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Windows Home Server | Part 2

Windows Home Server | Part 2

Windows Home Server – A single storage space

The user should not worry about the hard disk management. The storage space is unique and the management of multiple hard drives is transparent. It is possible to add or remove a hard drive without losing data and without having to manage multiple storage spaces. The server treats all drives as a single disk on which the user stores his digital data.

For the most important data, the user can activate an option of duplicating that the server will copy its data to two hard disks are physically different, but the user will realize nothing.

Finally, in case of ill health of a hard disk, the user will be warned and may therefore anticipate a hardware failure.

File sharing and printer

Files

With large storage space and properly managed, sharing and dissemination of files in the home are therefore a simple matter. Again in the interest of simplicity, such sharing is pre configured on the server. By default there are folders dedicated to:

  • Documents;
  • Music;
  • The videos;
  • Photos;
  • Software.

It is obviously possible to add other files from the management console. Access rights are handled when creating the file, using the access permissions according to the user account.

The backup files

To provide a fully reliable, it is possible to backup shared folders on another hard drive. This system is integrated with Windows Home Server since the last day of Aug. 6, 2008 (Power Pack 1).

The user folder

To provide a fully reliable, it is possible to make backups of shared folders on another hard drive. This system is integrated with Windows Home Server since the last day of August 6, 2008 (Power Pack 1).

Remote access

The system includes a secure website through which users can identify is access to several types of information:

  • The shared folders and files: the interface offers multiple views, transfer modes and methods according to the wishes of the user. One button “download” to retrieve or send files to the server. There is also a mode drag and move “managed by an ActiveX control.
  • The console server management: to perform a task on the server from the outside, the management console incorporates all the functionality is available.
  • Their computers: if the user has allowed remote access to his computer, he can take control of your computer, if it is switched on and the server.

This access can be from any computer connected to the Internet.

Printers

Printer sharing allows the home to use only one printer available on all computers in the network.

The streaming media

Another technology developed by Microsoft Media Connect, can distribute throughout your network inside your computer or your Windows Media Center Home Server. This distribution allows computers to read the content server via the home network. Thus, an Xbox 360 can play movies, photos or music from your Home Server on your TV.

Other devices will emerge and will be able to exploit this technology. There are already some DVD players that can play movies, or stereos to play music. With the centralization of digital data on your Windows Home Server, each computer or device will then read the contents of the server within the home.

The hosting and website management

Today, Windows Home Server has a website: one to connect remotely to read the information and data on server. However, it is possible to host other site to manage other information. The site management will be very useful in the case of managing a home automation.

Windows Home Server — Additions / Add-Ins

To open the possibilities of the server, Microsoft has integrated the management of additions to Windows Home Server. These additions can add functionality as easy as possible: energy management, display of additional information about the server, anti virus, web photo album management, streaming music on iTunes …

Specifications – The management console

The Windows Home Server Console has two main purposes:

Establishing the connection:  between the computer and the server to perform backups; and
Administer the server.

Running Backups

The computer backup is done through a process called “BackupEngine.exe” and in 3 steps:

  • Preparation of a backup: Before starting a backup, a countdown begins 5 minutes. During that time, the server lists the last backup. The user is notified of this delay the startup and backup an hour. Backup Reporter enables particular to keep the overall performance of the computer.
  • Analysis of clusters changed: this operation is made “in gross” on the hard disk. It identifies clusters changed since the last backup, and so make a list of files to backup.
  • Reorganization of data on the server: from the list previously compiled, the server prepares for receiving files.
  • Sending data to server: as its name suggests, at this point, the computer sends the server the files recently modified and saved.
  • Backup volume is complete: The server confirms the receipt of data and terminates the operation.

Operation Management Console

To access the management server, Windows Home Server Console allows through technology “Terminal Server” to connect to the server. A screen, organized into several sections allows you to:

  • Managing computers see their backup status (current, overdue, in progress), configure backups (select folders to exclude particular), view the backup history.
  • Managing users: to create and manage users with access to the server.
  • Manage files: to add and manage access rights to the server by users.
  • Manage storage: to add or remove a hard drive and monitor the health of hard drives.
  • Parameters: in order to initiate and manage the server options.

Data Security

A technology called DriveExtender “has been specially designed for Windows Home Server by Microsoft. It consists of:

  • Having a single storage space: the space of storing all the data corresponds to a single hard drive visible from the workstation. This space is unique. When adding a hard drive, it will add capacity to the storage space.
  • Duplication of data: To avoid loss of important data due to hardware failure, for example, the most important issues of the server may be “duplicated”. This is to copy them on two different physical drives. In case of failure of one hard drive, data will automatically be copied to another disk drive.
  • Monitoring: to anticipate and prevent potential failures, Windows Home Server monitors the health of hard drives and warns the user in case of danger.

With this system, Microsoft has created a solution for securing data at a lower price. Indeed, compared to a RAID system, it is important that the data occupy more space, but the rest of the disk storage space is available. Moreover, the addition (or deletion) of a hard drive is easy thanks to assistants whose goal is to simplify the most of these manipulations. Technology S.M.A.R.T. was integrated to monitor the health of hard drives and anticipate a hardware failure.

Continued…

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