More Hockey Puck Photos

Heh. Joel just sent me a couple more pics of the "hockey puck".  This thing is so amazingly cool that I just have to rant some more about it.

First, we commissioned Carbon Design, a local design firm, to dream up some really cool home server form factors about 2 years ago. After a couple of iterations we narrowed it down to 3 ideas: the cube, the slate, and the hockey puck. Carbon built us a few foam models of each of these as well as a bunch of cool looking renderings. These served us well for while as tools for illustrating the concept to executives and partners.

As CES 2007 approached, late last year, we decided we needed a working prototype. The goals were to build something that was inanely cool looking, stretched the envelope on size, and expressed the idea that Windows Home Server provides a whole house solution.  We re-engaged with Carbon to build a working version of the hockey puck. In a very short timeframe they created 3 working models. Each is based on a nano-ITX mainboard from VIA and 2.5" HDDs. Other cool features:

  • The diameter of the unit is about 9". You can see how small it is from the picture with the CD.
  • Carbon did real thermal design to ensure the device would not overheat. The cooling system works via a fan in base (which is a pedistal).
  • The LEDs that glow on the bottom are intended to map to the overall health of your home network. Green is healty, yellow is "failing", and red is "you're in deep doo-doo".
  • The outer shell is smoked plexiglass (it scratches very easily so we literally use white cotton gloves to handle them).  The inner shell is custom machined aluminum, polished to a chrome appearance. If you look closely at the first picture above you can see the effect his has...note the "shadow" of the "Windows Home Server" logo on this inner shell.
  • The rear panel has power, Ethernet and USB as well as a recovery button. 
  • Carbon provided the three units to us in customized Pelican cases and even included cotton gloves to handle them!

I recently took one apart in an attempt to replace a hard drive. The level of detail in fabrication blew me away. It all fits together like a very complicated, finely machined, puzzle.

As I indicated in my post yesterday we don't have any plans to build this form factor, and we don't know of any OEMs who are doing anything like this...but we know that someone will eventually: the concept is just too cool!


Comments (14)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Here are some professional photos of the hockey puck design. Enjoy! (Reminder, just in case people haven’t

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, this beats the PowerEdge 2450 and PowerVault 200 I have running as my test gear in the basement…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, simultaneous posts referring to the same thing… Cool. (See immediately above.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really like the hockey puck design.  It’s sleek, stylish, and doesn’t take up much room.  It doesn’t look like it could hold enough hard drives for my taste, but I would definitely recommend it to people that aren’t looking to have multiple terabytes of storage space.

    The one thing that bugs me about the way machines running Home Server will be sold is the complete lack of any way to connect monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  I know it’s not meant to have them connected, but the ability to connect them would be nice for troubleshooting if there are problems with the network connection.  With no way to log in locally at all, if the network card goes bad, the whole server’s hosed.

    Even with my worries about no local log-in ability, Home Server still looks like a very solid product to me, and I plan on getting the OEM software from New-Egg or somewhere like it and building beast of a storage machine, and then unplugging everything except the network and power cables.  Keep up the good work.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It reminds me a little of the Zune dock.

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