A few months ago I installed some "dogfood" software for a new Microsoft project that promised to revolutionize computers at home.
Yeah, right I thought. And it'll bring me a cookie and tuck me into bed.
Well several months have passed and it's yet to surprise me with its culinary skills, but it has lived up to it's promise of making our home network a better, safer place.
This wonderful piece of technology has a name - Windows Home Server - and is available right now.
So why do I like our Windows Home Server?
Organization and peace of mind.
The organization comes from having one central, expandable, reliable place to back up everything. Be it photos that I took on a trip, MP3s I ripped from a CD or an MPEG of a family movie (and yes, if you're backing up personal copies of DVDs you can store them there to!). Those files are then available from any machine on the network and thanks to embedded Windows Media Connect software you can display the photos and video on your Xbox360. Check out this amazing home media setup based around Windows Home Server for storage and streaming...
But where does the peace of mind come from? I'm glad you asked! It's all very well remembering to save your photos onto a shared folder on the server, but what about everything else. Your emails, your MS Money file, that document you just over-wrote with totally the wrong thing, the laptop you just dropped and that's making a very funny sound instead of starting up?
Every night Windows Home Server wakes all the connected clients up, and backs up anything that has changed. But it's not just a backup from the last time it changed, it keeps a history of each file and allows you to revert a single file or an entire machine back to whatever point in time you need. You have total control over how much backup data is kept (within the confines of available space of course, but WHS machines are easy to add new disks to either internally or via USB 2.0)
Best of all because WHS is based on Windows Server technology it's robust, reliable and proven. Couple that with an open API that allows people to write plug-ins to extend the capabilities of your server (want to host the family blog or automatically back up to a remote location - all possible, and more).
So when your kids come home and ask "why is there a server in the house" .... you've got an answer