Tech Review writes about how “a server in your home allows easy storage, retrieval, and backup of your filesat very little cost.”
Ive had a server in my basement since 1995, and frankly, I wouldnt want to live without it. Always running, my server holds my personal files, my music collection, and all of the digital data that Ive been building up over the past 20 years. The server also mirrors the data thats on my two laptops and my two computers at MIT, keeping everything properly synchronized, and it automatically backs itself up. I can also log in remotely and get an important file if I happen to be at a friends house. Its easy to lose your data if you keep it on a single computer. My server gives me automatic redundancyand that safety net has saved me from many data disasters.
The most important program my system runs is the mail server. Like those at a growing number of businesses and universities, my server speaks IMAPthe Internet Message Access Protocol. Unlike the Post Office Protocol (POP) used by most Internet service providers, IMAP keeps all of my mail on the server and downloads a copy of each message only to whatever desktop machine I happen to be using. When I delete a message, that action happens both on my desktop and on the server at the same time. And if Im using my laptop, my mail program remembers all of those actions and transmits them back to the server when its back on the network. This means that the mailboxes on all of my various laptops and desktops are kept perfectly synchronized.
The home server is part of the Always-on World Dana Blankenhorn envisions. This could be an interesting opportunity – to take features from corporate servers and put them on appliances for the home market.