We have four laptops and a desktop PC in the house, none of which were backed up regularly, mainly due to the pain involved in managed stacks of DVDs and remembering to run the backups. A home server seemed to be the answer, so an Acer eastStore H340 with 2TB of storage was purchased.
Setup is absolutely simple. Take it out of the box, plug it into the mains and the router, and switch it on. Setup runs automatically with no intervention needed. You then need to install the client software onto each PC. This gives you access to the Windows Home Server console, where you can create an account for each PC. Really simple, and each PC is backed up automatically. The first backup can take a few hours, but subsequent backups take just a few minutes and are run each time a PC is switched on. You'll also get warnings from the server if a PC as no anti-virus or anti-spyware installed.
The next step was to transfer the household's iTunes library to the server. Again, this was very simple, and now everyone can synchronise their iPods/iPhones from their own PCs, but with a single iTunes library.
That just left the DVDs. I've ripped all of our DVDs to the home server, and we can now stream films over the household wifi to any PC with Windows Media Centre. Very handy.
Ripping a large number of DVDs filled up the storage in the server. I bought a 2Tb SATA drive and plugged it into one of the empty drive bays. As the drives are hot-swappable, this can all be done with the server powered-up, and adding the drive to the storage pool was simplicity itself.
One word of warning - if, as I did, you have a look round the forums to find out what people are saying about Windows Home Server, ignore the comments about WHS not supporting RAID. WHS has a proprietary system of drive duplication that means everything is mirrored (unless you switch it off). Just because it isn't strictly RAID, doesn't mean it's no good!
I would recommend a home server to anyone with a household full of PCs and iPods like mine. It makes life much easier!
I was pleasantly surprised with how simple the EasyStore was to set up and get running. In hardly any time at all I had all the PCs and laptops connected to it and it had backed up every computer in the house. Scheduled backups work great, even waking up Sleeping pcs in the night to back them up, very impressive. A single place to put all the households photos and media files is very useful.
It was relatively simple to add new features too by downloading add ons. I get email alerts when thresholds are breached which is very useful for monitoring what's going on. Remote access works a charm, though I had to manually configure port forwarding on my O2 router; a little fiddle but not beyond the whit of man to do.
I would recommend this to anyone!! The Acer Easy store is easy to set up and has added the peace of mind we where looking for with our data. The server runs nearly silently and is small and discrete, it is easy to forget it is there. I would reccomend that you get the model with more than one hard disk installed or at least add one or more once purchases as drive 1 also contains the operating system. Adding a drive is as simple as opening the disk draw and sliding it in We now have a central location to store all our family data which is backed up across multiple disks. The server has already saved us from losing data as a hard drive failed days after installing the server, and with a few clicks and a new hard drive the compueter was back up and running with no loss of data. Also Microsoft give you remote accees via a website so your data is wherever you are
I bought one of these to create a home server to store media files and the like. I was particularly keen on getting something DLNA compliant - meaning it'll let me get at these files through things like my sony bluray player / add and access content remotely via the internet.
It looks great but never worked from the start. From the first moment the server was booted up the red 'i' light on the front came on permanently - indicting a critical hardware failure.
The Windows Home Server software then kept stopping part way through installation - probably because the main drive is faulty and can't install the OS. I spent hours looking through various internet fora trying a find a solution - the consensus seemed to be is that this isnt uncommon and there's nothing that can be done but send it back. Awaiting a replacement from Amazon who, if they live up to their usual performance on the rare occasion such things happen, will be absolutely brilliant in sorting this out.
UPDATE: Amazon amazing as ever. Replacement arrived and on first boot up got red lights on drive 2 and 3 so wouldnt turn on. Turned out the drives werent properly inserted.This seems to be a transit problem as the loaded drives certainly come out if the unit is turned on its side (the cathces are inadequate). Drives reinserted and booted up fine. Started loading windows home server. Dropped out of the installation first time with error messages. Still working to install and get up and running....acer support hopeless as you need to know they classify this as a desktop to get the right unit in the support emails and then you need the product id - which isnt on the unit....