In-depth overview of Windows Home Server "Vail" Build 7360

Last week Neowin reported on the leak of the next generation Windows Home Server, "Vail".

Neowin's friend, general Internet annoyance and DLL patching hero Rafael Rivera from Within Windows has taken a closer look at the leak and has uncovered some interesting details. According to Rivera the leaked build of Vail exposes some interesting codenames including 'Aurora' and 'Colorado'. Aurora "appears to be a Small Business Server version that sits somewhere between WHS and the current SBS products" notes Rivera. Colorado "appears to be remote device related."

Rivera also notes that the new features in "Vail" include Homegroup creation/integration and media streaming. The media streaming interface uses a Silverlight-based player through a remote console. Rivera has also detailed add-in changes, the new dashboard and has included a video and photo gallery of Vail. Check out his full post for more information.

Microsoft describes the latest Windows Home Server OS as:

"Vail builds upon both on-premises and cloud technologies to deliver a best-in-class solution for home networks and SOHO. Out of the box, Vail provides simple file sharing, remote access, home computer backup, expandable storage through Drive Extender, and media streaming both inside and outside the home. Vail also contains an application catalog and product-wide extensibility model so that new services such as anti-virus, online sharing, and home automation can be seamlessly and easily added to the solution. Vail will be available pre-installed on systems by OEM partners, and a standalone software package will also be available for those who want to build their own systems."

Image Credit: Rafael Rivera, Within Windows

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Any word on those with the current WHS and who want to upgrade? I, for one, am a bit paranoid about upgrading WHS and ending up with a brick. Does anyone at MS have any info and/or reassurances and proceedure as to the upgrade process?

The streaming player does look nice. It'd be nice to have an App on all major platforms that would connect to your WHS. Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile.

Emil Valsson said,

The backup feature in WHS is cool, but not perfect. I experienced frequent disconnection from my Win7 computer to the WHS backup server which resulted in that it didnt backup during the scheduled time.

Thats about it though, there is nothing else cool about WHS in my opinion, it simple doesnt do enough to justfy having a dedicated PC running 24/7. But maybe this version will be better, who knows. I suggest you take a look at some of the standard features Synology offers. I got myself a DS409+ and it's simply fantastic. Who needs a PC running when they can get a small box like that? :p

http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS409+/spec.php

Thats close to £550 for a 640gb setup - who wants that?

I have an ancient Dell Dimension 2400 which was my girlfiends old machine, with a (new) 1.5tb hard running running WHS. It cost next to nothing and made great use of old hardware. Total cost was less than £100 if you also include the extra memory i bought for it.

This is the strength of WHS, i've used it for several years now and its saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

TheBlueRaja said,

Thats close to £550 for a 640gb setup - who wants that?

I have an ancient Dell Dimension 2400 which was my girlfiends old machine, with a (new) 1.5tb hard running running WHS. It cost next to nothing and made great use of old hardware. Total cost was less than £100 if you also include the extra memory i bought for it.

This is the strength of WHS, i've used it for several years now and its saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

There are cheaper models you know. The only strengt WHS has is the "Backup" feature. If you want to spend $99 or whatever the WHS licence costs, plus Antivirus (if you use it) for a backup solution then go ahead. :)

Edited by Emil Valsson, Feb 3 2010, 2:08pm :

Emil Valsson said,

There are cheaper models you know. The only strengt WHS has is the "Backup" feature. If you want to spend $99 or whatever the WHS licence costs, plus Antivirus (if you use it) for a backup solution then go ahead. :)

Not even close. WHS has a lot to offer beyond the backup, which is awesome.

One feature I like is the automatic moving of recorded television from my Win7 box with a tuner to the server, then I can watch the show on any Win7 machine in my house in WMC.

Another, I sync my main machine's My Docs to my server so I can access them remotely using the web based interface. I could actually redirect, like I did for Music, Videos, Downloads, etc, but chose the sync route for some reason I am not entirely sure of myself. I am a mystery to me sometimes.

I do a little web design and asp (and some PHP when I get less lazy), I run IIS, MySQL and PHP on the server and sync changes to it so my customers can take a look at what I have done for them at various points in the process.

Uh, I store my videos and music on the server and stream them to other machines, much like the aforementioned recorded tv. Oh yea, I ripped all of my DVDs to it and stream them to any machine in my home. Without having to configure much other than "connnect it to the WHS", its all pretty automatic.

I have a couple of 1.5tb drives on there for a storage pool of 3tb, with 2 bays on the hot swap enclosure empty so I can expand it. It has the ability to duplicate important stuff and not the unimportant stuff.

Those are just a few of the more obvious things. There is just something so wrong about saying WHS is barely better than a dumb NAS.

Would love to be able to have a centralised Office application, shared calender, contacts, document storage.. rather than having it isntalled seperately on every pc in the hosue...

Looking very promising!!!

But WHS doesn't have media center.. Which makes sense because it's a server but for me if I'm going to have a computer on all the time it should be able to be used by my xbox for media center extender.

mad_onion said,
But WHS doesn't have media center.. Which makes sense because it's a server but for me if I'm going to have a computer on all the time it should be able to be used by my xbox for media center extender.

See this: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/pcsetup/whs.htm

cybertimber2008 said,

See this: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/pcsetup/whs.htm

That only works for formats that the xbox supports natively. Media center extender allows it to play any format that the pc can play, without transcoding.
Until it can do that, which it will probably never be able to do as it's a server I would rather just use regular windows 7.

mad_onion said,
...I would rather just use regular windows 7.

Windows 7 doesn't handle backups of other machines on your network.