The end of the road for Windows Home Server

18457Microsoft announced today its plans for Windows Server 2012, announcing four editions, and our old friend Windows Home Server did not make the cut.  The editions, Windows Server 2012 Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, and Foundation, are a much simpler set of options than previous Windows Server offerings, but among the products left out of the mix is Windows Home Server.

We Got Served, an enthusiasts site for Windows Home Server, notes the official announcement, “buried in a FAQ datasheet”:

Q: Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?

A: No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.

Q: How long will customers be able to purchase Windows Home Server 2011?
A: Windows Home Server 2011 will remain available as an OEM embedded product until December 31, 2025, and will remain available in all other current channels until December 31, 2013.

As We Got Served notes, much of the functionality of Windows Home Server has been absorbed into Windows 8 itself, making the product somewhat redundant:

Going forward, whilst there may no longer be a dedicated Windows Home Server product, much of the platform’s intent has been subsumed into Windows 8 development. On the client side, improvements in backup and restore and new storage pooling functionality via Storage Spaces owe much to Windows Home Server – in spirit, if not in architecture. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is set to retain the easy dashboard management UI we saw in Windows Home Server, and Storage Spaces appears too  – although future migration to that product by Windows Home Server community will  undoubtedly be highly dependent on price point. Windows Home Server 2011 is currently listed at Newegg at $49.99 – a sizeable distance from the $425 Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

We won’t go into the whole history of Windows Home Server, We Got Served does a good job of that, but we will be a little sad to see it go, although it will continue to run happily along in the attic, here, as it has done for years.

Are you running Windows Home Server?  Has “the cloud”, and the improvements coming in Windows 8, made Home Server obsolete?  Or, do you feel there’s still a need for a dedicated home server product at an attractive price?