Windows Phone 7 Connector RC Enables Server Access
Microsoft this week announced the availability of a release candidate (RC) version of its Windows Phone 7 Connector for remotely managing and accessing Windows home and small business servers.
The "Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector Add-in" RC allows Windows Phone 7 users to perform a number of remote server management tasks and to stream some media files from the server to the phone. For instance, server alerts can be set up to display on the phone, and actions can be performed that are associated with those alerts. The phone can be set up to manage server user accounts or to change passwords. User backup status can be displayed as well.
In addition, music without Digital Rights Management protections can be streamed to the phone, along with videos that use codecs supported by Windows Phone 7. Pictures stored on the server can be accessed on the phone, or users can take photos with their phones and upload them to the server.
The RC version of the Windows Phone 7 Connector add-in is intended for testing purposes only. Microsoft doesn't recommend using it in production environments. It's being offered as a free server-side add-in that will work with Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. It does not work with Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard edition, according to an IT pro forum post.
The first step is to install the server add-in, which can be downloaded via the Microsoft Connect portal for Windows Home Servers 2011 here (it requires Windows Live sign-up). Next, a Windows Phone 7 Connector app needs to be installed and linked via the Windows Phone Marketplace portal page. Microsoft describes this process at its Connect page and provides three URLs there that will link to the Windows Phone 7 app, based on server type used. Those URLs should be used because the Windows Phone 7 Connector app RC can't be found by searching the Windows Phone Marketplace page, Microsoft explains.
When Microsoft releases the final Connector product, the server add-in will need to be removed first to set up a clean install of the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version. However the phone app will get automatically updated when the RTM is available, according to Microsoft's deployment notes on the Connect page.
The Microsoft Connect page also notes that "For Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, we also offer media streaming from your server directly to your Windows Phone," although no explanation is provided.
The Windows Phone 7 Connector add-in apparently was first introduced at the Computer Electronics Show in January, according to a Home Server Land blog post. Notes on how to set it up are provided at a We Got Served blog post.
Microsoft offers support via a Windows Home Server 2011 forum page here. Other resources are available at Microsoft's Windows Home Server page.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.