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Is Windows Home Server compelling enough over free NAS OS's?

Is Windows Home Server compelling enough over free NAS OS's?

Has anyone out there run Windows Home Server for a while? I'm building a NAS box and I'm wondering if its features are compelling enough to warrant purchasing rather than the open source alternatives (ie, FreeNAS, OpenFiler)

Asked by: Guest | Views: 52
Total answers/comments: 3
Guest [Entry]

"I've been using WHS for over a year now, having first built a WHS server for my parents, before building one for myself.

The first benefit of WHS for me has been the automated backup of PCs joined to the server. Shortly after I built my server, the hard drive in my old Vista x64 box gave up the ghost completely. All it took to get it back was putting in a new hard drive, booting off the WHS recovery disk, supplying credentials to the WHS and then waiting for it to restore over the network.

As mentioned by David Frautnick, there is a growing community of developers creating new add-ins for WHS, for a good listing of the wide range of add-ins and other WHS related topics, have a look at We Got Served

Another benefit I completely forgot about is that any music/photos/videos you put in the shared folders are accessible from DLNA clients, i.e. networked AV receivers - means you don't need a computer in the living room to listen to your music stored on your server.

And another thing, with a WHS server, you can also sign up for a .homeserver.com subdomain via which you can remotely access your home server and remotely control any PCs connected to the WHS server (if they're on of course)."
Guest [Entry]

"I'm running WHS specifically for the automatic backup. I haven't seen another solution that is smart enough to back up files once that exist on multiple machines. I have a 1TB drive backing up six computers, which is pretty near capacity so I'm not able to do much in the way of shared files, but it's easier to remember that shared documents are on the server instead of trying to remember which shared docs folder on which computer has the file I need.

I've restored computers using WHS twice now. The first time was not fun (had to isolate the workstation and server on their own dedicated network with a spare router), but the second time worked like a charm. In one hour I was back up and running."
Guest [Entry]

I've been running both FreeNAS and WHS (the 2003 version) for some time now. I would strongly advise against WHS for new customers, as Microsoft has removed the most compelling features, the ability to seamlessly add storage at any time, and the automated data duplication. If you need a remote access gateway to your home PCs, then get the least-expensive WHS box you can. For everything else, FreeNAS is going to serve you well (including shared documents; how hard can it be to set up your documents folder to \freenasserver\shares\documents after all, if you know how to build a network?).