Even though Windows Home Server isn’t specifically a Windows Live product, it does fall within the consumer space, we happen to like it, and we like to keep you up to date on what really is an essential component of the modern home network. Today, Microsoft has released an updated preview of Windows Home Server code-named Vail, to be called Windows Home Server 2011.
Now if you remember, back in November, Microsoft stirred up a lot of controversy when it announced that due to some application compatibility issues it was pulling Drive Extender from Windows Home Server “Vail” (for the first time, Microsoft has consolidated the code base for Vail with two small business offerings, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Storage Server 2011 Essentials). Drive Extender was a somewhat unique offering that allowed WHS to “see” all physical drives in a WHS box as a single large blob of storage, and to duplicate data so that if one physical drive failed, data would still be available on another drive (if enough drives and enough storage were available).
Unfortunately, when Microsoft made the decision to consolidate code bases between Windows Home Server and the SBS offerings, they found that Drive Extender didn’t work with some SBS applications, and so it had to go.
Now with the new RC Preview, at least a bit of a replacement is available, with a “Format a Hard Disk” wizard and a “Move my Folder” wizard. With Drive Extender, you just popped in a hard drive, and WHS would do the rest: formatting the drive, adding it to the blob of storage, and creating redundancies. With Windows Home Server 2011, it’s a bit harder, and the redundancy, alas, is gone (shouldn’t Windows Live Sync be playing a part, here?).
Here’s a “Learning Bite” for WHS 2011 on Managing Storage:
The wizards do make things a bit easier than manually adding drives, creating new folders on the new drives, copying information over to the new drive, and deleting the old folders. Definitely not Drive Extender, but simpler, and built on a newer code base, one that’s set up to be supported.