Creating your own Home Server

Microsoft released a new version of Windows Home Server, but there are alternatives.

December 19th, 2007 at 9:00am — Comments: (0) — By: Jonathan Danylko — Tags: Network

For those who don't know why you'd need a Home Server, there are a lot of advantages to using a dedicated Home Server.

Since your TV and PC are eventually going to be combined, you may want to get a jump on dedicating a server and building your home's network infrastructure relatively quick so you can work the bugs out now.

Consider what a Home Server provides:

  • A central location for your digital media (photos, video, and music)
  • Secure domain management
  • Automated backup ability
  • Securely log in to your network from a remote location
  • ...and more.

Since your TV and PC are eventually going to be combined, you may want to get a jump on setting up your network infrastructure now.

Microsoft to the Rescue

The good news is that Microsoft released a new version of their server software called Windows Home Server. While I've never played with the Windows Home Server (WHS), it's completely built on Windows Server 2003, but scaled down for the home...not the enterprise.

WHS is perfect for a home office that doesn't want to spend an entire mortgage payment on buying Windows Server 2003/Small Business Edition (Est. $200).

John Brandon of ExtremeTech did a fantastic job of showing techies how to build your own Windows Home Server for around $800.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Linux

However, with that said, there is an alternative to Microsoft. I reported on this earlier here, but I feel it needs repeated for Home Office/Small Business/Freelance users.

There is currently an ongoing group dedicated to making an Ubuntu Home Server (Wiki | LaunchPad). The nice part about this piece of software is that it's FREE.

The Ubuntu Home Server is not available yet, but since Linux is on an upswing, now is a great time for positioning a Ubuntu Home Server to compete with Microsoft.

Personally, I'll be using Linux-based servers (Ubuntu Home Server and DVR) and all of the clients will be Windows-based for my inexperienced users in the house. :-)

Anybody else have a network infrastructure setup in their house? If so, how many PC's do you have?

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Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes doing in his spare time, he answers..."programming."

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