Wed, Oct 3 2007 22:05
The buzz about "Stuff" Server... I mean "Home Server" at SMBnation
At SMBnation we were joking that Windows Home Server needed a better name....because many felt that it wasn't just about a "Home", that it could also go into a SOHO office with Hosted Exchange. That's that perfect fit of a server below SBS that we haven't had a product that was a good fit for.
But I think there's even an additional use of Windows Home Server, side by side with SBS. I think the marketing department would cringe at anyone calling Home Server, "Windows Crap Server" or "Windows Stuff Server" but that's sometimes what we need don't we? A backup place for our "stuff". You know like George Carlin says... we have too much "stuff" even in small firms, even with a SBS server. I'm having to do house cleaning at the server at the office and I'm finding that we don't organize that server well. We have "Stuff" all over the place. And some of it is "stuff" that while it's not business related, I still want to keep it centrally located. And with it being called the "Stuff Server" it would describe the role that I envision it to be.
And then there's the personal "stuff" that ends up on the workstations. We don't keep confidential information on there, but when the managing partner has the grandchildren's photos on the local desktop because he prints out the pictures, I'm not sure those priceless photos that are sitting on a workstation that I'm not backing up are being attended to.
So as a test I set up Windows Home Server, changed the workgroup to the same name as the domain and then used what we do in XP Home when dealing with a domain, just a case of "Pass through authentication" and matched the user names and passwords of the SBS server to set up the usernames and passwords on the "Stuff Server", aka the Windows Home Server.
I then installed the Windows Home server connector "on" the SBS box and forced it to take a backup of the running SBS.
Now I'm not here to advocate using this to backup technology to backup the actual server for real... as the only official backup that is supported by CSS/PSS is ntbackup...but the more I think about Home Server, the more I think it could quite easily be a "Stuff Server" for all the "stuff" that we really shouldn't be placing on the business server...but when you have a small firm you have to realize that "stuff" comes in the network, and in particular on workstations that typically aren't backed up at all.
I mean look at this image..how many small firms end up with itune repositories on the real business server that shouldn't be there in the first place? (And I'm assuming that they are paid for tunes, let's hope shall we?)
And this one..
Are you thinking about what I'm thinking? This is a short cut and view FROM a test SBS box. Now imagine if a a client/workstation was connected to both the SBS box "and" the "Stuff Server" at the same time? The "Stuff Server" picks up it's DHCP from the SBS box, and each workstation can install the Home server software as the connector
From there they can see the "Stuff Server" and be backed up by it.
Yes, that's a SBS box backed up "by" the "Stuff Server". I would have connected a Vista box and gotten all of these screen shots of it talking to the SBS box and the "Stuff server" and backing up it's "stuff" to the "Stuff Server" but in the words of Mark Crall, you'll just have to use your imagination on that one.
That there is the "PFM" of the backup. The process takes a hash value. If the hash of the cluster changes, a new backup of just the changed items is taken. Wayne said that he's got about 500 gigs of data that he can backup in about a 100 gigs because the backups are single instance storage. They look at the hash values. If there's a difference..the backup is made. Kewl huh?
So am I all wacko in my thoughts? That someone can use the "Stuff" server for all the business' stuff that really doesn't belong on the SBS box, and then in addition be the backup NAS device of the desktops to ensure that the desktops are just as protected as our SBS server is?
What do you think?
P.S. read more about Windows Home server here... http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/6/8/368DF7AB-24BD-4E0E-834E-19A235170C0C/WindowsHomeServerReviewersGuide.pdf
P.P.S...these are not my original thoughts BTW... there were lots of folks at SMBnation thinkin' the same thing I was...both in terms of the SOHO server and as a side server to the SBS network.
Filed under: smbnation, Home Server