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Hi, it is a rough day for Vail, and I have been dreading today for a while as an avid Vail user myself. We know this is popular feature in regards to our home server product, and as such all expected that it would have created this type of outreach from our community. Today was about the high level reasons on why we made the DE decision in-regards to all three products - Vail, SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Server Essentials.
This decision was not easy in regards to Vail. It was incredibly hard, and we always knew that a direction which affects the family of products such as this has different effects on the individual components. While support for hardware RAID solutions, application compatibility and data portability are definitely key scenarios for SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, for Windows Home Server users these areas may not seem as important. However, as our development for these products is very closely tied, a decision like this affects all three. We continue to look at ways to provide solutions for features such as data duplication, and are working with partners and OEM’s on extending both their hardware and software solutions for Vail.
Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender. We fully expect to be able to show some of our new and partnered OEM solutions at CES.
Good luck, you're going to need it. WHS 3rd party app development will fade away without the home user.
If you are not working on DE on vail, what else is there to work on? without DE Vail is totally worthless and we customers have to deal with crapware from all those OEMs implementing their own method of redundancy.
Vail is Dead on Arrival, long live Vail.
This is another non-sensical post on the DE removal. This was a Core feature of the Windows Home Server product, and the reason that many, including myself, use it. Remote web access? Nice, but really, is it THAT big a deal? No. Dynamically adding storage, folder duplication, health monitoring, backup, and so on ... THOSE are the reasons people use WHS. Ripping out DE is ripping out a fundamental piece of WHS. Might as well cancel Vail as a product. Now it's just going to be a crippled Windows Server box with a couple of minor added features and no real advantages over standard NAS boxes.
So because business users won't use DE, Home Servers get the shaft?
I have been putting off a WHS purchase in anticipation of Vail with the drive extender tech. I have several USB drives laying around and DE would have been perfect for getting to use all of these. Disappointing. ("Home User" here btw)
Michael. I don't care how committed you are to Vail. If you are not committed to Drive Extender, then I'm 0% commited to Vail. Wake up, and try listening to your customers. It's obvious ... you are being hammered all over the Internet on this.
If you dreaded it, then there could not have been any feedback from users and you made the decision on your own without any regard to the real home server users, which is why YOU have the product in the first place.
Your customers do not approve. There has to be a workaround that satisfies both sides. I would rather write my own drive extender and home server solution than buy Vail without it.
Why not just admit that Microsoft is abandoning the home market? Why purchase a WHS server now vs. any number of less expensive alternatives? What is the value proposition to the home user? Ironic that Kindel's departure for the Windows Phone team seems to have taken the focus on the consumer with him. I don't know if history can teach us anything here, but Windows Phone seems to be a big hit with its focus on the consumer instead of the enterprise. I wonder if this lack of focus on the consumer market will have a proportionate effect on WHS.
I can't use (or want) an OEM's software RAID solution because I build WHS servers from scratch. Hardware RAID doesn't offer the granularity I need. I'm sorry, but I really don't care what other "features" are going to be added - I'm sticking with WHS1 and then moving to Drobo or a completely different platform where they offer the features DE offered. I can install backup software, I can configure remote accessing of files by myself, I can replicate the vast majority of WHS features with barely any effort - what I can't do is what DE did. Without DE, Vail is a no-go. Period. End of story.
Thanks for the comment, Michael, but I bought the WHS over a dedicated, more proven RAID NAS (I used to owe 2 Buffalo TeraStations) for the flexability and ease-of-use it brought. I just lost those reasons. Please tell me why I should get a WHS now? (really, I would actually like a response on that, it's not a rhetorical question)
If I wanted a hardware RAID solution with all that such a solution entails, I'd have a full-blown Server 2008 or Linux server. That is exactly what I did NOT want to have to deal with. The WHS filled a niche that other products don't. Now it doesn't. Take that back to management and ask why you guys are making a decision that is clearly going to alienate users and put you in a position that- at best - will canabalize your higher end products and - at worst - will force you into putting out a rather crappy product that no one will buy anyway.
Let me completely confirm we are 100% not going to upgrade to Vail. So why bother. Do it right, or don't do it at all.
Extremely disappointing decisions. You are losing many loyal customer over this. This was a key feature of WHS.
I hope MS folks are reading the replies since, along with myself, there looks to be a lot of disent and a loss of customers with the decision to remove DE. Not sure why it seems to be the habit of MS to turn good products and overthink it into the toilet. I thought a big push from MS mgmt , esp. Barbara Gordon, was to promote "Lifetime Loyalty" from customers? THis sure isn't going to help. Looks like a lot of bad communication and lack of "knowing your customer". No wonder MSFT stock price is trading at 2002 levels.
Don't take it personally Michael. The community sees this news as a threat to the future viability of Windows "Home" Server. Existing WHS users were lured to WHS v1 because of Drive Extender. If 3TB disks can be had next year for $150-200...then your teams decision might not be so wrong headed. Sure there are folks here with 10TB storage pools but that doesn't really address the larger market. But without a platform differentiator like Drive Extender, I'm wondering what else you are offering home users that couldn't be had on a less expensive platform. I will wait for CES to see if you folks have something up your sleeves that changes the equation back in your favor.
I am still furious about this development, but I will wait and see what the results are. I can only hope this new solution is comparable to the drive extender we see today.
In addition, since there is a high likelihood that a third party will be providing it, but Microsoft developed the Operating System - I hope you guys iron out the responsibilities to support this solution because I will not be happy as a customer if I called for support and get the run around caused by both parties (MS and partners) are pointing fingers at each other regarding support!
Good luck because it sounds to be a very bumpy ride
100% committed to what? No Media Center integration, now no drive extender... automated backups? Remote access? There's nothing left to call it a "home" server.
WHOA! What are you thinking?
This is an unbelievably poor decision by the development team lead. Very, very disappointed.
I cannot believe how poorly thought through this is.Only Microsoft....
The WHS team needs to outline what the storage solution for Vail is going to be in order to stem the tide of this criticism, if indeed they do have a plan for home users. Let's call out some specific customer questions here.
- What is the recommended drive configuration for Vail?
- What is the solution for data redundancy to prevent loss in case of a drive failure?
- What is the solution for dynamically adding storage and addressing redundancy needs on the new drive(s)?
- What features of Windows Server 2008 R2 are going to address these customer needs and make DE not required anymore?
Please provide some of the details on how these items are being addressed in Vail now that DE is gone.
i'm sorry, michael. DE would have been your holy grail in the business sector (small, mid, and large, actually).
why? because it would FREE you from all those limits that raid put on you. and your customers. as well as freeing them from the cost.
you lost all (100%) of your vail customers today. and you lost most of the candidates for your sbs-vail customers.
i love the product. now i just hope it dies.
this is not Vail, this is Fail.
@ fleon <quote> "Please tell me why I should get a WHS now? (really, I would actually like a response on that, it's not a rhetorical question)" </quote>
I have to agree with this. What is the point of WHS if it does not allow easy drive adding and folder duplication? has MS's target market changed away from the home user? or does MS honestly believe that the same crappy OEMs who load their software with bloatware and crapware to duplicate windows functionality with less success can actually provide that? I have an HP home server, It dies every 6 weeks because of their flawed design and software. WHSv1 is robust enough that I have yet to lose any data. Now you are deciding that HP and their ilk can do a better job than WHSv1?
Keep in mind, MS posted a Technet article two years stating why RAID is not a consumer technology... yet, now it is?
Please, please ... PLEASE! Reconsider. This is the worst desicion for the home user. I will never be able to upgrade my WHS installation, so I hope you will support it to the end of time so I can use the DE feature, which is the best feature of the product.
You're killing your home product and the good will you've created amongst consumers and enthusiasts for the sake of your business product. While I understand the simpler development path this allows you (I am a developer myself), this is exactly the same thought process that let the iPhone decimate Windows Mobile in the marketplace and mindshare.
WHS v1 was a great home product. Take it, make it better, and release v2. Focus on what we, the home customers want, not what's easier for your developers and your business server market segmentation strategy. If you have to fork the code, fork the code.
No point continuing the development to be honest and a post like this is too little too late I'm afraid.
What a sad day in the life of WHS.
Drive Extender was the hook that made me start loving WHS because it gave me a way to safely store my important files, including my CD collection and 20,000 photos I've taken and need to store safely. And it was great for backing up my other machines. It eliminated the need to buy more and more RAID NAS boxes or replace old drives with new and larger ones.
No Drive Extender means no need to upgrade my WHS.
dare I say it people... maybe Apple will pick up the gauntlet??? :-)
It does not matter what you now put into VAIL.
Without Drive Extender Ala Version 1 of WHS, VAIL becomes just Windows 2008 Server with a better backup program.
With a 3rd party providing DE equivalence, it locks us in to a vendor other than Microsoft.
If I have to do that? I will now be forced to recommend DROBO or other similar offerings to my customers.
You have not articulated your reasons good enough, you have abandoned a huge sector of my customer base.
I am sorry but Vail just does not cut it without DE.
"Since customers looking to buy Windows Home Server solutons from OEM's will now have the ability to include larger drives, this will reduce the need for Drive Extender functionality."
WHS has been very popular with enthusiasts, as such, many of your existing and potential customers won't be interested in OEM solutions. In addition to this, there are many who have setup WHS v1 servers that won't have an option for hardware RAID providing a massive disincentive to upgrade to Vail.
This really looks like the end for WHS as without DE or it's equivalent the product is very feature poor. I can't help but think that you've been pleasantly surprised by the interest from small businesses and are now sacrificing WHS in their favour and ignoring the relationship between enthusiasts, home interest and small business take up in the process.
I am shocked by this decision, I have been holding out for Vail to be released and the main reason was for me the DE - gutted.
Why not move DEv2 up the stack into the windows core and have it be a configurable option along the lines of the windows software JBOD and RAID options. Then provide an easy to use tool to access that in VAIL?
Time to look at one of these...
Only $930 with battery backup... 'sigh'. Again, this is such a poor decision!
Windows Home Server storage system design requirements
Must be extremely simple to use.
Must not add any new concepts or terminology average consumers would not understand. Simple operations should be simple and there should not be any complex operations.
Must be infinitely & transparently extendible.
Users should be able to just plug in more hard drives and the amount of storage available should just grow accordingly. There should be no arbitrary limits to the kinds of hard drives used. Users should be able to plug in any number of drives. Different brands, sizes, and technologies should be able to be mixed without the user having to worry about details.
All storage must be accessible using a single namespace.
In other words, no drive letters. Drive letters are a 1970′s anachronism and must be squashed out of existence!
The storage namespace must be prescriptive.
In other words, our research told us that consumers want guidance on where to store stuff. Our storage system needs to be able to tell users where photos go. Where music goes. Etc…
Must be redundant & reliable.
There are two components in every modern computer that are guaranteed to fail: fans and hard drives. Because they have moving parts, Windows Home Server must be resilient to the failure of one or more hard drives.
Must be compatible.
Compatible with existing software, devices, disk drives, etc…
Must have great performance.
Must be secure.
Must enable future innovation.
Both the amount of storage consumers are using, and capacity/$ are growing at Moore’s Law like rates (while nothing else really is). This creates a discontinuity in the industry and an opportunity for innovation. The storage system must operate at a higher level of abstraction to enable rich software innovation (file level vs. block level).
VAIL FAILS TO DELIVER THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF WINDOWS HOME SERVER.
THOSE WHERE YOUR GOALS.
yes, i am very dissapointed.
"Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender."
Right. And that's why the decision was made to remove the single most distinguishing feature in the product lineup. I'm surprised you could write that with a straight face. This is a perfect example of a product line being killed because it threatened sales of the more established Windows Server products and OEM profits.
As far as I'm concerned both Vail and Aurora are DOA without DE and simply do not have the feature set to justify purchasing.
Yeah, without DE, you really dont have anything exciting. #FAIL.
I hate this post!
Drive Extender was a killer feature! VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY BAD DECISION!
VAIL WILL FAIL!
"all expected that it would have created this type of outreach from our community"
I think you meant OUTRAGE. Outreach is what should have been done prior to making this decision; if there's a good reason for it, there should have been a detailed technical article on why it was necessary to remove this feature. Without that, the decision comes across as arbitrary, and arbitrary decisions tend to provoke outrage. This disaster is entirely of your own doing.
I've been a huge promoter of the WHS product. Built my own and have been slowly acquiring parts / upgrades so that my server would be able to run Vail when it is formally released. I currently have over 5TB of storage on my server. I know of others who have significantly more.
With this change, I'm sorry to say I won't be able to recommend this new version to anyone. You've eliminated the key feature that allows me to sleep at night and keeps me from having to make a manual backup process.
What I'm reading here is that Microsoft is caving to the OEM providers like HP and others who have a pre-configured hardware solution and have invalidated those of us who choose to build vs. buy. This is where you need to break the code into two distinct trunks and keep the business side of it separate from the home user side.
I'm sorry to say that Microsoft has yet again ruined a perfectly good thing.
I've installed a dozen WHS V1 servers in businesses several more in homes with wild success. But they are mostly used for their Client PC backups rather than as file servers. Nevertheless, the file server and storage pool capability of WHS V1 are great features.
I've used Vail since the first public Beta and have been cirtical of the way that DE was implemented. The non-NTFS nature of the storage and the huge overhead of the redundancy were worrying. Personally, I seldom use the folder redundancy function of WHS V1. I much prefer backups over redundancy.
The only things that WHS V2 really HAD to do were:
1) Be able to handle the new disks (4K Sectors and disks larger than 2 TB) and
2) Be able to move very large files (such as Blu-Ray) without running out of disk space on the storage drives.
While extended error correction would be nice, folks don't seem to be scurrying to implement ZFS-type error correction on storage servers.
I'm sorry that MS wasn't able to accomplish those two goals and keep the features of the first WHS.
I am going to take the opposite view -- good riddance. I remember asking the devs about bitlocker support for WHS backups and being told that bitlocker support was off the table because it's not supported under software raid configurations (which is what drive extender really is). Getting rid of DE is the first step of being able to secure your home backups. Unfortunately, Veil is still a non-starter for me because it STILL doesn't have media extender support built in. And my xbox STILL doesn't read NTFS formated external drives to compensate.
*** Go VOTE for the feature request at MS Connect:
This is such a horrible decision! If you don't care about home users, don't call it Windows Home Server. It's clear that you want to target the business market with this, thus I'll ask how much longer will the REAL Windows Home Server be supported?
The analogy I'm seeing here is the quarterback of a football team throwing an interception as his team was about to score the go ahead touchdown. Rather than a win, they end up with a devastating loss.
I'm sure in the locker room after the loss everyone says how they are 100 percent committed to the team, etc.
But it doesn't matter. You just lost the game.
Your loyal fans, yes some will stick with you. And there will be belief on the team that you can overcome the mistake, that basically you are on the right track.
But at the end of the day, you lost. At a critical juncture.
There is a very short chance here to salvage a win -- making the very hard choice to admit you were wrong, and change your plans in the face of unrelenting boos.
Are you game?
I have been eagerly awaiting Vail's release, and have been planning my entire home setup around Vail for months, as well as a few friends who are (now read: were) planning to do the same.
You don't design a consumer product based on SMB or enterprise needs, and you certainly don't gut a consumer product when your misguided efforts fail.
You took a successful CONSUMER product, decided to shoehorn it into a basis for additional SMB-related products (which is a market you already have existing product lines for), and when you can't succeed in misappropriating a consumer product for an SMB purpose, you kill the original consumer product. You have now killed off the old SMB product lines, created "new" ones with zero feature-adds over the old, and then killed the very successful consumer product because it didn't meet a need it was never designed for in the first place. That's zero steps forward, three steps back for those keeping score.
Saying "don't worry, I'm sure some OEM will do some half-assed implementation of DE" is a joke, and claiming this is a win for "consumer choice" is nonsense as well.
This incredibly stupid and wrong-headed decision is beyond disappointing. It is enraging. As one other commenter put it: If you have to fork the code, FORK THE CODE. I cannot even quantify how many customers you have lost with this bone-headed move - I don't know numbers that high.
I don't really care what you guys do if you seriously get rid of Drive Extension... I have two WHS at home, they'll be usless with Veil for me... I've got close to 2000 movie files in my drives, now I have to manually separate them to upgrade to Veil...
You guys are like Mehteran team in Ottoman Empire... They go forward 2 steps, then one step back... At the end, you end up making one step...
Your decision is based on your dealings with hardware producsers probably... So they can sell more high capacity hard drives to consumers like us...
People dealing with WHS are top of cream people in terms of amateur IT goes... You're killing them...
One more reason on the list, why Microsoft is always the bad boy in the neighbourhood...
Drive Extender always seemed like way too expensive and advanced a feature to be developed just for the limited WHS market. It's unfortunate you couldn't integrate it into mainstream Windows, obviously popping a new drive into a video workstation or Exchange server and having it "just work" would be pretty awesome.
Really not sure what's the point of continuing with this product - remote web access and cloud access are all available with Windows Live Sync, what does a separate box for them offer again? The one thing it could offer is a central Media Center server, but you guys decided not to do that.... (Which I'll never understand. You basically just need to copy the executable over from Windows client. What, pray tell, was the point of that complex and cool Media Center Extender technology if you won't build it into your Home Server?)
The one thing it does offer is a decent backup solution, but again a separate server for this is unnecessary. Hopefully the WHS backup engine is making its way into Windows 8. If the next version of Windows ships with the current hopeless mishmash of inadequate backup technologies, years after Apple showed how it can be done properly with Time Machine, that'll be seriously embarrassing.
Can some technical wizard at Microsoft explain WHY you can't just make a Vail version of DE v1?
Set it on top of the NTFS like in WHS1. Us home users don't need mega-performance from a server product. We just need easy-to-use and easy to expand. Let SBS 2011 Essitant and WSS 2008 R2 get the high end solution from MS and 3rd parties.
I think grune23 is right this is just another step in MS leaving the home market, it wouldn't surprise me if Vail would never have existed if it wasn't for the promise of a business version (or two) to the powers that be.
What TPTB need to remember is it's the home users learning skills on their home MS PCs that drives the usage in the work place, if everyone uses a Mac at home, they'll be happy to have a Mac in the work place.
Michael, if you've dreaded the day you must know it's not the right decision, if you honestly believed it was right you'd have made a convincing argument that getting rid of DE was good, instead all we get is a hope that OEM developers can make something to fill the void, why should they be finishing your products?!
There's a complete lack of direction at MS in general at the moment, it reflects in a lot of the products being released.
Quote: "However, as our development for these [three] products is very closely tied"
THEY SHOULD NOT BE! You have a great, high-flying product in WHS, and then wonder why it plummets to the ground when you anchor it to SMB needs it wasn't designed for! So, instead of taking a step back and untying the products, you make all of them suffer??!!
FORK THE CODE and work on meeting each user groups' needs specifically and stop treating consumer and SMB demographics as the same! There is no point in keeping it as a single code base for a line of products that no one buys and doesn't properly meet anyone's needs!!!
I will be going backup so WHS v1. Vail without DE offers nothing more than Windows 7 x64.
Really good PR speak...this is such BS. Look at the reaction this has caused, going third party will only cause huge problems and disparity. As an early adopter of WHS and evangelist for the product I am sad to see to a product that I genuinely was excited to be a part become another ill fated technology. I hope these posts serve as a reminder to why "VAIL WILL FAIL" and show what happens when you turn your back on a community that helped make a product what it is.
Normal human reaction to someone telling them that they are despised is for the person to snap back a nasty response. I am not going to do that, I am going to invoke the Golden Rule and do unto you as I would have you do unto me.
You have managed to do something that I have never seen before and that is to get 100% agreement on a topic. Not 90%, not 99%, but 100% agreement. I have never seen this happen before. You are going down into the history books my son.
You might want to send your resume to some politicians. They would absolutely fawn all over someone that has accomplished what you have done. Getting 100% agreement from constituents is a pipe dream that would be irresistible to any politician.
On a different note though, I also agree with the rest of the posters, no DE, no Vail.
Michael, I do not intend to offend you. So please do not take what I say personally. Here is what I want to say:
I am concerned that by mixing Vail (which should address the "home" server market) and the business environment servers has caused MS to loose the focus that Charlie Kindel brought to the home server market when he introduced WHS to the world in 2007. Please ask your management team and superiors to consider bringing Charlie back and separating Vail development from your business customers needs. You will be abandoning a big part of the home market by removing DE from WHS. WHS v1 is a product that non-technical people can use without having to spend the time a "department of people" choose to spend in the business environment. It's simple and it just works.
Charlie Kindel can bring the focus back to where it needs to be for the home. You should remove the word "home" from Vail without DE...Period. I feel that strongly about it.
so you say you are an avid vail user...what is your new configuration going to be? what will it look like?
WHS without DE is pointless, imho, unless you can show me another solution that would be as elegant.
Your decision may have been incredibly hard, mine will be relatively easy. DE was to me the killer feature of WHS. Without it Vail simply is not an option any more.
Michael, it's clear that the WHS community wants your team and management to reconsider your decision. We want you to consider separating WHS from the rest of the products being developed even if this means delays in WHS releases. We understand that WHS is built on other products and WHS needs the changes to other products to become reality in order for WHS to get new features. So be it, but after waiting for these prducts to be finished we want WHS to retain ITS' fundamental characteristics, DE being one of them. WHS customers care not at all about SBS 2011 and WSS 2008 R2...not at all! We didn't even know that you considered them in the same breath. We thought that you were only thinking about helping the WHS community evolve a better mousetrap. Installers of these other products can easily support a somewhat different WHS with their eyes closed. It's not a problem out in the trenches. Decapitating WHS IS a VERY SERIOUS problem. Here's a place where Microsfot actually has a better product than the remainder of the entire industry, a 'unique selling proposition' as we sales types would say, and now you developers want to abandon that feature. You DID NOT consult with field personal as you presumably say. You only consulted with technical types. (Whom I normally admire, don't get me wrong.) They are probably correct in their assessment, but it is not the entire picture. We do not want to let you abandon our unique selling proposition, we do not want to let you abandon one of Microsoft's few truly imaginative solutions. PLEASE TALK TO YOUR MANAGEMENT AND GIVE US BACK DRIVE EXTENDER.
With no disrespect intended, I hereby request an open forum audience with your responsible management.
Thank you for the explanation. Providing us an explanation is certainly appreciated, but it is not going to change our firm belief that you're making a huge mistake with regards to WHS.
Windows Home Server Vail is, by definition, a HOME user product. Its very name clearly calls it out. Windows HOME Server. By contrast, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials is a BUSINESS product. Like Windows Home Server, this one calls out its market: SMALL BUSINESS.
The home user market and the business user market are two completely different markets. While they share some similarities in software components such as productivity (Office), they're also very different. You're probably not going to find very many SharePoint Server 2010 installations in people's homes, but small businesses (and large ones too) would certainly find a lot of value in SharePoint.
You said "...our development for these [three] products is very closely tied, a decision like this affects all three." You're dead on. That begs the question, why are you coupling these three products so tightly when one of them was cut from a different cloth? Vail is a home user product; SBS 2011 Essentials and Storage Server 2008 R2 are business products. Home users and business users have different needs, and the products should reflect this. There is likely a lot of functionality in SBS/Storage Server that home users will have zero interest in.
Financially, coupling products makes sense. Microsoft has done it for years. Windows XP and Server 2003 share a lot of common code. Windows Vista and Server 2008 share a ton of code. And the same holds true for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. Many of the components are identical between the two platforms. It just makes practical sense.
At the same time, you can't promote a Windows 7 machine to an Active Directory DC. BitLocker Drive Encryption is missing from all editions of Windows 7 except Enterprise and Ultimate.
You've obviously developed all these products and shared a LOT of code between them. But at some point the similarities stop. Windows 7 gets more and more features the higher you move up the edition chain; Windows Server 2008 Enterprise supports a much larger array of processors and memory than Standard, and Datacenter even more than Enterprise.
The point here is this. To say the products are too "closely tied" is a cop-out, even a canned answer. You guys have been doing this for years, dating back to at least Windows NT 4, if not earlier.
WHS is a HOME product. SBS/Storage Server are BUSINESS products. They cater to different markets, which means they may share a common path for awhile, but at some point those paths diverge. You have just reached that point.
If Microsoft truly cares about their customers, ALL of their customers--and that means us home users too--then it is time to uncouple WHS from SBS/Storage Server. Share and reuse what Server 2008 R2 code you can between them (that only makes sense), but then allow WHS to be the unique product that it is, with Drive Extender.
The home users want Drive Extender. It sounds like the business users would rather have a hardware solution (i.e. RAID). So give the users what they want. Keep Drive Extender in WHS, take it out of SBS/Storage Server. Or, as I proposed in other forums earlier today, make Drive Extender a Role or Feature, installable via the Server Manager MMC console. If that's too much trouble, make Drive Extender an install-time decision, and allow users to choose whether they want it when they install the OS.
Why is this so hard to understand by the users that were testing Vail? We´ve being seeing changes in focus from the early rumors to the latest betas. Home features (and focus) constantly reducing.
Add to this, the fact that Microsoft probably realized the mess they made on Vails Driver Extender technology that led to the fact that users with large files would be hammering them once they started to loose files. With lower budget and unwilling to change the release date, there was no way for them to fix DE in time and still release the product. If RAID fails, specially if provided by third party, they are not the one to blame.
The fact that DE on Vail was a fail is easy to read between the lines when Micheal says "DE was not meeting customer expectations". It really wasnt, in DE duplication was flawed by design.
They know missing DE is HUGE, theres just no way to fix it before release. No time and no money.
As for me, when the original DE for Vail was revealed and the MCE features failed to appear, Vail was already out of my upgrade path. I do hope at some point they step back, think and start doing something good. But from the recent signs of Microsoft, I will not hold my breath.
For every post I see here, there will be at least a thousand Home Users and Small Business Users of WHS that will now see that WHS is dead and with no future replacement from MS.
As Dave Perman detailed, MS has lost the true sight of its original goals for WHS.
My clients and friends that followed me into WHS over the last three years will now have no reason to continue with WHS.
My creditability with them will now be in serious trouble. Twenty-seven installs.
Future SIMPLE backup, media center integration and storage needs for them have just died.
Win XP continued to live on well, even after MS pushed Vista. Only Win 7 saved MS.
There will now be a WHSv1 effort to live on, just like Win XP.
However, other alternatives for MS WHS will now start to grow and propser.
By MS merging SMB with WHS products, MS will now loose in both arenas.
Others will develop products to meet the TRUE Home Server and Small Business needs of end users, not OEMs.
Having served in the military and seen real combat, I am now watching MS commit another slow product death.
WOW! So when is Vail's Funeral?
I must say, removal of DE dumbest thing i ever seen. Why not just add original DE to it and improve it, works fine as it is-- just needs a little tweaking. W/out DE no way i'll buy or recommend Vail to anyone. I even get for free, still won't install it. Honestly, not even worth the bandwidth to download it.
You may as well can the whole project then, because without DE, you're basically giving us SBS.
Take another 2 years, but put DE back in WHS.
Lame, lame, lame. OEM solutions? Get a grip! No DE, no WHS. I am disgusted!
This is absolutely ludicrous! Why can't you just leave the feature in as-is and provide adequate help/documentation/warnings to discourage/prevent its use when compatibility issues can occur? This feature is invaluable to -- clearly -- a LOT of your users.
I had to join in the unanimous, truly unanimous, chorus of WHS users who believe this to be a fatally flawed decision. As the computer guy everybody goes to for solutions, fixes, and set-ups, I've built four WHS servers for myself, friends, and family. The reason? Drive Extender kicks ass. Period. And now you want to remove this core functionality, the special sparkle WHS emits? I'm shocked.
In addition, I can't help but believe there are nefarious reasons for this decision. When I continually see "OEM" on these posts, it makes me wonder if the motivation behind this decision is purely for the bottom line of your partnered OEMs. Are some backs being scratched? Unless this is the case, then your high-level decision making process sucks. There's no reason whatsoever to buy WHS if this feature is missing. I'd rather set up a NAS for my "clientele" than a worthless piece of software for which I'm going to have to buy additional RAID and other hardware for, anyway.
As a dedicated, enthusiastic user of WHS, I couldn't be more upset or bewildered by this incredibly short-sighted mistake that is disillusioning every single user in your base.
Michael, I don't think you or anyone on your team understands something very fundamental here. For all intents and purposes, Home Server = Drive Extender. Sure, the sharing is nice, but *the* reason anyone buys a WHS is because of the incredible ease of use that Drive Extender brought, because no other NAS provider offered you the ability to use arbitrarily-sized disks. If you don't provide Drive Extender, you're just another undifferentiated (and possibly less secure) OS than the embedded Linuxes that come from the likes of Buffalo, Synology, and others.
If you're not interested in providing DE, <b>CANCEL VAIL DEVELOPMENT NOW<b>. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I'd rather you abort development on a product that serves no niche and will likely not sell well and spend the money on keeping a team providing maintainance and support to Quattro and extending the lifespan of that product. Stop wasting the money on further Vail developments that absolutely no one cares for.
OR - rethink this. There's no shame in admitting you were wrong and going back to DEv1; it works fantastically, and the relatively few problems it had could be solved with limited middleware.
Windows Home Server v2 now is the same as any other computer out there. What distinguishes it from windows 7?
OR whatever else WHS has...
If you expect some simple user to figure out RAID...
and PLAN for RAID....
you must expect them to avoid the dashboard....
and setup their own filesharing....
or whatever else WHS was used for.
Seems like WHS team is essentially the left over runts that could not make it anywhere else at MS. (At least the leadership)
If you are on the WHS team... find another position... FAST.
Drive Extender was my easy solution, leaving behind RAID hardware and driver issues. I had used a W2k server with RAID and found gracefule expansion a task to be avoided. Home users need simple solutions, I do not see RAID support and expansion simple. WHS without Drive Extenter means I'm back to Window Server hardware issues and more effort. Please make RAID or DE an install option.
I am sorry Michael, but there is something clearly wrong with the decision making in the home-targeting group(s) at MSFT. Media Center is a shell fo what it could be (3 screens and a cloud, but MCE still has a pre-XAML design surface and no deep Silverlight integration. Oops.) Windows Phone 7 released without built-in support from MSFT for accessing WHS content such as photos, etc. Facebook is there, but WHS Content is a 2nd class citizen, relagated to hopeful wishes fro someone to put an app in the Marketplace. Now this.
What are the "big sells" for WHS now? Machine backup? Take the WHS team on a field trip to Best Buy or Fry's and go to the External HDD aisle. Try to find one without preinstalled backup software. Remote access? Has the team seen the latest Live Essentials "To the Cloud" ad campaigns? You can access all of your home content when you're stuck at a an airport - without WHS. This decision neuters the product.
Congatulations on the upcoming release of the 2 anciliary enterprise/small business products, but it is probably a lot more than just a tough day for Vail - it is likely a fatal day for Vail. My condolences on what certainly is a tough day for the team - I'm sure there are many team members with deep and passionate attachments to the product...it is a shame that their passion is going to lose out to this decision.
Classic Innovator's Dilemma decision. You are chasing the bigger individual sales and consciously ignoring the smaller but more numerous sales. I'm the latter. You just lost another customer. Learn from Apple. Learn from Xbox. Learn from Zune. Learn from Windows Phone. Consumers matter now.
I have joined to post. I am a long time WHS1 user. It has been great. I have been testing VAIL. So far I like it also. Based on the removal of DE, I have formated my drive and I now will not waste my time with VAIL. With out this feature the other core features are not worth the investment. There are too many other cost effective options for the remaining features. I hope you will remove Home from any future names for this product.
A version of Vail absent DE just makes no sense either for someone with WHS V1 (e.g., myself) as an upgrade or for someone without a NAS or backup device.
I've recommended WHS to many people as a valuable device to corral and protect important digital media. There no longer remains a compelling case to justify WHS's increased cost and complexity over the alternatives (e.g., NAS).
I am sorry, but if you read both posts it is hard to believe you are 100% committed to Vail, maybe 50% at best. As much as I like WHS you are having a well deserved bad day.
What would Charlie Kindel do?
So it basically comes down to this. We've tied the development of these three servers together. One of these servers (vail) has this drive extender tech which is the core of the product and now it's axed, because it doesnt fit the other two. The remaining vail tech is a thin shell of functionallity which could exist as a downloadable add-on to any server. So since Vail has lost is key appeal to home users and everything else is achieveable via download, Vail has no reason to exist as a server product.
Ummm... bugger. That's not good - I must add to the discontent already displayed by other commenter's.
This indeed is not good news as we've all become reliant on the automagic management of files and duplication... indeed software raid is a viable option but it's really hard for the average-Joe to administer (assuming that S/RAID is the alternative).
Sure, MS will be pushing significant work to the service resellers, but alas this is a naive assumption... average-Joe will seek out simplicity and very low cost... most WHS users I know (and have installed) use a redundant and/or lesser configuration PC. MS seem to have lost sight of the fact that the basic presumption of a successful product lies in it's USP... removing some of the key "install and forget" features of WHS simply means that the consumer now places it on par with OpenFiler, FreeNas etc. Only thing is that total cost of install will prevail... and don't counter with the TCO argument... average-Joe is not an enterprise... he looks at his wallet at the time he makes the decision.
im out!!!!! no DE no way i will upgrade ... unless MS is going to up the anti with something better
I was just thinking back to this feature that's so unimportant and when I used it last on my HP MediaSmart 475. Oh, that was *today* as I added a 2GB drive to replace an old 500 MB drive. It was effortless. I guess I'll have to look for something else if all v2 servers are going to have plain old RAID. You're going to rely on solutions provided by the OEM? Good luck with that.
I usually find the best way to deliver a compelling user experience is to just start removing features and don't stop until the product sells.
Michael, the truth of the matter is that if you take out of the picture DE, then there is nothing left in WHS to speak of, nothing to be committed in and nothing differentiate Vail from a NAS, RAID-based solution. That decision is wrong and you should listen to your customers and take it back. If you cannot deliver due to engineering problems, then just come out and say so. However to insist, giving vague, incomprehensible excuses, especially when the market gives you such a clear signal, goes opposite to all that Microsoft has been trying to do the last thirty years.
Be brave and take it back. Give us what we ask for (and please stop this supposedly technical blah-blah)
Well, this was a rather lame attempt at damage control from your first post on this subject... Pathetic, in fact. The only way out of this mess is to quickly announce that you have heard your customers, you made a mistake, and put DE back into Vail. Then get on with fixing the implementation of DE in Vail. If you don't, then WHS is dead. Period.
This is simply not acceptable. You've betrayed the original intent of the product. None of your existing users will accept this change. So I'm not sure who the target audience is for this new version of "WHS".
So incredibly disappointed by this decision. It removes the killer feature of WHS. I've been using WHS since the betas, and am a hardcore WHS evangelist - I can't shut up about the amazing MS product that "just worked." DE was always the one feature that made people's eyes light up and say "Wow, that's really cool!" when I explained how easy and effortless it was to add more storage to your pool. Backup, remote access, those are all well and good, but DE was the "One more thing...." feature of WHS. Unless you have something completely mind-blowing waiting in the wings to replace it, I beg of you to reconsider this decision. I will not upgrade any of my WHS boxes to Vail nor encourage people to buy a WHS solution without DE.
Sad to hear.
I'm using WHS specifically because of the DE functionality.
Today I talked to a co-worker who asked me about the server I was using at home. I promoted WHS, and the functionality that he liked was the absence of RAID. He's had problems with RAID systems in the past. I will now have to go tell him that MS is removing the feature that sold a product today, and I'll have to go in and tell him about this tomorrow.
I second every comment on here. I was toiling what to do with my new build. I had to join this "blog" just to post and tell you guys that this is a big deal. MS is on blast right now over this. If there has ever been a consumer outcry like this before I haven;t seen it regarding MS since Vista. Why would I even use WHS now? Seriously? Remote streaming? Trans coding that lacks as I can see and can be done by a number of free 3rd party apps. This seriously ruined my day. I find it very hard to believe customers influenced this decision and nothing but $OEM$ OEM OEM. FAIL
Instead of a Twitter fail whale we have a #failvail. Good luck with the product. Sorry you pissed off so many of your customers. It's a difficult decision because it's the WRONG decision.
you might be 100% committed to vail, but you're ZERO committed to WINDOWS HOME SERVER, which is, what vail is ment to be.
Created an account just to say how pathetic this damage control post is. I wouldn't accept Vail as a free upgrade for my current WHS.
I would never even begin to consider using DE technology from the likes of HP, Acer, ASUS or any of the other OEMs that produce WHS products.
I'd just as soon throw all of my hard drives in a bucket of water and fling them into space. Who needs local storage anyway? We've got the cloud!
Oh wait! My upload speed is 512kb/s!
I guess the cloud isn't the answer to everything (yet). Too bad for me.
I have a suggestion, The OEMs focused on SBS and Storage Server got to pick a feature to pull from all three products. It's only fair that the consumer market gets to take a turn at last-minute product planning and pull a random feature out of the business products. Any suggestions out there? I'm thinking home users have no use for Active Directory, how about we request that be pulled?
Storage needs grow over time. I started with 3 x 500 GB drives thinking it was going to be plenty of space. Next thing I knew, I was upgrading those 500 GB drives to 1TB drives and eventually 2TB drives. Just because 3TB drives are on the market now and someone in the product management space doesn't see a need for more storage in the home doesn't mean that the need won't arise. I seem to recall somebody stating we wouldn't ever need more than 640k of memory and look where that's gotten us.
Do us a favor and add some flavor of Drive Extender in as a Feature or Role. It can be off by default. Heck, you could make it an optional "Power Pack". Pulling it completely seems downright silly. Or is this like Perfmon and the one guy who knew how it worked decided to take a job elsewhere?
Mr. Leworthy, you are disingenuousness personified. Yesterday you were telling us that we, the customers of WHS, weren't bothered about DE, and now today, you have the gall to tell us that you were dreading the day when you would have to announce the dropping of DE. I suspect the outcry that has greeted the announcement has really not come as any surprise. Just don't try and tell us that the decision was made following customer feedback, because it ever so clearly was not.
I was excited about Vail until I read about the extinction of DE. I was waiting out to upgrade to Vail, but now seems like there is no reason to. I've recommended WHS to many family members who would have never gotten WHS had they been met with complexity of creating a RAID array. Which should they use? RAID 1, 0, 5, 10? Microsoft is leaving the home user in the dust by removing this ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY feature. I hope partners like HP and Acer step up here because they'll be losing out too. I know I'll be recommending DROBO or other simple to use products that understand that home users need less complex products. Just look at Apple products, most hardcore people will say Apple products are simple and locked, but to the NORMAL user, it just works and that's what's so appealing to people.
VAIL will FAIL for home users! And I wont be making recommendations to my friends or family to hold out for it.
I fail to see the point of WHS if it does not have Drive Extender. Without DE what does it do that every other NAS device does not?
DE is the main reason I went with, and recommend WHS. I will not be recommending it anymore. I hope there is still time to reconsider this decision.
I have been using whs since beta. The only reason I chose whs over other technology was the DE feature. I could have used windows server 2003\8 with raid and the built in backup on client computers to backup to a share on the server. I chose whs because of DE and the simplicity of backing up client comptuers. I don't care so much about the remote web access, with sites like flicker and sky drive, remote access is really useless. Especially with live mesh for remote access to home computers. What purpose does the WHS team have now. I have been swearing by WHS to all my friends and collegues. Defending against those who said why not use windows server with raid or a NAS instead, now I feel silly. If enthusiasts won't buy the product now, who do you think will? I would have more respect for Microsoft if you just came out cancelled WHS server altogether.
Microsoft may be 100% committed to Vail but it's user community just checked out. These are the requirements you should be fulfilling (published by the WHS team)! http://bit.ly/dLR5oC
This move by MS just doesn't make any sense? Drive Extender is one of the main reasons I own a Windows Home Server. I could just buy a RAID NAS or JBOD and dump files to it. Weird Move.
I will NOT be upgrading!!!
NOT happy about this..... the biggest feature WHS offered was drive extender. With my acer h340 I started out with 500 gig and 250 gig drives and have slowly migrated to 1.0 tb drives over the past few years (and planned to start adding 2 tb drives). I was able to wait until the larger drives dropped in price to a point where they became affordable and because it was easy to extend my storage pool. This pretty much guarantees I will not be getting a new WHS but instead exploring other options such as drobo.
Folks, don't hate on me, but this may not be necessarily a bad thing. I think the issue of larger drives is a valid one. I also think some of the underlaying server technology within the baseline, with some tweaking, may be worthy of being native within Windows Home Server. It certainly would be easier to keep up to date if Vail and Aurora were both
closer to the baseline. Keep in mind also, the opinions of OEMs carry heavier weight than our opinions within this forum. I suggest rather than roundly condemning the removal of DE v2 by the WHS development team, let's keep an open mind and see what alternatives will be available with the next release or even upon release next year. I suspect third party development will continue and Vail will evolve so much more.
I am not a "shill" for Microsoft and I didn't drink the "Kool Aide", but I refuse to flush this idea at this point simply because it removes a key feature, a feature whose advantages admittedly may have been surpassed by the march of technology.
I created an account just to post on this. I have to disagree with most users. WHS DE is next to useless in its current form. You have no idea what files are on what drive. If one drive were to fail, you would have to go hunting to find out what was lost if you don't turn on duplication on everything. If the OS drive fails, recovery will be a long process. If your drives are near full, you will need to go buy new drives just to move files to it temporary while you add your old drives to the pool and move files back.
On Vail, it is even worst since the Vail data drive can not be read by other OS. What's the point of that? This is meant for non-techie users, but the recovery process is even more complex.
I went back to Server 2003 just so I don't have to deal with that. I use windows software raid 1 on a couple of drives so I know those important files are duplicated. The rest of my media files is setup using Flexraid for some kind of fault tolerant. But I know what files are on each drive in case one is to fail.
The only marginal useful thing is the ability to backup other computers on my home network. Even that is of little use since I setup all my other machine to save data files directly to the server anyway. My Windows machine require a new fresh install once every couple of years anyway just to clear some of the issue.
I created an account *just* to post a comment. I can't think of a worse thing to do with the new version of WHS. One of the things that is great about WHS is the fact that I can click one link and it takes me to all files on my WHS. Now what am I going to have to do? Have multiple shortcuts on my desktop to multiple drives? Am I going to have to map to multiple drives? I hate desktop clutter and without more detail it seems that this is going to multiply that clutter on all my home computers.
And what about folder duplication? Is that going away as well? As an end-user, am I going to have to configure RAID sets and set BIOS settings and rebuild these RAID partitions myself? The best part of WHS was the ability to just slap another drive in there. It didn't matter what brand, or size, or speed it was; the experience for the customer was seamless and simple. You pick a folder, and click 'duplication' and you're done with it. So do I get to choose RAID5 for three 3 TB drives? What's going to be the partition limit here?
While larger drives are becoming more common, so are the needs for these larger drives. Cameras are increasing in megapixels every day. HD video cameras are more and more the norm. Folks want to have this information online and BACKED UP, so if one drive fails you won't lose anything. I have 3 TB in my home server and duplication is turned on for EVERYTHING. Why would I voluntarily choose to lose something?
Without this technology I won't be purchasing another server. I'll just get a NAS. In one fell swoop you've lost the niche that this product applied to. I see the mention of DROBO on a lot of comments. I'll have to check that out. I liked the fact that EVERYTHING IS IN ONE PLACE, and now it seems that's going away.
I can't possibly recommend WHS to anybody anymore knowing that DE will not be in Vail. It was the key technology that differentiated itself from any other technology on the market. All other features of WHS can be accomplished with third party tools, but DE tied it all together with automated, flexible storage management.
100% committed? I beg to differ.
Micheal, have you ever though that customers with WHS are probably Microsofts biggest fans. They have multipule Windows PC's, Xbox's, windows phone etc. just like myself.
You have now gone and shafted them all. Judging by a lot of these comments you are going to lose customers, not just from WHS but other microsoft products too. Way to go !
This is ridiculous, I JUST bought my first WHS and this will be last when it comes time for me to upgrade past my 2TB HDD's. You just lost a loyal customer.