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Author Topic: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.  (Read 3645 times)

40hz

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WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« on: February 05, 2011, 10:28:15 AM »
Well, it's finally arrived.

Microsoft has just announced that the newest Windows Home Server (WHS2011 RC2) preview is now available for download.

Quote
Windows Home Server is part of a long-term vision by Microsoft to create a new platform for the home. Windows Home Server helps families and home-based businesses with multiple computers to organize, share, and automatically back up photos, videos, music, and other important documents. With over 130,000 registered Microsoft Connect users, there is a strong and vibrant community of enthusiasts helping to improve Windows Home Server software.

Windows Home Server code name "Vail" is the version 2 release of Windows Home Server, now based on Windows Server ® 2008 R2.  There are some exciting new features that you can try out if you choose to join the Windows Home Server Connect program such as:

    * Extending media streaming outside the home or office
    * Improvements in multi-PC backup and restore
    * Simplified setup and user experience
    * Significantly expanded development and customization tools for partners
    * Much, much more!

Join the Windows Home Server Connect program now and you can have an impact on current and future versions of the product!

    * Test the latest beta software (and then tell us what you think about it!)
    * Submit bug reports
    * Suggest ideas on how to make the product better
    * Participate in the Windows Home Server forum and hear from others who are actively involved in making the product better for everyone, get answers to your questions and get feedback on your ideas for the product


Full information here.

You can download the "Vail" RC preview here. (Please note that registration is required in order for you to download this software.)

One interesting thing is this video explaining how adding storage devices will be handled by the 2011 release. Well worth watching because it's now official: the Drive Extender feature has been removed from the 2011 release.

This announced abandonment of DE was discussed at some length in this DC thread last December.

Dropping DE support remains a sore spot for many WHS fans. However, Microsoft has put in features to allow you to very easily add and format drives, move data from one location to another, and update your backup scripts so nothing gets missed after any moves.

While this new manual approach is not as elegant a solution as Drive Extender used to be, it's still very workable. Wizards are provided for less technically adept user.

From the looks of it, Drive Extender won't be missed all that much since equivalent functionality has been provided. The only difference is that it won't be an automatic process like it was in the past. If reliability issues surrounding Drive Extender really were the reason why it was dropped, Microsoft made the right decision in prioritizing data integrity at the expense of user convenience.

Either way, that's how it now is, so we might as well get used to it.  :-\

All righty! So, who's up for giving it a try?  8)

« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 10:31:05 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 10:58:56 AM »
I may need to scare-up some hardware to test that on - curious lad that I am...

40hz

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Re: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 12:57:30 PM »
^ Let us know how you make out if you do?

I'm in the middle of two big projects right now and don't have any time or hardware I can spare for it. Probably won't get a chance to try it until after they do the RTM.

 :)

40hz

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Re: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 02:27:52 PM »
This just in from gHacks.net:

Quote
First Drive Extender Alternatives Are Announced

Windows Home Server administrators surely know about Drive Extender which can be used to combine multiple hard drives into one combined virtual hard drive. This simplifies the accessibility and management of data on the Home Server. A music or video buff with split the collection on multiple drives because of space constraints could use Drive Extender to access all media files under one drive letter.

Microsoft decided to remove Drive Extender from the upcoming Windows Home Server 2011, much to the dismay of many users of which several stated that they would not switch to Windows Home Server 2011 if it would not include Drive Extender.

If Microsoft cannot deliver other companies can.

Link to article here.

So far, this announcement can't offer the bereaved DE widow much more than hope since nothing it reports on is ready for deployment.

The article briefly mentions two products:

One (DriveBender) is due out towards the end of February 2011. Very scant details on this one since the website isn't even providing screenshots despite it's somewhat grandiose announcement:

Quote
Drive Bender... coming soon (21st of Feb, 2011*)

Drive Bender
is state of the art storage pool technology for Microsoft Windows.

Drive Bender
takes single point storage to the next level. Inspired by Microsoft’s "Windows Home Server" Drive Extender technology, Drive Bender is a product that provides the same level of functionality, and more, for all versions of the Microsoft Windows**.

The Feburary release date also leaves me a little skeptical because further down on the page they're still inviting people to participate in the "functional beta."

Wow! Sounds really cool guys! Does your puppy actually work yet or what?  :P

--

The second product (DrivePool) is currently in alpha testing - as in: don't even think of trying it on anything you rely on or need to keep.

--

So there you have it...

Looks like there's still a way to go before we see something like DriveExtender reappear on WHS2011.

Be interesting to see if either of these products ever make it out of beta. Especially when you consider Microsoft skragged DE because of reliability concerns about the undelying technology.

Figure it this way: if Microsoft couldn't get DE stable - despite all the coding and technical talent it has at its disposal - then just how willing are you to trust a small 3rd-party solution to deliver on the same?

I've decided to give up on DE unless it's released as part of WHS.

Anybody else care to weigh in on this?

 :)

« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 02:34:36 PM by 40hz »

skwire

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Re: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 02:31:44 PM »
I'll be keeping my WHS v1.

40hz

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Re: WHS 2011 ("Vail") Release Candidate now available for download.
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 02:44:20 PM »


I'll be keeping my WHS v1.

That's the the most obvious solution right now. :Thmbsup:

Especially if you're happily running v1 on 32-bit hardware.  ;D