Windows Home Server (Part 1)

Given the pervasiveness of PCs and Macs in the home, and given the personal or professional value of information stored on those devices, implementing a disaster recovery strategy for home or small business computing is essential. A disaster recovery strategy is a requirement for businesses of all sizes, so I’ll really discuss Windows Home Server (WHS) from a home perspective.
I implemented WHS and it has been operational for over 6 months now and has functioned as desired from day 1. I specifically implemented the HP MediaSmart Server EX487, but there are many ways to implement WHS. The WHS solution (software and hardware combined) becomes an appliance which automatically backs up and protects the content of up to 10 PCs or Macs. This can include all data on a PC or subset as defined by the user. Content can be further categorized and managed along the lines of digital photos, music and video, which can be centralized and shared with family and friends. I mention Macs since WHS provides for Apple Time Machine integration and this works acceptably, although not identically to how it works for PCs. I would not recommend WHS if the entire population of devices were Macs, but if 2 in 7 (as in my case) is a Mac versus a PC, this one solution works extremely well.
The core capability with WHS is to automatically, based on a user defined schedule, back up the content of connected devices to the appliance. Once WHS and the PCs are connected, backups happen automatically and WHS reports back system status, signaling if everything is working as planned or if user intervention is required. In my own environment, WHS is implemented across a wireless network and is physically separated from the rest of my PCs to allow for even some more data security in the event of some spot disaster. The benefit of the solution is that in the event of a disk failure, full recovery can be made to the last time a backup was performed.

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