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  • davepermen - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    There's a Microsoft Connect Feedback page, where you can vote for getting the DE back into Vail:

    over less than 24hours, this request got more votes than any other vote over up to two years.

    I'm very sad and angry seeing the feature being dropped. I'm curious if that's just it, or if there will be more to this story. They don't seem to realize that DE is the one main feature about WHS that made it so much loved. maybe an SBS doesn't need that. so don't try to combine what doesn't need to be combined.

    I know tons of SB that like to have a DE based storage solution (so simple, any non-techy can understand it), some already do by using WHS1.

    I know tons of individuals, home users, famimlies, who like to have a DE based storage solution.

    According to Paul Thurrotts internal infromations, it's more a development problem than a simple "we don't need it" choice. It seems like the new technology did not work as well as they hoped. Falling back to DE version 1 seems not to be an option sadly.

    I really hope they change their mind. They lost a huge fanbase here. The features of DE are great, not having those features drops any usage gain from having a WHS at home. Which is where it belongs. All in all, it's a HOME server.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I'm getting a page not found error after logging into my live account. Did MS pull the plug? Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Must've been a glitch. i was able to find it by navigating from connect's home page, and it was able to load from there. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the link. Placed my vote seconds ago. Not sure whose taken over the driving wheel in the vail project, but needs to get out of the car. Reply
  • brshoemak - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Thank you Microsoft for once again letting us know what we want. Also, I'm glad that we don't need the Drive Extender technology now that 2TB drives are available - since no one will ever require any more storage space.

    I wonder how long they will support WHSv1 because that seems like the only real option for a proper home server at this point. Without Drive Extender I can just get a NAS.
  • davepermen - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I personally don't like linux, or unix based stuff. But it looks like the most likely whs inspired project amahi (+ the DE inspired project greyhole) seem to fit the whole that whs2 opens quite well. I have to test it, but from the stuff i've read, it's quite nice.

    Might be the solution for me after my whs1 stops serving me well. Then again, that might be years off.
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately it won't be any farther off than 2012; Windows Home Server is a consumer product, meaning it's only going to get security updates for 5 years. Reply
  • davepermen - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    well, even then, that doesn't mean i just have to drop it. but yeah, still.. have to re-prepare for the future. my whs is whs2 ready. just, whs2 doesn't seem to be whs-ready anymore :(

    i'm considering not extending my technet account. there won't be any new os' or applications next year. i just have to redownload and store all the os versions i might need over the year for support/reinstallation needs, and then drop it.

    I'm very angry about the move.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    5 years from initial release? Or 5 years after the next version came out? Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Unless general availability is referring to a technet/msdn date, but the 5 year counter is tied to a retail launch, they're giving it slightly more than 5 years of support.
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  • Parag2k3 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I use Amahi for my home server. Although it takes some time to set up, you get easy to use web based controls. On top of DE inspired file duplication, you get opendns, openvpn, and web apps like bittorrent. You can also use the server as a linux desktop as well. Reply
  • FATCamaro - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    First of Ryan Smith is very wrong comparing Drive Extender to ZFS. If anything I would compare it to LVM/RAID combination. Of course Drive Extender is much better than LVM/RAID.
    I wanted Drive Extender since I was gong to build a WHS box for my parents since I have a technet license. Now i'm not sure if I should stick with version 1 and add a bunch
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I'm not certain that this really bothers me. My current WHS runs a hardware RAID-5 with duplication off. My next will likely be RAID-5 as well (or RAID-6). I can see their reasoning on the one hand... but if you're ditching the new version, why not at least keep the old version for those that want it? Reply
  • Doormat - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    While this is a tech site, not everyone wants to be neck deep in tech all the time. I love my WHS box because its dead simple and I don't have to devote weekends to fixing it if it breaks or runs out of space. I just throw in a new HDD and go from there. My biggest gripe at this point is that 3TB disks aren't supported by BIOS. Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Is RAID really "neck deep" anymore? It seems like most mobos have the feature built in and add-in card have great setup info... just hit F6 or F10 and it practically builds itself. To me, the subjective inconvenience of RAID far outweighs the performance hit of WHS file duplication.

    Diff'rent Strokes, I suppose.
  • Etsp - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    It is when you want to add storage space.

    One of the major benefits of DE is you could simply add a HD to the storage pool and increase your storage. In a RAID situation, you would need to backup the data on the raid, add the drive, rebuild the array to include the additional drive, and restore the data. Or you can buy at least three new drives, install and configure them, and then copy the data over. But I don't know how many systems have enough SATA ports to support that kind of move.

    Just out of curiosity, how many drives in your RAID array that you would be considering RAID-6?
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I can see them not doing DE v2 if there are development time issues, but no DE *at all*? That's just a completely rediculous and horrible decision. The ability to add drives seamlessly to an already set up WHS box is one of the very major appeals of WHS...heck, most all of all the commercial WHS boxes include hot-swap bays for just this purpose. I chose WHS over Linux variants because of the simplicity of DE and that I didn't want to spend lots of time learning Linux. Without DE a major, major advantage of WHS is gone, most all of the other features can be made up for with alternative software.

    This is an inept decision and whoever made the decision to remove DE entirely ought to be axed.
  • Kaboose - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I can also agree dropping DE v2 might have been a good idea for the time being, but dropping DE entirely is just foolhardy, yes with larger hard drives becoming cheap it isn't as important, but i feel there is a niche this filled which will now go unfilled. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Who has (Had) a 14Terrraaabyytteee WHS, I'm not exactly going to miss it. Sure, it does it's job, but a whole load of people had had speed problems with constant balancing.

    My servre is (Funnily enough) right next to me and I've opted for a vanilla 2008 R2 server install onto a Crucial SSD, with 4 2Tb drives in RAID 10.

    That'll do. (Yes, I am aware that most people don't want to play with these things)
  • davepermen - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    but this follows the "i just buy much too much to most likely never hit the limit" approach, which we get forced to, now, from microsoft.

    can you extend your raid10 if there are more storage needs? can you extend it by any disk you want (maybe you don't want to buy 2tb drives a year from now, but 3tb ones). can you extend it over different sata controllers, raid controllers, usb (3) controllers, and even a nas? and can you do all that with just plugging in, say "add", and be done?

    DE is about growing with needs. your raid is about "big enough to hopefully never need to grow".

    and microsofts next plan is the same: sell finished boxes, and hope the customer just buys a new box, if the limits are reached.

    and yes, the constant balancing led to some problems (some more than others). which was why it was requested to get fixed for whs2. nothing else. not dropping it or anything.

    what if your raid controller dies? can you still get to your data, then? if you say yes, are you sure? are you sure, 5 years from now?

    and btw, i like to play with such things. still, having a pool of secured data, that i can let easily grow as needed, that is just awesome. raid doesn't give me that.
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    No, I'm aware that Raid 10 is set. I didn't mention that I do have 4Tb, 2x 2Tb drives for backup as I'm not silly enough to let my data sit on a supposedly protected Raid 10.

    As it stands, WHS V1 is gone and I'll wait to see what WHS v2 has to offer.

    P.s. I have four PCI-E slots free for additional raid if needed but yes, DE was so VERY, VERY easy and it's a shame it's gone. I'm sure that certain 'oems' applied pressure.
  • CUfuzzy - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    DE was THE selling point that made me build a WHS in the first place! Without it, I will not be up(down?)grading to Vail. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    This. DE was the only reason I recommended WHS - if it's gone, so is WHS as far as I'm concerned. Reply
  • haplo602 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    and DE is important WHY ?

    we have onbaord raids that do the same thing I guess. on a HOME server, there's realy no need for 'enterprise features'.

    I have to admit my lack of any knowledge about WHS/DE. But it does not seem as a big point to me compared to widespread onboard raid availability.
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    "I have to admit my lack of any knowledge about WHS/DE."

    Then why comment if you're not sure on the matter. DE was pure simplicity to use. You have 2TB in storage space and need to add into that, slap another drive, add it to storage and there you go. You could then duplicate your data to be safe
  • heymrdj - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Not only that but you could use any disk you want. When I needed just that bit of extra space while waiting on a new 2TB I put in an old 320GB IDE drive and added it to the pool. With a RAID array I couldn't do that, I'd have to add the drive seperate of the pool, then drag and drop folders till it balanced out, and remember what I seperated. WHS just does that for me, keeping the disks used in one pool until I added the 2TB, then ran through the remove disk wizard which drained the 320GB out onto the disks and let me remove it again.

  • erwos - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Have you ever tried to extend a RAID5? It's not easy, nor is it pretty.

    With DE, you just add another drive to the system, and it just works.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    DE is an expendable JBOD array with enough intelligence at the filesystemish layer that also provides on-demand mirroring at the file/folder level. Reply
  • archer75 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    While I did not like DE in Vail(high overhead, poor performance, drives not readable in other computers) I do think DE in v1 is great. The entire reason I use WHS is because of the drive pooling and data protection. I just wish it used some form of RAID other than the traditional(see unraid, flexraid, drobo)

    Being able to use drives of any size and pool those drives is an absolute must. I have a ____ case that supports 22 hard drives. In it I have 2x 500gb, 4x 750gb, 6x 1tb, 2x 1.5tb and 2x 2tb. I just buy whatever is the biggest drive available when I need more space. Plug it in and add it to the pool and away I go. I have 5.2tb of movies/tv shows, alone. I'm not going to now split that across multiple raid arrays and have multiple similar shares to work with on my network.

    For me, everything that was special about WHS has been removed. DE in vail was not the right path. But neither is scrapping it entirely. There are better options.
    Flexraid won't work for me. But flexraid live, if it ever sees the light of day, would.
  • docbones - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Totally agree, the problem with Vail was that for large files that you didnt want to waste space duplicating with Vail had a huge issue. Lets say you have 3tb of video, you dont need it live stored twice - you can re-rip it if needed.

    A drive goes out in WHS 1, okay, just the files that where in that 1 drive are gone. In Vail - you loose ALL of it.
  • Sportbikerr1 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    RE: Microsoft has made it clear there’s still a great deal to discuss about “Vail” at CES next year

    The discussion should go like this:
    Q: Does Vail have drive extender?
    A: No
    ... Walk away... end of discussion
  • tonyn84 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I must be the only one who is happy with this news, I actually had a rather annoying experience when testing this since it was impossible to read your files off of the hard drive from any other pc, ended up having to recopy all the data I had stored on it (a major pain since it was spread out across 3 other pcs). Yes these are server systems but they aren't exactly built on server quality parts, if you ever have to reinstall the OS, you're kinda screwed. Reply
  • erwos - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    You should be backing up your WHS. I know that sounds redundant, but it's really not. Reply
  • tonyn84 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    That's the problem, back it up to what? The folder duplication option is kind of useless if only the original install can read the data. So then you're making manual backups to an external drive? Why bother with the server, just back up each pc on its own. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Actually, the idea is this:

    a) Back up all of your systems to a WHS box
    b) Back up your WHS box to an external drive
    c) In case of fire or disaster, grab external drive and run
    d) Restore from external drive to next WHS you build.

    RAID or Drive Extender is only a precaution against drive failure. If you delete a file, or screw something up yourself, neither of them help; you should still have a backup.

    P.S. You can get data off the backup drive in WHS v1 without having WHS installed on a box, too.
  • Squuiid - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Time to look at one of these...

    Only $930 with battery backup... 'sigh'. Again, this is such a poor decision!
  • name99 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    "With such a change would also come some drawbacks compared to the existing implementation of Drive Extender, but it’s nothing we expected Microsoft wouldn’t be able to surmount."

    Ahh. So the codename Longhorn means nothing to you?

    I don't want to criticize MS any more --- it might have been fun in the early 2000s, but now it's just sad. However it does seem reasonable to ask the question: "When it comes to storage, WTF MS?".

    It's reasonable to point out that:

    (a) storage is hard --- no-one is willing to tolerate errors, and at the same time you have to jump through many many hoops to get speed

    (b) Apple has also not shipped any great leaps forward in storage over the past few years.
    The difference is that Apple operates on a model of (for the most part) not announcing something until they are pretty sure it works. There might have been a lot of hoping and dreaming around ZFS within OSX, but Apple never promised or claimed anything either way. Rather, Apple upgrades the file system quietly --- so quietly that many of the newer features like the automatic movement of hot files to the faster parts of the disk, or storing small files in the catalog record, are unknown even most Apple enthusiasts, let alone the outside world.

    The problem with MS seems to be (ironically enough, given the standard claim that Apple is the marketing driven company) that marketers drive the press image of the company regardless of what engineering says. And so we get, repeatedly, these sorts of elaborate promises of what the future will bring, totally decoupled from what engineering has running in the labs.
    I can't help but wonder if we're going to see yet another replay of this when Windows 8 comes out. We heard breathless claims last year about the new super-ultra-nano-really-really-small kernel for Windows, which we've stopped hearing about. The current story is about how Win8 will be super-ultra-virtualized. One suspects that, in spite of all this, what will ship with Windows 8 is a shinier, somewhat improved Win 7 with all these grand rewritings, from new micro-kernel to super virtualization all abandoned along the way.
  • sxr7171 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I have tried and tried to get this OS to work for me and its a hopeless cause. I can list several *really dumb* issues in WHS v1.

    1. When copying a 40GB+ file DE does not even check to see if the drive it chose to copy the file to has sufficient space to accept the file. I have gotten all kinds of stupid errors. I needed to run an unsupported "drive balancer" program to get it to reshuffle the data for about 1 full week before I had at least 40GB available on ALL drives before I could successfully copy the file over.

    2. I used to get crazy stutters when playing Blu-Ray ISOs from the WHS machine which was a homebuilt dual core at 3.2GHz with 4GB RAM. I used to think it was some network configuration issue and I spent months and $$$ trying to fix the problem. It turned out that it was just WHS. Just pathetic performance. Yes you can get 80MBps+ transfers to the system, but it won't read data off the system at that speed. Just not good for that use.

    3. Random stupid errors from the console about some file not able to be read or some stupid thing or another. Yes they happen and I think you lose data when the cause is something other than the most common "file in use" error. Anyway the system is not reliable and just a real PITA popping up stupid errors on all your client machines.

    4. More stupid errors alerting you to a lack of firewall or AV software on your client machines when in fact the machine in question is running Windows Firewall and Microsoft Security essentials.

    Then I tried Vail both Beta 1 and Beta 2. Vail fixes some of the above problems and creates others. However I won't really judge it as it is a beta. I lost data, but I had a copy on my WHS v1 server. These are things I experienced:

    1. I lost data on the beta 2 install. You cannot run a database repair to recover your data as it is a listed bug. It does not work.

    2. Slow, slow, slow performance. I never got a transfer into or out of that thing at higher than 35-40MBps. USB 2.0 drives approach that speed.

    3. Beta 1 is more stable than Beta 2. Beta 2 came out with 2 new bugs, quite major bugs that could cause data loss. One had a patch on launch day but those clowns at MS could not be bothered to patch it into the ISO file. Such is their laziness and callousness.

    4. Vail is extremely inefficient. It must duplicate your data and also take an extra 12% on each copy to perform ECC. While I admit the ECC is important, if they were going to redesign DE completely and render it unreadable by Windows machines they could have designed something a little more advanced in terms of a software RAID product. They chose a glorified RAID-1 with 12% ECC penalty and slow performance and loss of compatibility with all other Windows machines. What a stupid, moronic set of trade offs.

    Okay so now they even got rid of DE. This product is useless for data storage. I have seen and experienced just how stupid MS programmers are. They are utterly incapable of releasing a data storage product that does not lose data (remember WHSv1 and now the WHSv2 betas?) They cannot create a file system more clever than glorified RAID-1, and they cannot offer a driver to allow it to be read from other Windows machines. They have failed to bring WinFS to Windows for almost of decade now. I have concluded that while MS programmers are likely brilliant, together they are organized at MS to produce works of pure incompetence.

    WHS is one such product.

    I do currently use WHS v1. I use it ONLY for:

    1. Client backups
    2. Store WMC recorded TV

    For real file storage I switched to Open Solaris ZFS based Nexentastor. I could be happier. Reliable, easy, fast. My Blu-Rays NEVER stutter. My file transfers are fast. My system could lose 2 drives simultaneously and my overhead is a mere fraction of what it was. I gained 80% in usable storage space. ZFS protects against bit-flipping while WHSv2 does at a 12% space penalty.

    All my storage problems have ceased since I switched to ZFS. When I was using WHS, I had dilemma after dilemma. It really took a toll on me just troubleshooting and planning upgrades and trying to fix the system. The fix was switching away from it. I could not possibly in my right ever recommend that anyone consider this amateurish junk for their long-term storage needs. The product is utter garbage and the successor looks like it will follow in it footsteps.

    Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time on WHS. Trust me I tried to make it work for 2.5 years. I just spent over 30 minutes of my valuable free time to warn my fellow ATers to not waste your time with this. You can choose to disregard this, but trust me you will pay in headaches and troubleshooting. Use it client backups only. Just get the cheapest Acer/HP you can find and limit it to that one function. That's all it really does and admittedly does well.
  • john_nj - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    My current server build (3.2 GHz i5, 4 gig, 16 x 1.5 TB Seagate drives spread across direct attach SATA and a couple of ESATA multiplier chassis, and a BD drive) has been pretty solid since I built it. Prior to that I was running an HP also maxed with 1.5 drives. The migration was easy because of the DEv1 feature of having member drives readable as normal NTFS volumes.

    Anyway, here's my experience with your issues:

    1. I'm assuming that you're working with single files of this size when ripping bd. In the past I did that a lot, not so much now because I'm running out of movies I want in my collection. Never had file system problem with a disk being too full to receive the iso.

    2. I stream those bd iso images to my main PCH C-200 all the time. No stuttering.

    3. I used to see the sharing violation pretty often if I'd leave applications open on the server, but I've never seen any errors that were the precursor data loss.

    4. It sounds like you have a ton of PC clients attached, so maybe your experience is different than mine. On the two PC clients I have attached for backups I just turn off the WHS error flagging and on the server I set those to ignore.

    I never installed Vail, because I knew from the get go that DEv2 wasn't going to allow for member disks to be read outside of the pool or on another machine.

    One of the things I like about DE is that I can have a single really huge volume that my various shares can utilize in a dynamic manner. I can have my media library take up as much room as it needs to without having to branch out the structure I set up into different shares or volumes. My pool consists of 21TB of storage and I have the other two drives in use as out of pool backup of critical files and another as a scratch drive for mkv conversions.

    The problems you experienced don't match up to what I've seen personally, but I'm glad that ZFS is a good solution for you and that your frustration is ended. Just out of curiosity, how big is your ZFS volume? How big can you make them? Can you span them across multiple ESATA multiplier arrays?
  • NeonFlak - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    I guess I can thank MS for helping me to save some money. I was going to upgrade my three WHS boxes to VAIL. Guess I'll be holding onto WHS as long as possible now. Reply
  • gaspard - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    I can see where they were going but I personally believe that the first version with the software stack ABOVE NTFS is the way to go, this way you can rip out a HDD and read the files on it normally.

    If you're using Linux you can pick up a FUSE filesystem called MHDDFS (Yes catchy name I know) which basically does the same thing, spreading files across multiple HDDs seamlessly, whilst retaining the individuality of the drives, so you can then pull one out and it has all of it's files intact, the beauty of MHDDFS is that it works with any supported File system, even NTFS...

    So this was the one feature that interested me about WHS... I guess I'll just be installing a lightweight Linux distro on any future file servers of mine, doh...

    I have not seen a similar file-level drive splitting feature for windows, except for WHS...
    There is one called FlexRAID (

    But it was complex to setup in comparison to MHDDFS, when you just want multiple drives combined.

    I guess it depends on what your storage goals are...
  • bedwyr - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Count me in as another person who is happy with the removal of DE v2. I tried both of the public previews and was unhappy with both. If DE v2 was more like ZFS I would have been happy but thats not what it is.

    The way DE v2 was implemented made it a hog 66% of drive space gone right off the bat. 50% for duplication and almost 16% for CRC. Along with terrible performance.

    I don't understand how so many people are upset by the removal of DE v2. The most active topics about Vail on Microsoft connect is about how DE v2 is a deal breaker (as in if DE is in I'm out).

    I left Vail after a month of fiddling with it. With DE gone I might come back. A true ZFS type of file system would be great if microsoft could actually bring it to the table.
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    "I don't understand how so many people are upset by the removal of DE v2. "

    People are unhappy by the removal of DE ENTIRELY, not by the removal of DE v2.

    Most people would be very happy just to have DE v1 back in Vail. And, a lot of people in technical forums need to remember, the big thing about Drive Extender is that almost anyone can do it. The average user (unlike us) doesn't know how to implement RAID or JBOD in a mainboard BIOS; they just want a box they can slap another drive in, regardless of size, and it works. Most users also aren't going to build a WHS box; they'll buy one. Acer, Lenovo, and HP all make them.

    At first, I would have rather had RAID when WHS was in beta. Now that I've had a WHS box, I'd much rather have Drive Extender.
  • Photon0000 - Monday, December 20, 2010 - link

    Without Drive Extender with a feature set like in DE v1 Windows home server will simply disappear. I work in IT and THE key reason I bought WHS is DE. Something as close to an appliance as possible is what I need at home where Data protection maintenance free and anybody can do it in a few moments work is important. The ability to remove a drive from the pool and put in a larger drive of any size to add storage made this the perfect solution for DVR, multimedia storage and streaming. The ability to remove a drive from the server and access what is on it by connecting it to another computer is also extremely desirable.

    Now that HP has discontinued Mediasmart servers and disbanded the WHS team the best solution for families who cannot build their own is gone putting another nail in the coffin of WHS.

    I'll hold on the WHS v1 as long as I can but lack of 64 bit restore CD will ultimately kill it as 32 bit drivers become harder to locate and eventually disappear.

    WHS v1 does what it is marketed to do and performs well enough for that purpose.

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