about passing the phone, cable, and other utilities through it. The server would always check for the cheapest price for things like long distance calling plans and would use it any time you made the call. VoIP might change that a bit, but I can still see it running through your server. I agree with a previous poster, though, that this could be a really cool product from MS or it could be the next BOB.
I think this is good. I'm a Network Admin, and I find myself a procrastonator when it comes to backups. I don't backup as much as I should at home. Hopefully this will help the "home" computer users. My only reservations are that this needs to be more reliable than XP, or Vista, or Server 2003 already is. Home users are not going to have fun troubleshooting a server. Also, this is going to be aimed at the already somewhat techie family who has the desire to have a home network. From my experience, general users don't want to screw around with things. They just want to turn on the computer, and use it. I see this is simplified, but a user is still going to need to know some basics of networking. This could be great for Microsoft, or could backfire if it get's a bad rap. Great idea though!
I think that some of the all-in-one solutions that are being planned (hardware with WHS pre-installed) will open up the market to novices. With those products, the process is basically: 1. Plug in the WHS box 2. Pop the install CD into each client PC and click a few "OK" buttons
I agree completely, we have about 5 pcs running at home, none of which are really backed up in any way. Been waiting for a solution like this especially for sharing media. Hopefully they wont screw it up!
FreeNAS is available like now, only takes up 3Mb of disk space and is 'real easy' to install and set up, and it's FREE.
I'm familiar with FreeNAS. Keep in mind the market segment that the HomeServer is geared towards. This market segment is not and does not care about the inner workings of LINUX. They want plug and play. HomeServer promises to give them that. Besides, as an XBOX 360 owner, I am looking forward to using this with Media Extender.
you don't get the integrated Media Center experience like you do when you connect a Media Center PC to your XBOX 360. It works, but it isn't as easy to move around and access different files. I actually use my Media Center as the interface on my XBOX 360, but many of the music and photo files that the Media Center PC is referencing are on the Windows Home Server box. I am hoping someone will develop an Add In for WHS that will provide a nice GUI for those without Media Center Edition.