Microsoft wraps up work on Windows Home Server

Microsoft released Windows Home Server (WHS) to manufacturing today, hitting the final milestone for software that will power several turnkey home servers that OEMs will put on the market in late September and early October. The move to RTM (release to manufacturing) means that Microsoft has wrapped up WHS and handed it off to its internal distribution teams and hardware partners, said Joel Sider, senior product manager. Those OEM partners grew by two today, as Iomega and Fujitsu-Siemens Computers were added to a list that already included Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, LaCie, and Medion. Details on the Fujitsu-Siemens and Iomega systems were scanty today, but the former will be a 500GB product with gigabit Ethernet, while the latter will contain up to four hot-swappable drives.

"The main change from RC (release candidate) was that the domain for remote access is now homeserver.com," said Sider. "We also did some fine tuning and polishing and killed off the last few bugs." For the most part, however, the RC version was solid enough that few changes were necessary -- one of the reasons the team was able to shift the server software so quickly out of development and into distribution. "The team was very focused," said Sider, responding to a question about how WHS was able to move from public announcement to RTM in just over six months. "But simplicity was also job number one. We wanted to provide a really powerful but not endless feature set. We were being pretty conservative with what we were trying to achieve, something that I think helped us avoid 'feature creep.'"

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News source: InfoWorld

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http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070...e-goes-rtm.html

"System builder" code, which is partner-speak for the shrink-wrap "OEM version," should be available in approximately two month's time, which is also when a 120-day evaluation copy should also rear its head. French, German and Spanish editions won't be far behind.

Microsoft made a very wise decision when it reversed its position on making WHS available to end users through "system builder" programs last May. As a result, users can obtain Windows Home Server from any number of resellers who will offer the server software in "OEM bundles" with hard drives, motherboards, or even just cables. Microsoft has not yet announced pricing, but this could be a fantastic way to put an old PC to use.

What killed this for me is when you had to format "ALL" your drives during the install. If they have not fixed that future I wont be ever using it. That was the main reason I stopped using it in the beta.

Define your scope of "OEM product." Newegg and many vendors sell OEM Windows xxxx operating systems to Joe Schmoes. It is very likely that Microsoft will also sell WHS as a OEM product that Joe Schmoes can buy. It is doubtful that it will be available only from the massive royalty OEM's and/or on their machines only. Yes, Microsoft has flip-flopped their mind many times over this, but in the end it will most likely be available to the general public as a OEM product they can buy standalone (not necessarily in a retail box product).

Unfortunately it does not look like MS is going to sell this software as a stand alone product, even though many of us that have been helping out since the beginning of the BETA test invested in the hardware to make the test a success. In my particular case I set up a server with 1TB of Hard Disk. Really a shame cause if MS does not sell the product many will seek refuge elsewhere for their Home Server solution. Maybe they could reconsider their position and make an offer only to those that helped and took part in the BETA test.

My August 2007 Maximum PC magazine says otherwise. Apparently Bill Gates announced at WinHEC that Windows Home Server will be available as a stand-alone product.

-Patrick

I also heard that although it was originally planned as OEM vendors only they changed their mind and it would go standalone as well. I'm hoping thats the case.

"We also did some fine tuning and polishing and killed off the last few bugs."

So it'll be another bug-free Microsoft release, then...