Earlier this week the Windows Home Server Team announced the availability of a online evaluation opportunity for Windows Home Server 2011.

The website, http://online.holsystems.com/portals/sbs/whs/, will provide you the opportunity to see how the product works by letting you do the following functions:

  • Adding a user
  • Using the client Launchpad
  • Managing PCs to ensure its health and security
  • Protecting the server and PC’s data
  • Adding server storage capacity
  • Using Remote Web Access

According to the blog post there are currently no plans to offer a trial version and they explain why:

Let me preempt one immediate question I am sure will be asked – When can I download an evaluation version so I can test at home on my own hardware? The answer to this is that we are not currently planning to release a downloadable evaluation version. Some of the embedded third-party codecs we use within WHS 2011 do not allow us to provide a trial version due to licensing agreements. As a result we can only offer an online experience. We are still working with many of our OEM’s on additional evaluation experiences and may have more information in the future on other ways to trial WHS 2011.

If you’re a member of TechNet or MSDN then WHS 2011 is available for development and testing purposes otherwise this is the only way to get a peek into the operating system.

The virtual server and client machine also come along with a manual that will walk you through all of the above functions.