It seems every time I do a Windows Home Server (WHS) post, the comments end up evolving/devolving into a debate over whether Linux or Windows is a better home-server platform. I decided to ask a Linux aficionado, Jason Perlow, to provide his take on WHS. Here’s Perlow’s WHS review:
For the last 10 years, I’ve been pretty much exclusively reviewing and writing about open-source software. But in my previous lifetime, I was a Windows geek and I spent considerable time at Fortune 100 companies integrating various iterations of Windows Server into their respective environments. I guess like Mr. Spock on Star Trek, I need to return to the home planet on ZDNet to spawn about Windows every decade or so.
While many would call me a dyed-in-the-wool Linux freak, I have to admit, I like Windows. Oh, not Vista, but good ‘ol Windows Classic – Windows XP and Windows 2003. It’s a solid, stable platform that when kept up to date with patches and best practices applied will serve its job well.
Windows Home Server (WHS), which was released to manufacturing back in July of this year, started rolling out in new OEM systems in late 2007. As sold in new systems, WHS is a totally “headless” operating system – the server OS boots with no video output and has no keyboard or mouse input. You plug it into a network and it is just supposed to work.
As packaged, WHS does what it is supposed to do and it does it very well. The Windows Home Server Console software, which is useable over a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) or via the native client, allows you to share drives and file shares, multimedia files, and permits you to remote console into any computer hooked up to your home network. The software is one of the slickest products I have seen Microsoft produce in the last decade. I’d love to see them produce the client for Mac and Linux so the “other” OSes can share the WHS love, as well.