Microsoft today announced Power Pack 1 for Windows Home Server (WHS). The term “Power Pack” is a new one for Microsoft, but the WHS team is using it for an important reason; unlike the typical Service Packs released from the company, this update adds major new features.
As I reviewed the initial release of Windows Home Server, I noted the lack of Media Center integration, especially noting that the product still did not remove the push to run Orb on your client PC (or, if you like burning money, Slingbox). In short, the product lacked the ability to stream TV remotely to phones and other devices. In addition, WHS couldn’t backup Windows x64 systems, including Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and all 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.
Power Pack 1 will address both of those problems. The update includes WebGuide technology, which Microsoft acquired last year. WebGuide is a competitor to Orb that focused on streaming data. This will be combined with the existing remote file access infastructure. Also, the Windows Home Server Connector software will be updated to support all versions of Windows XP and Vista, including 64-bit versions.
Finally, the update will add a Wizard to making a remote copy of the Windows Home Server’s storage. While WHS stores files on multiple drives, to protect files from the failure of any single hard drive… the WHS unit is not protected against catastrophic failure (or theft/loss) of the entire system. This wizard will automate the process of connecting an external hard drive, and transferring all files on the WHS’s shared storage to that single drive (or, presumably, break it up onto multiple drives). The WHS owner can then store those drives off-site for added protection.