In the blue cor­ner, Win­dows Server; in the red, an open­source NAS. The only way to see which is best: a fight!


Which is best: Win­dows or an open-source so­lu­tion?

WE’RE RID­ING your eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated machismo as an excuse to look at the pros and cons of us­ing Win­dows as a home server. The demise of the real Win­dows Home Server line in 2011 left a hole in Mi­crosoft’s range, one that Win­dows Server Essen­tials could never quite fill with its small busi­ness re­mit, at a time when, an­noy­ingly, a home server is of more use than ever.

We all have so much dig­i­tal “stuff” that we want to keep, ac­cess, stream, share, and keep safe, that it’s hard to know where to put it. Sure, there are cloud so­lu­tions, but who knows where your data is go­ing to end up be­ing stored? Plus, ac­cess speed is al­ways lim­ited by your up­stream/down­stream speeds. So, while throw­ing stuff up to the cloud is use­ful, there are lim­i­ta­tions and con­cerns with third-party ser­vices.

There’s noth­ing bet­ter than hav­ing real bare-metal in your lo­cal­ity, run­ning ser­vices for high-speed ac­cess and backup, from where it can be pushed over slower con­nec­tions to the cloud if you want. The ques­tion is, is it bet­ter to run Win­dows on your home server box, or is an open-source so­lu­tion prefer­able? We’re here to find out, and ex­plain how to set up your own box.

You know we al­ready know the an­swer, but we’re go­ing to do a fair and bal­anced test. By com­par­ing what an open-source net­work at­tached server OS can ac­com­plish against Mi­crosoft’s Win­dows 10, we can at least play with some­thing in­ter­est­ing and free.

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