HP starts taking orders for its Windows Home Server systems

HP starts taking orders for its Windows Home Server systems

Summary: On November 5, Hewlett-Packard -- the biggest and best known of the Windows Home Server (WHS) OEMs -- began taking orders for its HP MediaSmart Servers. A handful of other OEMs and system builders also are shipping WHS units now.


On November 5, Hewlett-Packard -- the biggest and best known of the Windows Home Server (WHS) OEMs -- began taking orders for its HP MediaSmart Servers.

HP starts taking orders for its Windows Home Server systemsMicrosoft is positioning WHS as a "'stay-at-home' server that delivers the benefits of powerful server technology used by many people at work within a simple, easy-to-use solution for the home."

Customers can order the HP MediaSmart systems on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Buy.Com, CircuitCity.com and CompUSA.com. The systems will be shipped to customers and be availble via "other leading retailer Web sites" some time later this month, according to Microsoft.

HP originally was slated to begin shipping the MediaSmart Server on September 15. It postponed the launch of its systems to wait for an update to the final code from Microsoft. Microsoft delivered the first WHS update, which included a number of fixes and a few pieces of new functionality, to customers and OEM partners in September.

The MediaSmart servers are not the first WHS units available to customers. Now shipping are the Tranquil PC T7-HSA Tranquil Harmony Home Server and the Velocity Micro NetMagix HomeServer, as well as a number of different configurations from system builders, such as Ace Computers, Advantec, PC Club and Universal Systems Inc. A number of other OEMs, including Gateway, Fujitsu Siemens and Intel, are slated to ship WHS platforms in the coming months.

Microsoft already is working on the next couple of WHS releases -- a "minor" build known as UR1 and a "major" release some time after that. The next collection of fixes/updates for the existing WHS build is due out later this month.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Will be interesting to see the numbers

    on this one. I personally think it's going to be another homerun for Microsoft and have heard a lot of family folks talking about this with excitement so if that's any indicator. Of course it's only anecdotal information but i think the timing is right for this kind of product. There are more people than ever setting up wireless for their homes but are struggling with backup and centralized parental control etc.
    • I think home servers will be huge

      Most people who have tested the product like it. David Berlind, who is a big thin client computing advocate, "diss'd" it, contending that the trend in computing today is towards pushing data onto the Internet, not keeping it locally. I personally believe in a massively distributed Internet in which home servers allow people to locate much of their data on these devices, while exposing a subset of their data through a myriad of services. This would allow (among other things), people to locate all their personal data on one device - and hence better manage their data. People could therefore keep all their pictures on their home servers, and expose a subset of them through a service similar to Flicker. People could also keep all their blog data on their home servers, and expose it through a service similar to Blogger. This would alleviate a lot of the apprehension people have about their personal data being located on someone else's servers. A consequence of this, is that services such as MS' HealthVault might become more palatable to a great deal of people. Data on home servers could be auto-encrypted and stored online for secure, remote back up.

      In a sense, David Berlind is correct, as more and more people buy home servers and turn them into Internet servers, more and more people will put their data on the Internet.
      P. Douglas
      • I think so too

        I share your thinking about this (without an interest in HealthVault).

        Also, with the turmoil around social networking and the social graph at the moment, I can see WHS being a great hybrid node on the social grid where we can keep our stuff (whether or not replicated elsewhere or vice versa) and control all of the ways we have it be visible in collaboration and sharing situations.
        • Well, I couldn't wait

          When I read about the pre-order intensity at amazon.com, I put down my order. It might actually arrive by Christmas, based on their first-come-first-served scheme. They are at 20% below list right now, so the 1TB machine is very appealing. We are excited in this little household. If a better deal shows up before amazon fills my order, I can cancel, but I doubt that I will do that.

          Meanwhile, Dell has its One PC promotion coming which seems to be taking all of their attention. I know it is not a WHS, because it is an XPS product, and I'll keep my guesses to myself.

          It is exciting here in Orcmid's Lair, but now we wonder if buying two XO's is going to be too much for the budget. I will get one and the second is really needed for good experimentation of the wireless grid, so we will see.
    • Home Servers Will Happen, but

      First of all I join the chorus in saying this could really be a biggie for the OEM and for Microsoft. I believe the big stickler could be on how this product is advertised and sold to the public. Microsoft needs to make a case for it in its own advertising while the OEMs make the case that theirs is the best one to have.

      If treated like any other PC or current tech widget the Home Server could go un-noticed for a long time.

      I would promote it as the 401k for all of a families digital treasures. Selling it this way the OEM also stands a good chance to upsell external hard drives and scanners.

      External hard drives are kind of obvious but scanners to convert all kinds of documents and photos to digital form to be printed as needed and stored forever in as pristine a state as possible.
  • This is something that will take a bit of

    time to get rolling but I see it as a smart long term game plan.
  • Home Server will have large amount of uses

    Windows Home Server (WHS) is not just about backing up your data and streaming media files, it is about accessing your server from anywhere across the Internet, and through it, remotely accessing your PC, etc. Also, WHS is extensible. This means that third parties will support the addition of other services to the platform. The following is taken from [url=http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/nov07/11-04WHSLaunchPR.mspx]here[/url].

    [i]"Third-party software developers have created more than 35 innovative add-in programs to run on the Windows Home Server platform. These solutions provide personal blogging and media sharing, home security, home automation, protection against viruses and malware, and more. Several software vendors today announced support for Windows Home Server:

    ? Avira GmbH in Germany today announced that its malware detection and removal technology will support Windows Home Server.

    ? Diskeeper Corporation today released a special edition of its Diskeeper 2008 defragmentation software for Windows Home Server.

    ? Embedded Automation Inc. released the mControl add-in for Windows Home Server, providing home automation functionality.

    ? Proxure Inc. announced the release of KeepVault for Windows Home Server, providing automatic, online backup and storage of data.

    ? SageTV LLC released SageTV Media Server for Windows Home Server, enabling media streaming from Windows Home Server to any PC or Macintosh, at home or over the Internet.

    ? SightSpeed Inc. announced SightSpeed 6.0 video chat service compatibility with Windows Home Server.

    ? Telligent Systems Graffiti CMS is compatible with Windows Home Server, enabling users to quickly create personal Web sites and blogs.

    ? WiLife Inc. announced the release of Command Center Software version 2.1 home security software for Windows Home Server.

    Additional third-party software and service solutions for Windows Home Server include avast! and F-Secure anti-virus and security software, CEIVA digital photo frames, Iron Mountain and Jungle Disk off-site data protection services, Lagotek Home Intelligence Platform for home automation, LobsterTunes for streaming to Windows Mobile-based devices, PacketVideo PVConnect for universal plug-and-play media streaming, Raxco Software PerfectDisk for performance optimization, Riptopia CD loading service, Sonos System Software 2.5 for centralized storage and organization of digital jukeboxes, and Whiist for easy creation of Web pages and photo albums on Windows Home Server."[/i]
    P. Douglas
    • Remote access

      Remotely accessing your PC is scary at best. To do so you need to allow connection into your internal network. The only real problem I see with that security. It can be done but it has to be done right and now average Joe is going to know how to secure their network to let this be done in a safe manner.

      I know I wouldn't do it with out a proper firewall. Not one of those consumer firewalls that don't do much but block incoming connections but one where I could layer the security. I'd also use IP sec and two factor authentication. To achieve all this it would probably cost me a pretty penny, more than the cost of the WHS in the first place even if I went with free Open Source software.

      Basically if I can access my home network so can a hacker.

      Enterprise systems spend huge dollars on securing remote access and that's what the home user won't have.
      • I see no evidence of a security issue

        I don't know what to say. Windows Home Server is based in Windows Server 2003 - so it should be secure. I have not seen anyone raise an issue about [url=http://tinyurl.com/2s5mxg]WHS' remote access[/url]' security.
        P. Douglas
        • I wouldn't do it with Windows 2003 Server either

          Not naked on the Internet at least and that's pretty much what you'd be doing in a home network. Home firewall are pathetic for allowing remote access for starters and to secure a server that allows connections via the internet needs to have a layer security approach with knowledgeable staff to recognize the threats.

          It's just something I'd never do and I'd advice against anyone else doing it.
          • Not that bad...

            I'm not so sure that I agree with the idea of 'pathetic' firewalls at home. For sure I agree that some firewall/routers are a pretty pathetic and complicated to use. But that should be up to the business who sells you the home server to be able to sell you a router which is correct for the application. Even a router which is preconfigured out of the shop for Home Server. I haven't looked into the Nitty Gritty of Home Server yet, but would still imagine that Microsoft would build in some form of logging so you would be aware in a general interface as you login somewhere, what the status of your hardware, software and if someone has tried to compromise your firewall, etc. That's just a logical thing to do, even just to the point that you are aware of who is logged in and if they really should be or not. I can understand how you would be worried about these issues, but non the less, if you have a firewall on your router, a firewall on your server, Nat running and secure passwords running... then that's still quite a lot of work to get around and unless you had something that someone seriously wanted, a lot of people would just leave it be.

            I personally think that Microsoft has a good idea with Home Server. It's what a lot of people have been looking for and I know that it would suite a lot of my clients aswell. A lot of people are worried about where their information is going and what is happening with it if it's posted up on other servers around the world. With Home Server people have the peace of mind that it's all in one spot, right next to them, in their house, they can share what ever they like with the select group of people they want, or everyone if they choose aswell.

            Another A+ from Microsoft. No doubt it will be big once the word gets out.
    • Definitely Agree

      Those who believe people like having their informaion stored on someone else's servers really are talking to young people that have not concerned themselves with privacy issues. As people get older they start to realize potential dangers in "putting it all out there".

      I think the educated consumer with the kind of disposable income that can afford a WHS because they also have a house (not an apartment) to put it in will opt in keeping their stuff under their control and expose only what they choose to. Time will tell.
    • Of course...

      Of course we will have the Apple fanboys telling us in no time that TimeMachine does all of that.

      Let's watch...
  • "Windows" and "Server"

    Personally, two words that should never sit next to each other. I'm sure this will be great for someone needing a small system to store files and such, but other than that it does nothing that I cannot already do now, and with less hardware.
    • Huh?

      I don't understand what you mean by those words sitting next to each other? <br>
      If you mean window's servers are not good products, give it a break. server 2k3 is among the best of servers available today with 2k8 coming soon.
      Windows "dissing" is so old and stupid. It's always been ignorant rhetoric and continues to be. All OSes from every generation have had up sides and down sides and this game of ripping on Microsoft, except by true zealots, has dried up and blown away.
      • HA!

        Server 2k3 one of the best? Right. That's not even comparing it to *NAME REMOVED*... but more against other server offerings.

        2k3 might be nice, but among the best... no. Just... no.
        • Again

          The objective and professional community has found it to be as solid as any other, probably a reason for it's rise against Unix and Linux that was grandfathered in at most Unix shops.<br>
          Microsoft got their market clean. People are convinced it's a better product in a rising number of cases and not just implementing it because it's very similar to the old Unix systems they are replacing, as is the case with Linux. <br>
          So most definately, only the zealot community continues to say "no"..."just no".
    • Check Your Grandfathering

      Todays "Windows" (Windows NT Ver 6.0) was based on many of the Kernel OS functions of DEC's VMS OS - a Mini computer. A server.
  • Stand by to be underwhelmed

    Of course, the way MS jiggers the numbers:


    IDC will probably announce that WHS is capturing a growing segment of the home server market and is poised to take over the world.

    I don't even like Windows connected to my network, let alone serving anything.
    • Go away moron !

      Why do you feel the urge to yap and add nothing to the debate? Are you bored, lonely, or what?

      Go look at the potential then come back and discuss it like an adult. It must look good if I've purchased it, believe me!