Posts Tagged ‘ Windows Home Server

Server Technologies:Windows Home Server

I started using Windows Home Server about a year ago. I’ve found it to be very useful and helpful on my network at home. My home server hosts my network printer allowing easy access and driver installs on any system on my network.  I also keep all archived TV episodes on there providing quick connectivity and easy storage for my Windows 7 Media Center PC. Here are a few more main features:

  • Automatic system backups: With the installation of the connector software on your home PC’s your WHS will back them up on a nightly basis.  The backup process keeps 1 monthly backup for 3 months, 1 weekly backup for 3 weeks and the nightly backups for 3 days (default settings).  The backups are designed to allow bare metal restores of your PC’s.  If any of your computers die, stick in the restore CD and you can restore directly from your home server.
  • JBOD type hard drive setup:  All Hard drives that are installed in the home server are dumped into one pool of disk space.  This allows you to mix and match any size hard drive, internal or external.  It still maintains redundancy but on a per folder basis.  If a folder is setup to duplicate, the server makes sure there is a duplicate copy of all contents within the folder.
  • Automatic web access and Dynamic DNS:  If you want to use the feature, WHS can setup a dynamic Domain name and keep it in sync with your home IP address allowing you to access your server files from anywhere in the world.
  • Unified file repository:All your files as well as your families files can be accessed directly off the server over the network. Permissions can be setup per user or you can setup a general guest account.

Home servers come pre-packaged or home brewed. You can pickup a Home Server disk off Newegg or you can look for a pre-built, pre-installed WHS package.

If you want to give WHS a free try, head over to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/eval.mspx and try it out.  Microsoft provides a free 30 day trial.

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Windows Home Server Hardware

I’ve spent some time researching hardware to build a low cost Windows Home Server.  Here is my wishlist at Newegg.

This list only includes the basics for a system.   The motherboard is ECS brand but has great reviews.  It runs on an Intel Atom 330 Processor with passive cooling (No fans).  The motherboard only has 3 SATA ports, so to utilize all the drive space you would need an add-on raid card (which I already have).  You would also need to pickup SATA hard drives to fill the drive cage.  Obviously you have more options that what I selected for the  case/memory and power supply, so use your own discretion.

ECS 945GCD-MThe coolest part of the setup is the passively cooled motherboard/CPU (pun intended).   The dual core Atom 330 processor can be compared to a hyper threaded P4 3.4 GHz processor.  Take a look at this graph to see it compared with many other processors.  Pretty impressive for such a small package and low power consumption(max 45Watts).



iStarUSA BP-35-REDThe raid cage, made by iStarUSA can hold up to 5 standard size SATA drives. It fits in the space of three 5.25″ panels, providing easy hot swappable drive access and replacement.  It has an 80mm fan on the back to provide air circulation for the drives.   This all for the pretty good price of $99.