Kevin Royalty Uses Home Server In Businesses

In this RunAs Radio podcast, Richard and I talk to Kevin Royalty about Home Server.

Intended for the home, Microsoft’s Home Server works great for small businesses with ten or less workstations, providing shared file services, an awesome backup solution and even remote access! Home Server offers a starting point before Small Business Server, but even after you’ve moved to SBS, you’ll want to keep using Home Server for backup.

Since 1986, Kevin has been satisfying the needs of clients as an IT professional. As a highly successful author and consultant, with both a programming and network engineering background, he is a frequent public speaker at industry conferences and public computer shows.

Kevin serves as President of the Cincinnati Network Professional Association, President of the Cincinnati Small Business Server Users Group, Board Member of Microsoft’s Small Business Specialist Advisory Board, Member-at-large of the IAMCP Cincinnati chapter, and sits on the board of the Information Technology Advisory Team for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and CincyTechUSA.

Kevin has been recognized by Microsoft as a leading expert on their Small Business Server product line since 2006. The “Most Valuable Professional” (MVP) designation is a rare honor that is bestowed on a small number of people each year. It recognizes product expertise, community leadership, and willingness to help others. Kevin is a nationally known Small Business Server expert, author, and regular speaker at industry conferences. Kevin is a Computer Science graduate, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and is certified by Microsoft for support of their Small Business Server products.

[awsbullet:microsoft home server]

Who Should Be Accountable For Your Professional Development – You Or Your Manager?

Ongoing professional development of staff is an important issue for all businesses and companies. No matter how current the employee’s training or education there are new ideas and ways of working that impact on the quality of the work completed. So who should be responsible for the professional development of staff?

It is important for both staff and employers to develop a professional development plan for employees. The employees will be able to identify areas of learning that are important for them to complete their daily work and identify trends that are important for future projects. In addition, the employer has information about the future projects that are being considered or planned. Joint planning of these professional development opportunities can be productive for the business because staff are prepared to begin working on projects quickly because they have the current information and skills required.

However, it is also important for employers to provide the opportunities for staff to extend their skills and knowledge in new areas that will enhance their work. These new areas may include a better understanding of how to work with other members of the team, how to develop skills in others and how to use technology more efficiently. Professional development must be viewed as an important factor for employers and employees to collaboratively plan.

Employees must be willing to share ideas for their own professional learning and be prepared to work with employers or managers to develop a plan that fits the needs of the worker and the company. This will help to create the professional learning environment that is necessary in a successful company.


What Happened To Microsoft’s Windows Home Server?

It started out with a bang. During the beta testing I was excited by the prospect that home users could take advantage of a home server that would automatically backup ALL the computers on a network. The software was simple to use and held great promise. But than the problems started to surface. People started to report file corruption issues. The folks at the Home Server unit of Microsoft took on the problem, but it took so many updates and attempts at fixes that some of us gave up on the software.

So is the Channel ready to embrace Windows Home Server? According to this article, everyone is waiting for Microsoft to start advertising the operating system and embark on a media blitz.

Susan Bradley, a Small Business Specialist partner in Fresno, Calif., describes Home Server as a “strong” product, but says she’s “honestly concerned” about the amount of marketing Microsoft has devoted to the product thus far.

For example, in a recent visit to the Innoventions Dream Home, an exhibit in the Anaheim, Calif.-based theme park Tomorrowland that includesHP (NYSE: HPQ)’s Media SmartServer (which runs on Home Server), Bradley was surprised by the distinct lack of Home Server branding.

“I knew that there was a Windows Home Server featured in the exhibit, but unless you know what the [HP Media SmartServer] looks like, you’d never know that there was a Home Server there, or that Microsoft was a key player,” said Bradley. 

Other partners aren’t sure if Microsoft will ever be able to create demand for the Home Server segment, simply because most home users’ needs can be met by solutions that are less expensive but still meet the majority of users’ needs

“I could see competitors like Linksys beating Windows Home Server by releasing a router with a 500 gigabyte hard drive that’s managed from a Web browser,” he said. 

 There you have it. Opinions from Channel partners that reflect a lack of confidence in whether consumers will even want to use Windows Home Server. I believe what is disappointing is that it took a very long time for a Power Pack to be introduced and some doubt lingers that the bugs are completely ironed out.

I personally dumped the software and went back to backing up my systems manually. But what do you think?

Comments welcome.


MediaSmart Home Server 64-Bit Client Coming Soon

I wrote before about my new HP MediaSmart Home Server, as well as the fact that there is no 64-bit client support available yet. In the end, it seems the Microsoft Vista team had to make a change to the OS to fix an unrelated issue, and the cascading effect of that change was that certain native backup capabilities on 64-bit Windows clients (upon which Home Server relied) got broken. All that happened while Home Server was in development.

Well anyhow, looks like the CES show will be the place where HP will announce a soon-available client for 64-bit Vista. I’m happy, because Windows Home Server and the HP MediaSmart hardware and software are pretty darned great stuff, if you ask me.

So – thank you in advance, HP. The AV software from McAfee (note that Avast! also recently released an AV package for WHS), enhanced media streaming and other features will be nice to take a look at, as well. Good deal!

News and some detail can be found here:

Microsoft Updates Windows Home Server Site

Microsoft has recently updated it’s Windows Home Server site and has added new features for both home users and custom built users alike. The site also includes pre-built home server units that come pre-loaded with WHS software ready to go. Some of the units are currently available for sale, while others like the HP models have not been released as of yet.

Not sure if WHS is right for you? You can order a 120 day trial version for only $5.99 for shipping in the US. This includes the installation DVD for WHS, a Connetor CD for setting up to 10 systems for use with WHS and also a Restore CD. Microsoft lists the following as the minimum system requirements:

To install the Windows Home Server 120-Day Evaluation Kit, you need:

  • Computer with 1 GHz Pentium III (or equivalent) or faster processor
  • 512 MB of RAM or more
  • 70 GB or larger ATA, SATA, or SCSI hard drive as the primary hard drive and any number of additional hard drives of any size
  • DVD drive—your home server must be capable of booting from this drive
  • VGA or higher-resolution monitor for software installation
  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device (needed only during initial home server software installation)
  • 100 Mbps or faster Ethernet network interface card

To run Windows Home Server, your home network must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Internet broadband router/firewall device with a 100 Mbps or faster wired Ethernet connection for your home server
  • Windows Home Server assumes that your home computers get their IP address from the router/firewall device on your home network
  • Broadband connection (fees may apply)

A wireless connection between Windows Home Server and your network is not supported. You must have a wired Ethernet port available on your router/firewall device for your Home Server. However, home computers connected wirelessly to a wireless router/firewall device in your home can access your Home Server.

For more information take a look here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, home server, web site, updates, server hardware, trial version, order, [/tags]