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You may have seen some blogs posts about HP’s decision announcing the retirement of their MediaSmart Server line, which includes Windows Home Server. As such, HP has told us they do not plan to provide a platform for Windows Home Server code name “Vail”. HP has told us they will continue to sell the existing version of MediaSmart Server through the end of the calendar year 2010 and will honor service and support agreements.
This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server “Vail.”
Microsoft continues to work on delivering ”Vail” to our customers. We are working very closely with our partners such as Acer, Tranquil and many System Builders to bring the best solution to market.
From our partners:
HP and Microsoft have a long-standing strategic relationship across both consumer and commercial markets and will continue to work together moving forward.
I wonder whether this has anything to with the lack of Drive Extender, Media Center, or TV Tuner support in Vail...
bummer. So long Vail. I hardly knew you!
HP realized that without the Drive Extender technology, Vail will not be worth it. I agree and will not be upgrading from WHS v1. The platform is useless with DE.
Right - they suddenly decided to drop Mediasmart conveniently around the same time as the decision by Microsoft to kill WHS2 by removing DE. That makes *complete* sense. Not buying it. Vail = a big giant Fail without DE, and *everyone* outside of Microsoft knows it. I was the biggest WHS fan ever - I ran the first WHS beta, I paid for a license to build WHS1, recommended it heavily to family/friends and now with Vail I'm so disgusted, disappointed, frustrated, gutted, *and* outraged with the decision to remove DE that I'm making a point to look at non-Microsoft solutions for a low-cost DE-like solution, and steer any of my family/friends there and away from Fail.
So why did Microsoft Press cancel the upcoming Vail book? In my mind, if the DE technology is being removed, it would be simple to rewrite the sections of the book dealing with that -- not just cancel it altogether. This week we've been dealt three whammies: DE is dead; the Vail book is cancelled; and now HP pulls the plug.
The entire WHS community has effectively been thrown into a tailspin. I highly doubt any of us ever expect to see Vail come to light. If you are going to cancel it, then just go ahead and do it. There is nothing more frustrating, nor is there anything that will break down the goodwill of a customer faster, than to be told one thing and then five minutes later another announcement be made that contradicts that statement.
None of us in the WHS community expect Vail to come to market at this point - so if you are going to put it to pasture, then just go ahead and do it. After all, after this week, there really isn't anything left of it that many people want.
Ugh.. I knew that was going to happen. The only WHS you can depend on is one that you build yourself. I caved and bought an LX195 to reduce space and power usage compared to the old full tower I was using, plus the proprietary Mac support. In future I'll do my own mini ITX setup and maybe get an offficial Apple Time Capsule or something. Probably use an old Drobo classic for the storage when Vail comes around to maintain data redundancy.
I'm one (of the thousands) who will have a very hard time considering WHS without DE or equivalent functionality - and Media Center and TV Tuners - but the announcement of support from Tranquil is heartening. They make exciting Home Servers, with their SQA-5H servers majoring on extendable disk space - I've been plotting the purchase of one for a long time - so if there's a way forward there then that could be a glimmer of light. Maybe I'll be able to buy one of them yet.
In one week Microsoft managed to get the entire HomeServer community to doubt the future of the product so much that the ones that would still buy Vail without DE now probably wont since the product seems dead. Vail could be a major upgrade from V1, but features being dropped over the last year crippled it so much it lost all its value compared to v1.
Microsoft, partners are important. But customers are important as well. You should also be "working very closely" with your customers and listening to their needs, since you are way out of touch.
I will never thrust my "digital life experiences" to a device that does not have data duplication. So its V1 or something else for me . And I guess when most people go into a bestbuy and see a device that you can duplicate data and one that wont, your partners will see in the sales number how bad this decision was. Maybe not Tranquil that was smart enough to commit to the future of V1.
You need to provide data duplication and storage expansion and not trough RAID. Dont release the product without the answer to this basic needs of a HomeServer. Delay the product if necessary.
"This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server 'Vail.'"
... Ohhhh yes it is.
What is up with Microsoft these days? I thought they were finally getting their act together (Windows Phone 7 looks great, Windows 7 is selling great), but then they completely fumble. First Bob Muglia almost single handedly destroys Silverlight and now they have bascially killed Home Server. Know, I know that the products are not truely dead, but PR around these products and the way Microsoft has handled recent annoucements has effectively killed them to the public. And, as Apple can tell you, public perception is huge.
I think Microsoft needs to carefully re-evaluate the need for a Media Home Server appliance. Instead, why not develop the unique functionality of Windows Home Server into an application that you can install on top of Windows 7 and use as a Home Server. You can even do this today with a small bit of manual labor, HomeGroups and Network Backup in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions.
This keeps getting better and better...
"Dear WHS Community,
Thanks for the support. We're moving on to business customers and leaving you high and dry. Do have a nice day.
Meanwhile, I'm loving my EX495. Can't blame you, HP.
<sarcasm text="Right, and I saw some flying pigs on my way to sell this guy a bridge in Gravina Island, Alaska." />
Maybe it was already getting shelved, but the recent new would have caused them to kill it. Don't kid yourself Microsoft, and don't try and manipulate your customers.
ouch... Drobo FS is looking better by the blog post!
I really hope the WHS team can turn all of this around, it would be a superior product if it delivered what the public is looking for / expecting.
"This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server “Vail.”"
Why am I suddenly reminded of the scene in Airplane when Leslie Nielson (God rest his soul) told the passengers that "Now, it is true that one of the crew members is ill... slightly ill."
"One of the next generation SBS servers is ill ... slightly ill. Our partners are NOT jumping ship."
This is hardly a surprise, Microsoft clearly doesn't value the WHS platform based on their decisions. Combining the development effort with Small Business Server meant that WHS would take a backseat because WHS is not where the $ is found. HP obviously saw the writing on the wall.
Yeah, they may not have been scared off by your recent yanking of DE, but you can bet your earlier changes to DE that had shifted the product from its original vision probably had something to do with it. Please don't ruin the best home storage product on the market bar-none, and just put v1 DE back. Vail will be a complete non-start without it.
Do you really want to kill this product?
I hope you don't actually believe what you write...this is so ridiculous...
Non-tech-savvy people know WHS because a friend of theirs told them about it. If that friend thinks Vail is not worth it, he won't talk about it. Result: You lose any and all of your clients.
WHS was a great product. You killed it. Now instead of hiding behind stupid excuses, admit it.
I'll get the Acer model. I'm expecting mini/single drive form factors for v2 WHS. And if you want to go beyond 2TB of storage, these will likely connect to a multi drive eSATA RAID enclosure. I won't be buying any of this from HP.
Quite amazing. My HP EX490 with WHS v1 has been one of my favourite purchases in recent years. It "just works" (I've never had to reinstall it), it manages backups for 8 other windows systems, backs up to the cloud (using the now unsupported interix layer for rsync/ssh etc), serves all my data for digital photography etc
First MS pull the sw plug -- seriously WHS is now dead without DE to me
Then HP pull their HW plug
I'm sitting here totally bemused. This was a good combination, it worked well,
I'll revert back to a linux based NAS solution (which I had previously) or a custom build, also running linux thank you very much. Not only that but now in a couple of years i might also revert a couple of those machines to linux. They were running it before, but the ease of WHS backup meant I switched.
So lost £££ all round.
What a major MS #fail IMO.
Marketing doesn't seem to understand that when they drop a product or feature, not only are they botching the product, they're botching trust in the company.
Or maybe they do understand, but they don't give a flaming fudge because by the time the repercussions start affecting their paycheck, they'll likely have been fired anyway.
This is a shame, because the HP server provided the best media streaming experience for watching recorded TV on my xbox and PS3. Since Vail will not have built in media streaming goodness... I really see no point in upgrading. The loss of drive extender is completely tolerable to me if they're upgrading to the Windows 2008 R2 code base. The ability to use any tools again on the file system would be nice (no specially written antivirus or defrag for WHS), and I have hopes that I could run bitlocker on the system to protect my data, but those aren't amazing lust-worthy features. That said, without DE and without media streaming built-in, the backup program is really the only thing that differentiates this from the SBS edition of Windows. It seems that Vail with end up being a cheaper, gimpier version of SBS coupled with Microsoft Data Protection Manager.
I love my home server, but as a photographer, I have been teetering on ditching MS for the last 2 hrs. This pretty much has done it for me. It will be a linux apple combo going forward.... Just as all my friends have already done..
I signed up just to say that I think the WHS team should stop lying to their loyal users and just say that WHS is a dead product. Grow a spine and just say it like it is. Just admit it isn't generating enough revenue to keep it alive. To continue this faux commitment to WHS's feature is very disrespectful to everyone.
I seriously fail to see your logic behind removing DE. You are saying that you want 3 different products, all developed in tandem. But if a feature in one doesn't make sense in the other two, then that feature should be removed. Uh...??? So basically ANY feature that makes sense in WHS but not in the other two should then also be removed, correct? How is any WMC or any media streaming features that make sense in Window *Home* Server going to survive that logic?
If you just had enough guts to tell us that WHS was being cancelled, it would have generated MUCH less ill-will towards MS. Yes we would have been upset, but at least we would not have felt that you are lying to our faces. For once do what is right towards your loyal end-users so that each of us can make informed decisions on where we go from here. I suspect most of us have already read between the lines and know that for us WHS will be replaced by a non-MS product. Still, stop with the lying already.
Encarta, good product for my kids - dropped. MS Money, used regularly for my financial control - dropped. One Care used on multi PC's - dropped. Flight Sim - dropped. WHS -dropped.
Brand loyalty is important and sometimes it takes a lot of lost customers for organizations to realise it (ask British Telecom about their Welcome Back campaign). Win Phone 7 came with all the right sounds about lessons learnt but that market is too big for MS to ignore. I just don't think the Home Server market lit up the bar graphs enough for MS to spend the extra time on the elements that were of most interest to the potential market. If it is possible to keep some of this revenue by a quick paint job on a business segment product, then "that'll do!" I think I hear a "Business Manager" saying.
Shame really as I also had brand loyalty to HP and bought my HP Home Server in US (when they weren't even in UK), so this is a double blow but don't fret too much MS I'll probably still buy Windows 8 and Office 2015.
Just had a re-think, decided I can't necessarily keep my commitment to MS anymore, maybe I'll switch to Chrome when it comes alone, change my browser to chrome, change my productivity tools to google docs, my search engine to google search but I might still keep my 'Premium' hotmail account, or will I? Blimey it's easy to be fickle when you only have to worry about yourself.
I'm sure it was just a coincidence HP dropped the Media Smart server several days after you announced DE was dead. I'm sure it will also be a coincidence that people won't upgrade from WHS v1 to WHS v2 without DE. It's all purely coincidental. No relationships at all between any of it. It's all basic Marketing 101. What? No one there took any marketing classes? Don't worry, no one will ever notice and I won't tell a soul. I promise!
At least HP had the guts not to push ahead with a non-starter. Get your act together.
In New Zealand, we have ann experession "Yeah Right" - as in: "I can give up smoking anytime I want". "Yeah Right".
So in response to: "This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server “Vail.” - Yeah Right
This of course is what happens when you merge two deveopment teams, one with an emphasis on a product that would be useful in the home and the other with a business emphasis. No prizes for guessing who would win out.
I was finally going to consider an HP MediaSmart server, but after reading this and the underlying issue of removal of Drive Extender from WHS Vail, I will not be looking in this direction for my file and computer drive backups. I was looking forward to having a flexible, cost effective solution for computer backup and shared file access. I have used RAID in various computers for quite a few years, but have had a few problems over the years.
Microsoft has killed off WHS with the announcement and I do not feel that it is a coincidence that HP decided to drop their product almost simultaneously.
Shame on poor marketing managers and software engineers at Microsoft. You had a product that was on the verge of taking off, but have killed it. Some other software - hardware combination will be my solution.
This makes me so sad. I have 2x 2TB drives in my WHS box with one of them set to backup the data. Simple, as it should be. Why you gotta crap on your customers? There will be no Vail in this house unless DE is implemented again
I am a long time user of both WHS and SBS, having setup WHS for myself and several friends/family, and volunteer my time to setup/manage several SBS 2003 deployments for various size non-profits. I hadn't kept up with the latest WHS/SBS versions but as I am reading up now, I am surprised to see that WHS and SBS development had been combined and what has happened as a result.
WHS and SBS are completely different products. Sure they both sit on top of Windows Server, but they have two completely different customer bases, and have very little in common, except perhaps that they both run on top of the Windows Server platform.
WHS - functions/needs
Administration - Simple GUI plug-n-play, "set it and forget it"
Disk management - DE, drive pooling
Server applications - Simple utilities, Like to have - Media center server functionality
Authentication - WHS connector password sync with basic workgroup authentication on server
Desktop backup - Full disk backup with bare-metal restore
User folders - Simple user folder shares, Public folders
SBS - functions/needs
Administration - GUI administration, Domains, Group Policies, third party support as needed
Disk management - Enterprise class third party/OEM RAID (SCSI, SAN, Fiber, etc.),
Server applications - Enterprise level apps (aka Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL, etc.)
Authentication - Domain, Active Directory management and authentication, tokens, etc.
Desktop backup - Not needed, standard OS image used to retore when needed
User Folders - Folder redirection/offline folders stores all user data on server with local cache
As one can see from this simple list, there really isn't a lot of overlap between WHS and SBS "above" the Windows Server baseline. From my experience with WHS and SBS, I couldn't ever see where WHS would play a role in most small businesses and vice versa. In addition, I am starting to look into vitualization (VMware/Hyper-V) for several of the SBS installations to separate the "connection" between the OS and the hardware. Something that makes sense in an SBS environment, but really makes no sense at all in a simple home based WHS environment.
In the end, I hope that Microsoft can reconcile the WHS issues and preserve some form of basic WHS (based on Windows Server or perhaps even Windows 7) which includes necessary WHS functionality like DE, drive pooling, desktop backup, etc.
'This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server “Vail.”'
Of course not! There's no possibility that someone at HP ignored the over FOUR THOUSAND votes on the Connect issue, or the extensive blog coverage, or the massive outcry from WHS developers and enthusiasts. And I'm certain HP wasn't at all balking at the prospect of trying to develop their own RAID-based solution to replace Drive Extender, with all of its functionality and ease of use intact. </sarcasm>
Sorry, but the fact you even feel the need to state it indicates that it was, indeed, an issue for HP. If I were an OEM, I would be extremely displeased if my OS vendor removed a core feature this late in the game, and effectively yanked the rug out from under me.
Tranquil is committed because, well, WHS is their entire business. Fortunately (luckily), much of their existing storage management software already comes close to providing DE-like functionality, so unlike HP, this change isn't forcing them to throw together something entirely new from scratch. I wish Tranquil the best of luck, and I hope someone at Microsoft has a rectal craniotomy done soon.
Microsoft Connect issue: http://bit.ly/fjwo0H
Ed Bott's Editorial: http://zd.net/iiw1A9 "If you want your customers to trust you, don't lie to them."
I've been happy with a lot of moves MS has made recently with Windows 7 and Windows Mobile. Until now I was a huge WHS fan and helped several friends set them up. Now I need to start looking for an alternative. What a disappointing development.
It's sad to see yet another potentially great Microsoft product be ruined by simply not listening to your customers. For years the WHS community has been touting the benefits of the product, while repeatedly suggesting features that should be added to make it a far better product. If you'd listened to real customer feedback Media Center and DE features would have made Vail a fantastic product that would be of real use to consumers. But now you've repeatedly ignored the requests for Media Center and gone and dropped the only real unique selling point WHS had.
I've no doubt the WHS team has put a huge amount of time and energy into making Vail, but if you can't pass on the feedback your customers are quite blatantly giving you, there is no hope for WHS in the market place.
As I read more about the next WHS (Vail) and SBS 2011, I have to think that HP was seeing the potential for WHS MediaSmart solutions to erode their SBS ProLiant sales to small businesses. I read several case studies where small businesses were using WHS MediaSmart solutions (where they otherwise would likely have gone with an SBS ProLiant type solution), which would take business away from HP's higher priced SBS ProLiant solutions. In this context, it would make sense for HP to discontinue MediaSmart to force SBS customers into ProLiant solutions.
Unfortunately, with HP retiring MediaSmart, they are preserving their SBS commercial (ProLiant) revenue, while the consumer takes a hit with no more MediaSmart products.
I think this stems from Microsoft combining development of home/consumer products (WHS) with commercial small business products (SBS). Microsoft should have kept WHS and SBS development separate, letting each team customize the Windows Server base for each unique product space - WHS (consumer/home), SBS (commercial/small business). With DE storage focused only for WHS and SBS using third party/OEM storaage, I don't think Microsoft would have run into the problems they had with DE.
Further, if Microsoft had succeded to migrate DE technologies into the SBS 2011 products, it would have an even more direct impact on HP ProLiant revenue, since SBS customers could then potentially opt out of the more expensive HP ProLiant RAID SCSI/SATA storage solutions for lower cost DE based storage solutions.
Conspiracy theories aside, I think HP had more to do with the demise of DE than Microsoft is telling.
I discovered WHS based on the DE tech. I have purchased an HP unit for both myself and my parents. On my raving about the product, my Boss bought one. I've recommended to to many friends and colleagues..... DE is exactly what the home users need and the backbone of the product. It wasn't Mediaserver functions, it wasn't shared network drives these things are provided with Win7. DE and the backups are the killer features and now 50% of that is gone. Sadly I'm no longer interested in Vail or the entire product line and will not be recommending it.
I also don't believe for one moment that HP's decision had nothing to do with the DE functionality being removed. They recognized the feature was very much 'killer' and without it, there was almost no point.
I guess MS should go ahead and shut down this blog, with all the negativity.
Well let's be honest, HP SUCKS to begin with. Corrupt leadership and crummy over priced products. The can't seem to do much more than build machines for printing on dead trees and pillaging the environment. So, No loss here.
The real damages is: 1) the death of Drive Extender in WHS / Vail 2) The dammage this is doing to MS that WAS on a good roll with some great products: Kinnect, Server 2008 R2, Win 7, Win 7 phone . . . The MS store, where they finally connecting to customers (but clearly not listening).
Finally the death march of WHS / Vail. I guess some group at MS had to screw-up a good batting aveage.
Again, this clearly shows that MS can not seem to get a good, 'single' story in place and offer a full end ot end solution for a 'consumer'. MS seems to forget that 'consumers' work in 'companies' who buy servers, pc's, phones and other products. If you forget the consumer you will eventually loose the 'business' As a business owner I have built my business on MS products, but there are other options, this just makes me consider them all the more.
Windows Home Server is dead, Microsoft killed and denies the act while the blood drips from its virtual hands. Story at 11.
Took the chore to register just to show that I don't agree with this malicious big wig decision.
I'm sorry Microsoft, but HP just happening to leave because they wanted to just makes no sense at all. This all has to do with DE and you have to admit it. The idea behind taking it away saying that there are so many large storage options for consumers today, is like Microsoft at one time saying all we'll need is 64k. That lasted a few short years. The same will happen with home storage today. Today I'll buy a 2 TB hard drive, next year or two it'll be full and I'll have to go out and buy something bigger...but I can't just pop it in and have it added to the pool now. Now I have to shuffle hard drives and data around. Why take something that worked so well and just throw it out? Why take a feature that was so important to practically your entire user base? When will you, Microsoft, learn to LISTEN to us, the people who buy your products!
why did Microsoft Press cancel the upcoming Vail book?
Something Microsoft should perhaps take on board:
Pro enthusiasts help evangelize your products. When end-users don't see the benefit of feature X, Y and Z, we've been there to say "Have you considered it could be used for..."
In the last year, you've convinced me support for Silverlight is iffy, Windows Phone 7 is a toy, you've bastardized the best of your sync products, Live Mesh - and now you've removed DE, convincing the single biggest hardware backer of the Home Server project to pull out. Grats. You're not shooting yourselves in the foot with this, you're blowing off your legs, and the lower part of your waist.
I can not evangelize what I don't believe in - and now that you've gotten an OS that can help replace XP, and a browser that can displace IE6, you're screwing up in other areas instead.
As a former Student Partner, you've spent good money to get me backing your horse - and backed it I have. Backed it we have - the pro enthusiast market as a whole. You're sticking two fingers up at those who like to tinker.
If I can't get products from you guys I can tinker with, I'll go see what Google and Ubuntu can offer me.
I appreciate this is a rant, and I'm sorry - but it's clear Vail has no future, so I'll spend Xmas migrating my WHS elsewhere. I'm just really annoyed, as I know Vail could have been the centre-piece of a WP7 / Win7 / XBox home set-up, and I know it's just not going to be.
I'll just continue to use the current version of WHS and have my clients do the same until we find another solution to replace it. Taking DE out of the product simply removes WHS from my "short list" of acceptable simple small business/home servers with backup and data duplication included for a respectable price. Why not take the spell check out of Word, calculate functions out of Excel and send/receive functions out of Outlook? Whatever political battles at M$ that were fought over this have left us customers as the losers... Incredibly stupid move...
"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. "........... Seriously.......Why bother delivering a new beta ?.....are you guys blind or just illiterate.......everyone here is telling you that with out DRIVE EXTENDER.... WHS is good for nothing then. I bet over 90% of the people who are telling you this are IT people such as myself. WHY are you guys NOT listening??? WE..... the IT people.....are the word of mouth for this product...... especially since your Marketing department sucks at promoting IMHO......one of Microsofts BEST and I mean BEST server products out there. I'm not sure how many people work on the WHS team......but maybe you need less Chiefs and more indians working on getting Windows HOME server back on track.
Seriously....we are HOME users.....we are IT people who like to come home to a more simple and less of a headache network!!!! If you guys really do.....Honestly rip out DE of WHS v2....please tell us why HOME users are going to want Vail?????
Anywho..... So long WHSv2.... I hope someone with any common sense at Microsoft wakes up and see's this grievous error.
IMHO, DE isn't necessarily a deal breaker...but no streaming media?? I can get a NAS box to back up my computers or get Carbonite online backup. To me, it is having everything managed easily and AVAILABLE whenever and where ever I am. I broke down and got my kids an XBox 360 because it connected to the server and we could watch movies or look at photos together on the big screen. So you, MS, are getting more than just the cost of the software...you are getting the money spent on games and many other purchases through the XB360. To take that funcion away, what do you really offer? It was the ease of setup, ease of use, and ease of maintenance that made it a brilliant product. Without those two features, why would anyone want to build/buy a whole new computer and keep it running 24/7 when there are other less expensive ways to get the same capability that you offer in WHS v2.
It's sad...I've been using WHS since the beta and have loved it. Now I have to go back to the drawing board to put together a replacement.
MS...Bigger companies than you have gone under when they stopped listening to their customers. Remember, yes businesses pay the bills...but home systems are the gravy. WHS was a great way to get people to add another OS license to a family that is already full of computers.
I feel you still have time to fix this. Delay the product and get the bugs worked out. Please!!!