Windows Home Server Marketing Challenge

I’ve been thinking a lot about how big of a splash Windows Home Server is going to make whenever it makes it to market.  One interesting challenge that the WHS team faces is that its core function, if it’s done properly, is effectively invisible.  It’s true that it is very visible when you need it, but these times are few and far between.

Now WHS has other goals and other features.  The “Access all your files from anywhere” model is pretty cool.  Right now I’ve got it set up using DynDNS (pretty easy but not very consumer friendly), but it looks like by release time there’s going to be some sort of integration with Live Domains, so that this will be a simple set up.  Even this functionality can fade into the background though.  Honestly, since I set this up, I used it a couple of times, just to play around with it, but I haven’t actually needed that remote access.

Now there’s a ton of 3rd party concepts that I’m psyched about.  Home automation integration could be pretty cool, but probably limited to a small niche for DIY types.  If they can partner with ADT or something and get WHS slated as an option when a security system is installed, that would be sweet.

Hopefully the 3rd party market really heats up this space.  It looks like the SDK is going to finally see light in early April.  It’ll be great to finally see exactly how open the platform is to extension.

In the end, I think that WHS is going to be successful not so much as a product, but rather as a platform.  As a product it’s going to be adopted by enthusiasts, people with home-based businesses, and people who have been bitten by the lack of an executed backup strategy.  But as these folks bring WHS into their homes, and the third party solutions start to take off, I can see lots of compelling software products coming on-line so that the masses will want their own Windows Home Server.

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