Windows Home Server was designed to use external hard disk drives as additional server storage. One of the primary goals of Drive Extender™ was to enable people to reuse any existing hard drives for more space on their home servers. The paradigm is a little different than what people are used to doing with external hard drives - with Windows Home Server you plug them in and leave them attached to your home server until you tell your home server that you want to remove them.
There are two things you need to remember:
If you unplug an external hard drive prior to telling Windows Home Server that you want it removed, the health of your home server will turn red (critical) and your home server will report the hard drive as 'Missing'. If this happens, the best thing to do is plug the hard drive back in and tell your home server to 'Remove' it via the Windows Home Server Console or just leave it plugged in ...
I saw a home server the other day with 8 external hard drives of varying sizes from 80 GB to 750 GB attached to it. The owner affectionally called it "The Octopus".
Some of the team was in New York City this week, demonstrating and explaining Home Server to consumer press. We outfitted a beautiful apartment in Greenwich Village with Home Server, Vista PCs, Xbox, Zune players, plasma TVs, etc. and showcased the product in family scenarios, e.g. mom and dad's home office, the teen in the media/living room, even "grandma" remotely accessing pictures and home video. We had images of our own families streaming to the Xbox and big screen, in order to drive home the family story. The idea was to show Home Server in its natural environs, and I think we succeeded. We also fed them a lot of good food :)
It was a great event and a lot of fun to show Home Server to journalists who really understand and write for our target market of families. The majority absolutely agreed that the timing is right for a solution like this. And while they write for magazines like Martha Stewart Living or Family Circle, many of them know their tech! There were some lively discussions around security and data replication. Many noted the event was not a typical corporate event, too, which is always nice to hear. Most of these press work on long publishing cycles, so we're looking forward to seeing the resulting articles in the coming months. Wilson Rothman from Gizmodo was there and posted some of his learnings.
Thanks for all of the great feedback on the Broadband Conundrum post. I learned a lot about the variety of offerings from around the world. Feel free to keep the feedback coming ...
Valeri Liborski and Sasha Dadiomov, two members of the Windows Home Server team, did a Channel 9 video in Russian. Check it out at: http://www.gotdotnet.ru/Channel9/443542.aspx We have 290 beta testers in Russia, and I just wanted to thank them for submitting some interesting bugs and fabulous suggestions / feature requests.
Also, Ed Bott, just posted a review of the CTP (Community Technology Preview) build on his web site, entitled "Microsoft hits a home run with Windows Home Server". Check it out at: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=244 Or if you like cricket better than baseball, I guess this could be entitled "Microsoft gets a 6 with Windows Home Server" - but that would probably confuse people that don't know anything about cricket, and would assume that we were using a 10 point scale.