What will $425 buy you when it comes to home storage options? Well, lets take a look.
Windows Home Server v1
A search on ebay.com for "MediaSmart Server" yields some interesting results. Anywhere from $1 to several hundred dollars. All well within our budget of $425. Should I hang on to those extra MSS boxes I have laying around?
Windows Home Server 2011
On newegg.com for $50 and well within our budget! It even leaves us a few dollars for hard drives but you need something to put it all into. It "should" be available until the end of 2013 so it's safe to assume any major flaw or security issue would be addressed up until then. The embedded channel gets access to sell it until 2025! Geez, what will we be storing in 2025? I'm pretty sure I won't be using WHS 2011 and OEM's won't be either.
A NAS device
This one is easy. There are a ton of choices when it comes to a stand alone NAS device. My personal favorite is the Synology DS 212+. It comes in at $379 but without hard drives and it only holds two. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108092 This is a great choice if you don't have a massive amount of storage needs. They sell other units that hold more drives but not within our $425 budget.
Drobo also has a an option that comes in under $425 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822240010 This 4 bay is only USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 though. No drives either. There are other options if you have more Drobo Dollars to spend.
You can get 6 of these.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233272 That's 384 gig of storage.
Oh yeah, Windows 8! What about that $39.99 upgrade to that old copy of XP you have laying around? Storage Spaces anyone?
Windows Server 2012 Essentials
On budget at exactly $425. Well, that's the MS price as of today. All of this banter above leads to the decision below.
Microsoft has cleaned house a little bit today by consolidating SKU's and eliminating any future of "Home" in it's server line. Most saw this as an inevitable future for the product even though it certainly wasn't palatable. Essentials 2012 will be a viable option for enthusiats especially the Technet toting enthusiasts. For everyone else it's a steep price to pay and we can only hope that it will be discounted in the future but even at, lets say $300, it's pricey.
SBS'r, what are you going to do? I run my home on WHS but there are a ton of you that make a living on SBS.
So there you have it. Somewhere "up there," or maybe it's "down there," the Zune, Drive Extender, MediaCenter, and a slew of other MS products await you Windows Home Server. Walk away quietly and with your head up but don't look back. Join your friends.