Microsoft to unveil Windows Home Server at CES

Microsoft is definitely going to talk — at long last — about its plans for Windows Home Server (code-named Quattro) at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, according to my sources.

But what will this product be? That's still murky. Will it be based on the Windows Server core? Or be some kind of Windows-Vista-based system? Or more of a package of Vista Ultimate plus some Media Center Extenders, plus a router? Will the Windows Home Server systems be AMD-based? Intel-based?

I've heard from a couple of folks that, contrary to initial belief, Windows Home Server will be a Vista-based system, not a Windows Server-based one.

When Microsoft Server and Tools chief Bob Muglia let it slip in an online chat back in June 2005 that Microsoft was contemplating a "home-server" SKU, he made it seem that it would be Windows-Server-based. Muglia also told chat participants more than a year ago:

"We are always looking for new opportunities where server technology can be leveraged, and the home definitely represents an exciting new area that we are looking at along with many others. Much of the great storage, replication, and management technology would be great in a home," Muglia said. "We have seen many people install Small Business Servers at home, which really works quite well."

Months before Muglia mentioned Microsoft's mullings, blogger Rick "One Man Shouting" Hallihan outlined his suggested feature set for a Windows Home Server product. Such a product "would be a scaled back and customized version of Windows Small Business Server, running on specialized hardware, and it would simplify home networking to the point where everyone could enjoy the benefits of modern network management," Hallihan blogged, back in January, 2005.

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