I have decided that the time has come to buy myself a new toy. My first inclination was to buy a Windows Home Server from HP. I did some research into the options available and regardless of the noise the product is reported to make I was still keen on it. You see I was using WHS a few months ago through the Microsoft Connect Program and I loved it. Great backup, easy to access from any location and very stable.
However I've changed my mind. Why? Well it's quite simple and it's nothing to do with HP or WHS itself. It's all to do with Microsoft's lack of an integrated future. You see I've got Office Live Workspace, Live Spaces, Live Mail, Skydrive, Live Mesh, Vista, XP and Windows Mobile 5 and I have absolutely no idea how it all connects together. Obviously I know that I can save to Skydrive or setup Mesh on Vista and XP but where does WHS fit into all this. Surely there are some obvious over laps between Mesh and WHS and with no ability to map Skydrive onto Mesh, WHS, Vista or XP it's very hard to see the point. I now fully understand the problem people are having when it comes to waiting for Windows 7. I'm thinking the same about WHS. I think, well if I wait for version 2 maybe it'll have better integration with the new services and therefore be more appealing. It's not that it's not an amazing product at the moment, because it is, it's just that Microsoft don't seem to have a clue how to present an integrated environment to the users and this is starting to confiuse us. Apple present new services like Mobile Me, with it's support for Windows, Mac and iPhone it immediately show us what we can do. Microsoft just don't seem to be able to do the same. Why?
So what are we looking for? Well I'm looking for a WHS that stores my big files and backups along with the remote access and basically everything it's offering at the moment. All I really want added is an integration with Mesh, some Media Server capabilities, the ability to map Skydrive as an external drive and perhaps the ability to wake the server over Mesh when I need to. Offer these servcies and I'll buy it without hesitation. Oh and one other thing....integrate it with Mac. Apple are a company that can no longer be ignored. I love Windows but I'm writing this on a Mac. I'll buy into anything Microsoft offers if they can give it to me cross-platform.
What do you guys think? Do the Redmond guys need to start offering cross platform services and better integration or is the current setup working for you?