Tag Archive: microsoft

This week Microsoft announced that they were discontinuing their Kin product line.  The Kin phones are their new social-oriented devices that were developed by their Danger subsidiary who also designed the Sidekick family for T-Mobile.  (On a side note, the Sidekick was discontinued this week too.  Coincidence?)  The Kin was the first all new phone design out of Microsoft in recent years, and they are currently working on another new platform, Windows Mobile Phone 7 (WMP7).

The Kin makes an interesting case study; it was developed by a team with a proven track record of releasing successful Sidekick phones.  One would have expected the successes to translate to the Kin, but unfortunately that is not the case.  The phones suffered from an overly expensive pricing model and a number of questionable design decisions.  You would think that Danger’s experienced phone designers would know better, and I worry that the same myopia could lead to a WMP7 failure. Read More »

In my last post, I discussed basic configuration and operation of WHS and now will review the native backup and recovery functionality.

  1. Installation
  2. Client Configuration & basic operation
  3. Backup and recovery
  4. NAS
  5. Conclusion

Basic functionality

At its core, WHS is an automated backup and recovery system.  It relies on the Windows Home Server Console (WHSC) to manage the backup and recovery processes.  The console allows the user to easily schedule backup times and retention periods as pictured in the screenshot.  However, it should be noted that these options are included in the “General Settings” section of WHSC and so all changes apply to every system protected.  Thus it is not possible to have one system with a 3 month retention and the other a 6 month retention.  Conveniently, WHSC can be configured to wake a Windows system from hibernation to run the backup. It would be even better if it could automatically enable hibernation after a backup is completed, but this does not appear to be supported.

The basic functionality also allows the user to choose specific folders to backup.  The process is wizard driven and is very intuitive.  WHSC also intelligently excludes folders that hold temporary data and are unnecessary to protect.

At a basic level, backups are triggered on scheduled basis via the settings pictured above or run manually.  In either case, the system will conduct a scan of the selected folders looking for changed files to protect.  The first backup can take quite a while and will push all data. Subsequent backups are much faster since only changed data is transferred.

The recovery process is also simple.  The user can view all of his/her backups and freely browse the contents.  When the desired file and/or folder is found, recovery is simply a matter of dragging and dropping. Read More »

In my initial post, I wrote about the process of installing WHS. It was much more challenging than expected; however, to be fair, most people purchase systems pre-installed with WHS. In this segment I will review the installation of WHS’s client software which is required to manage and operate the unit.

  1. Installation
  2. Client Configuration & basic operation
  3. Backup and recovery
  4. NAS
  5. Conclusion

The client installation

A WHS system is more than just a shared NAS system.  It is architected as an entirely self-contained backup and recovery system, and the added functionality requires custom software which they call “Windows Home Server Connector.” (WHSC)  The software only runs on Windows so Mac and Linux users are out of luck. (Note that they can still access the fileshares, but cannot administer the system or use the backup features.)
Read More »

This is the first of a multiple part review of Microsoft’s Windows Home Server (WHS).  A big thank you to my friend John Obeto from Absolutely Windows who provided the copy of WHS.

  1. Installation
  2. Client Configuration & basic operation
  3. Backup and recovery
  4. NAS
  5. Conclusion

A quick intro before getting started:

I am an avowed LINUX server guy.  I have multiple LINUX servers in the basement and use a LINUX-based NAS box.  However, all of my desktop machines run Windows and so the opportunity to try WHS was compelling.  In the review, I will compare WHS to LINUX alternatives including an integrated Netgear NAS box.

Configuration:

Before we get started, let me share my system configuration:

  • Server: DL380 G3
    • Dual Xeon 2.8GHz
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 6x36GB SCSI HD in a RAID 5 configuration
  • Base OS: VMWare ESX 3.5
    • WHS is based on Windows 2003 Server which is qualified with ESX.  However, it does not appear that the WHS flavor of Win2003 has been qualified.

Read More »