Microsoft’s latest addition to the world of Windows is their new Windows Home Server operating system. The basics of the software is based on Windows Server 2003, which has been scaled down for home use or in a small office environment. WHS can be used with up to 10 computer systems, so if you have this number of systems on a network, WHS should be considered as an alternative to the standard Server software.

Though I have previously reported on the beta of WHS, I have been sitting on a final copy of the software for about 3 weeks or so. So yesterday [Friday the 9th], with LG being down and out, I thought I would install the final version on my test box. I found a 120G hard disk sitting around collecting dust and popped it into my test computer. As with previous versions, the install is slow taking about 1.5 hours to complete.

Unlike other traditional server software, WHS is simple to administer. A wizard takes you through the setup process which includes installing software on all of your systems which are connected to the network. Once done, WHS handles the rest. The biggest benefit of WHS is that it will auto backup all of your stuff automatically. But is this feature alone enough to justify the cost of a server system, both hardware and software? HP has a mini-server model they will be introducing next month with WHS installed for about $600.

So who would spend $600 just for the convenience of backing up all of your stuff automatically? The average home user may be better off just buying a external hard disk and doing there own backup. I just received an email from Tiger Direct who is offering an external WD 250G drive for only $75.00. I think that decision is best left up to the individual.

I believe that WHS is another alternative method of securing your data. But it does cost more than several of the other alternatives, i.e. external hard disk, or backing up to disk or tape. There is also one thing that you also must consider. Having a system at the same physical location as your other systems will not protect your data from loss by theft, fire, flood or other natural disaster. Remote storage is still your best protection from data loss.

Another thought is, how important is your stuff to you? For many home users losing your data would not be critical or a life changing experience. But for those who have important data for running a SOHO that must be protection, WHS is something to consider. Bottom line. It is up to you on how much you wish to spend to protect your stuff. 🙂

What do you think? Is spending $600 on a server worth it? Or are the alternatives equally effective?

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, windows home server, simple, backup, automatically, [/tags]