Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

Summary: Microsoft released for download on April 26 a public beta of the Windows Home Server 'Vail' release. Microsoft officials shared some high-level overview information about the Vail release, but very few specifics.

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Microsoft released for download on April 26 a public beta of the Windows Home Server 'Vail' release.

In January, a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Vail leaked to the Web. According to the description of that download, Vail, the next version of WHS built upon "both on-premises and cloud technologies" for home and SOHO (small office/home office) users.

Today, Microsoft officials shared some high-level overview information about the Vail release, but very few specifics.

Officials did confirm that Vail will be a 64-bit product only, according to a blog post on the Windows Home Server blog. Company officials said to expect Vail to include improvements "in four key areas," including the extension of media streaming "outside the home or office"; improvements of multi-PC backup and restore; simplified setup and user experience; and expanded tools and customization capabilities for partners.

The beta is available in English only, and includes a new software development kit (SDK) who want to create add-in applications for Vail. Vail requires systems with a 1.4 GHz x64 processor, 1 GB RAM, and at least one160 GB hard drive. The product is expected to be sold preloaded on OEM/system builder PCs only.

According to one customer who has been dabbling with early builds of Vail, Vail will be built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2, and will support "transparent 'virtual' (remote) applications."

"Windows Media Center currently does not support transmission of some protected content - for example HD premium content from a cable card - on remote systems, with the exception of xbox," said the customer, who asked not to be named.

"That's because the DRM chain gets broken by conventional streaming," the source continued. "If you combine a trusted media chain in the server with a virtual app which can verify the integrity of the DRM chain on the client from the transport through to the display, then you can display protected content just as Xbox does. Then you can watch that high def football game in your hotel room, if you have the bandwidth. That's pretty cloud-like. The same mechanism would support other cloud-style apps if they are enabled on the server. The combination of an untouchable virtual app and the ability to verify client side security capability is powerful - it gets around many thorny issues."

Microsoft officials are not providing a final ship-date target, but I've heard it the product is likely to ship this calendar year.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Hardware, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows

About

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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47 comments
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  • All they had to do was mention DRM

    to make this product DOA as far as I'm concerned. There are so many things that technology could do to simplify our lives, but companies like Microsoft and the media cartels are doing everything they can to complicate our lives to protect their obsolete business models. I refuse to buy into that.
    terry flores
    • Apple, ect

      they all deal with DRM.

      In the case of an MS, I can see them having to work within the restrictions of DRM impossed by the RIAA, otherwise could they legally be allowed to distribute music without it?
      John Zern
      • RE: Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

        Actually, even if you do enjoy tinkering with OS configurations, there's plenty to love with Windows and most of it without the command line.
        raimu koyo asu
      • RE: Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

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      • RE: Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

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  • Why is MS wasting money on this rinky-dink product???

    What manufacturer in his right mind would use Windows on a
    home server when it requires x86, and brings along all of
    the security problems of Windows????
    DonnieBoy
    • Why are you wasting your time

      on these rinky-dink posts? I guess that confirms it: Windows home server is a threat to Linux somehow.

      Otherwise you wouldn't be here making your atypical posts.

      I've just setup a Windows Home Server for someone: $99.00 and it's running on an old P4, 2 gigs of ram, and does more out of the box for them then any Linux server I've seen. All so simple, they've mastered it in 15 minutes.

      For a small business this is perfect, supported, and easy to use. For the home with Media Server Extention, it's a great home media server, easy as pie.

      But then they could have allways gone with Linux and taken classes to learn how to run it, then used it on their old x86 machines to try and create the same thing, but you knew that already.

      What exactly is you're problem, guy?
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • If you look at the adoption of Windows Home Server, the adoption is about

        ZERO. Maybe a few Windows losers have installed
        it. So what?
        DonnieBoy
        • I'll asume you aren't bright enough to even install this..

          But I have and it is a fantastic poduct. with 2 clicks I can back up any PC in the house and also access any and all files remotely, or give family memebers remote access to my pictures without exposing them to ad littered public sites that reduce the quality.

          Home Server is a fantastic product, but given the rest of the drivel you post here, I'm guessing you already knew that but just couldn't admit it.
          omdguy
          • Don't bother with him

            If it doesn't have "GOOGLE" written all over it, it's garbage.
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • Well, if he has no clue, he is only making a fool of himself.

            NT
            DonnieBoy
          • You mean that hackers can access all of your personal files.

            With two clicks, you make all of the information
            on all of your computers available to the world.
            You sir are a complete idiot.
            DonnieBoy
          • Pliney's rigtht, this IS a threat

            to you somehow.

            I Don't know why, but you seem to be the only one here who hasn't seen or tried it, but are complaining the loudest about it.

            It seems like MS is just starting to get the word out on this, and for the price (PTE's right: 99 dollars on TigerDirect) and it beats the pants off of Linux for a home media/backup server because the Connector CD installs and sets up the backup and file sharing for you.

            And there are all sorts of add-ins that you can get for it, so it's really a nice setup for Joe Sixpack.

            If you're worried about hooking to the internet, then don't! Now your totally safe!

            (But then again, with the way Apache's been hacked as of late, two clicks and you're in the same boat)

            So go down the list as to how and why a Linux server would be soooooo much easier and better suited for "Joe Sixpack", as opposed to WHS.
            Let me know where I can download and install a Linux server with all the functionality and ease of installation as this, and I'll look at it.

            And Yes, I've used WHS and think it's a great product for the price, I've even started setting other people up on it because of what it does.
            John Zern
          • Correction, a threat to the person connecting it to the internet.

            Windows is not save at any speed.
            DonnieBoy
          • In other words, DB: You have no answer.

            You'll just keep repeating some senseless sentence, in the hopes of fooling someone into believing you know what you're talking about.

            Of course you'll never try it as then you'd have to admitt that you've been wrong in all of your posts. ;)
            John Zern
          • @DB: "Windows is not save at any speed" - wanna try that again?

            Please post something intelligent - am getting really tired of all the pointless rhetoric around here of late.
            de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
    • Best MS product ou there

      This is an excelent product for home users with lots of digital media. It's one of the best kept secrets in the MS product line. Lots of functionality for the price and supper super easy to setup and maintain.

      Face it, unless you know what you are doing and enjoy constantly tinkering with OS configurations and setup a Linux server is not a viable option for the average home user.
      MrSparky
      • RE: Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

        @MrSparky

        Actually, even if you do enjoy tinkering with OS configurations, there's plenty to love with Windows and most of it without the command line.
        JasonJD48
  • RE: Microsoft releases beta of Windows Home Server 'Vail'

    This culture of leaking things is making me lose respect for the entire technology industry...
    asg749d@...