Personally I can see little point in home servers - especially if you plan on a Wifi only network as any connections (even with 802.11n) are going to be too slow for general file shifting. I suppose it is sometimes conventient to have a central place where you can have a printer(s) and extra storage. Sharing stuff, such as photos and video, in one place (and available all the time) is one reason.
If you want to see why MS think you should go down the Home Server route see http://www.microsoft...eserver/default.mspx
Here is one of their FAQs:
How is Windows Home Server better than home Network Attached Storage (NAS) products?
Windows Home Server provides unprecedented simplicity for home users and it was designed to solve problems for households with multiple PCs.
More than just storage, Windows Home Server uniquely provides a single pool of storage for your content and pre-defined shared folders, such as "Music" or "Photos," making it easier to organize and find your files. Windows Home Server also makes it easy to add more storage, provides built-in search capabilities, monitors the health of your home computers and allows you to stream content to other devices in the home, such as Xbox 360.
In addition, as a development platform, Windows Home Server offers partners great opportunities to create solutions for the digital home. This means that a wide range of applications and tools that integrate with and take advantage of Windows Home Server will be available.
The only feature that I can see that may be useful is that family and friends can log in and share your photos (or you can when away from home). Fair enough I suppose that could be useful but it is possible without Home Server anyway, and you don't need to do it through a Windows Live account! The other problem is that most ISPs (at least in the UK) limit upload speeds to pathetic levels - I have an 8Mbs broadband connection (in theory as it maxes out at about 2-3 Mb) which is comfortable in use but my upload speeds rarely get beyond about 50Kbs which is SLOW! Trying to use a home server when away from home (or allowing others to access your server) is viable but can you imagine the frustration level if more than one person is using it - you'd have analogue modem speeds!
If you have a very fast network (such as a gigabit network) I can understand there are some advantages - it would be practicale to use the server for back and recovery of client computers but over WiFi it would just be too slow (if it works at all as most WiFi needs specific drivers in the client to function and if you are performing disaster recovery they might not be available - wired network connections often work without drivers).
If all you want to do is share files and possibly a printer I would go down the NAS route - it is far cheaper. Lots of NAS type devices are expandable (buy bare bones and install the drives you want, many come with USB expansion for adding an extra drive externally later, and lots support a USB printer - or get a router that supports a shared printer). The whole thing will cost you less than a single copy of Windows Server 2005/2008 (just the software - overkill, complicated and probably cost more than your entire network) and I am not sure but I think Windows Home Server only comes as part of a hardware package (unless you buy the OEM version which is $200 at Amazon
you could buy a bare bones NAS device and a hard drive for that price).
Finally before considering Windows Home Server you might want to check out the following two articles:http://support.micro....com/kb/946676/en-ushttp://support.micro....com/kb/943393/en-us
The first article is really worrying as there is no solution on the horizon - note the programs they say are related to the corruption problem include Windows Media Player, iTunes, OneNote (both 2003 and 2007), Thunderbird, Excel ... the list goes on.
Would you really want to trust data to such a system - even if it does only happen rarely. Also note the original article was published before Christmas and there still isn't a solution! [Oops sorry - they may
fix it by June ... big of them]