Home Media Data Center Project: VMC + WHS Combined


[VIDEO]

If you’re the DIY type who likes to build their own HTPC and home media server, you might be interested in what James has created. Basically, he’s combined Windows Vista Media Center and Windows Home Server systems inside one PC enclosure powered by two separate Micro-ATX motherboards. In his setup, James also stashed in an Ethernet hub, two power supplies, and a handful of hard drives to boot Vista and backup his media. All in all, a pretty wild setup as you will see in the attached video. [via]

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the project, but I see this as another example of the need for a combined VMC + WHS product (I’ve been suggesting this since WHS was first introduced – see: here and here). Of course, a stand-alone, low-power, hybrid product would be great, but I also think Microsoft should consider creating a full WHS add-in for Windows Vista that provides users all the functionality of WHS and gives them a way to select and mount additional user installed drives for backup duties. In my opinion this would be more a more elegant solution, but it would also mean you would need to keep your PC on at all times (shouldn’t be a problem if it’s a dedicated machine).

UPDATE 1: It just occurred to me: Has anyone tried running WHS from a virtual machine from within Windows Vista? I did a quick Google search and found this thread. Interesting results…. It seems that if you can find an virtualization app that will allow you to mount your extra internal hard drives (IDE / SATA) and you have a powerful processor, in tandem with a fair amount a memory (i.e. 2 – 4GB), you might be able to get this to all work out of one box.

UPDATE 2: Almost forgot. Doing things the other way around is an option as well. What I’m referring to: SageTV WHS Add-In for TV recording. It would be nice to see Microsoft create a similar WHS add-in for VMC funtionality.

UPDATE 3: New how-to guide using VMware Workstation 6.5 posted December 4, 2008.

Where do you guys stand on the topic?




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Filed in: Digital Media Servers, Entertainment PCs


  • Joe

    I’ve had WHS running on a virtual machine on my x64 Vista Ultimate machine.
    WHS is so light weight it barely touches the procs etc.
    The trick is to get the virtual disk configs right as you are limited to certain VHD file sizes. Though you can create multipul VHD and just add them all together, thus allow WHS to then see “multipul” disks as normal.
    Worked quite well

  • Scott Weaver

    In the video he specifically calls the boards “Micro-ATX.” Article says Mini-ITX. So which is it, Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX?

  • http://www.ehomeupgrade.com Alexander Grundner

    You’re absolutely right. The tutorial and video does say Micro-ATX — for some reason I was thinking Mini.

  • http://www.ehomeupgrade.com Alexander Grundner

    [NEW] How to setup Windows Home Server virtually on Vista Media Center:
    http://neuralfibre.com/paul/it/combining-vista-media-centre-a-virtual-windows-home-server