Thanks to @maryjofoley for the heads-up this morning, I got a scoop that was bigger than Apple's "Party like it's 2005" launch of the iBezel iFrame iPad. Windows Home Server, codename "Vail" CTP4 has been leaked to teh intertubes. I have installed the bits, and I can relay with certainty what you can expect, based on my initial experiences.
- Built on the RTM bits of Windows Server 2008 R2.
- Will come in 2 flavors, HOMESTANDARD and HOMEPREMIUM
- Requires an x64 Processor.
- Requires a minimum of 160GB primary hard drive.
- Server "Desktop Experience" is installed OOB (meaning Aero, Media, etc).
- Built-In HomeGroup Support (unlike WS2008 R2)
- WHS Console is now the "Dashboard", and has a cleaner Add-In model (all pages are now AddIns).
- There will be an online catalog for add-ins hosted by Microsoft.
- While there is a "Recorded TV" option in the folders, there does not presently appear to be deeper media integration. That may come in later builds.
- It *appears* that WHS now backs itself up.
All this is pretty exciting, but it is readily apparent that this is still a work in progress. Many items are still marked "Not yet implemented". My installation was also a bit wonky, so here are some things you need to know.
- Presently, it appears that the setup process DOES NOT like you changing the name from the default "SERVER". If you already have a WHS box with "SERVER" on your network, I would recommend you turn your existing WHS box off while testing, and then shut your test box down while running your live WHS.
- After you restart a couple times, you'll be greeted with a yellow ASP.NET error screen. Hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, select Task Manager, right click on the only open application and select "Minimize". Then, right click your network connection and select "Troubleshoot". Once the connection is fixed, click on the Setup app in the taskbar, right click the error, and select Refresh. The install should then proceed properly. It will trigger another restart, and then you'll have to do this at least one more time.
Based on everything I've seen, WHS v2 will be one of the most exciting releases to come out of Microsoft in a while. I'm going to keep playing with it, and report back anything else I find. Oh yeah, and see my screenshot gallery here (see below for a couple highlights).