Archive for October, 2007

Windows Home Server

Although I’ve bemoaned its absence from MSDN, I went ahead and built a Windows Home Server (WHS) box for my home network.

Since it’s going to be running 24/7, it needed to be quiet, frugal on power consumption but still powerful rough to be useful, and have a ton of storage. In the end I plumped for an AMD Sempron 3200 based machine, with four 500Gb Samsung hard drives providing the storage, coming to a total of 1.8Tb once everything had been installed. Even with all that, the server runs on idle of less than 50W, and under 100W when under load. It has built in VGA which consumes less power than a normal add-on card, but since the server runs headless it was only used for installation.

I’m afraid that my previous backup solution, Acronis True Image, has been sat idle ever since because the built-in backup support of WHS totally eclipses it for both convenience and configurability. It runs automatically for all of my PCs on the network, backing them up daily (apart from my laptop, it can’t wake it up and won’t back it up when it’s on battery, which makes sense) without my having to lift a finger. Additionally I can control what is being backed up so that, for example, it doesn’t back up the Steam folder on my main pc, since all the games are available to download at any time and it saves 14Gb going over the network.

Using a RAID-like software mirroring system, folders set for replication are spread across multiple drives so in the event of a disk throwing a shoe and crashing, nothing will be lost. Not to mention it can use external USB storage as part of the pool of drives available to it, making expansion easy.

The remote access features are also useful, for example if I need to access my home pc, using the Asoft Autoexit addon I can connect to my home server over the internet, wake up my home pc using wakeup on lan, then remote desktop to it – pretty slick.

Sod Vista, this is the product that Microsoft have proved they can make really compelling products with.

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1 comment October 6th, 2007


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