Right on schedule, Microsoft announced that its Windows Home Server software is off to the presses. This clears the way for HP, Gateway, LaCie, Medion, and now Iomega and Fujitsu Siemens, (both also announced today, the latter in Europe only) to begin selling their Home Server-powered hardware later this quarter.
If you're unfamiliar, Windows Home Server is Microsoft's attempt to solve the growing problem of fragmented media collections. Through an easy-to-use interface, you can organize and manage access to your media files (or any other kind of data) from one centralized location, rather than having to look through multiple PCs for your various photos, music files, and videos. Windows Home Server even has a Web-based client that will give you full read and write capability from any PC connected to the Internet.
Under Microsoft's current plan, it won't be selling Windows Home Server as a standalone software product. Instead, you need to purchase a full-blown server from one of Microsoft's previously mentioned hardware partners. The good news is that the hardware requirements for Windows Home Server are relatively modest. All you really need is a hard drive and the basic guts of a PC. The servers don't even need mice or keyboards. Unless you really load up on hard drive storage, we don't expect prices of the Home Server-equipped hardware to jump beyond that of a basic home desktop.