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What I want in a home server.. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have given much thought to what I really need at home.. having 3 children and more computers then I know what to do with, here are some of the things I would like to see for home server to be useful.  My career is microsoft admin.. so knowing the industry, I don't want exactly the same thing as a corporation.. but knowing what is available helps..

    1. I would like a central login server design, similar to AD but not near as complex.. where I could setup an account for the kids and specify which machines they could login to and the login times.  (log them off when their login time expires, not just disconnect)

    2. I would like to have the capability to proxy their traffic on the internet, log all sites visited, etc.  This way I could potentially spot issues from internet predators or inappropriate sites.. hopefully the proxy would have the ability to block certain content.. but that would be a nice to have option..

    3. I would like to have an EASY TO USE lockdown utility for the workstations connected, with settings like "allow user to install software"  and "allow installation of browser components"  to prevent them from installing every spyware in the world that as available..

    4. I would like to have a central file store, possibly linked to my documents.. (covered from what I read)

    5. I would like to have the ability to have a web page and ftp site, to share files and pictures, and to give the kids an outlet that is not on youtube..... XP Pro has this.. Have not looked to see if home server has it yet, as I am downloading it now..  and a simple web page editor would be nice..

    6. I would like to have a "Lite" version of exchange for my outlook client, with capability to server say 10 users? .. with a web access component.. like OWA but not as complex..  there are free mail servers with similar cabability but I like outlook, thats what I use at work.. I just like it..

    7.  I would like to see a central "log" of what was done on workstations connected, kind of like the application log, but a little less cryptic.. and more useful, with information like.. user "jimmy" ran setup.exe on date and time  and give me the ability to specify what is logged.. (ie installs, executions, browser plugins, ssl sites visited, etc)  and the ability to specify that system restore is executed on login but only for specific users, and possibly specify that the machine at login is locked to a state(again only for specific users), the user that logs in can do what they want for the most part, but when they logout, the machine returns to the state it was in before they started..  makes a machine hard to break.. even with virus and spyware.. (similar to how VM works.. with the checkpoint feature).

    8.  I want a "you are grounded" feature, (log off and disable the account) from the server..

    9. I want a backup feature that backs up machines but I want to be able to specify what to backup..

    10. I want my home server to be my DNS Server and serve out dhcp, possibly wins..

    11.. and a few others.. but I cannot think of them as of now..

    Friday, March 9, 2007 4:18 AM

All replies

  • Welcome to the forums, and the beta program!

    That's quite a feature set you're looking for. If you look around, both here and on the various blogs relating to WHS (Charlie Kindel's blog, the WHS team blog, and others), you'll see that the plan for at least the initial release is to keep it simple, and go for a robust product that solves real-world problems for home users.

    I'm not going to go through your feature set point by point. I do know that some of the features you're asking for were intentionally omitted (email, for example; most home users are perfectly satisfied with their hosted solution today, and Microsoft decided not to reinvent that particular wheel), and some of the features you're asking for are probably already available on your network. Some of the things you're looking for may be provided by VARs or 3d party solution providers as add-ons, too.

    All of which is not to say that some of the features you're looking for won't make it into a future version of WHS. But I think the feature set we see today in the beta is pretty close to the final feature set for version 1, probably with some tweaking by Microsoft to make some things easier to use, and to add some additional controls that a lot of people are asking for.

    Finally, I'll observe that your feature set reads like the feature set for SBS Premium. Plus a bunch. How much more than SBS would you be willing to pay for the extra features?
    Friday, March 9, 2007 5:18 AM
    Moderator
  • As for #2 on your wishlist, the upcoming Live OneCare 2.0 Beta I think will address that nicely.  Hopefully Microsoft will bundle this with Windows Home Server.

    http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowspaulthurrott/Article/ArticleID/95393/windowspaulthurrott_95393.html

    Friday, March 9, 2007 6:03 AM
  • Hey,

    I like a bunch of the ideas listed here for WHS. The one thing that would really sell WHS me would be the exchange mail system similar to the one SBS with all the web access and pop connectors. I have serveral desktops and a laptop I work with at home and one thing I want to have access other than files no matter where I am at is my e-mail, calander, contacts and all that other good stuff outlook does.

    Saturday, March 10, 2007 1:09 AM
  • All the idea's here are nice ... and if they all were implemented it would setup a whole new market for Microsoft ... but the biggest problem I see is we are all tech people ...

    an "easier" version of exchange still might be way to complex for a home user to setup. MX records will still have to be setup ... if their cable/DSL block DNS info e-mails might not download correctly. The ideas are all sound but you are still looking at a lot of your hopeful add-on as a tech user would. This setup is going to be for anyone and everyone who wants central connectivity of files without knowing the ins and outs of how it works.

     

    When you take the time to break down what people would want I think running things like DNS / DHCP in a home network is 99% of the time covered by the basic network appliance they have (router) so why make configuration harder by having them figure out the design.

    Kevin C

    Saturday, March 10, 2007 3:27 PM
  • Exchange: There's a post on the WHS Team blog which discusses this. Basically, though, most users in a home with 2 or more PCs are quite satisfied with their current hosted solution. And if you want to host your own, well, there's SBS, which scales to 75 users.
    Saturday, March 10, 2007 4:59 PM
    Moderator
  • you really don't give people credit.. when you get your DSL router.. what do you have to do?  follow the setup steps.. which include DHCP.  or set it to the default!  how hard is that..  besides, who is the target market for HOME SERVER??  general people who know nothing about computers??  NOT.. you are targeting power users and techies.. so direct it to those people.  bottom line, if you are scared of computers you will not buy it.
    Sunday, March 11, 2007 1:59 PM
  •  spikeworld wrote:
    you really don't give people credit.. when you get your DSL router.. what do you have to do?  follow the setup steps.. which include DHCP.  or set it to the default!  how hard is that..  besides, who is the target market for HOME SERVER??  general people who know nothing about computers??  NOT.. you are targeting power users and techies.. so direct it to those people.  bottom line, if you are scared of computers you will not buy it.

    I would rather see it be done in the background for most typical home server users. Perhaps allow the user to "automatically" set one up by creating a list of computers (listed by MAC) and then assigning them a auto-DHCP acknowledge and offer whenever they send out a discover request.  As a whole, many people don't care as long as their internet "works".  Many ISPs now use DHCP as a whole, so users do not need to allocate IP addresses manually.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007 4:57 PM
  • Seems to me that a lot of features spikeworld listed are certainly doable, especially for a company like Microsoft.

    2. I would like to have the capability to proxy their traffic on the internet, log all sites visited, etc
    3. I would like to have an EASY TO USE lockdown utility for the workstations,
    7.  I would like to see a central "log" of what was done on workstations,
    8.  I want a "you are grounded" feature, (log off and disable the account) from the server..
    9. I want a backup feature that backs up machines but I want to be able to specify what to backup..
    ... are easy enough and cheap enoug to implement in this release. 

    JAY


    Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:35 AM