Why Windows Home Server will be a success

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Tuesday, January 9. 2007 • Category: Hardware
According to ars technica, Bill Gates showed off his newest product, the Windows Home Server as part of his keynote last Sunday at the CES. The WHS is a small device intended to be the central server for home users for storing their photos, music etc. Paul Thurrot has a small preview of this server and a hardware implementation done by HP (Microsoft only delviers the operating system). On OSNews there has been a debate for the need of such a product.

I predict that the Windows Home Server will be a big success for Microsoft, and I will try to elaborate on the reasons: Nowadays we live in the so called "information age", that is after industrialisation, information is the new driving force in out culture. More and more people have have multiple computers at home (you do not want to know how many I own) and other electronic devices like digital cameras, media players, digital video recorders etc are already standard equipment in many households.

This means that digital content and properties replace traditional values in our life. This also means there is a new need for protection of your personal investments - ten years ago, you could mainly lose your possesions in terms of a physical loss. Nowadays more and more important and valuable data is stored on various computers at each home. This imposes two problems: First you want a centralized storage for all your digital data (photos, movies, music, documents etc), and second you want a secure backup of all your data. Many people become increasingly aware of the first problem, but the second is the really important one. In former times, you only lost part of your values if - for example - a CD got scratches or was stolen.

But nowadays if your harddisc crashes, you probably will lose a lot of irretrievable data like your private email etc. So you wish that you had a backup of all your data, or even better a centralized storage that is protected against hardware faults by some redundancy.

These are just the reasons why a home server makes sense for a lot of people today. One can argue that there are already a lot of good and affordable NAS boxes out there, but most of them are not more than simple NAS boxes (one exception would be Infrants product reportoire) that don't offer comfortable backup utilities or are too complicated for the average user. This is why I see espceially Windows Home Server to be a success - if done right and with the help of Microsofts massive marketing forces.

For me, I probably won't buy a Windows Home Server, because I want something more professional - I want to have a blindingly fast RAID server with tons of storage, support for different file protocols (NFS comes to my mind), although the hardware specs of HPs machien are promising: 1.8 GHz AMD Sempron paired with 512MB of RAM. This should offer twice the performance of Thecus N5200 NAS solution, which is already by far the fastest affordable home NAS out there (although with many firmware limitations and problems).

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