End user ideas... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hello to everybody from Germany,

    (and therefore in advance my deepest apologize for the bad and very limited English. ;-))

    First of all I need to say that I have been amazed by the idea of a Windows Home Server acting as a central instance in the home to support the central storage and backup of data distributed on many different digital devices.

    Having checked now the first reports, tests and announcement on various places in the Internet the following questions, ideas and concerns come up to me:

    Accessing the WHS from everywhere and every computer in the world is in general a phantastic idea. I am travelling most of my time since I am a consultant. I all too often would like to access my Home PC like I do it with the network of my company via a VPN connection. And that´s exactly the point and the arising question. When I buy and install such a WHS and I travel to another country, will I be able then to connect with the WHS via a VPN connection which provides at least a certain privacy? Or will it be totally unsecured?

    What are the measures to protect the transfered data from any observation?

    What are the measures to protect the WHS from any kind of intrusion?

    Convincing security will be the key success factor for the WHS.

    Next thing is that I would like to switch in the near future from a conventional video recorder to a more modern videorecorder working with a harddrive instead of tapes. As we all know, the built in hard drives of those videorecorders are much too small to handle more than 5-10 videos. So, this - I think at least - is one of the primary use cases and ideas of the WHS, isn´t it?
    Shouldn´t  the WHS also serve as the central and, for instance a permanent video storage for the videorecorder? So, in other words, the local HD of the videorecorder only serves as a temporary storage container during the recording session? Well, then I ask me what are the features to interact easily between the Windows Media Center and the Windows Home Server, or the Videorecorder and the Windows Home Server?

    Concerning the Hardware I think it would be quite usefull, if the Hardware suppliers such as HP designed their future WHS appliances in a way that there are intelligent energy saving mechanisms for the WHS. Imagine a WHS which deals with 4-6 harddrives, each of them 500 GB large. I do not think, that this will be so unusual in two years time given the fact that more and more IPTV comes up to our homes. I expect the need for 2-3 TB capacity for families in a short time. I could imagine that such a large hardware environment is extremely energy costly when it runs 24 hours per day. Especially in Europe, the price for energy is rising constantly. Therefore it would be very helpful if the WHS Server software or the hardware bios was able to manage shutting down its own hardware as well as the other hardware connected to it as long as there is no running activity/processes - for example during the night having finished the last backup. Then I expect a WHS not only to go to the deepest sleeping mode for itself, but also to shut down all the other servers connected to it.

    Last but not least, a sideshow display which is now part of vista could be very useful for the WHS hardware, especially given the fact, that there will be no screen connected to it (at least it is what I have read so far... True?) It would be nice then just to start some music files by the usage of a remote control and only by looking on the sideshow display without the need to start another computer to find out what music is stored on the WHS...

    In general the WHS is a good idea, maybe the migration to a true Vista Core would be nice? ;-)

    Keep us informed about your future ideas and plans and what you could imagine.

    Finally, sorry for any grammar mistakes or misuse of words. I am German... ;-)

    Best regards,


    Sunday, March 4, 2007 4:16 PM

All replies

  • Joachim,

    Welcome to the beta program! Don't apologize for your English. It's better than my German; at this point I can't even read German any more...

    There are some good ideas in there. There are a lot of people in the beta at this point, with a lot of different opinions on what would make WHS better. The best way you can influence Microsoft is to use the Connect web site to search for other suggestions that have already been submitted and to submit your feedback.

    Touching on your points:

    Security: login and all access to shares is done through SSL. I can't say for sure about remote access to home PCs, but I would expect that there's some level of encryption there as well. It's up to you to determine if you trust it.

    Interoperability with DVR: I don't know that direct interaction between your DVR and WHS will happen. The primary use for DVR here in the US right now is time shifting, not long-term storage. So there's a limited amount of data on the DVR at any given moment. A large library of media copied off of DVD or CD is a different matter, of course. WHS offers streaming to Media Connect consumers, and access through network shares to other programs.

    Power savings: While it looks like a good idea on the surface, 6 500 GB drives consume less than 60 watts while idling. The whole WHS, running full tilt, could conceivably consume as little as 100 watts continuous. It's not insignificant, but it's not as bad as many of the always-on appliances in the modern home. And it's well-documented that spin-up and spin-down are the times a hard drive is most likely to fail. For reasons of reliability, I want my drives to stay spun up practically forever. Shutting client machines down after backup is a common request, but since the backups aren't triggered from the WHS (it's just listening for them to start and saving the data), the client machines need to be on stand by or hibernated, not turned off. There are suggestions on Connect about this.

    Core OS: I think it would be more likely to move to Longhorn than Vista, being based on SBS now.

    Sideshow display: Maybe not a bad idea, but WHS isn't a media player. A small LCD displaying system information would be more interesting to a technically sophisticated user, but probably useless to anyone else.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:40 PM