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Author Topic: It's official: Microsoft discontinuing Windows Home Server  (Read 1828 times)
40hz
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« on: July 08, 2012, 07:57:52 PM »

Well, it was bound to happen. Windows Home Server, one of Microsoft's best sleeper products, is being discontinued. I'm guessing what it really boils down to is that it was just a little too capable - and far too much of a bargain - for its own good.

You will still be able to buy WHS as standalone software through the end of 2013. After that it will only be available to OEMs for preinstallation on home server appliances.

Windows Home Server 2011 can be currently purchased for less than $50 at some of the major retail sites. (Amazon: $48.50/NewEgg: $49.99) The Microsoft recommended replacement for WHS is Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Essential has an announced price of $425.

Here's what Microsoft has to say about it:

Quote
Q: Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?

A: No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and
among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were
previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media
streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012
Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive
administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection
for the server and client computers.

Q: How long will customers be able to purchase Windows Home Server 2011?

A: Windows Home Server 2011 will remain available as an OEM embedded product until December 31, 2025, and
will remain available in all other current channels until December 31, 2013.

So it goes...  undecided



40hz is bummed BIG time.



« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 08:08:44 PM by 40hz » Logged

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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2012, 12:25:38 PM »

Huh. I was just considering switching my home server to WHS.

For years I've been running my home network as a Windows Domain, currently using Windows Server 2008. But my domain controller died, and I've been entirely unsuccessful in getting the replacement server to become a new DC in the domain[1], so my security is all failing.

So my plan was to trash all the needless complexity, and use WHS for what I expected to be a more straightforward configuration.

Anybody have better suggestions for running a house-wide network with decent security?

[1]  Although they don't use the PDC/BDC terminology any more, it's still actually the way the domain operates internally. At any given time, one DC is still designated the Primary, and because that server isn't working right, I can't get it to surrender control to the new one. And the new one, since it can't sync changes to the old one, refuses to accept more domain members, etc.
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wraith808
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2012, 12:31:55 PM »

So my plan was to trash all the needless complexity, and use WHS for what I expected to be a more straightforward configuration.

Anybody have better suggestions for running a house-wide network with decent security?

Is there any reason your plan has changed?  I ask because my plan was to do the same thing... and with 40's announcement, I have it in my newegg cart... didn't see a downside to using it even if they discontinue it.
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skwire
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 12:39:33 PM »

I've been running the same WHS v1 (not WHS 2011) box I built for nearly five years and don't have any plans to shut it down.  Except for the occasional drive failure, I've had nary a problem with it.  Even the drive failures weren't that big of a deal since I had duplication on.  In other words, I didn't lose any files.  Great product -- it's too bad they're discontinuing it.
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skwire
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 12:40:28 PM »

Is there any reason your plan has changed?  I ask because my plan was to do the same thing... and with 40's announcement, I have it in my newegg cart... didn't see a downside to using it even if they discontinue it.

Agreed.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 12:59:50 PM »

[1]  Although they don't use the PDC/BDC terminology any more, it's still actually the way the domain operates internally. At any given time, one DC is still designated the Primary, and because that server isn't working right, I can't get it to surrender control to the new one. And the new one, since it can't sync changes to the old one, refuses to accept more domain members, etc.

Assuming the 2nd DC was joined to the 1st DC's domain, have you tried transfering/sezing the FSMO roles? Either that or just demote the 1st DC to a member server to force the issue. Assuming of course that AD is intact. I've had to deal with a few crunchy transfers ... It's usually save-able as long as DNS is working properly.
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40hz
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 02:42:38 PM »

So my plan was to trash all the needless complexity, and use WHS for what I expected to be a more straightforward configuration.

Anybody have better suggestions for running a house-wide network with decent security?

Is there any reason your plan has changed?  I ask because my plan was to do the same thing... and with 40's announcement, I have it in my newegg cart... didn't see a downside to using it even if they discontinue it.

Now that I've come out of mourning, I have to agree. The current announcement says it will remain available through the end of 2013. And I would assume Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for the usual 5-year wind down period afterwards, so it shouldn't be a problem for the foreseeable life of your server.

My problem is that I liked it for small home/service based businesses and startup advocacy and similar groups. Now that it's been tombstoned, I really can't in good conscience spec it for a business client. But for home service it will probably be just fine for the next 5 years. @$50/ea it's still an excellent deal for that type of deployment.

 Cool

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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 02:56:45 PM »

[1]  Although they don't use the PDC/BDC terminology any more, it's still actually the way the domain operates internally. At any given time, one DC is still designated the Primary, and because that server isn't working right, I can't get it to surrender control to the new one. And the new one, since it can't sync changes to the old one, refuses to accept more domain members, etc.

Assuming the 2nd DC was joined to the 1st DC's domain, have you tried transfering/sezing the FSMO roles? Either that or just demote the 1st DC to a member server to force the issue. Assuming of course that AD is intact. I've had to deal with a few crunchy transfers ... It's usually save-able as long as DNS is working properly.

The fact he can't sync gives me pause about demoting a DC to a member server since that suggests there's a problem somewhere in the AD. Or possibly DNS if somebody buggered adjusted the DNS configuration after the initial install.

@CW - +1 w/Stoic. Transferring the FSMO roles (or seizing them if necessary) is definitely the approach I'd try first. Take a look at KB255504 and also KB324801 if you're not up on FSMO roles and how to view and/or transfer them.

Luck! Thmbsup
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 03:47:02 PM »

The fact he can't sync gives me pause about demoting a DC to a member server since that suggests there's a problem somewhere in the AD. Or possibly DNS if somebody buggered adjusted the DNS configuration after the initial install.

True ntdsutil cleanups are not any fun if one gets stuck with an orphaned server object ... But that part was mainly probative as I was assuming a (classic misconfiguration involving ISP DNS servers) DNS issue.
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