Windows Home Server code name “Vail” and Drive Extender

Windows Home Server code name “Vail” and Drive Extender

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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.

Thanks

Michael

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  • To use the "We Got Served discount" that DROBO gives to WHS users, yesterday I finally ordered my first DROBO device. I chose a DROBO S that has 5 drive bays and eSATA, FW800 and USB 3.0 interfaces. I'm going to connect it to my now unused 3 years MacBook and put it on the network after copying all my WHS content on it. Bought 4x GreenCaviar 2TB drives to use with a free 1.5TB disk that is on the WHS.

    I still believe that what MS really wanted was to kill WHS. Congratulations. They succeeded. In doing so MS pointed me into what will be a 100% Apple infrastructure at home. With the end of WHS that was my last Microsoft product (although one that I really loved), MS ends its life in my house.

    A lot of small mistakes made consistently over time will be Microsoft doom. This is just one of them.

  • newsflash!: at the heels of microsoft's drive extender's demise, apple inc. announces and releases a super-easy-to-use-even-a-child-can-do-it mac-os based home server which includes a new an improved variant of drive extender. upon hearing about this great "new" invention, the world flocks to get a piece of the action while windows home server fades into the background, windows-mobile style. the usual.

  • Perutl
    0 Posts

    I will not support , buy or use Windows Home Server  product without drive extender. That is the primary reason I am running a WHS box. I bought a HP / MS solution because it was what I needed right out of the box. This is the only machine, out of 5 computers in my system, that I did not build from components. With out DE I am afraid I will shop elsewhere.

    Rgrds

    Peru

  • jpinsl
    0 Posts

    Thanks for making my decision easy on whether to purchase a second WHS box for a small office that I support. Without DE and with HP's withdrawal of the MediaSmart line, I'll be going with a Drobo. So long Project Fail.

  • Sorry Michael, it wasn't a rough day for VAIL, it was funeral speech for VAIL.

    DE is the key component of WHS and w/o it, everyone can use a standard NAS or something else.

    I don't know, what the next generation of routers the german company AVM will produce

    but i guess it will have some sort of next generation type of USB, Light peak or something else,

    so that i can connect a Drobo to it and run the internal NAS-Software without Speed-Limitations.

    If that happens there is no need anymore for WHS and Microsoft will loose again a market.

  • Dr_Zeus
    0 Posts

    Just plum ridiculous, in a world where home HD video and Digital SLR photography are becoming the norm. A Windows 7 enabled personal computer and a WHS server forms a homogenous storage and backup solution, Microsoft manage to identify the key point of a turnkey solution and trash it...  I won't be upgrading to Vail as DE currently protecting my data will effectively be taken away.

  • inquam
    0 Posts

    I have now finished my setup of my "new" homeserver. While removing vail since the announcement that DE was being removed I had my eyes set on moving back to WHS V1. But the I found out about greyhole and decided to set up my own linux server using Greyhole (basically DE for Linux). But just as I was about to start I read about .Amahi which is basically a ready built Linux Home Server.

    I installed it with ease thanx to a ready built distro built on top of Fedora 12 and now have all the things I liked about WHS + the fact that I'm running linux and all the lovely door that opens up. I mounted the networks share set up by Amahi on my client and rsynced all my files from my old WHS shares onto it. Works like a breeze.

    One-click installation of apps (Amahi equivalent to add-ons) for all kinds of stuff like fileexplorer, terminal shell, vnc client, bookmark shares server, calender server, dlna media streaming server, photo gallery etc!

    I wish the WHS team well and hope they go back on their, quite rankly stupid, decision to remove DE.

    p.s.

    And Greyhole has the built in function to fore a balancing of the storage pool if you want to :)

  • I noticed now that since Dec 3rd not one more comment has been posted as a reply to this thread... how many hundreds are there now I wonder... and I bet all say the same: WHS is DE! Without DE there is no WHS. WHS is dead on arrival without DE.

    How many more ways can the customers say this? It doesn't matter how many times we say it because the truth is that the vision of the product since the beginning is the DE, not the backups - that can be done with hundreds of other products that are more easy to use. If you remove DE you kill the product. I wonder what the initial team that developed WHS thinks of this decision...

    Now the question is: do you want to kill WHS? I bet that's the real reason here. It's called Microsoft vision - you can't bet on the future because it takes a while to get there. You should put your eyes on Apple attitude towards products more - think AppleTV, no success whatsoever but they keep going until it catches because they have vision and they believe it will catch - its just a matter of the right improvements.

    Trust me: removing DE from WHS IS NOT the right improvement.

  • I am a completely MAC OS-X converted from windows user, for over three years now, but everytime I spoke of a home server to anyone it was Microsoft Windows Home Server. for me it was the best product Microsoft ever made. Of course Microsoft would blow that. No surprise here. It's who they are BAD DECISIONS all around. Why would Home Server be different?

    I am just sorry I spent so much money on a tower for 12 drive bays (on which I have 10 HDDs) instead of investing in drobo then... now I have to spent money again to buy drobo.

    And bye bye Microsoft... for good this time.

    Despite that I am really sad. Loved WHS. Had it since the beginning of the beta program.

  • Ok so I know I'm not a typical user of WHS I currently have a selfbuilt server box with 15Tera of available storage using 2Tb, 1.5TB,and several 500gb disks (It grew over time and I added storage I could get cheap i.e. on sale at Tiger, Newegg etc) My  last addon were 2 2tb disks from Tiger at $69 ea. Not being any kind of IT pro I am guessing that RAID using my current equipment is out of the question?? I like WHS I have recommended it too friends I even built a server box for one. So now I guess we stay where we are as far as software upgrades are concerned until we can find something made by someone else that serves our needs.

    Why not recognize that there is a market for the following:

    1) A basic home/small business server app that uses no DE and runs just fine on a single 2 or 3 TB disk

    2) A slightly more advanced server app using 64bit tech with DE for home enthusiast

    3) An advanced small business app using RAID with enterprise level disks for the high end of the market

    I think that as tech advances in storage and broadband speed the home server will eventually go to the cloud but until then plese try to listen to the people that have supported MS through DOS 4.0 Windows 2000 and Vista lets not add WHS Vail to that list.

    Just my 2 cents                    John G

    P.S. In case you are wondering I am a bit of a SciFi movie nut and I have ripped lots of old movies from the 50's and 60's onto the server so I can watch them whenever the mood strikes me.

  • Seriously, you should remove the word "Home" from Vail.

    Call it simply "Windows Server", because that's what it is without DE.

    A pity WHS is abandoned by MS. And I wonder which are "all the core features outside of Drive Extender" that you're talking about... I really feel insulted, here. :(

  • Took the chore to register just to show that I don't agree with this malicious big wig decision.

    After reading the DE technical whitepaper I was convinced it will be the future of SMB storage. I'm using WHS since 2 years and had no problems. Loved it.

    200 comments from 90% "0 post users" show that people really care about this decision and that this might be possibly the last nail in the coffin of VAIL.

  • I joined this community just to vent about this issue...  I bought WHS V1 for the DE technology... As my media grows, so can my server, with little to no management.  When I get home, the last thing I want to do is manage server storage here...  

    Just another *one* that sees no need to get vail if it simply has nicer remote access and the ability to host the homegroup... While all the extra features are nice, they are considered extra in my opinion... Extra to the Drive Extender....

    I can apprieciate the desire and want to have synergy between Vail and SBS, but they are for different customers.  We all love playing backseat Home Server Developer, but this is more than a gripe, it is the very selling point for most customers...

    I have been waiting for Vail, Win Phone 7, and a decent pad/tablet for a year now from MS... Cash in Fist, waiting to buy them... I bought an iPad a few weeks ago, Win Phone is nice, but not on all major carriers, and now this Vail news was the final blow.......

  • 197 comments as of now on this post and well over 200 on the first announcemnet . . . generally one posted comment probably represents how at least 20 other people feel about this issue.  So, truly it is a land slide of dissapointment.  

    I agree with the vast majority of the responses - NO DRIVE EXTENDER NO NEED for WHS or 'Vail'.  This is possibly worst decision I have seen MS make in years.  A great way to kill one of the best innovations in years.  Truly shaeks my faith in Microsoft.

    I STONGLY urge you to reconsider.  1 TB and 2 TB drives are not nearly enough, and for many of us with media collections multiple PC's at home etc. Drive extender and WHS are one and the same.  Using 'hardware' solutions are not nearly as good as DE, and much less flexable and much harder to manage.  

    DE IS WHS.  

    At this point I am forced to go find a good Linux solution or some other alternative.  A true innovation wasted by bad management and clear empire building with-in Microsoft.  WHS is not the same as your business server solutions.  I run many servers for business purposes, and web applications.  Unless you can show some real innovation I see no reason to bother with WHS.  WHS has a place in my home network, but clearly has zero value with-out Drive Extender.

    Wake-up and listen to your customers.  if you listen carefully they will tell you what about your job and performance.

  • Jorgie
    2 Posts

    I was so looking forward to the new version, now I am locked out. My existing WHS has 2TB across 5 drives. No two drives are the same size and therefor will not work well with raid. Not to mention that automatic folder duplication was the whole reason I got the server in the first place. Nice job of gutting a popular product.

  • mtman
    0 Posts

    I should have done more research before I purchased a new WHS. I was in need of a NAS at home and I found what I thought was a bargin. With the death of DE no wonder it was going at half price. I guess I should have gotten an Iomega product or done all the work and configured a FreeNAS. The work is what I wanted to avoid at home. I have enough of that at work.

  • No DE - no Vail for me.

    Vail RIP!

  • I am one of the people here who also created an account just for the sole purpose of expressing what a poor decision this is. It saddens me so much to see Microsoft pretty much paralyzing a great product with the removal of the essential feature that defined it in my opinion.

    The fact that storage is getting cheaper and larger is true, but stoage needs are also increasing. I can have a 2TB drive, but my content will exceed that soon enough especially with video (like storing my DVD collection on my WHS for quick access instead of popping in DVDs all the time). My current setup exposes a 4.5TB setup and there is no one disk in the market that can do that. By the time there is, stored movies will need even more space.

    Also expecting your customers to learn to deal with RAID is a non-starter. Drobo will just eat up all this market.

    I heard discussions about improving newtork performance as a relationship to removing DE. If that is the case, WHS team should try to find another way. Revamp the whole underling technology if needed but keep this feature. It is core. Work with the Windows Filesystem team to find another way.

    I think WHS was a start to a great future potential in home servers but WHS v2 will not go past the launch date without DE. :(

    Please re-consider.

  • Is there some reason why both DE and RAID technologies can't both be included? Put a choice screen in the setup wizard with a link explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Make your choice and set things up the way that makes the most sense for your situation. That would be an increase in functionality. Changing from one technology that has some drawbacks to a different technology that has different drawbacks is not.

  • inquam
    0 Posts

    I will sound like a echo from the community as a whole. But wtf? (Pardon my french)

    I have been using WHS V1 for a long time. I have been using Windows in different shapes and forms since WIndows 3. During the years I have started to feel that MS just didn't get it when it came to the consumers and started using different Linux distributions and OSX. We wanted ease of use, good features and simplicity. Not 50 different versions of the same OS with names like "Basic", "Power", "Pro", "Ultimate", "Exterme", "Super duper thingy that can do some crap that we decided not to put into another version". I still HAD to use Windows since I'm a developer and have worked on a lot of Windows development and, let's face it, you need Windows if you wanna play games on a PC :)

    When Vista came I almost puked and stayed with XP until a few months ago. But with WIndows 7 I finnaly felt that MS was back on track. I have installed it, not beacuse I have to but because I actually like it. (With Switcher installed so one can get expose... hehe).

    The same feeling was the one I got when I was introduced to WHS. A colluege at work talked about the WHS when I was thinking about building a new Linux server for storage of photos, movies etc. The main point that finaly got me interested was the DE. "Could it actually be that simple to add drives??? And to a WINDOWS OS???". I decided to bite the bullet and get a WHS. And I have loved it!

    But what about it is it that I have loved? The DE!!!

    I have been able to easily add arbitrary disks to my system, swap disks in and out with ease and per folder set if it's important enough to have the folder duplicated for security. For instance, my pictures of my kids are important, so I have duplicated these. So are my Subversion repositories, important documents and some videos.

    My latest Downloads etc could be downloaded again if they fail so I ignore those. Saving a coupple of hundreds of gigs of storage.

    I have set up apache, mysql, subversion, uTorrent etc om my WHS. All of this COULD have been done on ANY Windows (or linux for that matter) machine. The ONLY point for actaully going for a WHS was the existance of DE. I could have added a webportal interface to any home built server. Any server could handle client backups etc. But ONLY whs hade DE. All the talk about better media streaming in Vail doesn't meen more than the fact that MS finaly undertsnds that those features sucked in the first version of WHS. I and many with me have lived with a 3-rd party app like Teversity, Orb or similar.

    Last week after a power outage my WHS failed to start. The registry had become corrupt and could not be repaired. So I decided to do a server recovery. But just as I was about to start I saw that Vail was avalible as public beta. I read about it and all the new features and thought that I could give it a go. Now, a few days later I get the news that DE is going to be removed from WHS "Vail". This makes it absolutley pointless for me to run Vail. All the benefits of DE for my specific setup and situation are gone and so are my feelings of MS actually starting to get it from a consumer perspective. How can MS have been so blind to the fact that the dedicated users of WHS that do anything more than just starting a ready built OEM version up after unpacking it see the DE functionality as the MAJOR benefit of WHS.

    Sure, Mediacenter integration has also been a huge request and you MIGHT have been able to soften the blow by including that as a new feature in your anouncement to kill DE. But you must unserstand that now, Vail will not be used by alot of people. Not beacuse it doesn't have many great features, but beacuse the MAIN request (media center integration) asked bu users was not included and the MAIN advantage lifted and praised by the users (DE) is beeing removed.

    I will now remove Vail from my system, go back to using WHS v1, loving my DE capabilities and the ease it brings. I will continue to watch my 1080p HD movies on my XBOX360 using Tversity and I will continue to double my WHS as a development server containing apache, mysql, subversion and more. And if we remove the GUI changes from Vail, do you know what I will actually miss out on by not using Vail instead?... Nothing, absolutley nothing that makes any difference at all in my day to day operation.

    A suggestion would be to listen to your consumers. If they want DE, give them DE. There might be situations where DE is not good to use. If it slows down operation under certain circumstances or whatever, fine. But give them the OPTION to use DE if they want to do that.

    A sad day indeed and my of hope for MS and their understanding for customer needs has turned from a glimmer into the last few seconds of a dying candle.

  • I was looking forward to making a WHS my next build but with this development I don't think I will bother, this takes away one of the best features of WHS.

  • coletc
    0 Posts

    Why don't you think about your customers who bought hardware for V1, in anticipation for V2 upgrade?  I don't have the option to go out and buy another OEM box.  You need to not bother us with technical explanation and simply meet the customer need.  My next box won't be a WHS.

  • Echo
    0 Posts

    I'm a .Net developer, I've got a Windows 7 phone, I adore my V1 MediaSmart server that is hooked up to my 4 PCs and laptop all running Windows 7.  I even use IE9 Beta.  I've reccomended WHS to just about everyone I know and love showing off how I can stream movies to my MediaCenter PC (and use my MediaCenter Remote)  but this..

    I believe your recent ad campaign sums it up.  Really?  Really?  

    You couldn't be bothered to put in the extra effort to make this work?  You couldn't just leave DE on WHS and let the others go the other way?  Really?  

    Make this right.  You had something special and you're throwing it away for reasons you can't even explain coherently.  Get your acts together.

  • dcook
    0 Posts

    How does this affect Small business Server.  I have still not upgraded from SBS 2003 because of the new hardware required for 64x - just now thinking of the upgrade.  Will SBS continue? Also can you suggest a link to a migration guide for this upgrade?

  • Magius
    1 Posts

    I hate to say it, but this it so typical of MS. You guys go through a cycle of connecting/disconnecting from what your users really want. What happened with Vista should have been a lesson for the entire company. You can't just take features out, highly valued features at that, and expect your users to roll with it. Yet you do it every time.

    There are users with already existing installs that will expect a painless transition of their data to the new version. With this change it is not going to be so. Am I expected to invest in a whole new system in order to transfer the terabytes of data already stored in my current WHS? This is no business data, but family pictures, videos, music, software, etc.

    You say you are committed to Vail. If you were really then the platform would come when it is ready. All the previous existing features perfected and new features polished. I am sure your users would not mind the extra wait.

    It is a very bad decision, sadly not surprising from MS.

  • This is the whole purpose of the product...easy redundancy of the data. You must provide some solution for data duplication before the release of this product. You cannot expect casual tech savvy home users to now setup and learn RAID configurations.

    How can you be committed to a product that your customers will not want and that the hardware vendors continue to drop?

  • Andy
    0 Posts

    Had to chime in with my two cents.  Over the past two years I have never been more excited about Microsoft and it's product offerings.  I learned about WHS about the time the first Windows 7 beta's were coming out.  Since then I have been pushing these two products to anyone who would listen (and some that tried not to).  With the release of Windows Phone I had some kum-ba-ya pipe dream about how nice my digital life was becoming.  WHS was the CORE of making all this possible.  Now, with this news my dreams have become nothing but a fantasy.  I have seen hundreds (thousands?) of posts saying how people won't be upgrading to 'Vail' on release.  My response will be much more severe.  I feel like Microsoft has intentionally made the business decision to slight its home customers and I will be activly seeking alternatives for ALL Microsoft products that I currently use.

  • Was waiting for Vail. Not anymore. You mad Vail to fail for me.

  • h2so4
    0 Posts

    WHS team, I would like to know what your commitments are in FY11. You guys totally lose them. For the coming Vail, I replace and upgrade many hardware as preparation according to Vail's requirements. it as some people around me did. DE is such important feature, without it, why Home users buy it? Because of DE, I gave up RAID, but now you guys make me to hug Linux  to seek a solution.  DE is core value, either for normal user or IT pro. Lose it, lost all of them. Think about it, it worth more effort. Do not make same stupid decision as WM did.

  • siblog
    0 Posts

    This is a failure of vision! - DE has many advantages: Firstly a system can grow, Drives can be added and / or swapped one at a time for larger drives. Swapping also refreshes and renews the storage hardware. At some point in a raid system you will probably need to copy all files to a new system. With DE I can move the data drives and rebuild. I can also protect my 2TB+ or so of Audio photos & home video, while not wasting space protecting TV recordings from my media center. My WHS has grown over the years as I have swapped out 500GB drives one by one for 2TB drives. 2TB drives my look big today but you dont have to look far back to see how storage needs change. All media is now digital the need for secure storage for photos movies and audio is vital. Movies alone will, long term eat up all the storage you can throw at them.

    This really is a failure of vision. The blog comment that "... our development for these products is very closely tied, a decision like this affects all three." So what! Make a new plan!

  • dSTeVek
    2 Posts

    My 2 cents worth - Please reconsider the DE removal from Vail.

  • RIP Windows Home Server

    I'm still on v1 and intended to update to Vail. However, as many have already noted, there's not much reason to do so without DE. If I'm going to set up a RAID5 system, I may as well do it with Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit and have Media Center and support for my Hauppauge TV hardware without having to 'doctor' the operating system.

  • You lost my at "outreach." Michael, you know that's not outreach you're hearing from users. It's outrage. Who is being helped by you glossing over the significance of this change? Not users, that's for sure.

    There's only one thing worse than a population of angry users -- users who don't care any more. That's the next step for us. Without a *meaningful* response from you guys on this subject, many of us will be walking away from WHS.

  • "we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender?"

    What? Tell me, why even continue after dumping Drive Extender? That's like pulling the engine and drivetrain out of the next Chevy Malibu and saying, "we are 100% committed to making sure the rest of the car is as solid as a new model should be." But you've pulled the heart out of the machine.

    This is a horrible decision. Drive Extender is THE -- yes THE -- most useful feature on WHS. I only use my WHS as an "advanced NAS" and don't really use its backup features. To me, the full value in WHS was easy drive pooling and duplication of folders for redundancy. I have purchased a number of "Advanced Format" 2TB drives and was all ready for the update to Vail when the final version arrived. Now I'm going to have to find something else and abandon my WHS. You have just killed WHS.

  • I have also been a been advocate of WHS.  I have personally convinced a dozen different families and two businesses to purchase WHS.  All of them are using the DE functionality because ALL of them want redundacy and they want it to be easy.  Hardware raid, software raid, etc, isn't easy enough.  The backup functionality, remote access, etc are just icing on the cake.

    Most of these people weren't MS fans at all, but they love their WHS and I usually get comments from them stating that MS actually 'got' the consumer market with that product.  I believe the only reason it isn't a huge success, is MS' failure at marketing the product.  All it would take is a commercial with a laptop drive going bad, show the guy going to buy a new HDD and restoring from the bootable DVD.  Then show him getting an alert on a failed WHS drive and getting a new drive and doing a 'hot' insert of the drive and 'removing' the failed drive.  

    With DE being taken out of the product you're SOL if you lose a drive now unless you have a hardware raid setup.  There isn't a single family that I've convinced to purchase this system that would have the slighest idea how to replace a HDD from a RAID set with a failure.  Nor would any of them understand the need to purchase the same type of drive, etc.  Don't get me started on how unerliable a RAID 5 set is with cheap HDD's.  You've got to buy drives that are built for RAID for the raid set to truly be reliable.

    Really, this is the end of WHS.  Even the small businesses that use WHS use it because of DE.  The product is now worthless.

  • For what it's worth, I wrote up my thoughts about why DE was important to WHS.  I call it "bad product management" (I am / was a PM and I know these decisions are hard) mostly because I see great opportunity for marketplace confusion.

    I ask myself this question:  My parents have a WHS box today.  It has saved their bacon many times.  Without DE, what would their purchasing experience be like?  Could they upgrade their WHS box easily?  Could they differentiate available offerings on the marketplace?

    Software RAID / DE offered them great advantages in that they could upgrade whenever they needed.  All they needed to remember were the letters "SATA" and how to open the front of their HP box.

    Leaving that user experience up to an OEM is a large opportunity for failure.  Compare how Windows Mobile 6.x compares to Windows Phone 7 in terms of hardware and software.  With WP7, Microsoft constrained the hardware precisely to give the user a consistent user experience.  The OS is smooth, responsive, and the choice is mostly down to features like keyboards, screen size and device feel.  

    Drive Extender spackled over an OEM's hardware and gave users a consistent experience.  Exposing an OEM's hardware design to the user is a bad idea.

    http://bit.ly/dLQt8m

  • I signed up to simply say this:

    Anyone involved in making this mind-numbingly ignorant decision should be blacklisted and prevented from ever working in the IT industry again.

    Mr. Michael Leworthless.  That's right, I'm looking at you, and I'm also looking at whatever bonehead boss of yours signed off on such stupidity.

    There is absolutely no reason to ever buy any future version of WHS that does not include DE functionality -- nada, zip, zilch, NONE.

    Without DE, the entire WHS product line is just like you and everyone on your team: Le' Worthless.

    Codename "Fail", indeed...

  • For me. as a "power" home user Veil just became a total irrelevance. I'll go back to using a proper HW Raid server or consider stumping up the cash for a Drobo, at least once my v1 box becomes outdated. Removing simple duplication technology from Veil has destroyed the most critical feature for me, and also destroyed my confidence in Microsoft as offering a solution in this marketplace appropriate for my family and friends. I had previously advocated WHS to them and that cannot be the case any more.

    Seriously the storage management pool concept is the critical sauce in WHS. You guys have an uphill struggle now. I urge you to reconsider as without it you are driving the product into oblivion (IMO)

  • henwr
    0 Posts

    Without DE I would not purchase the a new WHS.

  • A terrible decision to drop DE!  I was looking forward to Vail, but now its no-go for me.  I would have to replace my two 1TB hard drives that are DE'ed into one 2TB drive.  Since I currently have less than 50% free space on the DE'ed 2 TB drive, it is simply not possible to upgrade to Vail without adding an additional $200 to my server.  Since this is a HOME server, that is not in the FAMILY budget.  For me, Vail is DOA.

  • Thanks for the post, Michael, but neither of your recent posts explained why Drive Extender was dropped.  Your customers deserve to know of the problems.

    Paul Thurrott had me excited about Vail.  I had planned to purchase a WHS v2 when released next summer.  Without DE, however, WHS v2 is no longer of interest to me.  I will look to Drobo instead.

  • brijtek
    0 Posts

    I have to agree with all the comments here. One of the best benefits of DE is the built-in ability to grow storage and ensure availability in the data. Most WHS users won't get into all the third party bolt-on's etc. I myself have a 20+ year background in IT and see the ease of use as one of the most important selling features. I have recommended WHS to many friends who love the ease of use.  This will cause folks to go back and re-evalute NAS alternatives which is going in the wrong direction for home, consumer use. This is just not a good idea.....

  • Michael, you know I love ya and your team, but honestly, I'm disappointed that you say you are still 100% committed to Vail.  It's DOA without DE.  Shoot the product in the head so it doesn't die a miserable, lonely, pathetic death.

  • Removing DE is a really bad idea. The logic that big drives are common is simply flawed.  For decades users like me have had more stuff to store than the current technology supports comfortably.  A large video collection is too much for the cloud (bandwidth) and too much for 2TB RAID drives (how often would one need to add drives?)

    I have been thrilled by Vail so far.  I have logged several bugs including some with DE and have been eagerly anticipating the released product.  I have shown the beta to several friends and frequently commented that Microsoft is really getting it right with this product and that it was nice to see at least one part of the company is still able to innovate and simplify.  DE is, quite simply, the core technology needed to make a SIMPLE storage solution.  Without it, the underlying problem remains complicated.  

    Without it, Vail has no real value for me.

    Without it, Vail has has no real value  for anyone I recommend things to.

    Without it, I need to find another vendor for my home infrastructure.

    Odd that Microsoft is choosing to concede yet another space to the competition.  Are you guys just tired?

  • Michael,

    I own a WS 2008 R2 and had WHS2 installed on it as a VM, because I liked DE. Recently I built a separate box with Vail, for the same reason. Sorry, but despite large drives being available easily (for money), I like WHS because I can use my many small older drives whch are available to me for free. My Vail box currently holds 8 ranging in size from 250 GB to 2TB.

    DE is the killer feature of WHS and without it the product is not appealing to me. I am extremely diappointed.

    Have you received a single positive user comment by the way? How on earth is it possible to pretend this is in the interest of the user? Which one??????

    WHS is the only product I have seen recently (other than Apple's), that actually really created something new and exciting for home users. Without DE it is a yawn.

  • Typical corporate America.  Anything to save money.  Do not ask the consumer what they want.  Just change what you want to reduce costs.  That is what drives America these days, the almighty profit dollar.  Not a good quality product that meets the needs of it's customers.  Nope just the profit dollar.

    I have to agree with many of the posts here.  The drive extender feature was the only reason I decided to get a Windows Home Server.  So, now instead of adding an extra drive that I may have just lying around, I have to remove and install drives within my WHS.  Let's get real.  You are virtually killing what was a reasonable solution to home network storage.  Sounds to me like another bad decision.  But what do I know I am just the consumer!

  • Ellie
    2 Posts

    This post about the announcement to remove Drive Extender from Windows Home Server 2008 was written up by Ars Technica. It was timestamped approximately 6am MST on 26 Nov. Here's the URL:

    arstechnica.com/.../has-microsoft-just-ruined-windows-home-server.ars

    It actually refers to this comment thread explicitly!

    The author gave a sensible rationale for Microsoft's decision regarding Vail and Drive Extender. But it seems clear cut that Drive Extender was unique feature. Sad that it was discontinued, as there isn't much else besides RAID storage which no one wants to deal with at home.

  • I've read Thurrott's reasoning on the topic - frankly, decouple the products if enterprise-level loads are causing it to fail. It's named "Home Server" for a reason.

  • Then bloody decouple the products.

    "Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail" Nope, you're not. You've killed the product.

  • You guys are so clueless. Cant you see how many 0-post people signed up to scream their dismay to you?

    As a consumer getting ready to deploy 7 copies of windows 7, a 2008 R2 server for learning on top of my 2003 Enterprise box....

    You dont get it. I wanted to add two WHS to my lineup but now, no way!

  • like many, joined only to reply to this atrocity...

    let me get this straight...windows HOME server. sure you can use it for small business, but really...home...it's in the name! why ignore the home users?!

    I'm a seasoned tech and been in the industry for a long time but i have yet to use WHS - i was looking forward to DE...I have a box built and ready (NOT OEM, obviously), was inches away from purchasing WHSv1 until I did some research and discovered v2 was just around the corner, cool! 2008r2 platform vs 2003, awesome! i was happy to wait a few months (been ~5 already). in the meantime, my box has been gathering dust waiting for the "un-vailing".

    I'm sorry to say, but this breaks the deal - absolutely...completely...ffs. the servers' other functionality was neat, some of it useful, but seen as completely secondary to the drive extender. the money is instead going towards hardware...wether it be NAS or attached esata external drive bays, new hd's, whatever. just NOT WHSv2

    drive extender is THE reason I was interested in WHS to begin with and now it's gone and so am I...unless you re-introduce it, but knowing you guys, it's most likely not going to happen.

    Microsoft, big FAIL this time guys...really, get your s**t together. good luck with the product launch, your numbers will only be skewed by oem like vista was, though i guess it is a bit different...but whatever...LAME! I call shinnanigans!

    yours truly,

    Super Dissapointed.

  • VAIL = FAIL

    I'm a Product Manager (Program Manager) for a global tech company, and a big WHS fan.

    The #1 responsibility of a PM is to represent the conscience of the customer to the engineering team. If I got this type of unamimous feedback, I'd be going back to the engineering team and saying "Guys, we got this one wrong. We need to reconsider our options."

    The problem here is that you are reconciling a "home user" product with a "business user" product... and the use cases are very different.

    I very much suspect the real problem is fiscal. WHS was initially a "hobby" project and while is has a large number of supporters, it never really captured mass market attention. So it has to rely on the SBS code stream and ultimately be led by it. There seems to be no choice in the matter.

    So the best you can do is spin some rationale and wave a different "shiny object feature" to detract from what you removed. It's a bummer.... I've been there....

    Two options Michael...

    1) Ignore your customers, believe in your own convictions and pray that Vail is a success

    2) Listen to the feedback, recognise the problem and plead your case to senior managers

  • Glad you are 100% committed to Vail, but in reality that doesn't count for much as you see the problem is that now we are not.  

    Put back DE, or carry on wasting money developing a doomed product, your choice.

    See ya and thanks for all the fish!

  • An Addendum to my previous post - I was going to recommend WHS to customer/friend because of the ability to add drives without all the problems/costs associated with RAID. Now I can't and its not out of spite, it is because the product no longer does the job it was intended for.

  • 100% commitment would mean not having WHS linked with the business versions. I am not going to upgrade to the new version because I cannot use it. A HUGE benefit of the current WHS is the ability to use any of my existing hard drives. I am going to stick with the current version until my hardware dies. Current search for replacement is underway.

  • StEVO_M
    0 Posts

    In the first post you say based on the Feedback you received is why you are taking it out and now you are saying it was a very hard decision to make.  Well if the decision really was based on Feedback, it should have been very easy and straght forward.  Based on the feedback I'm seeing here the only thing I can say is most of the current Home Server users will NOT be moving forward (including myself) if this feature is removed.  Why not actually listen to the Feedback your getting now?!?

  • WHS will die! I think this might be the end of WHS without DE... death. Being a home user that built my own machine and installed the WHS OS myself, I am dissappointed .... actually flabergasted! WHS and WIN 7 actually brought me back to MS! WHS was actually a reason I tried WIN 7! Without DE WHS will be worthless to me! I have 7TB in external attached storage. I have had to replace several HD's and DE is what allowed that. Without DE I will move away from all MS products! You finally got it right with WHS and now you take it away. WHS will be worthless!

  • The more I think about practicality of DE in WHS, the more I read all these comments, the more I think, that something is getting wrong with the society. People, wake-up, stop complaining about DE. Start THINKING. Start ANSWERING the questions:

    - What is the average size of PC backup (without directories such as SOFTWARE, RIPPED BD, DVD, MUSIC, etc.)?

    - What is the average size of average end-user Libraries (Documents+Music+Pictures+Videos)?

    Please, no more talks, that somebody still has 4x100GB drives in his closet and wants to give them a second chance (buy 1x2TB). No more talks, that somebody bought a video camera and likes recording now everything around.

    On average, if your “belongings” at home exceed 1-2TB, probably, you are not “average” end-user anymore, and your specific “professional” needs have to be fulfilled by other means (read, more expensive solutions).

    Let’s discuss each of excessive storage scenarios separately.

    1. Video-camera amateur with big video collection. Where is the borderline (in GB) between common sense, obsession to record everything and recording already as part of a business? What are the habits of such average home users in terms of storage for such collections? Does every of them keep it on WHS, or is it recordable/rewritable DVDs, BDs or simply external hard drives?

    2. DLNA server for copies of legally bought BDs, DVDs, CDs. 50GB for the best BD movie. 2TB hard drive will need 40 such films. In this case, such consumer is capable to fork out not only for 2TB hard drive, but a bit more for above average storage solutions? Start thinking, why live streaming is pushed to the market now so hard.

    3. Illegally copied content (software, movies, music). Should Microsoft be bothered by opinions of such customers?

    Do such customers believe, that will not be any official attempts in the coming future to "invalidate" such content or make WHS inoperable due to “security incompliance”? Does anybody think, that it is hard to implement with the right legislations? Will such end-user keep such content on his WHS, but not on Bitlocker encrypted HDD under his pillow? In this perspective, can a further development of DE implementation in WHS be considered as a secondary infringement of copyright materials?

  • jm1024
    0 Posts

    "Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail"

    That's a joke right? You obviously do not understand why people use WHS. Leave it to Microsoft to kill it's best product.

    Any chance we can have the v1 team back?

  • I was just starting to get in the groove with the new Microsoft.  WHS v1 was incredible, easily the best home storage product on the market.  It was amazingly easy to setup, dead simple to expand, easy to recover from a hard drive loss, etc.  I recommended it to many friends and always gave demos of my system when people came over to my house.

    IE9 is great, MS has finally put out a real browser.  The combination of IE9 and ASP .NET MVC 3 has shown me that Microsoft is fully committed and moving rapidly towards HTML5/CSS3 standards compliance.  This is great!

    Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are both really, really good OS.

    Then this news comes along and smacks you in the face.  There was already blood in the water, I realize that, I started the highest voted bug on Connect: connect.microsoft.com/.../allow-disabling-of-file-chunking-striping-for-non-duplicated-folders.  But this is going to leave a mark for a while.  You have successfully gone from having by far the best product on the market to having virtually no product at all.  You brought a rusty spoon to a gun fight this time Microsoft, shame on you.

  • Timores
    0 Posts

    That the biggest software company in the world cannot manage 3 different products with 3 different code bases is impossible to understand.

    Do you guys like to be hated ?

    Why say that you listen to your users, when you disregard their opinions so sharply ?

    Now I have to find a home server solution. Too bad, I liked Vail.

  • tomsand
    0 Posts

    "Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail...", I have a hard time believing this. You might as well start praying that your forecasts are accurate and your jobs will still be needed without Vail as a selling product because what you are now packaging as Vail (-DE) no one wants to buy. I'm wiping my test box as I write this and will be reloading CentOS + LVM + Samba as I know that will do what I want and what Vail used to do. I have no interest in going backwards even further to WHSv1 at this point as that is the same dead end ultimately.

    How can this be taken as anything but a clear sign from Microsoft that they have no interest in the WHS product and it's community anymore? Until the issues of data duplication/availability and easy drive additions/upgrades/replacements is fully addressed in a format that results in no additional cost in hardware and without degrading the current level of functionality from these features, there is no way I can convince myself to keep using the product and certainly makes it impossible for me to recommend it or sell it. Considering Microsoft's track record in making good on these kinds of bad decisions I now consider my experience with WHS over. This is a definite step backwards for a lot of your target users.

  • I too would like to express my disappointment about this. Drive extender is the key feature that all other components were built on. I can buy a hardware NAS for half the price a WHS box but it will not dynamically let me add storage & automatically choose what content to duplicate. Since using WHS I have actually used the DE to move content from my original set of 200GB disks to my current pack of green 2TB disks. The plan is/ WAS to continue this once larger disk are released again.

    As WHSv1 doesn't support SMBv2, IPv6, Hyper-V I am/ WAS really looking forward to this upgrade. If this feature is removed then I really see the VAIL product going the way of the Sidekick & dodo bird...

    Really disappointed

  • edddy
    0 Posts

    If you were 100% committed to Vail, you would listen to the WHS customers, not the SBS customers or the Windows Server engineers.

    You can kill DE in SBS and WSS, but keep it in Vail and make your customers happy. It's as simple as that.

  • stricq
    0 Posts

    Good luck with that, I will be not be purchasing or recommending WHS2.

  • glonq
    4 Posts

    It's a pity that WHS is the red-headed stepchild of the "small server" product family; the second-class afterthought who gets short-changed whenever it is cheaper or easier for a decision to favor its siblings.

    If WHS ever had an advocate or evangelist, we'd see Media Center running on it, Drive Extender would remain, and WHS devices from partners would be abundant and affordable.

    The decision to pull DE from WHS betrays misunderstanding, negligence, and contempt for Microsoft's consumers.

  • I will not be buying another WHS product if this is removed.  Yes the average IT/Nerd will have no problem setting up RAID but the average user will not understand that.  Yes they may buy it in the store pre-setup but what about redundancy and hard drives going bad.  Now they will have to take it into the store or what ever to get it fixed, they aren't going to understand it.  What about warnings, used to be that WHS warned the user of the health of the drives but now they will have to rely on the raid controllers software.  WHS worked and it worked well, this is just stupid and I have no intention or recommending upgrading or upgrading my self.  And it would seem I'm not alone in this, very bad move Microsoft.

    I can't believe you went from releasing several great products to this big steaming pile of garbage.  Seperate WHS from SBS, SBS is not for home users either.  WHS was a home based product and it worked.  I loved it but not anymore, please reconsider this MS.  And trust me this isn't "outreach" as you put it, it's "outrage" get it correct.

  • Thanks for removing THE defining feature from WHS. Thanks a lot! Wow, what a good idea! Now we can go back to manually backing up folders and making several shares that include the same type of files because they can't fit into one single drive. Yaaaay! </norwegian irony>

    Why would one even need this type of Operating System? You could just as easily install an older Windows you have lying around and share stuff or even better, a good linux distro that does the same job. Suddenly it became a good time to check out Amahi...

  • Great to hear you are still 100% committed to Vail. Your users aren't any more...

  • You've taken one of your few 'Apple-like" products and made it more 'Microsoft-like'.  Good luck with that.  

    (As an aside, I spent 13 years at Microsoft and know some of the people behind the original WHS and DE technology. Sad to see the original product vision fall by the wayside...)

  • I've also signed up to express my complete disappointment at the removal of this feature. Like many others, I consider Windows Home Server = Drive Extender. Yes, the drives are larger now, but so is the data that we're putting on them. And as drive capacities grow, so will the data we store on them.

    You talk about the team making a decision to remove DE because it did NOT meet customer needs. What a croc. I'm a customer (SMB) and my needs WERE BEING met. And now that will not be, I will not be upgrading/replacing my WHS with Vail.

    If your team is still about meeting customer needs (not just business needs) please reconsider your decision, or stop saying you care about customer (home and SMB) needs.

  • "Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender."

    What is left that makes it worth getting when Vail is released?

    Please, post a list of all the features that will make me want to purchase this product.

    Jeff

  • efjay
    14 Posts

    My response? Started looking at Drobo as a potential replacement when my WHS v1 needs to be replaced. Vail is NOT an option. Thanks MS, you've done it again!

  • macnz43
    0 Posts

    To my friends at Microsoft:

    The problem that we are having with DE (on Vail) is NOT Drive Extender per se, but the needless tinkering that has rendered DE less useful. In my opinion, and that of many others, Drive Extender is a compelling feature, maybe the most innovative feature of WHS. Without it, WHS is just another ho-hum product.

    As to your assertion that using large disks with RAID is a better solution than DE, I must strenuously disagree. Given the likelihood of physical errors on very large desktop-class hard drives, re-building a RAID array when a drive fails will inevitably result in UREs (unrecoverable read errors) that will destroy the data volume. Most home users will NOT be able to deal with this inevitability. RAID-less redundancy, of the type provided by DE, is the only sensible answer.

    As you can see by the comments, everyone, and I mean everyone, on this blog wants Drive Extender included in Home Server. Microsoft claims to be a MARKET-DRIVEN company, one that examines the wants of the market and delivers what the market wants. If that is the case, THE MARKET WANTS DE. Please re-think your decision to remove Drive Extender.

    =Mac=

  • I am using WHS instead of a NAS solution because of drive extender. It is THE feature. I do not want to be messing around with RAID for redundancy.  If you are no longer be offering your customers the product yours customers want, your competitors will. Good luck in the future. I will looking for a different solution to replace my aging WHS.

  • RichPNW
    0 Posts

    While a convenience, DE irritated me from a hardware perspective. I prefer to control drive use and drive replacement, not having DE makes that an easier task. I don't need to use old SATA or IDE drives to build a storage pool, buying a 3tb drive these days is affordable. Buying two and creating a RAID mirror is now less complex. Thanks for rethinking Drive Extender.

  • WHS2 is DOA without Drive Extender.  I will no longer buy nor recommend this product.

    The original WHS community was extremely intriguing ...  you had everyone from regular joe schmoes home users to enthusiasts.  Then there were Mac users and people who don't even like the Windows platform, but yet still embrace WHS.  With one stupid move, you've managed to piss off your entire community.

    The "Vail" product team really needs to go back and re-read the original design principles that made WHS1 so successful:

    blogs.technet.com/.../why-raid-is-not-a-consumer-technology.aspx

  • Blaster
    0 Posts

    Staggered by this decision. Unbelievably disappointed. You can be as committed to Vail as you like. It won't be what I like. Hi Ho Hi Ho, to somewhere else I'll go.

  • I created a user here just to said: Noooooo! pls MS don't remove this awesome feature. It's the primary reason why I use WHS (been hooked since the first public beta). I will not upgrade to vail without this feature!

  • smither
    0 Posts

    As I understand it DE v2 just plain did not work .. Disks are unreadable on other machines, storage overhead was huge, recovery of unduplicated files after single disk failures was a nightmare ... But why kill the whole concept? Can DE v1 not be ported to Vail?

  • wfofw
    0 Posts

    Hello, my name is Doug and I'm a WHS user.  If Drive Extender goes, I go.

  • lyme
    0 Posts

    Michael, your set of core features in Vail has just become lackluster.. Without DE I'm not going to downgrade to Vail from WHSv1, and will stop recommending the product to others. DE is one of the few pivotal features of WHS.

  • Once again, Microsoft doesn't care about the users.  I was a beta tester for WHS V1 and due to the backup features and the Drive Extender technology I was an evangelist for WHS.

    Thanks for removing the biggest feature that convinced me that Microsoft had finally "gotten it".  I was obviously mistaken.  With DE, WHS is worthless.  No folder by folder duplication and the pain in the a-- of drive letters.

    Brilliant, Microsoft - way to make the premier home server OS impotent...

  • I'll add my 2 cents to this.  If DEv2 was such a failure, then add DEv1 back in, as an installable option if you must, but do something.  I was planning my WHS upgrade to Vail, but I guess I will continue with v1 as long as I can and look out for something to replace it in the mean time.

  • Microsoft Announcement Next XBOX for 2013 will drop internet access. That has same impact as removing Drive Extender from Vail. Yea lets remove a feature that 90% of out customer base need.

  • Like many others, I see the writing on the wall for WHS now. Now that major competitive advantage of Vail has disappeared, I think even MS will see quickly that there's really little point in 'muddling through' to some kind of release. I hope MS are shamed into reversing this, but I doubt it.

  • An OEM solution means the consumer has to pay out of pocket for a feature MS is removing. Bad choice removing DE and the death of this product. Surely MS must see this.

  • EricE
    0 Posts

    "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"

    As a home product, how many users do you think would need to exceed 6 Terabytes?  I'm not talking enthusiasts ripping every DVD they own and rent from Netflix, but regular families with photo's, videos, etc.?

    I'm guessing less than 20%

    Two mirrored 3TB hard drives gives them simple, reliable, and 100% duplicated storage.  Sure, 3TB drives are expensive now, but like all other storage, they will drop fast over time.

    Heck, two sets of mirrored 2TB drives would yield 4TB of useable, hardware redundant storage.  For less than $400 in drives (2 TB drives are routinely under $100 - all over the place!).

    Your emphasis on "Home" is exactly why I think MS has realized the complexity for DE is no longer necessary.

    To me, MS's decision to drop Drive Extender is an obvious one.  DE solves a problem that really no longer exists.  If you need more than 6TB, Vail/Aurora support iSCSI - grab yourself a refurb Drobo Pro for $900, hook it up and have at it.  I'm still planning on doing this for a few non-profits I support that are getting into video production and need lots of cheap, redundant storage.  DroboPro's are an incredible value, but it would be nice to see some more competition in this space.  WHS has value over Drobo's file sharing solutions in their workstation backup (with dedupe and image restore!) and native Windows Server SMB support.  While Samba is pretty good, it's not a native Windows stack.

    Personally I'm glad to see DE dead.  This will let some of the oxygen back in the room and we may see some more innovation at the core issues - the suckiness of parity RAID and/or NTFS for flexible storage.

    I may be in the vast minority, but I see this as a very, very positive move for WHS and SBS Essentials.  Especially for SBSE - a product I am VERY excited about for non-profits I support and friends who own small businesses (of whom I've already sprinkled v1 WHSs in for workstation backup).

    I view the furor over the dropping of DE much in the same vein of Apple dropping the floppy and embracing USB in leu of their ADB ports with the iMac.  At the time, everyone just chalked the move up to another sign of Apple's irrelevancy.  Guess who's having the last laugh for having a long term vision and sticking with it :)

    So kudos to the WHS/SBSE team.  A very bold move.  Personally I didn't think MS had the stones to be truly innovative and pushing of the envelope.  The more you push or try to think outside the box, the more pushback you will receive.  Hang in there, but most importantly *follow up with something else*.  Don't just drop the feature and ship - that would truly be lame.  That would be the equivalent of Apple dropping the floppy and optical drive at the same time.  That's not good, so don't do the equivalent of that please!  There needs to be some sort of a solution for the 6TB and under segment - heck, I've identified one easy solution :)

  • Another person who created an account here specifically so I could comment.

    Without DE there is no point to WHS for me. WHS is wife-friendly. It made storage easy, and it was simple enough my nontechnical wife could get it. RAID, drive letters, and folders scattered everywhere are not wife friendly.

    I've been actually pricing components so I could build a 64 bit server to run Vail. Guess that's off the table. Maybe I'll buy another SATA controller card and some more drives for my WHS v1 instead. It's going to have to last a while.

    Another lost sale here. Bad move, MS!

  • EricE
    0 Posts

    Meh - drive extender was always a hack.  A rather elegant one in WHS v1 for lightweight duties, but a hack none the less.  Despite the flack they will get for this, I congratulate MS for making the correct, if not extremely tough and obviously unpopular call.

    To get an idea of the enormity of the issues MS was struggling with, one only has to look at the tortured evolution of Drive Extender in Vail - the struggles with checksums and other decisions dedicated to ensure reliable storage.  It was obvious that for every "solution" to previous issues with Drive Extender, more problems (like not being able to mount Home Server drives in another computer and pull files off, or increases in data protection overhead) cropped up.  At what point do you continue to try to hack around current issues in RAID or NTFS, and finally decide it's far better to attack the core problems with those respective technologies?  Obviously someone at MS finally decided to make the tough call - and I think ultimately it will be proven to be the right one.

    RAID arrays with parity do suck - but mainly because the current implementations of parity RAID suck.  Who knows, maybe a large OEM like HP has licensed Drobo's Beyond RAID?  Other than being a little poky at rebuilds, I love my original 4 slot Drobo (Generation 2 with Firewire 800).  Personally, I was (and still am) looking forward to Vail and Aurora (especially Aurora/SBS Essentials) support of iSCSI targets for members to the storage pool.  I was already planning to use a 1U SuperMicro Atom server with mirrored OS drives (hardware level outside of the OS) connected to a Drobo Pro over iSCSI (No need for elite!) for redundant storage for my data.  Yup, it won't be an under $400 setup, but it will scale far more reliably, with a greater amount of useable storage per protected/redundant bit.  A half full Drobo Pro will smoke an HP Media Smart with double the amount of hard drives to provide the same amount of useable storage.  And it will be far more reliable, and easier to upgrade than even a WHS with drive extender.  And I will get guaranteed redundancy with no worries of conflict or open files that never get duplicated.  When you start getting into the tens of terabytes, even a Drobo Pro (about $1K with no drives) becomes cost effective pretty quick.  This does leave a gap in the 1-5TB space that the current WHS fills rather nicely - it will be interesting to see what MS has up it's sleeve - WHS's with mirrored 3TB drives?  Two sets of mirrored 3 TB drives (six useable and protected terabytes)?  Heck, for 90% of the people out there, that's more than adequate and I think that's what finally drove MS to realize that the pace of hard drive growth was negating many of the original reasons for drive extender, and the need for dealing with the complexity of what drive extender was attempting to do.

    If other manufacturers would clean up their RAID with parity implementations to allow for non-destructive resizing of the array and remove restrictions on having hard drives of similar sizes, things would get interesting indeed - but with large, single drives, mirroring is pretty cost effective these days for all but the largest data hoarders...

    Who knows, maybe MS signed a cross licensing deal with Oracle for ZFS :)  Stranger things have happen (although ZFS can't nondestructively resize storage pools either :p )

  • I am a long-time WHS user.  I've never felt the need to post, because I've been satisfied with WHS Version 1  and the direction Vail was reported to be going.

    WHS features in order of importance to me are: Automated Back-up, file sharing, and DE.  Removing DE from Vail greatly reduces the scalability of WHS.

    I won't leave Version 1 for a Vail without DE.  I'll go to ZFS instead.

  • bnick3
    0 Posts

    I have been having fun looking at motherboard and cpu combos waiting for the new release of WHS.  If DE is not a part of this package, I agree, what is the use?  Too bad a wonderful product out of Microsoft will now be turned into Vista.

  • kcthedj
    0 Posts

    Don't be stupid! Just put it back in!

  • bagagt1
    0 Posts

    To say that I'm disappointed in this news is a major understatement.  I was (and still am) looking for a centralized storage solution (my current solution is a laptop running XP Home with 1 USB 1.0 port).  I was about to pull the trigger earlier in the year and buy a HP MediaSmart Server (I need to be able to back up two iMacs as well).  Then I read about the "Vail" leak early in the year and decided to wait for the newest release before purchasing a WHS.  Yesterday's news really bummed me out, I am going to have to start researching a new solution, as Drive Extender was one of the major reasons I wanted a WHS (I have several External USB HD's).  

    I think if Microsoft has learned any lesson in the last few years, it should be that consumers love simplicity (iPhone vs Windows Mobile, Vista vs. OS X Leopard).  In the name of all that Microsoft has done well in the last couple of years to simplify their products for the consumer market  (Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Security Essentials, IE 9, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Movie Maker), this decision needs to be rethought!  This is a product that with a little tweaking and a little more forethought could be a break out hit.  With better marketing and more inclusiveness (include OS X backups like HP did) I could see many homes having a WHS.  This market is not ripe yet, but with more people having multiple PC's, laptops, iPods, and smartphones, having access to my own personal cloud with all my information at my fingertips would be invaluable.

    Simplicity is what is driving most consumer purchases in tech and electronics today, I wouldn't pull out that simplicity for either the consumer market or the Small business market (small businesses like simplicity in their tech as well), for a quick and easy win.

  • > Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender.

    The ones that no home user cares about. You honestly might as well have just cancelled the project.

  • I signed up to simply say this:

    Anyone involved in making this mind-numbingly ignorant decision should be blacklisted and prevented from ever working in the IT industry again.

    Mr. Michael Leworthless.  That's right, I'm looking at you, and I'm also looking at whatever bonehead boss of yours signed off on such stupidity.

    There is absolutely no reason to ever buy any future version of WHS that does not include DE functionality -- nada, zip, zilch, NONE.  

    Without DE, the entire WHS product line is just like you and everyone on your team: Le' Worthless.

    Codename "Fail", indeed...

  • joshg21
    0 Posts

    What dribble. Worst decision ever and I will not be utilizing Vail for anything. When I find a good alternative I will be switching my current WHS. Good job on killing a great product.

  • kay.one
    0 Posts

    "Let me completely confirm we are 100% committed to Vail, and continue to work on all the core features outside of Drive Extender"

    that made me laugh. what is left of it? you had one main feature to work on and you have failed. so that leaves what the logo and the marketing?

    as sad as this is. its starting to make sense when people say apple understands users and Microsoft doesn't.

  • uadog
    0 Posts

    First, thanks for sharing upcoming plans.  In the face of this unpopular decision it was a brave tactical move, and one Microsoft is to be commended.  The message is clear-  the decision to remove DE benefits Microsoft 's cost structure more than it benefits the consumer install base.  I will begin to re-assess alternative solutions, halt current expansion, question implementing future MS centric solutions, and I predict MS will lose revenue upgrade.

    Mainstream support for WHS ends Jan 8 2013, which gives customers two years evaluate.

  • I've been using WHS for years, I love that I don't have to worry about my data, it's always replicated in the other drives, automatically and transperently.

    Removing this feature is a huge mistake.

    Microsoft, you have made a huge mistake!