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When we first started designing Windows Home Sever code name “Vail” one of our initial focuses was to continue to provide effortless support for multiple internal and external hard drives. Drive Extender provided the ability to take the small hard drives many small businesses and households may have acquired, and pool them together in a simple volume. During our current testing period for our Windows Home Server code name “Vail” product, we have received feedback from partners and customers about how they use storage today and how they plan to use it moving forward. Today large hard drives of over 1TB are reasonably priced, and freely available. We are also seeing further expansion of hard drive sizes at a fast rate, where 2Tb drives and more are becoming easy accessible. 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.
When weighing up the future direction of storage in the consumer and SMB market, the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs. Therefore, moving forward we have decided to remove the Drive Extender technology from Windows Home Server Code Name “Vail” (and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) which are currently in beta.
While this removes the integrated ability for storage pooling of multiple hard drives and automated data duplication, we are continuing to work closely with our OEM partners to implement storage management and protection solutions, as well as other software solutions. This will provide customers greater choice as well as a seamless experience that will meet their storage needs. Customers will also have access to the in-built storage solutions Windows Server 2008 R2 provides for data protection. We are also still delivering core features such as automated Server and PC backup, easy sharing of folders and files, Remote Web Access and simplified management without any expected changes.
Target product availability is still H1 2011, and we expect to deliver a new beta without drive extender for Windows Home Server Code Name “Vail” early in the New Year.
Hopefully the next refresh allows an upgrade path though. Please don't make current vail testers wipe our drives :)
So you'll be cutting the price of the product in half correct? I mean, you know removing this key feature/selling point is going to cause the price of the hardware to skyrocket. I could care less about the SBS 2011 Essentials or business servers...I bought WHS for my home. I'm upset, the WHS team has not delivered what the Windows Home Server community has wanted from the beginning...enhanced support/integration/port of Media Center and SkyDrive.
Noooo :( the folder duplication was the feature I liked more! Now how can I set up a software duplication only for specific folders?!? I do not want to RAID all drives it takes too much space!
@blahism, upgrade path?...that is highly unlikely now that there is no storage pooling. I mean if you have very large pooled volumes, its going to be impossible to split that up in any automated way.
"Target product availability is still H1 2011". This means nothing to me now. My great interest in Vail has just evaporated. Drive Extender is the great feature of Home Server, and what my personal data storage is based around. I have loved owning my WHS but unfortunately without DE I will be looking for other products now.
You know it is not April 1st, right? For the average home users (the ones that I have suggested and who have bought Windows Home Server) this is the most effective feature of the product. If they need more space, they just buy a drive, stick it in, and follow the instructions, no resizing, no effort really needed... it works.
What sort of solution will be put in it's place for Vail that a normal home user can use?
As far as the the SBS11 and WSS8 R2 server products I would agree, that Drive Extender is a benefit, but not really a need and other technology can assist if needed.
Well, thank you for the update on Vail. You have now made my decision between Vail and a Drobo easy. Since you removed probably the best feature of Windows Home Server, Drobo is an easy win. It will keep my pictures and other files safe in expandable storage. Vail just became a hassle and the features it offers do not offer nearly enough to balance out this failure. The biggest reason for a home server is for storage and that storage has to have the ability to be increased over time as storage requirements increase. Configuring RAID is simply a bad solution. If it was a good solution, it would already be popular. This is a sad day for consumers.
Well, congratulations. I have 3 HP Mediasmart servers in my family, and was planning on going with a new one based on Vail when it got released. Good job, MS- you've just shot yourself in the foot. DE was one of the reasons I got the thing for my father: easy to add storage as needed. This decision is just plain stupid.
There is now very little reason for me to purchase WHS for my next home server need. Do you guys even do focus group studies before you make these insane, revenue-destroying decisions?
I'm not even sure I understand exactly what is afoot. To me, the criticism was not (never in fact) about the underlying usefulness of DE - it's one of the most effective ways of combining arbitrarily-sized disks, especially since different manufacturers use actual byte counts for the same space - Hitachi's 1TB disk is 1,000,000,321 bytes, and the Samsung is 1,000,000,109 bytes, meaning you can't really combine them properly in RAID1. The problem, as everyone, including commenteriat here pointed out, was the DEv2 moved DE from above the NTFS layer to below, rendering it impossible to recover disks with another Vail-powered computer handy, and that remains the single largest criticism of DEv2.
Sitting where I'm sitting right now, in the past six months, we've gone from having three reasonably effective, corporately-backed, ways of combining arbitrarily sized disks - Drobo, DE and ZFS - to one, as both Microsoft and Sun/Oracle have given up on their respective efforts and the truth is that the Drobo has proved to be notoriously unreliable, so the reality is we have zero options here. I realise that the future maybe in the "Cloud", but the usefulness of vast amounts of local storage cannot still be understated.
This is a really bad move Microsoft, really, really bad. You had an opportunity to really push the envelope, and this is a huge step backwards for all of us.
Thumbs down on this change!! This make a major change in the appeal of WHS. Drive extender and folder duplication are the features talk up to people that are looking a backup solution. Now there gone!! I am building a new system for Vail when it come out and this just made my MB and drives chooses wrong. How about leaving these features in and make them optional.
You know, you REALLY could have done a better job with this announcement. This raises so many questions, and people are left to assume the worst. Especially when you say "drives are big and cheap these days" and throw RAID out there. What? It makes it sound like whoever is in charge of WHS nowadays doesn't "get it" at all. I'm hoping that somehow things are not as dire as they seem, but I'm really concerned about the future of WHS now.
Most stupid decision ever. It was THE main selling point. All the people I sold a home server got it for THAT reason. Else, they would have bought just another NAS.
Really really stupid. I'll stick with whs1, then, thanks. You really lost me there.
I'm sorry, but at the moment this strikes me as a slap in the face as a longterm WHS user. And the stretching of the facts is just breathtaking and worthy of spin doctors at their finest:
If a drive fails, I can't just replace it and carry on? I'm stunned and disappointed. Time to look for another non-microsoft solution, perhaps.
I view this as a really bad decision. One of the best parts of WHS was the drive extender. Automatic duplication built in to the product was a key selling point, along with not having to deal with RAID. You're taking the single best feature from WHS and removing it for the sake of what exactly?
I understand people wanted to be able to pull their data off of a WHS drive from another machine. Fine, create a small app that lets people do that, just like a USB drive encrypted with BitLocker has when run on a non-Windows 7 computer.
This is a terrible mistake.
I have to agree with Licantrop0. The drive extender tech was a huge part of why I purchased WHS, and why I was planning on purchasing SBS 2011 for my company when it was released.
I don't know who you talked to, but I wonder if you found users who said they didn't need it, and how much consideration was put into users who just took the tech for granted, and never said how they felt either way. Drive extender is tech that should not be dropped. Don't make laymen need to become data storage experts, its counter productive.
The WeGotServed Community Site had an interesting suggestion...hope that WHS team is open to it...cancel Vail, continue with releasing your business aligned skus and then come back and do a consumer version right.
In the interim or alternative, Windows Live team really should (it is insane they are not already) offer "paid" SkyDrive storage options. 25GB isn't bad (plenty for photos) but if I had 100GB in the cloud, I could have all my photos and music sync'd and accessible no matter where I am...that leaves home movies and Media Center TV recordings that would need to sit on a local network storage pool.
I forgot to add this in my last comment. I will *NO LONGER* recomend WHS for anyone as long as DE is not part of the product.
WHS without Drive Extender? Ummm, are you clueless, incompetent, or both?
Why on God's green earth would I regress during an "upgrade" to WHS2 where I would now have to waste time trying to size my drives, then screw around 2 years from now when I need more storage?
You forget the original vision of WHS. I thought MS had turned a corner with the release of WHS and WIndows 7. Apparently, nothing is too good for MS to turn into mediocre products that can't compete with a free Linux solution or stuffing hard drives into a Mac.
Perhaps Windows 8 desktop edition will benefit from the skill set applied to Vail. It will lose 64 bit support, be unable to handle drives bigger than 1 TB, and not work with more than 1 monitor. "But we are advancing the state of the art!"
Seriously??? This was the one feature everyone loved about WHS and you plug it??
What does that mean in terms of extending storage. Will there be ANY WHS based server that has the same easy and simple storage extension end user experience as the servers shipping today? i.e. regardless of which type of storage is full (backup of computers or files stored on the server), I just plug in a new hard drive, click one button saying that this should be used for storage (in the most generic sense), and I'm done?
From the outside this looks as one of these "great" MS moves. You have a fantastic product, and then it gets teared apart in some weird power struggle between various product groups that want to unify things (home and smb) and in the end you manage to get a worse product for all... Quite frankely this is also absurd in terms of timing. Vail was supposed to be late in the product cycle, and after a beta you plug such a core feature? What sort of product management is that??
This is hilarious. By FAR the #1 feature of WHS I use and appreciate is DE. It made managing my huge storage so easy. From the sound of it, now I'll need to plan so that each volume can only be as big as the drive is. Somewhat difficult given my largest current share is 4.4TB. Having to now manually manage where I put each share instead of just adding another drive is horrible too.
The whole reason I use WHS is that it's so easy to add and manage my storage. That is THE reason (along with the backup functionality). Adding more media support while essentially gutting the basics is suicide as far as I'm concerned. I'd been looking forward to the release of Vail, but I really don't see a reason to "upgrade" (if you can call it that anymore?) at this point and will just stick with the current WHS while I explore other options.
I use WHS because I deal with computers all day and when I get home I just want something that WORKS. By taking the "just works" out of WHS I see no advantage of using Vail vs building my own solution with other tools. Even though it will be work, at least I won't have some of the other limitations you have to put up with going with an "easy" solution; which those limitations were worth it with DE in there. No longer.
I am responsible for three other WHS installations and ALL of them bought into it for DE and backups. I can't see them upgrading either as they really have no computer knowledge but could at least "get" plugging in another hard drive and clicking a few buttons to add it to the mix. I guess you must know what you're doing (right?) but I can promise you've lost 4 customers going forward due to this.
I'm actually very disappointed by this news. I really felt that the Pooled Drives system of WHS V1 was one of the best, most groundbreaking features. As a normal user, drive installation was easy and it just upped my available space; I didn't have to worry about whether my videos file was on one hard drive or another; it was just in the pool. Further, the one-click redundancy for folders is invaluable and very, very easy.
From what it sounds like, now I will have to build my WHS to maximum capacity from the get-go with RAID1's... this is not something the average user is experienced in doing. And it sounds like now I can forget about expanding my hard drive space when it's right for me, financially...
This is incredibly disappointing news. I'm not confident that 3rd party "protection solutions" will materialize nor be as usable and functional as the pooled drive system of WHS V1. :(
I'll definitely try out the new beta and give it a fair shake, but for now it seems like the sky is falling.
I'm flabbergasted. WHS2 interest: lost.
I could've understood the decision for the SBS Essentials SKU, but not for WHS2.
In fact, I was hoping that DE would actually trickle down to all Windows SKUs after a while; that's how interesting a technology it is/was.
I'm not sure who the WHS team has been listening to, but among those I know who use or have used WHS drive extender was the primary reason for using it. Having one single storage pool that disks can be added/removed from on demand is the ideal configuration for home and small business users.
WHSv1 was and still is the best in the business for this. Linux LVM2 , Drobo, and UnRAID come close, but do not offer the same fault tolerance as DE nor the ability to simply pull a drive and easily read it in any other computer.
On that note, I see that listed as a reason to drop DE. Again I have to ask WHY!?! In WHSv1 drives in the pool are simple NTFS drives that can be removed and read in any computer that can handle that filesystem. All the files stored on that disk are accessible right there. It's beautiful for recovering from a failure. I know Vail's updated drive extender removed this ability, but my response to that is just bring back WHSv1's DE.
Unfortunately I get the picture Microsoft never really wanted WHS anyways. If they did, the oft-requested integration with Media Center might have actually happened and it wouldn't be slowly getting ruined by the changes to and now dropping of DE.
I have to ask, without Drive Extender what exactly is the purpose of WHS? This leaves it as 2008R2 with a backup app as far as I can tell.
You are kidding me right? Did anyone do any market research on why people were buying WHS? This is the #1 reason I bought WHS to begin with, for the duplication so I wouldn't lose files! I did not want to have to fool with RAID sets, or other nonsense I just wanted it to work. With this feature gone you have taken away my main reason for using WHS.
I'll continue to use V1 until it is no longer supported and then see what other options are out there.
I really can't believe this feature has been taken out of WHS - what a bad, bad, bad move.
As a Windows Home Server user .... this is stupid. You need to go back and try thinking about your customers, not give us this nonsense about it being "customer driven". Nonsense. Thanks for stabbing your uses in the back.
Seriously, this is the dumbest move WHS could possibly make. Dynamically resizeable pooled storage was 90% of the value for WHS for every single person I know. Failure to deliver this feature is inexcusable. I guess this just leaves it up to the competition to innovate, where Microsoft can't (or won't)
I love my HP EX490 mediasmart WHS and really don't want to be pushed into a NAS or Linux solution. Suggesting hardware or OEM solutions for storage gives me no options even though my hardware WAS more than capable of running Vail as it was and my WHS v2 OS license was as good as sold.
Please give those of us who have invested in a reasonably powerful WHS the option of using Vail and not locking us out of either it or duplicated extendable storage. We're already being locked out of other technologies such as skydrive/live sync for WHS so please get a move on with a product that delivers everything that WHS could be.
So what feature will WHS Vail provide then??? What could not be done by Windows 7? I too will be looking elsewhere for my home server needs.
So what value does WHS provide without drive extender? Although larger drives are getting less expensive, I like WHS specifically for the drive extender/folder duplication capabilities. I could then watch for a good deal on any hard drive and add it to my WHS with no issues. So do I now have to use RAID? Really!? I will definitely NOT purchase WHS Vail without a user-friendly solution like drive extender. In fact, as my system begins to age, I'll be looking at either Linux or a pre-packaged solution like Drobo. FAIL MS!
This is a breathtakingly stupid decision. To me, DE ist THE most valuable asset of WHS, and judging from the other comments, i'm not alone. I can't imagine ANY reason why you would drop that feature, and to be frank, the "reasons" you give in your post just sound phony and are most certainly not the real reasons behind the decision.
It's just a big shame....
This is absolutely unacceptable. DE is the core reason why anyone bought WHS in the first place. The idea was to use a system that was simpler to manage and maintain than RAID. As a bonus, because it was file based, one could remove a drive and peruse the files if the system went down. I know no other reason why WHS exists. So your response to taking DE to where we didn't want it to go is to yank the feature entirely? There will be no reason left to purchase the product without it. There will be much simpler ways to attain the functionality that will be left, and without having to pay for it. Please re-examine what you are doing here.
Microsoft Connect bug thread on removing Drive Extender from Home Server: http://bit.ly/fallHn #VailFail
This is extremely disappointing. DE is by far my favorite feature of WHS, and the primary reason I purchased it. Without this feature I will not even consider purchasing Vail, and I will not be recommending it to anyone that I know.
You guys need to seriously reconsider removing this feature from Vail. Why does it matter that DE wasn't meeting SMB needs? It's called Windows Home Server for a reason, because it was intended for use at home, thus what an SMB wants is irrelevant.
I'm shocked. Stunned. Flabbergasted. And a thousand other synonyms...
Drive extender was the underlying functionality that made me love WHS - for myself, as well as two other installations for my extended family. I recommended WHS unreservedly for it's simple operation and how easy, and near-endless increasing capacity was. One-click folder redundancy - from a remote location - was essential for me! I can't believe you're ripping it out! I just bought a hard drive to extend my storage, and I'm glad I still run WHSv1, because all I have to do is plug it in and click a few boxes.
I definitely will not be able to recommend WHSv2 for family, friends, or any business without an "IT guy" that's very competent. You're leaving storage upgrades to hardware vendors? So I have to buy a "cheap" 1TB/2TB "storage upgrade" direct from a vendor for 2x to 3x the price? With the very real probability that they won't have an "upgrade" option for my version of the box - because remember, I won't know I need an upgrade until a few years from now when they've discontinued that SKU!
Hopefully, when WHSv2 doesn't deliver a bump in sales, you'll start listening. Because you've only heard the start of the disappointment here. By the time "regular joes" get a hold of a Vail, and find out the "promise" of expandable storage is bunk, you're going to hear from a lot more people than you have comments from here.
I'm an MVP - not for this product - but I can only imagine the feedback you're getting from your WHS MVPs. Knowing what little I do about the product management, it's probably too late for Vail to get "fixed", but I know those MVPs are taking big bites out of your shorts on this one. Hopefully, you don't kill YOUR share of the market too badly in the next two or three years such that making a WHSv3 that DOES include DE doesn't get killed on the drafting board.
Dumb. Just a dumb move.
Not a good decision, as others are saying this is THE main feature of WHS that appeals to most, to take it away is a mistake.
Sorry to keep raining the blows down, but this is a serious blow to the feature set of the product. When discussing the WHSv1 platform that I have been impressed with to date, drive pooling and automated data duplication are the features that excite people the most. Backups are important, but External HDD's with "backup buttons" are a dime-a-dozen. These drive features made the product something truly special.
PLEASE take the time to re-engage your customer base for this consumer-oriented product and make sure this is really what you want/need to do...ultimately, it is your product - I am not on the Product Team - but I am both your customer and evangelist, and unfortunately, this decision may ultimately end that relationship.
Wow. Just wow.
I cannot believe you are removing this key feature from your product.
It's like the Office team removing math from Excel.
Really bad idea, as everyone here seems to have already said. This decision is aimed purely at SMB users, which is fine, but why must the original Windows Home Server product be crippled for its benefit. It makes no sense.
I've been using WHS v1 since it was released, and have found it to be a brilliant bit of kit, but I won't be going to v2 if DE is being removed. I get paid to mess around with RAID arrays at work, I don't want to be doing it at home as well!
This is a terrible idea - without the transparency of DE, WHS Vail will be markedly inferior to WHS v1 for households, since it will force the users to deal with drive letters, disk space and the rest of it.
Good job Microsoft at ruining WHS. Vail is now pointless. WHS "Vista Edition". All aboard the WHS FAIL WHALE!
This seems incredibly short-sighted to me and I unfortunately have to join the chorus of people who are wondering why this has been done. The Drive Extender technology is a core part of the product, and even though big hard drives are fairly affordable, I don't understand how removing this feature improves the product for the end user.
Unless there is an equivalent technology to DE in Vail, Vail will fail. I don't know who you think your customers are, but it does not seem to be the average home user. Microsoft should consider changing the name of “Windows Home Server” to something that does not have the word “Home” it.
WTF - Please tell me this is a joke, no ? You must be a spy and really work for Data Robotics ?
"Today large hard drives of over 1TB are reasonably priced, and freely available. We are also seeing further expansion of hard drive sizes at a fast rate, where 2Tb drives and more are becoming easy accessible to small businesses. 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." Really??????
The availability of 2TB and now 3TB only enhances the features of DE. One of the really great things about WHS is DE. Consumers with little or no IT experience can literally plug this appliance in and forget about it. No need to learn NTFS permissions, RAID, Backup Regiments, etc.
I do not know who you guys are listening to but it is NOT your customers. All this decision has done is create a run on as many copies of WHS v1 as I can get my hands on for family and friends. Vail will become the Vista of WHS.
Sad day indeed.
I can't even conceive of how you have completely miscalculated why anyone liked this product in the first place. I'm sure its not the most popular product Microsoft produces, but aliasing it with its big brother server counterparts just doesn't make any sense. I was expecting you to take DE to other platforms not start extirpating it. So you can't fix DE and still make your release window? Here's a little tip: Push the window back. I don't want this product in the new year (or ever) without Drive Extender. Release of the product without it will only be its death knell. Reconsider.
I bought a WHS v1 server from HP for 4 reasons (in order of importance):
1) Dead-simple file duplication on a centralized repository, using drives that I've acquired -- never the same size or brand, etc.
2) Reliable multi-machine backup
3) Ability to Connect to the machine from anywhere over the web and grab files
4) I thought it was a slick Microsoft product I wanted to support.
Unfortunately, you've gone and killed #1 (and most of #4 then). #3 really isn't that useful anyway (infrequently used).
I'm left with a reliable backup and easy access to files. Yawn. Better be a LOT cheaper than V1. Might as well just make it a stand alone product that can be installed as a service on any modern Windows 7, 2008 R2 box.
I too wonder what users you actually talked with? Had you considered doing a survey via this blog maybe? It could have been enlightening. Perhaps those of us who spoke up now would have been shocked to see that file duplication isn't important to the masses.
I do realize that you're saying that you'll work with OEM partners to implement this missing feature, but I remain highly skeptical, especially given the fact that the team thought the feature was not meeting customer needs. It's not an easy problem to solve, especially given the way many use it. Micromanaging storage is difficult and annoying. I want a "private cloud" where I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars annually to reliably store hundreds of GBs worth of photos and digital music (and other files). Plug: I also love using CrashPlan to back up my data to a friend's computer storage! (another private cloud)
Unless OEM's nail this feature, count me as a non-upgrader to WHS v2.
as far as I'm concerned WHS is dead. I don't think anyone buys the BS that this decision was based on market research. I understand if there are technical reasons not to do it, but don't come out and say users have said that we won't need it.
Go read any of the reviews for home server. drive extender is the selling point.
IMO this was the worst idea since removal of Media center integration from Vail. Since thecurrent blogpost suggests it's mainly based on consumer feedback we should be able to vote it back in:
Please reconsider. WHS with DE and Folder duplication is as close to "set and forget" as you could get for a home storage solution. Being an Apple evangelist....this is the ONLY Microsoft product I own and would recommend.
What the hell are you thinking? This is, BY FAR, the most ridicule decision I have seen from a Microsoft team since a long time. WE DON'T WANT RAID ON OUR HOME SERVERS! This is one major reason why we all chose WHS.
The software duplication system is what I need and it works fine. Just fix the "Previous Versions" issue when files are accessed from a remote computer.
For many of us, you just killed your product.
Epic Fail. Drive Extender was the major selling point for WHS in the first place - a easily maintainable and expandable redundant storage pool. Nothing else offers the same benefit when you have to store more than 2TB of data.
It looks like I'll be replacing my WHS box with a Drobo instead of a new Vail machine. Even though the Drobo is more expensive it has better integration with OS X and has the added benefit of replacing the last full-time Windows computer in my house.
Same here. I and several of my customers and friends has been using WHS and was very satisfied even with V1. Several other clients wanted their WHS. Several HP MediaSmart server working flawlessly. We were following closely the develpment of Vail. Now, we can just forget about it and stick with V1 until some other product that has similar features (like DE) come arrount. Real EPIC FAIL!!!
Really?!?!? This was a core feature of the product and the one that made WHS stand out of the crowded home NAS market. I can schedule a backup of my PCs to any NAS without issue. Most NASs these days will act as media streamers. Why not just cancel the product? What will WHS do that any other less expensive NAS won't? Epic Fail. Bad form Microsoft.
It is a terrible decision to remove Drive Extender from Vail. RAID, come on... the entire sales pitch so far has been "You dont need RAID, because we're doing it in software, and its better then RAID." I was very much looking forward to Vail, but with this, argubally the most important feature of WHS cut, I dont think i'll be upgrading.
You can see by the tone and the amount of comments just how disappointed and upset all of your customers have become. You state that “the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs” yet every customer response in just the first few hours has been to the contrary. Think of how many customers just read (and do not comment on) blogs and you can see that you have upset and let down thousands of current and future customers. These customers must have missed the customer requirements survey for as this technology project as it is what truly answered your customers needs.
You are Microsoft. You own this. Moving the responsibility to OEMs (if any OEMs now actually choose to continue with this product) turns Windows Home Server into a segmented and unreliable software package.
I hope that the decision makers / team leaders / developers all see how important this decision was to so many of your customers. The future of such relevant, significant and powerful software is still in your hands.
I hope the whole Windows Home Server Team enjoys the Thanksgiving Holidays. Eat, drink and be merry and try not thinking twice about where you store all of those precious photographs and home movies.
Hopefully this is becoming obvious, this is a fatal decision for Vail for almost anyone who cares about this product. DE made this a pleasure to work with, Home Server users want nothing to do with raid, any NAS can do that.
Pay attention to the real feedback you get on this product for the people who buy and install it....
When i first heard of WHS v1 before it came out i was so exited, have been using it since it's earliest avalible beta, i LOVE IT, now? i feel stunned, i don't really know the technical details of what this means. Simply put now i can put any drives into the system they duplicate all my data and i have a unified set of shares, not matter were the data is stored. It that now gone?
If so then i'll be using V1 until i find another solution in the market place, be that unraid, freenas, drobo or some other solution.
To date WHS is by far the single most important microsoft product in my house.
Now the clock is ticking until this server 2003 technology reaches it's end of live.
Like everyone else on here I cant believe your removing the killer feature. As a guy who gets called by people in the village to sort out there IT issues I have set-up a number of WHS v1 for friends and family as its simple and affordable and they can easily slap another hard drive in when they need it, so simple please please rethink this crazy decision
The *sole* reason I've recommended WHS to other people was due to the DE technology. Without it, I'm going to stop recommending it to people, and recommend other NAS solutions that would work better, such as the Drobo, which *does* do a single storage pool of data. The other features - backup, accessing data over the internet, etc., are cool, but since you're stripping out the *primary* feature of WHS that set it apart, there is no reason for me to recommend an otherwise outstanding NAS solution. To say I'm upset is an understatement.
Trust the OEMs to provide a reasonable alternative to DE? Lets think about that. MS has put SEVERAL YEARS into developing DE to where it stands today. MS is a big company. Lenovo, HP, Tranquil, et al just don't have the expertise and history of providing a storage solution at least at a price the consumer market can afford. Addtionally, there won't be ANY standardization. You won't be able to point at a Home Server and say, it has x, y, and z features - they'll all be different and next to impossible to keep straight as far as which does what. Take media streaming / serving as a perfect example of how horrible a job the OEMs have done. HP, while arguably the dominant force in the Home Server market, can't even get it right with Twonky killing off their Home Server product version, the hacked-in iTunes server crap, etc.
I'm sensing a hidden reasoning for this change and the general strategy around Home Server. Why did WHS get positioned to be a SMB solution as well as consumer? I can tell you it isn't for the web interface. From what I can tell it was for the storage and backup. And this decision to remove consolidated storage just killed off half of the reason to use WHS features in SMB / SBS. Why in the world didn't you guys just package up the backup solution separate and hand it over to the SBS team? Or is that the problem? The teams got "merged" and now there's nobody pushing for a consumer solution? Is there anybody in the WHS space that still has the vision? Or did that die along with the reorganizations?
The funniest result of all of this is that MS has just guaranteed that WHS V1 will be around virtually indefinitely. Nobody is going to want to move off of V1 onto something that doesn't meet their current needs. MS is going to end up supporting V1 until End of Life which, because V1 released in 2007 means some lucky bastards are going to be on the hook for writing patches for WHS until at least 2013 of not a full 10 years after release. If it were me, I would be doing everything in my power to make upgrading as attractive as possible so my product group wasn't responsible for supportting a bunch of vocal enthusiasts on an OS that was arguably already legacy when initially released in 2007.
As far as the storage cost argument, I'm sorry, I'm just not buying it. The price of drives may be rediculously low - 2TB drives for $70 over Black Friday - but the cost of reliable, predictable, easy-to-manage hardware storage controllers is not coming down. Just the opposite, with USB3.0 and SATA 6 and the move to 4k clusters in newer drives storage has been getting increasingly complicated to manage. There is no "magic bullet" out there that will make all of this work in hardware. If there were, Drobo would be out of business or not able to charge 1/4 of the prices they're asking. My prediction, the OEMs will make a mess of the storage side of things and Vail will die on the vine.
This is truly the death of consolidated storage on WHS and most likely WHS in its entirety. And I'm back to where I was at the end of 1996- looking for acceptable alternative storage solutions. Back to where I was before the first CES announcement of WHS and the first beta of v1 and all of the excitement that followed. I honestly cannot believe that this is the direction MS believes is the best direction for their products. It seems more like giving up. You guys do know what happens when innovators lose their fighting spirit and start settling for mediocrity, right? Someone will innovate you out of your market share in no time flat.
Shipping without DE and duplication is just tone deaf. There is no way customers have asked for these 2 key features to be pulled. Count me out for an upgrade.
OK Guys! Lay down the Crack-pipe and walk away slowly. Take a couple days to Dry Out.....and then please re-think your decision.
This seems to be a Very Nonsensical Decision.
This will completely kill any chance of widespread adoption of WHS.
No Vail for me.
Unless something drastically changes.
I really thought MS had understand what home users really need today... They need a easy to expand and save storage solution for their valuable privat data. WHS v1 was a perfect tool for this, but a little bit old style. I was happy to hear I will get a modern platform which works together hand in hand with my loved Windows 7. I was planing my new system for the upcomming final of Vail. Now I will extend my HP EX470 as long as I can, or I build a other monster storage solution for all my DVDs based on WHS v1.
I understand it was not easy for MS to explain the advantages of DE to all the RAID drugged customers. But there are so many... Please not give up this!
At this Time I have 8 HDs from 500 GB to 2 TB. WHS was flexible to use it like i want. I don't want a RAID....
You say large HDs now are available but also my needs for storage size are much higher...
Every time I think Microsoft has finally turned the corner something like this always happens. What in the world are you and the team thinking. This is a core component and selling point of WHS, you have turned this great product into a dead SKU. Lets start something and then never develop it anymore. It just seams to be an all to familiar motto with MS. Very disappointed! Please change your minds. Just look at the posts above.
Clearly MS did not hear from customers as suggested in the post. By 'customers' MS must refer to the SMB customers that they speak to and not the actual 'Home' users - after all I don't see how they have a channel to speak to my mom who runs WHS without actually knowing it. Speaking to manufacturers, OEM's and partners means that the product will be tuned for vendor lock-in (buying preconfigured drive configuration with really expensive replacement drives if one fails after two years) and will obviously be well supported by the vendors themselves.
So "vail" is not Windows *Home* Server - it is Windows *SMB* Server. Just call a spade a spade and stop pissing over the good name of WHS.
I suggest the real reason for this decision is that implementing DE was frikkin hard, which is why WHS has never moved to 2008, and MS couldn't be bothered to make it work on the new kernel. Maybe the engineer that implemented it disappeared during last years' layoffs.
+1 to everything that has already been said. What are you thinking?
WHS was an amazing product and this decision kills it. MS, you can be REALLY BAD at looking at what the customer actually wants and needs. cek got it - you need to figure out how to duplicate him!
This is an incredibly short sighted and bad decision for the home SKU of the product. The two features that customers most wanted out of the product, which is DE and MediaCenter integration you pulled. This is pretty much DOA in the consumer market. I have 2 x WHS servers, there are more amongst my family, and my co-workers. There will be 0 upgrades out of that. I work in the industry and my mailbox have been full of traffic on this today and everyone is unhappy.
For you to meet your release goals without releasing the features that are must have is just.... "epic fail". Has Microsoft learned nothing from Vista debacle?
The magic of WHS was Drive Extender. This is the stupidest and most idiotic move I have ever seen. I even created a new account to this blog, to voice my opinion. Where do they find this people! I have recommended this product to many friends and family. It just works. Simple and awesome. I am speechless. Is this a April Fool joke?. Contact CNET, PC Magazine. This company is purposely killing one of their best products.
your guys decision making really sucks sometimes.
"The team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs".
Are you kidding me? This is/was the whole point of using WHS. Without it, WHS has nothing unique or meaningful to offer the marketplace. No wonder HP is now selling Drobos. That is what I'll be telling my coworkers and friends to buy moving forward.
I have to agree with the previous comments. This is unquestionably the worst decision I can think of. While the beta-testing users--many of whom are on the 'high end' of the tech-tree--might not need Drive Extension, the vast majority of users such as myself use WHS EXCLUSIVELY for Drive Extension. It was the easiest way to duplicate data I have ever seen. Without it, I simply see no purpose to upgrade.
I completely agree with all the comments thus far - this is the biggest bone-headed move that MS could have made towards the WHS community. I have no problem with MS incorporating enterprise level features, but don't forget what the true intention of the product was. Windows HOME Server target audience are HOME users. I assume your comment, "the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs" is regarding small businesses, then remove the features from Aurora and Beckenbridge. KEEP IT ON VAIL FOR THE HOME USERS!
The average home user is NOT a system administrator or anyone that wants to spend time figuring out how to add storage. I have been recommending WHS to all my friends, family, and colleagues at work (including my clients). I really have no good reason to do that anymore if Drive Extender is no longer supported.
My network is all Microsoft and/or products that play nicely with MS products. As far as a reliable centralized storage, I may look elsewhere in the future. I will wait and see what Vail will become, but this development really troublesome and may consider alternatives in the future when WHS v1 is no longer supported.
Another suggestion to WHS / Windows Team, if there is any truth to the rumor that Windows 8 might include a "consumer" oriented cloud OS backup solution...it would be a good time to mention that. Frankly, I think thats the way to go forward for the vast majority of users.
I only need WHS because I have a big video library...and even that is being challenged with streaming services. I'm not sure how adequate cloud solutions are for home videos though. But I think we can get by with more basic and low cost network storage solution for that.
I beta tested Windows Home Server and found the Drive Extender feature to be the most innovative cool new solution I've seen for the home in a long time. I work for a small non-profit place and don't have much money to buy software. I have been eyeing a WHS purchase for a long time.... waiting until I could afford it and have time to implement it.
Now.... FORGET IT. Drive Extender is the one main thing I liked about the product and without it I will NOT buy it NOR recommend to anyone as I had been doing. Wait until my brother hears this. He just bought a copy last week on my recommendation and he is going to be STEAMED to learn the #1 feature was pulled from it.
TOTAL CRAP MOVE. (yet typical ms style)
From the comments so far it sounds like this decision was made mainly based on OEM feedback and not consumers. I don't think there is a single post here that is in favor of this. Perhaps OEMs & Microsoft think they can make more money by charging consumers for expensive RAID hardware and additional hard drives??? If so this is likely to back fire as you see fewer people upgrading to Vail and waning enthusiasm for the product.
So can someone please explain exactly why larger drives remove the need for DE? I would say the opposite- the ease of swapping in larger drives to an existing system is one of the TOP and MOST USEFUL features of WHS.
I strongly suspect this was driven by hardware vendors- this way they hoped to sell more new systems as people upgrade to larger drives, and they could charge a premium for RAID controllers. Sorry, guys- but this one is blowing up in your face. You've alienated your most committed and loyal customers for no benefit. And benefits to MS don't count- we customers are in this for us, not you. Never forget that. Oh wait- you just did.
No storage pooling and automatic duplication of data, saving your data in case of a harddisk failure = fail!
Why RAID is not a consumer technology : blogs.technet.com/.../why-raid-is-not-a-consumer-technology.aspx
I'm still not seeing the reasoning behind this. It came out of nowhere.
Current leading theories for this aboutface include:
1) You've lost the source to DEv1 and the current version is too busted to ship.
2) You wanted to make the new version better, couldn't figure out how to, but it would look bad on you if you reverted, so ... we get this "explanation".
If it's the latter, consider this a comment in support of your decision to go back to DEv1.
If this is really the case I think it will be the end of the product
Hurry up and post a retraction before word spreads. HORRIBLE decision. KILLS this product. Just say that Windows Home Server is being discontinued, because without the DE feature, it's just a server that no one needs. Vail minus DE = #EpicFail.
The interwebs are going to have a field day with this. One of Microsoft's few innovative, highly functional products, who's users are thrilled to own, is being hobbled. Nay, completely distroyed. Hot on the heels of successes with Kinect and so far Windows Phone 7, Microsoft proves it has no clue how to treat its customers. I hate to be offensive, but this is retarded.
And what's up with that rediculous and insulting excuse? Larger drives exist, so we don't need DE? DE is not meeting customer needs so we'll drop it? That's pure bullsh*t. Whatever the reason for removing DE, it's not because customers don't need it. Read the comments on your own blog, and don't lie to our faces. There must be some internal, political bullsh*t reason to remove this feature. It's insulting to the community to get fed this crap.
I'll be holding on to my license of WHS1, and as soon as it's announced that it will no longer be available, I'll pick up another couple of licenses. I'll use WHS1 for the next 10 years. With DE, it's that good. I haven't had to think about storage or backup for years now because of WHS1.
vote this feature back in
In addition to all of the comments being negative, I would like to point out that most of us commenting on this topic have very few posts. That should say how much people are against this decision; they are creating accounts JUST to comment on how bad of a decision it is, and how many of us will no longer be interested in upgrading or even using WHSv2. We may not have the clout and feedback as the beta-testers, but there are likely a lot more of us, we still pay the same price for the software!
This is an incredibly poor decision - DE is the functionality that enables all the other goodness of Home Server. I've dealt with RAID for many years, and am very comfortable with the technology, but it is NOT FOR CONSUMERS. Heck, half the reason I went the Home Server route instead of building my own Linux or Windows Server is that I didn't want to mess with RAID.
The sad thing is that saying it was canceled because it doesn't meet customer needs is entirely BS.
The *true* SMB customers need something like Drive Extender - you know, the ones that don't have their own in-house IT department, who rely on contractors and local computer shops to support them. These customers need a feature like Drive Extender to protect their data while being easy and inexpensive to manage - unlike RAID or other software solutions. If you listen to the vendors who sell the products, of course they will say its not necessary - because they want to sell a way more expensive solution to do the same thing!
This decision underscores 1) just how out of touch Microsoft is with it's customers, and 2) the basic reality that Microsoft doesnt make products for the people who uses them, it creates products for the people who sell them.
Sent from my iPad
My son, My Son, what have you done?
You have removed a key selling point of WHS and Aurora for my business.
As a reseller, I will no longer be recommending these products to households and business alike.
without the drive extender? I may as well run a FreeNAS product in these customers premises. cheaper. more reliable.
Drobo and friends must love you for this.
Seriously? reconsider. leave DE IN these servers. it will only be for your benefit.
So, err, supid question:
The point of a home server is to guard against data loss.... so .... how do I duplicate my data so WHEN a drive fails I don't lose it?
Are you adding RAID support to replace this? that is ok by me. as long as there is a real time way to dup my data across drives.
To captainsparkle: "they are creating accounts JUST to comment on how bad of a decision it is"
Include me in that list. The 5th comment is mine, and I am a first time commenter for that exact reason.
The lack of any remorse in this post is a bit disturbing also, do you truly not understand what makes WHS a good product? Did you truly not expect this reaction? Do you even care?
What a stupid idea. Do you even listen to your Home Server customers?
The whole reason I got a WHS was so that I could upgrade drives as my storage needs change. You slide the drive in and 5 minutes later it's usable. No other solution offers this level of flexibility or simplicity.
Really upset about this. Was planning several installs of Aurora for small business clients of mine and vail for my house. Not any more.
The logic here makes no sense. Yes, larger hard drives are available today, and even larger ones will be available tomorrow. Guess what else? The size of home media libraries is increasing, which is why we need bigger hard drives. But what does any of this have to do with data duplication?????
RAID for the home user? What? I'm not a huge fan of my Drobo (performance), but they've got the right idea. You need more space, put a new drive in--->more space. Try doing that with a RAID 5 array. Expandability. That's the selling point of Drobo, and was the selling point of WHS.
"You just add another drive." That was the single phrase that got people I know to look at WHS over their scattered hard drive solution.
This just stinks.
Wow. Just wow. You just sucker punched me in the gut. I've really enjoyed WHS but as it was based on Server 2003 I was looking forward to Vail being a nice step forward. WHS was a great product that was making inroads with consumers and with enthusiasts. I was even looking at buying an HP Proliant Microserver w/ 4x 2TB drives to install Vail onto. Now I'm not really sure what I'll do.
I also like how you waited to announce it on a holiday week maybe hoping that it might slip under the radar. Classy. Real classy.
No! Bad WHS team, BAD.
This is a terrible, terrible decision. You claim to have gotten feedback from the "customers." Which customers were you talking to? Just pay a visit to mediasmartserver.net, homeserverland.com, ZDNet and even your own Microsoft Connect site for WHS Vail. We, the CUSTOMERS, are NOT HAPPY with this decision. Given the clearly lopsided feedback--feedback clearly in favor of keeping Drive Extender--it would seem that customers don't really matter.
Now when you say you got feedback from the "partners" (read BIG MONEY vendors), now we're talking. These vendors want to push expensive, complicated RAID hardware and Drive Extender makes it easy for home users to not have to worry about all that. The context of your article is clearly in favor of pushing home users to RAID.
Unfortunately, it would seem that the WHS team has contradicted itself. Just check this out: blogs.technet.com/.../why-raid-is-not-a-consumer-technology.aspx
Hmm, "Why RAID is not a consumer technology" -- by the WHS product team! And here is the WHS team whacking DE in favor of pushing us to "OEM solutions" (RAID).
If you're going to lie to us, maybe you should've cleaned up the evidence first, because the evidence doesn't lie.
"they are creating accounts JUST to comment on how bad of a decision it is"
Me to, and I guess it's the same for all with 0 posts.
Noooooooo! How can you shoot yourself in the foot. Stupid, stupid decision. I have created this account because I feel so strongly about it. Now I will never upgrade. Amazingly Microsoft made a great v1 product and now they are going to ruin it. Why why why. Please re-think or lose customers. I recommend WHS to many people. But maybe not for much longer...
I no longer have any desire to upgrade to WHS Vail. I was looking forward to DEv2 since it seemed like it was going to be microsofts answer to ZFS. However, I guess the best way to truly win a competition is to build a product and never let it see the sight of day.
If you do release Vail, it had better be priced to compete with the competition (ie. linux or open solaris), since your product no longer has any advantages over a free piece of software to me.
This is a big FAIL Microsoft. I tout WHS for 3 features to my friends and family: Nightly PC backup, folder duplication, and ease of adding harddrives. You've killed 2 of the 3 features! Now I might as well use any old NAS and some free backup software!
Big FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.
Drive size is irrelevant.
I built my server a couple years ago with 2 1TB drives. The reason I wanted DE wasn't to create a 2TB volume, it was to make it easier for my family to use and provide local protection against 1 of those drives failing. Guess what? 1 of them failed 6 months after I built it. With DE, I was able to pull the failing drive, put in the new one and done. Worked EXACTLY as it should.
Sure, I use online backup for my non-replaceable files. But to have to backup the ENTIRE server up to the cloud to protect against equipment failure is costly and silly.
Bad move guys.