i've finished building my windows home server and it has backed up all of my machines for about five days. so far, i'm pleased with the simplicity. over the years, i've use a lot of different backup methods -- travan tapes, dat, cds, dvds, usb hard drives, etc... -- this is a definite improvement.
i decided to build my own due to the fact that there didn't seem to be many rackmount options and the form factor is important to me.
i think that i'm done with "towers". laptops and rackmount servers are the way to go as far as i'm concerned.
you either want to take a laptop with you for portability sake, or you want something that is rock solid that performs the task assigned reliably over a multiple year span. since it is currently too difficult to swap components in laptops, this means traditional machines. rackmount computers seem to be more efficient space-wise.
the laptop is going to break at some point...or be stolen...or otherwise betray you in a harsh and uncompromising manner. the important stuff is not tied to the device though, which is where windows home server comes in. if your portable dies, in theory, you are able to restore it to the previous day's state by doing a restore.
in practice, i have not yet had to do this but it's nice to know that i might have the option.
there are a couple of things about home server that are a bit rough around the edges because it's a first generation product. still, it has great promise. hopefully, for now, my digital work is a tiny bit safer.
the first obvious things to create as plug-ins for home server:
- remote backup (possibly covered by jungledisk)
- personal website (hopefully with full asp.net support -- the closest thing yet: whiist)
- multimedia streaming (as an additional tab in the remote access web interface)
- automated podcast download utility
- some way to have exceptions for the backup time (i.e. my laptop is only connected to the network during certain times and i would like it to have preferential backup treatment during those times to make sure it can cut in line)