Beyond backup, Windows Home Server devices also act as centralized storage for your business commonly accessed files. Before, we had to remember which PC a file was on, said Doug. Now, we know its on the server.
Windows Home Server devices are designed to be expandable, to grow as your business does. For example, HPs MediaSmart Server comes in both 500GB and 1-terabyte versions, with available internal drive bays to add even more capacity. Velocity Micros NetMagix HQ accommodates up to 4 terabytes of storage.
Unlike most traditional NAS drives, Windows Home Server also allows for remote access to files stored on the device. All you need is a Windows Live Internet address and log-on (which you set up during installation of the device), and you can access your Windows Home Server from any PC with Internet access. In addition to file access, you can also access the PCs on your network as if you were sitting in front of them.
This makes a Windows Home Server device ideal if you travel frequently (no more panicking in the hotel room if youve forgotten a critical file) or have employees who work remotely.
Doug Jacobson has used the remote-access capability to his advantage, too. I was at a potential clients site, showing them my Web site work, he recounted. The prospect asked if Doug had any experience with digital scrapbooking, since that was a direction the firm was considering. I hadnt brought any of those files with me, but I was able to log onto my Windows Home Server and retrieve them, he said.
And true to its name, Windows Home Server also has potential for non-business activities. For example, you can set up a directory for your personal files (such as photos) that you want family and friends to be able to access. And if you have an Xbox 360, you can use the game console to access media files stored on a Windows Home Server, and play them back on the TV system the Xbox is attached to.All this functionality doesnt come cheap. The HP MediaSmart Server series street price comes in at $550 to $600 for the 500GB version and $700 to $800 for the 1TB version. Velocity Micro offers its version starting at $999. Thats pricier than a traditional NAS box, but with Windows Home Servers automated backup, remote-access, and media-streaming abilities, you are also getting a lot more functionality. So if your business has several PCs and no defined way to back up data and share files, the Windows Home Server platform could be the answer.
This article was first published on Small Business Computing.