Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg gives Home Server a hearty thumbs up on his blog —”I am so loving this product. It's one of those things that you think you don't need until you start using and the more you use it, the more you wonder how you lived without it. The team over there at Redmond has been amazing with this. The betas were rock solid and worked well, the release version even better. At a time when it seems like Microsoft has a hard time shipping product, these folks delivered.”
There's a few things it does really well and unfortunately, a few quirks as well.
1. A terabyte of networked storage that I can access from any PC (or Mac) in my home. It's great. It's simple and it works. If that's all it did, I would be happy but there's much more.
2. Fantastic PC backup, automatically. I love this. Every PC on the network is automatically backed up. It's scheduled and incremental so once the first backup is done, the rest is a snap. I purposely killed one of my machines that was backed up and it took less than 20 minutes to fully restore it. Wow.
3. Remote access. Not only can I access my server from my network, I can access it from anywhere in the world thanks to a Microsoft free URL mapped to my server. Not only that, but I can also remotely access and control any PC on the network as well. Now that's not a new trick, places like Go to my PC offer that service but this is all free. Nothing to buy.
4. Streaming media. Add in your music and pictures your WHS becomes a media server for Windows Connect. That means my XBox can see it and play.
5. It's a platform. Yep, it's built on Windows Sever 2003 so it's solid and there's a whole SDK for developing server apps. Microsoft is running a code contest for the best apps, so expect even more cool stuff.