Comment: Why you should get excited about Windows Home Server

Finally, the most geekiest of products is about to become available. No, I am not talking about the launch of a mobile phone from a computer company based in Cupertino, but Windows Home Server.

"Oh dear!" I hear you cry, Stuart is getting exciting about boring tech and this is where he shows his inner geekiness, run for the hills!

But hear me out, if you will. I totally agree with you that servers all shapes and sizes are as about as exciting as waiting for your partner to come out of the changing room, however I've been wanting one of these for ages.

Why? Well because it will, if it does as it promises, let me store all my music, all my video, all my images, and all my media on one central drive on a computer in the cupboard under the stairs and then share it around the house for all to see.

Better still it will back up everything so I don't lose any files, and better still being a boring black box I won't have to look at it ever again.

No need to have the laptop on to access certain files, no hassle with DRM issues across different machines, just one box with everything on it accessible via my PC, my laptop, my TV, wherever.

Of course we've virtually got this offering already with Media Centre PC's and extenders, but they still have to rely on a PC being on and that PC doing other tasks at the same time. This is a dedicated machine designed to service your multimedia experience - the decadence.

Of course truth be told, I've been patiently waiting since seeing the HP home server at CES in January.

But where Microsoft has gone one step further and this is something that I haven't been banging on about for the last 5 years is that you'll be able to hook it up to the Internet and have access to your files as well as long as you've got an internet connection.

What does that mean? Well, theoretically you could host your own website if you've got a static IP address, or merely share files with friends rather than having to painstakingly upload them to Flickr or Facebook.

And it's not yet HP getting in on the hardware front, today Fujitsu Siemens, Iomega, MAXDATA and Medion have all promised boxes that work on Microsoft's Windows Home Server technology with 500GB to 1TB to even 2TB of storage: that's 500,000 songs.

So what of the future? Well I truly believe that within 5 maybe 10 years you'll start seeing new homes coming with the infrastructure of this kind of stuff built-in. Network cabling built into the walls as standard alongside your telephone and TV sockets. All linked to a box in the cupboard, all created so all you have to do is bring your own hard drive to the mix.

Of course having not seen one in the home environment it could be something that I end up being bitterly disappointed by, I've been disappointed before with tech, and networking is something that regardless of how easy it really is I always try and avoid, but as long as it doesn't require you to hire a network specialist alongside the cleaner or nanny then I can't wait till they finally go on sale later this month.


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