The Ideal Home Server
I’ve written about having a server at home before, but I’d like to re-evaluate my thoughts on it. I had a quick little Twitter conversation with Mark last night, and felt I should write a bigger blog post a bout my thoughts. Here is my current home network scenario:
I have a Vista based Media Center in the closet recording TV and an XBOX 360 running as an extender to serve it back up to the family room. The XBOX is very loud, but isn’t too big of a deal when video/music is playing.
Our backup system pretty much sucks right now. It consists of burning stuff to DVD-R’s, whenever I remember to do so. I realized last night that I hadn’t done so in a few months and had about 10 gigabytes of photos not backed up. That is really not good.
So, I’ve been looking at improving our backup solution. We’re probably going to end up getting an HP Media Vault, but I considered a few other options as well.
Microsoft released a Home Server product not too long ago, and by all accounts, it looks to be pretty good. It does backups very well, and serves all the standard media types out to clients. But it just doesn’t do enough for me. Here’s what I would consider to be a bunch of killer features:
- The current backup system is good. Maybe as an added cost allow for online backup over the Internet as well. Kind of like amazon S3, but geared towards home users. Or Mozy integration.
- Time Machine like UI. I personally think the whole “space” thing in Time Machine is pretty silly, but the concept is good. Windows actually has the functionality already (before Apple even), but the UI is poor.
- User management. All I would really like is syncing usernames and passwords across different pc’s, and maybe some parental controls. Call it Active Directory Lite.
- Media Center integration. I would love to be able to consolidate all my extra computers into one box. So this would have a tuner built in and record to its local drives. It would need all the necessary ports to connect it to a home theater.
- Quiet and cool. If this is out by the TV, then it can’t be XBOX loud, and since it will be on all the time, it shouldn’t be an energy hog. If the new Atom CPU can do HD video, it would be perfect.
I realize most of these are rather pie-in-the-sky, but if something like that were squeezed into the form factor of the HP MediaSmart, then I would be all over it. Some of these things may be in the next version of Home Server, so I am eagerly anticipating it.