If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll know that the Windows Home Server team recently shipped Release Candidate 1. If you haven’t looked any further than the headlines you may not know that the RC is broadly available. If you didn’t already have access to the beta, you can now head over to Connect and sign up to be on the beta.
If you have some spare time and want to enter the cool Code2Fame competition that’s also going (which doesn’t seem to be restricted to US residents for a change) and don’t know what to write, you may want to grab my idea and code it up.
One of the things I found slightly annoying about the otherwise exceedingly cool storage system in Windows Home Server was that it wrecks havoc with Virtual Machine VHD files.
However, I have installed Virtual Server on Windows Home Server and run a Virtual Machine on a separate drive. This means that I get to use the server for actual work rather than just sitting there as a glorified hard drive. But then how do I back up the Virtual Machine?
The obvious solution is to install the Windows Home Server client on the guest, however if you have a lot of machines on the network this could become problematic as it reduces the precious 10 client limit by one.
Another solution (and my suggestion for the competition) would be to write a Home Server Add-in that works with Virtual Server R2 SP1 that takes advantage of the Volume Shadow Copy Service to take a snapshot of the VHD file while the virtual machine is running and save it to the WHS storage system. You could even take difference snap shots and do differential backups of the VHD periodically.
Please note – this idea has not been validated, but according to my limited understanding of how these things work, it should be possible.
Unfortunately I don’t have time to enter the competition myself, so if you have some time, you might like to take up the challenge of building a Virtual Server add-in for Windows Home Server.
If anyone manages to pull this off, please let me know!