I’ve been using Microsoft Windows Home Server since the beta test, and while I’m not normally a raving fan of any software by Microsoft, I love this thing. It’s designed to be very user-friendly, and while it is very easy to use for a server, I wouldn’t give it to my grandma to try out. I consider my self to be pretty tech-savvy, but I did have some problems setting some stuff up.
That aside, it’s a wonderful piece of software, and I’d recommend it to anybody. It’s a great backup solution, automatically backing up all of the computers on your network every night, and allowing a simple recover feature in case something happens, completely restoring any PC on the network. It has some great plugins to use as well – Webguide is my favorite. Webguide was so popular that MS themselves picked up the project and made it free.
On to my point…the problem with Windows Home Server (WHS) is that it’s expensive. The system builder software is good for those who have a spare PC to run it on or can just build a new PC. The software alone is
$160 now $50, then add the price of the hardware. Even better though, you can buy an HP Mediasmart Home Server for about $750. It comes with 1TB (1000GB) of storage space, and is built with WHS in mind. It’s a great option, but way too expensive for most people.
The good folks at MSWHS blog introduced me to Amahi HDA – a free linux-based home server software with many of the features of WHS. Amahi offers:
- Shared network storage
- Network Backups
- Printer server
- Remote access
You can use a spare computer with at least a 800MHz processor and 512MB RAM or they can send you a desktop box pre-configured as an HDA with a Pentium III 800MHz processor with 256MB of memory and a 20GB disk for FREE (-shipping). A Power user option is available with a PC using an AMD Opteron 244 chip running at 1.8GHz with 2GB of memory and a choice of hard disk, all in a black desktop workstation case for a very low cost.
Sounds like a damn good deal to me. Keep in mind this isn’t going to be as user-friendly as WHS, but that’s what to expect when it’s free (or cheap if you buy the systems they offer.)
I have 3 total invites available for the Beta. Please leave a comment below if you want an invite.