Microsoft announced on July 16 that it has finished development of its Windows Home Server (WHS) product and has released the code to manufacturing.
From the WHS team blog:
"Today we are announcing that Windows Home Server has been released to manufacturing (RTM). We have finalized the software and now handing it off to our OEM partners. The evaluation version (with 120 day evaluation period) and the system builder version are also heading into the distribution channels and will be available in the next couple of months. French, German and Spanish versions will be finalized shortly, and OEM products will hit retail shelves this fall. "
Also on July 16, Microsoft made public the names of two more OEMs who will make available WHS variants "in time for the holidays this year." The two: Fujitsu Siemens, with a product called the "Scaleo Home Server," and Iomega, with an expandable consumer networking product that will include up to four hot-swappable drives.
Windows Home Server is designed to act as a central hub for storage of music, photos, and other files. It will include automatic backup and restore, as well as remote file-access capabilities. The product will be sold exclusively through OEMs and system builders.
Microsoft delivered the near-final Release Candidate of WHS to testers on June 12.
Microsoft has said to expect the first WHS systems to be available this fall from Hewlett-Packard (Microsoft's original WHS OEM partner, first unveiled in January). Other OEM hardware and software partners who've committed to develop WHS systems include Gateway and consumer storage vendor LaCie and Medion International.