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Windows Home Server at VANTUG

Windows Home Server at VANTUG

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A message from Graham Jones, President of VANTUG: 

By now I expect most of you will have heard about Windows Home Server. Just in case you haven’t, it is an exciting new “consumer” product based upon the proven Windows 2003 R2 technology. It is aimed at the household that has more than 1 PC, which is now very common, and has the following features:

  • Supports up to 10 networked client PCs
  • PCs backed up daily, automatically
  • Incremental backup and single instance file storage to save space
  • Redundant storage of central Shared Folders to protect your data
  • Simple recovery of lost files or even entire PCs
  • Digital media organized in one central hub with streaming to Windows Media Extender enabled devices like the Xbox 360
  • Monitors and displays health of the network, server and client PCs
  • Server management from client PCs (headless operation)
  • Complete access from networked PCs to all your WHS files
  • Shared Folder access control based upon user profiles
  • A personalized web address for sharing your digital media with upload and download capabilities
  • Easily expandable storage space for future use
  • Remote access to your PC desktop from the web
  • Innovative third-party applications

For those of you who would like to know more and can make it to the BCIT Burnaby Campus (Telus Theatre – Building SE6) on Feb 4th (6pm) Kevin Beares (WHS Community Lead in Redmond) will be discussing/demonstrating the following:

  • Microsoft’s goals for the digital home and where WHS fits into achieving those goals
  • The storage technology behind WHS
  • The features of the product including connecting to a WHS via the Internet
  • Available pre-packaged hardware and hardware requirements if you want to “roll your own”
  • Third party extensions to WHS using the SDK
  • Power Pack 1 announced at CES 2008
  • Beyond WHS V1

I have been part of the WHS beta program for the past several months and I definitely wouldn’t be without WHS now even if only for the automatic backup and redundant storage features. Boy, is it nice not to even have to think about backups for my 2 desktops (Vista Ultimate and XP Pro), my wife’s desktop (XP Pro) and my laptop (Vista Ultimate). File recovery, going back over a user definable period of time, is straightforward and bare metal restore is equally simple. If you are heavily into digital media (photos, video, music) then WHS is the central storage choice for you. Remote access to your media via the web allows you to share that with others or use it on the road. How about uploading your digital photos when on vacation? No problem! For those of you want to customize the default website or add your own website(s) and/or photo albums there is a great free add-in called Whiist which won the Microsoft $10K Code2Fame award. Whiist was developed using the WHS SDK. There is a rapidly growing list of useful free add-ins available. Why not get WHS and write your own add-ins? There is a video on Channel9 by Chris Grey (WHS Lead Developer) which explains the basics behind using the WHS SDK. There is also a steadily growing list of community sites supporting WHS. For example: http://www.mswhs.com/, http://www.myhomeserver.com/ and http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/. Although WHS is proffered as a “consumer” product there is also a growing interest from small or home businesses (<= 10 PC’s) where consistent backups often simply don’t happen and there is a lot of “crying” on that fateful day when…….!

If you haven’t taken the trouble to find out about WHS then you really should both from personal and possibly business standpoints. It is projected that by 2012 a home server of some kind will be in 4.5 million households and growing rapidly after that! I would like to encourage you to come out to the meeting on February 4th if you can. Please register by using the following link: http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=123572.

Graham Jones
President, VANTUG

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