Windows Home Server was designed for consumers and home-based businesses. In our recent customer satisfaction survey conducted in North America and Europe, we discovered that 25% of the early purchasers of Windows Home Server are running a business out of their home.
This led me to do a little digging into the home-based business market to understand a little more about it, so I thought I would share some of the high-level facts about USA home-based businesses that I learned from recent research studies conducted by AMI Partners.
Windows Home Server is helping home-based businesses automatically backup their PCs every day, provides a central and secure place to store files so that you can access them from any PC within the home, or while away from the home-based business with the built-in remote access capabilities.
Been researching the very small (one or two people) businesses here in England over the last few weeks, and there is a noticeable pick-up in interest for WHS once it's explained.
The 'WHS' name detracts, but the offered functions hit the spot.
My small business has 3 employees working from home offices. We use Office Live Small Business (for website, email and sharepoint), MS Office (for Outlook, Word, etc) and have been dabbling with Office Workspace/SkyDrive/Live Mesh and Live Messenger as other tools we will likely use in the future.
Windows Home Server at our company's backup solution, file server and PBX system.
Without a doubt WHS delivers tremendous value to todays small businesses. To continue, the WHS Team would be well advised to figure how WHS can plug-in and add value in a Office Live world.
Two thoughts on what WHS team could do to keep the product relevant to small/home business needs once Office Live really takes off this year.
1. Make sure Windows Home Server offers Live Mesh "server" capabilities. In other words, make it do something that the standard desktop/mobile client doesn't support nor makes sense do at the desktop/mobile level.
2. Get ResponsePoint team to offer their partners an integrated WHS/ResponsePoint solution. Enhance Office Communicator so that it can place/receive calls via ResponsePoint. And enhance WHS to support remote Office Communicator intiated calls.
perhaps a better term to describe this market segment is the micro-business segment, characterized by businesses with say 1-10 employees. Some of these businesses are operated out of a home, for sure, but others are not. Furthermore, they often make use of so-called telepresence capabilities for the company employees in order to minimize the amount of office real estate that they have to rent/maintain. Hence a first class cost-effective VOIP PBX solution that supports remote users is imperative for this market segment.
It would be really smart for Microsoft to Release its Responsepoint VOIP PBX software image to allow it to be installed/run on WHS to be used in this way. Some time ago I looked into running Asterisk on a Linux guest hosted on WHS.
I know of at least one WHS power user, Pepe Gonzalez, who has successfully installed and run Trixbox, one of several Linux/Asterisk based VOIP PBX's as a VM on a beefed up WHS system. Here for those interested is the url to the description of what that WHS user did:
jholmblad, I'm using 3CX's Windows based IP PBX solution. Works great. If you want to try it out, they offer a free version limited to 4 simultaneous calls and minus commercial features. I completely agree with you regarding the benefit and market opportunity with ResponsePoint.
For WHS to be truly useful at this level, some ability to back up the server is needed. I hope the WHS team are working on this.
With MS surpassing the 100,000,000 mark in SharePoint license sales in 2008, how long will it be before this stellar app is supported in Windows Home Server? It seems like a killer app for an OS that has really found a niche with the SOHO demographic; a natural fit if ever there was one. Like everyone else, I can google: I know how to do it. But the official silence from Microsoft is deafening. What's the scoop?