Microsoft Home Server

It is amazing how things have changed over the years in the world of home computing. Computers have become ever more powerful. Dell (and other PC vendors) today sells a desktop for about $600 inclusive of a flat panel monitor, 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. Microsoft Vista requires a minimum of 1GB RAM (this means you better make sure you have at least 2GB!). There was a time when you could not buy a monitor for the same price!

Well, if you thought this was a big change. Enter the next phase — the home sever. Over 10% of the US population has over 4 PCs at home. If both husband and wife are working regular jobs, that usually means two laptops, plus a home computer for general use. One additional computer is not a stretch. This means you have shared internet access, hence a router, plus four computers, all in one home! It is not in the least bit surprising that Microsoft and its hardware partners are launching a home server to handle common tasks like backup, virus protection etc.

While this vision of a home network is a clear extension of the expanding home computing market, it does come at a time when the “Google vision” is one that is based on the concept of remote hosting. All vendors including Microsoft, Google, AOL, Dell and others offer remote storage and other similar services.

This does raise the question about what the best recommended approach might be for home networks. Years after the failed concept of the NetPC, the jury is still out on the best approach, except that it is now being applied to the home PC market. For now, it still looks like the Microsoft vision has the edge/lead until the dust settles on all the Web 2.0 technologies that promise to deliver a host of remote applications all available over the internet.

Perhaps its time for a new breed of independent “home networking consultants or sys admins for the home!” (if they don’t already exist).

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