The launch of Windows Home Server (WHS) has opened the floodgates on a wide range of new storage appliances but the Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Home Server has to take the biscuit for sheer size. This mighty great slab of black plastic is similar in dimensions to a compact desktop PC and comes out fighting at a hefty 8.4kgs.
Nevertheless, if you want a WHS appliance in the home that simply can't be overlooked then this is the one for you. Build quality is to the same high standard we've seen with this manufacturer's servers and workstations and design looks good as well with the chassis sporting a smart steel mesh waistband that functions admirably as an air grill.
The reason for the Scaleo's size becomes apparent when you undo the two thumbscrews at the back and slide off the top cover. Underneath is a large tray and the 1900 model on review has a pair of 500GB Seagate Barracuda SATA hard disks with room for two more. Fitting extra drives is simple enough as the vacant trays are fixed to a bracket that swings up for easy access, with power and SATA cables ready and waiting inside.
The Scaleo sports a 1.6GHz Celeron 420 processor, 512MB of DDR2 memory and a 256MB IDE Flash module. A Gigabit Ethernet port is provided at the rear and you also get pairs of USB 2.0 ports fore and aft and a couple of eSATA ports as well. The chassis is equipped with two main cooling fans with another smaller one for the power supply, and after the initial power up phase they settled down and were almost inaudible.
WHS is not designed to be managed with a web browser so you start at your first network client and run the CD-ROM based setup utility. This takes you through naming the appliance and providing an administrative password which must contain at least three choices from uppercase or lowercase characters, numbers or symbols. Don't lose this password otherwise you'll have to run the appliance recovery procedure and start from scratch again.
Installation is only carried out once on the first client. Subsequent clients are asked for the server's password and the install process loads the server console and automatically configures the backup facility to run daily between midnight and 06:00am and copy the entire contents of all available volumes. Rather than allow you to select specific folders on each client for backup it will only let you create an exclusion list.