I wanted to upgrade the security system in the house along with expanding the capability to include environment controls. To that end I installed Charmed Quark Controller and began working with it to see if it would fit my needs. After a week or so I learned that the web server and XML interface were not included until the $800+ price point. The next step has been to install HomeSeer and begin work with the program to see how smoothly it runs. I have settled on Blue Iris for the camera security software. It works very well and the Android phone app is smooth.
One of the issues with home automation in my home is that the house was built around 1967 and retrofitting is a real pain. I have ran a few Cat5 drops to the upper floors, and there are several downstairs, but the reality is any solution must be wireless. At this point it seems Z-wave will work reasonably well for the motion, thermal, fire and humidity sensors. We will see once I have a controller configured and working. One of the other issues is getting the USB port on the VMware server to map through to my Win2008 instance. I believe I have this working. I used a simple USB memory stick to test with, and after a few hours I seem to have it working consistently. This whole project is going to take several weeks to get configured and then test. Testing will be extremely important as it has to be able to survive power outages and other potential problems. So far though I am reasonably confident that this will not only work, but allow me to control the house from anywhere in the world.