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Today we are pleased to announce the availability of the Release Candidate for Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 (formerly Windows Home Server Code Name “Vail”). Affordable and easy-to-use, Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS) is the ideal solution to help families keep their important digital files and PC’s automatically backed up, organized, and accessible.
The Release Candidate (RC) signifies our last mile efforts for releasing this product to our customers, and prepares our network of software and hardware partners for its release. Along with the RC, we have also released an update to the Windows Server Solutions SDK which provides tools and information to develop add-ins and extend the functionality of Windows Home Server 2011.
This WHS RC is the first public release to include changes in the storage features, so let’s look at some of the changes you can expect. All existing technologies such as server and client backup, health monitoring, remote web access, streaming media, and simplified dashboard management are still included.
A new Move Folder Wizard makes it easy for you to move data from one drive to another. As Hard Drives are added to the Home Server, your health alerts will notify you that a new Hard Drive is available. From here, you can automatically format and configure the new drive for additional storage.
Once configured, you can easily use the Move Folder Wizard to move your data to the new drive as needed.
To see this in action, please watch our Windows Home Server Move Folder Wizard Learning Bite.
Data protection also includes daily Server and PC backup, Previous Versions via Shadow copy which lets you return prior versions of existing files (without needing to restore from backup), and a protection feature for pre-defined folders (such as Recorded TV, Videos, Photos) in case these are accidently deleted.
We are also excited to announce Acer is in the final testing phase of Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011. Irene Chan, Senior Business Manager from Acer America Corp. stated this morning “We're excited to offer this new and improved, easy-to-use OS on our Aspire easyStore Home Server this Spring. Designed for households and small businesses with multiple PCs, Aspire easyStore offers a simple way to network computers, centralize, share and protect digital data as well as access it remotely from anywhere in the world." stated
Thank you for helping us test this product, and please provide any feedback through WHS Connect, or our official Windows Home Server Support forums.
Just one question. Is this forum just for feedback to MS or does anyone from MS ever respond to individual posts or the themes that run through many?
I don't know how many people who bought WHS preloaded are enthusiasts and frequent these groups, therefore it is difficult to judge the real impact of Vail and the critism. What I can say is I was a fan, bought early and have relied on my HP Home Server with little need for intervention.
I bought with a single 500GB disk, added a 200GB disk that I had from old PC and subsequently added two more 500GB disks. I didn't have to do anything and don't want to.
Having watched the video and seeing the need to create folders and move this or do that, all I can say is I just don't have the time or inclination to devote to what was a plug in 'protection' with added benefits and has now become a hands on solution?
I will be keeping fingers crossed that my machine goes on for some time and that there is a product similar to WHS v1 around in time for me to make a simple switch whomever is the provider.
You have my e-mail ID, you can see I was a Hotmail subscriber from 1998 and can probably check up on the number of windows and ms products I have bought going back even way before that. Therefore you can probably validate my 'attractiveness' as an MS individual customer (albeit unaware of any business influence I might carry) and so can add me to the number of minows that are slipping through your keepnet.
I do find it sad as brand loyalty is becoming rarer to find these days and in a world of corporate fingers in multiple pies, it might be good to listen to those you have even if you can't please all of them all of the time.
The remote access web gui looks nice! But I'm still sad. My old home-brew WHS was having major issues about a year ago and knew that WHSv2 would be built on 64-bit Server 2008. So I spec'd out a video-converting-monster based on an ASUS Z8PE-D12X Dual CPU motherboard with a pair of Intel E5520 processors In a Lian-Li PC-V2000 case. Long story short I have a 16 core, 12 GB RAM, 12 internal HDD drive full tower case with full water cooling, just waiting for the next big evolution in the WHS family. Unfortunately I don't think WHSv2 will ever live on this awesome machine.
I'm going to download this RC and put it on an old clunker that I can cobble together with parts saved from a dumpster, then I'm going to probably mess with it for a few hours to see if there is a diamond in the rough.
Then I'm going to wait and spend my hard earned (I'm Enlisted in the US Air Force) dollars on something that will probably be called WHSv2.5 and maybe if it's worthy of a code name like "Hail" then I will let it live on my awesome home-brew server.
I don't understand how the biggest software company in the world can create a technology so many years ago that is so hard to re-create now.
How many Kilobytes did Bill say anyone would ever need? I challenge a young software developer who dabbles in a garage to prove the giant wrong......he/she may just get some of my money.
Without Drive Extender you can just rename it it to Windows Home Server codename: "Fail".
currently I can see no reason I as a home user would buy this over say server 2008 or installing a cheaper linux based RAID NAS box.
You need to show me something NEW that makes me want to buy this.
@Andre Ziegler - is it limited to 1 CPU or to one core? what's about Atom D510 with dual core?
Well, well... This Acer quote from the Microsoft Connect email says it all:
“We're excited to offer this new and improved, easy-to-use OS on our Aspire easyStore Home Server this Spring. Designed for households and small businesses with multiple PCs, Aspire easyStore offers a simple way to network computers, centralize, share and protect digital data as well as access it remotely from anywhere in the world."
There you have it folks, **Designed for households AND SMALL BUSINESSES**, Acer is targeting Windows Home Server for _business_ use. That's right - a _Home_ server for _Business_ use. I suspected that something like this would happen when I started reading that WHSv1 was being used for small business desktop backup and to backup SBS servers. In addition, Microsoft claimed that the reason they were dropping DE from WHS 2011 was because they couldn't get it to work well with some _business_ applications.
Problem is, Microsoft already has a small _business_ server - Small Business Server - with SBS 2011 coming in multiple versions for various sized small businesses. It is not clear where WHS will ultimately fit in the SBS eco-system. My guess is that it won't - I have worked with many small businesses and they don't want to buy _home_ products, they want to buy lower end/cost _business_ products.
In addition to DE not working technically in WHS 2011 (assuming Microsoft even tried), DE in a _business_ environment would impact the sales strategy for Microsoft and its hardware partners, like HP, Acer, etc. Think about the now discontinued HP MediaSmart WHSv1 systems. With DE out of the picture, small businesses wanting to use WHS 2011 in a real _business_ environment, will now have to buy higher cost storage - RAID type hardware solutions. In HP's case, think ProLiant/RAID instead of MediaSmart/DE - quite a cost difference.
The bottom line is that I fear we are seeing the end of the Windows _Home_ Server. If Microsoft continues down this path, I suspect the next version of WHS 2011 will get renamed, losing the _Home_ designation as it dissolves into the SBS eco-system. Microsoft is heading to their _business_ customers, and further away from consumers and _home_ media eco-systems. WHS with DE was a perfect platform to build a consumer based home/living room media eco-system, with WHS/DE as a central storage/server appliance and XBox 360 as the end point. Microsoft has only themselves to blame if they find they can't compete with Apple, Google, etc. in the home living room.
I'm not surprised about MS releasing WHS2 without DE. I have no idea who they expect to buy this POS product though now. You won't have a clean upgrade path due to the loss of DE which means everyone will have to backup their server and then find a way to restore that backup across a bunch of disks vs. 1 large expanded partition which is never an easy process. The only other option would be to build/purchase a new server and manually migrate your data while the two are running. Neither of these options are easy or cheap and make this product a non-option for end users as they just won't know how to deal with it and won't buy it. Its way easier to go with something else that is actually developed for the end user and not MS's F'ed up excuse of a home user product that is really a just an even further neutered version of an already crappy business product! Hey, JACKASSES AT MS, WHY DO YOU SHAFT YOUR END USERS WITH CRAP PRODUCTS THAT THEY TELL YOU THEY DON'T WANT YET YOU DELIVER ANYWAY CLAIMING IT'S ROSES!!!???!!! Share some of that crack guys because none of us are high enough to get on board with the BS y'all just created with this fiasco. Goodbye WHS2... you were a great idea until MS managers got their greasy mits on you and screwed you like a red headed stepchild. I'm dropping out of the beta program at this point and am not touching the RC nor the final. Funny just about EVERYONE ELSE WHO USES WHS IS SAYING THE SAME THING!!!!!!!
I just wonder how, in all honesty, you can possibly write this:
"Thank you for helping us test this product, and please provide any feedback through WHS Connect, or our official Windows Home Server Support forums."
...when that feedback, via WHS Connect, is currently running at 4,765 votes to 69 in favour of keeping Drive Technology in WHS 2011.
I note that the tagline of Microsoft Connect is: "Your feedback improving Microsoft products"
In your case, I think that you should give serious consideration to changing it to "Your feedback - ignored"
Well, the best thing that can be said about WHS 2011 is that it hopefully will help other solutions get better. Judging from the posts on this and other sites, there's a bunch of knowledgable and motivated people who really used to cling to Microsoft for a long time that are now willing to search for better solutions in other worlds. I'm certainly one of those.
Why is WHD2011 limited to 1 CPU core?
I have been a user and advocate for WHS v1 since the public betas. It is an excellent product, but one that clearly needed to be updated for 64-bit, and to better deal with Win 7 clients and media streaming. Unfortunately, this new WHS team decided to destroy what the old team made by ripping DE and its automated duplication right out of the product. This team and people such as Annihilator, fail to understand why DE and duplication were needed for the target audience. This is NOT about the total storage size. What it IS about is the ability for the consumer to add a new drive, or replace a bad one, without any concern on the model or size of hard drive (beyond the amount of storage they want to add/replace) that they purchase, or reuse, for this need. The duplication then allows you to span copies across your volumes for the really important files so you don't lose them, and don't have to think about getting them backed-up.
It boggles my mind that this team has decided to kill this product and tick off its core user base. We've spoken, yet this team, and/or its management, has failed to listen. This product, at the home consumer level, will fail. I have no desire to mess with RAID solutions. They are cumbersome and all but a couple expensive ones require you to have the same model HDD when one goes bad. Expanding the pool is a pain. These things are all avoided, for the sake of the average home user that just needs a fire and forget solution, through the use of DE. It was THE killer app in WHS that made most of us get this product. I had FreeNAS before, using automated back-up from the client side. It worked fine, but I had to add shares as I added drives. It also didn't allow massive single folders like DE on WHS v1 does. If you store a lot of HD video on your server, you are going to have to now store across multiple share drives to stay within the limits of the storage capacity if you use Vail.
This whole debacle is such an epic fail on Microsoft's part. Its a classic example of forcing an unwanted solution on consumers. While this community is clearly not a huge sales maker, one should never scoff at 10's of thousands of users and just push them aside. This has repercussions to other divisions when said consumer says bad things about you due to you, as a company, failing to listen to their needs. How hard is it to actually go back and add the original DE, even as an add-in, and give us the duplication and pooling that MADE this product? Than, on top of that, get off your butts and add the Media capabilities we've been clamoring for! This was a product I was waiting to plunk my hard earn cash down on until this DE fiasco hit. Now, I am staying with v1 until I can find an equally capable solution. You've lost my sale (I would have paid $100-200 for this product) as well as at least another 10-20k of sales, or more. Heck you know you have 5k sales gone just from the comments and vote on Connect!
Deaf seems to be the keyword here.
:-( I love V1 of WHS on my HP hardware and was looking forward to DE in WHS 2011 with system drive backup/restore (not sure that was in the pipeline but it would have been nice not to have had a single point of failure).
I use my WHS v1 for everything from PC backup to Video Streaming around the house. My 9 year old can use the current system and I can use DE! I have a mixture of HD sizes and had a couple HDs fail and being able to swap out a dud HD with a new HD (as big as I could by i.e. 2TB) has been fantastic - this file move stuff is so 'yesterday'. I am so, so disappointed that DE has gone. Perhaps MS would reconsider and put DE back in before final release as we are still at the RC phase? Then perhaps HP would pick up WHS 2011 ;-)
Oh well, may my WHS v1 last for many moons to come.
I don't know the technicalities as to why MS as dropped DE. Instead of dropping DE they should have pushed DE up into the Small Business Server (the small version) stack then that would have paid for DE's development/support and made the users of SBS and WHS very happy.
Seriously, nobody is going to buy this. For every 1 comment about this being "great", there are 99 comments that say that without DE, they're not interested in WHS v.-1.0. Don't worry everyone, in 6-9 months with no sales, MSFT will end-of-life this so-called "product" and we'll all forget about the time, money and personal investment we put into trying to convince them to keep and improve DE. MSFT has already forgotten about us, so it's only fair that we forget about them.
No DE... this is a waste of time and effort.
I really cant believe all these posts about DE doesnt matter....just raid together several 2TB drives etc...How does that help people with a mix of TB 1.5TB and 2TB drives...(So shell out a few hundred pounds just to make WHS 2011 a viable product).WHS is supposed to be a simple consumer product...That is something raid will never be. Posts by clueless people really dont help.
Is there any way to rate it with "0" stars?
For those OK with using RAID instead of DE, remember this is a "Home" server, home users are never going to be able to configure RAID, much less afford the extra storage to complete the RAID.
Horrible decision Microsoft!!!!!!!!
I was so excited when I saw an x64 version of WHS...exactly what I've been so impatiently waiting for. Then I read these posts. Too bad I wasted time downloading it. Pretty pointless without Drive Extender!
oh, and i guess, like last time, you'll start to block comments and all, maybe even start deleting them to not look that bad. but the whole world is laughting at you, laughting at the most stupid descition ever. people are turning away from you everywhere, loyal customers and users, those who have several pc's at home, several systems. they all don't care about whs2, no one does.
drop that product now and get whs1 working on win2008r2 hardware. DO WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT.
and this post most likely will not be approved, like all the others. but on all other noncensored blogs, people state what they feel. even people with big voice and strong microsoft supporters turn away from you (paul thurroth) as you deliver such low quality products.
I won't even test it anymore. We want Drive Extender, nothing like this. This is Lipstick on a Pig, here, in it's worst form.
Unlike many of my colleagues, I've made peace with the loss of drive extender. The vast majority of WHS clients will not require individual shares in excess of 1.5 terabytes. However, if we are to believe that the release candidate is feature complete, then the lack of duplication will be an inexcusable deal breaker for many of my prospective clients who've suffered the humiliation and frustration of large volume HDD failure.
Congrats to the WHS team on the RC. I am looking forward to the Final release. I understand how everyone is upset due to not having DE but come on people. Use a hardware RAID! I prefer to do that anyways. This is why I didn't use WHSv1 in the first place. A good solution though would have been given an option to add the DE during the install IMHO.
Without Drive Extender, this product is useless. You've capped partitions at 2TB, meaning large shares now need to be segragated. With Drive Extender, you had virtually no limits. Everything was duplicated on the fly, transparently and automatically.
Now, with the partition limits and the "Move Folder Wizard," you've taken what used to be an automatic process and made it a manual one.
So whereas WHS v1 is what it was meant to be, a hands-off appliance, you've turned WHS Fail into a second job. That's not why I bought an HP EX490. I didn't want to come home from my IT job so I could spend long hours tending to my home server, but that's what you've turned it into. It's work...a lot of it. That's not what your users asked for.
Thank you for killing a perfectly good product and sending it to rot with Bob.
"Thank you for helping us test this product"? Seriously? You ignored our biggest points of feedback - Media Center and DE. Why even have the public help test if you're going to ignore our feedback?
Oh boy, WHS 2011 allows me to copy/paste a folder without having to Ctrl-C Ctrl-V... How is this a workaround for DE?
I just installed the RC. No folder duplication. No data protection against disk failures of any kind. Tell me Microsoft...how am I going to "Move a folder" to a new disk when the source has died? Sticking with WHS v1 until I find another storage solution.
I am a Microsoft dogfood eating koolaid drinking fool. But WHS without Drive Extender is like taking the Easy Button away from Staples. "People" don't know how to manage RAID and 2GB is just a ridiculous limit in today's world.
I'm out. I'll hang on to v1 as long as possible and then, even though I'm going to get FLAMED by my Linux buddies, I'll probably end up switching my own solution and that of my church to Amahi. I have to find an easy, comprehensive solution that will keep my friends, family, and church volunteers from hosing themselves.
I'm guessing that this will be a common theme. Microsoft could have scored a lot of revenue with this product. Instead I fear that WHS 2011 will be killed off, not unlike the Kin. Wrong product for the wrong time.
Painful. It's like watching the 14 year old family dog suffer. You know she has to be put out of her misery but you hate to do it. You just can't believe it's over. But it was great while it lasted.
"Affordable and easy-to-use, Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS) is the ideal solution to help families keep their important digital files and PC’s automatically backed up, organized, and accessible."
Seriously, i wouldnt trust any of my important files with this version of whs, no data protection, i use whs as a file server, i keep nothing on my pc any more so back up are of little use.
any thing important, a copy straight on the server because its protected.
but have no fear, vail is here and as long as i have shadow copy enabled, i can delete and restore my files. but that wont help if a hdd dies. DE was a brilliant piece of work from the original team, then this team botched it. you should resign immediately.
if you really gave a damn about what the consumer wanted, you would read what we want from the connect site
One final thought about the WHS debacle - it perfectly illustrates the argument made by Paul Thurrott ("Microsoft Should Abandon the Consumer Market" at www.winsupersite.com/.../Microsoft-Should-Abandon-the-Consumer-Market.aspx) - well worth a read even if you disagree.
MS consumer products (with the exception of xbox) have virtually no market presence and the bulk of its revenues come from the 'corporate' offerings which are generally exciting and innovative. The most widely used MS products at home are Win 7 and Office - but they are 'cross-over' products that many people use simply because they have them at work as well.
With WHS V1 and (possibly) Windows Phone 7, MS has demonstrated that it can intitially create solid products for a home market, but has no idea how to support and develop these products beyond their launch. WHS 2011 will fail because it frankly offers less than V1 (and I predict that it will eventually be killed off) and Phone 7 is not being updated and developed with the frequency that a home consumer product needs.
MS simply doesn't uderstand home consumers and can't respond to their needs appropriately - WHS 2011 exemplifies this perfectly. Why bother to ask anyone to "provide any feedback"? We've already told you in droves what we wanted but you just don't listen or understand!
Well done MSFT another disaster in my opinion and in the views of others it seems disaster on the WHS roadmap of disasters.
Not listening to what your customers wanted - Drive Extender/Media Center capabilities amongst others!
I've stuck around during the file loss issues in WHS from the very start but you no longer have my support. I'd love to see what percentage of current WHS users you expect to upgrade to WHS 2011 as it really can't be many unless you're all delusional and then see how successful or more likely un-successful you are with WHS 2011 overall in the future! You only have yourselves to blame!
Ugh. What a mess. So Windows Home Server 2011 is no longer a _Home_ Server. Microsoft has turned WHS 2011 into a _business_ server that will really only be usable by "techie" home users. The best _home_ feature of WHS v1 is duplication and the ability to simply add additional hard drives when storage runs low. Both these functions have been removed in WHS 2011, making storage almost impossible to manage for the average _home_ user.
I hope Acer has figured out who they will be marketing their WHS 2011 servers to (i.e. business vs. home) or their product will have a short life.
While WHS 2011 has a "backup" function, it falls short of the WHS v1 duplication+backup. With WHS v1, I really get 3 copies of my data - 2 automatic copies through duplication (instantaneous/daily) and 1 offsite backup copy (weekly/monthly). However, with WHS 2011, at best, I get only 2 copies, the primary copy and the backup copy (at best daily?) - and that assumes the user is going to make backup copies. If the backup copy is another disk cabled into the WHS 2011 computer (i.e. pseudo duplication), how do I get an offsite backup copy? A 2nd backup? Is that even possible?
As for adding additional disk storage when the server runs out - and it will, esp. if the home user has a video camera, is storing recorded HD TV, etc., with WHS 2011 there is no simple "out of the box" solution for the _home_ user to easily expand storage. In WHS v1, the novice home user simply plugs in another disk drive (internal or external) and forgets about it, the pool is automatically expanded and they can simply copy more HD video (or whatever) files into their video folder. Not so with WHS 2011, after adding a new drive, the novice home user now has to figure out how to span their video folder across multiple different drives/folders - lots-o-fun, in addtion to having to think about ensuring that their data is duplicated - oh ya, in WHS 2011 it is pseudo duplication via a "backup". I don't believe RAID is really an option for novice _home_ users, as I have yet to see a truly "plug in and forget" RAID1 storage expansion solution.
To those that talk about performance issues with WHS v1, what type of hardware are you running? My WHS v1 server is running on an old 3.2Ghz P4 with 2GB RAM and I have had no problems streaming HD home video (i.e. 24Mbps MTS files), DV-AVI home videos, and recorded HD TV from my WHS v1 server to multiple computers without any problems.
With drives of 2TB and 3TB who really needs the Drive Extender. You put 4x2TB in a raid 5 you have over 5.7TB in storage. I see drive extender was a solution for when drives where smaller in size and you needed to pool several together to get up to TB of space. But when drives 2TB+ in size i do not see where it is needed. Considering now if you want you can get a 20TB + drive with 8 2TB drives raid 5 together.
What's the point? You don't listen to our feedback anyway, Why waste your and my time on a dead product? If you really cared about your image you would do what everyone over at connect have been asking for. I have never seen a company so out of touch with what the customer wants and needs!
Good luck with Vail, you need it.
So the wizard automates "right click, Copy, right click, Paste"? Does it also create a symbolic link, so that any files indexed by multimedia software will be correctly indexed, rather than requiring re-indexing due to the move?
After being very supportive and encourage of WHS and a huge proponent of v1, I am going to abandon WHS for other solutions. V1 had too many issues with Win7, and now V2 with-out Drive Extender I am forced to say, it's just another server. The other bells and whistles are 'fun' but just that, 'fun'. What made WHS for me was the ability to add drives, use old but still very good smaller drives into a useful SINGLE APPARENT DRIVE platform. A platform that did the basic backup job well and gave some nice to have features.
I sincerely hope this move is strategic to your 'home' strategy, but as near as I can tell, both Apple and Google get it, and MS is still missing the consumer boat. WP7 is a great example of too little too late, I love my WP7 phone, but . . . per the usual long dev. cycles at MSFT, even after being out for 3 months, hasn't had a single patch, update, fix or improvement made. Too slow.
Human nuturition is a great example of how MSFT should be working on its dev. / release cycles. Little bits of food more often lead to more healthy eathing hapbits, and a leaner you . . .same goes for developement. You can't eat the elephant whole. One byte (pun intended) at a time.
Interesting. I didn't know about adding drives. Will folder duplication still be available? What happens when a drive dies? Are the contents restored from backup? Can the server be backed up to multiple drives or is a drive that's large enough to hold the contents of the server required?
I also can't believe the decision to remove Drive Extender.
I don't want to have to deal with RAID on my home server. The existence of windows backups does not replace the functionality of Drive Extender.
As someone who was an early adopter of this product, and who recommended them to pretty much everyone, I haave to agree with HuwJ that I have absolutely 0 interest in Vail w/o Drive Extender. Between family and coworkers I know 11 WHS owners and I don't know a single one who thinks removing DE is anything short of a deal breaker.
So what happens with my 2.5 TB video folder? The silly "Move Folder" nonsense won't help me there. No DE, No Fail for me - not because I'm a hater, but because I need it and use it on a daily basis. I'm now looking at your competitor's solutions that might provide this functionality.
Great!! Now if I can just get it to download. With all the people saying they won't have anything to do with vail because drive extender is gone, I wouldn't expect the servers to be so busy.
So with your demo, how do I move a folder that has over 4tb in it????
YOU CAN’T, without DE there is no way to have a large share. As of 2/3/11 you have 5675 votes to bring DE back. How do you ignore the people that sell your products? How do you not listen to your consumers? This is the first time in recent memory that MS is putting out a product with LESS functionality then its predecessor. Sure Vail looks a little nicer but as for function, FAIL!!! It looks like I will stock up on WHS 1 instead of buying this, until the time you people LISTEN to the consumers that understand how the product works and what it can do for the people we serve.
You're trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - and without Drive Extender, it won;t work.
Hopeless - I simply cannot believe that after all of the outcry against removing DE, you have still gone ahead and developed the next version of WHS without it.
This is MS at its insular worst - develop good solutions and then let clueless higher management destroy them. Do you seriously expect that many people to actually download this pointless, handicapped non-solution? Seriously - do you?
I, like many, many others, will stick with V1 for the next few years and see what your competitors come up with in that time. However, I can assure you that I will not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with 'Vail'...
This is great news, guys - especially because it means SBS 2011 Essentials should be also around the corner... ;-)
Glad to see that you figured out a workaround for data duplication.
Nice to see WHS 2011 reach the RC milestone. I'll be curious about partner solutions around drive pooling.
Does it have Drive Extender?