Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Microsoft Needs Volunteers!

Have a spare computer laying around? If so, you can join the beta program for the Windows Home Server! (Try and contain your enthusiasm.)

Actually, this is a pretty cool product. If you haven't heard of it, this is a piece of software based on Windows Server 2003, souped up with some Vista bits, designed to bring servers into the home. The software features automated intelligent backups, which can automatically backup every PC on your network daily (without keeping multiple copies of the same file). It gives you the option to restore anything from a single file to an entire PC easily. The box also functions as a traditional server, storing and sharing any files you have. Rumors indicate that (in the final release) the server will be accessible remotely through Windows Live, so you can - for instance - stream your music collection directly to your work PC. With the RIAA's blessing, of course.

The software is designed to be operated by someone that has never managed a server before, so you don't need an IT degree to use it. However, all the underlying code for Server 2003 is still there (and accessible), so if you know what you're doing, you can turn this into a very powerful machine.

It's important to note that this is only a software solution. When the final product is released, the server hardware will be sold by retail partners such as HP. However, MS indicated that the software would be available separately as an OEM product, so you should be able to build your own box as well.

But for now, it's just the beta software. Apparently, the software is fairly stable, but there's no comment on what features are present in the beta besides the automated backups. Still, it looks like a nice OS, and it should be interesting to see just how good the compression on the backups is (some wild numbers came out just after CES).

If you'd like to give it a whirl, sign up for the beta here. It's no guarantee that you'll be selected, so be sure to pad the survey a little...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks - just signed up. Hopefully they won't try to charge for it, like they used to on the old Windows betas.