Home Servers to reach 4.5 million households by 2012

In a soon-to-be-published research report, Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder figures that home servers (not just those running Microsoft’s home server product) will reach 4.5 million households by 2012. That’s up from just 190,000 such servers last year.

Gownder said “That’s a pretty good growth rate,” , though he added that “it’s still a niche product, at that point,” with his forecast representing home servers in only about 3 percent of American homes five years from now.

He said the rise in multiple-PC homes, the increase of broadband, and the fact that people now store their music and photos on computers creates the necessary conditions for a home server to be practical. “We really are at a point in history where a home server might actually make sense,” Gownder said.

But, he said, it’s still a tough sell. Most people don’t know what a server is. And even those who do have an understanding of servers from work may not have such a favorable impression. “They know that it goes down sometimes,” Gownder said. “They know that it causes problems for them.”

The one thing that could speed up the slow path to the mainstream, Gownder said, is if a cable company or other TV provider chose to deploy home servers as part of their service. That concept is not so far-fetched, given the fact that providers are having a tough time keeping up with on-demand TV requirements as content shifts to high definition. Such an approach could lead to growth 10 times what Gownder has forecast.

Microsoft’s Steven VanRoekel said the product’s sales have exceeded the company’s expectations.”It’s tens of thousands,” VanRoekel said, “which in a month and a half is good.”

One area that Microsoft may look at to boost the popularity of the Home Server is having the software work better in households that have both Macs and Windows PCs and that’s something we are taking a close look at, VanRoekel said.

More details from CNET News.com

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  1. Sunny says:

    Always interesting to see predictions, but that assumes everything planned is going to workout as expected. Ask yourself how often does that actually happen in real life?

    Most individuals who use a computer to store and playback media don’t need a home server to do that.

    The server is mostly for a centralized always available storage solution, but given the lack of streaming media support, especially for High Definition like Blue-ray 1080p over a wireless connectivity solution, and for the FACT both the MPAA and the RIAA only demand DRM streaming solutions, and ISP’s blocking with data filters your RDP, upstreaming media does suggest a need to overcome these encumbrances first.

  2. Bollmann says:

    Since WHS has no wireless connectivity being offered, it forces WHS to become only a centralized storage solution.

    However, NAS solution should be offering MESH networking solutions that provide higher bandwidth throughput wireless connectivity so end users can share between everyone without focusing on just an individual device…

    Meraki Networks Inc., has been providing wireless Internet service using MESH networking in San Francisco for FREE. See article:


  3. Kurt Schumacher says:

    What a pity WHS doesn’t offer Mesh Networking topology such as used by the XO laptop despite Microsoft’s article on Mesh networking: http://www.research.microsoft.com/mesh

    WHS should incorporate community mesh networking topology without an doubt.

    However, just like the RIAA and MPAA hindrance, we can add SBC, Comcast and AT&T Internet Service Provides to the list!

    That’s because they view community-based multi-hop wireless networks as disruptive to their current broadband Internet access paradigm. Meaning, they don’t want anyone to share between each other, as it doesn’t follow the traditional capitalistic income producing source of revenues within their market monopolies.

    So instead of allowing innovation, ideals of free speech and expression derived by their own culture to be improved and redistributed by those who may be more qualified than the original author, works are restricted in the name of monetary profit by content distributors!!!

    The technical term for this is “rent-seeking,” meaning special-interest coalitions who pressure the government to transfer wealth to them. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, the No Electronic Theft Act, etc…

  4. Thanks for your comments guys.

  5. Brian says:

    I’ve been running a home server of some sort for about 5 years now, and I wouldn’t know what to do without it these days. All my music and photos, and pretty much any other file that isn’t specifically needed on any one particular computer is on the server. Of course my servers have nearly always run Linux as opposed to any OS from Microsoft. WHS came close to being my current server solution, but it didn’t have good backup integration with the Mac and Linux systems in the house, so I went with Ubuntu. If better Mac support gets added in, I may have to give WHS another go and see if it can do better than my current system. And with the growing number of Macs out there (and the total lack of a comparable product from Apple) a solution for backing up a Mac to WHS would make the product that much more appealing to the masses.

  6. Pete says:

    Then HP’d better start releasing their stuff to the rest of Europe soon.

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