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Windows Home Server "Vail" console logon screen  (Source: MediaServer.net)
Next generation of Windows Home Sever is built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2

For those of you that rely on the nifty Windows Home Server platform, Microsoft has a nice gift for you today. The company announced today that the next generation of its Windows Home Server software, codenamed Vail, has now entered the public beta phase.

Microsoft is making a number of changes to the operating system's hardware requirements with the main one being that Vail will only run in 64-bit mode. As for new features, the Windows Team Blog highlights these refinements to the platform:

  • Extending media streaming outside the home or office
  • Multi-PC backup and restore
  • Simplified setup and user experience
  • Expanded development and customization tools for partners
The folks over at MediaServer.net have already posted their preview of the new operating systemand have uploaded a slew of screenshots of Vail. With regards to the new video streaming capabilities, MediaSever.net's Alex Kuretz comments, "Video streaming is also included and features on-the-fly transcoding of files on the server. This means that when you start to stream a video over the web interface, your server will automatically convert it to a resolution and format that streams well."

We Got Served has also posted their thoughts on the Vail here.

Vail, which is now based on Windows Server 2008 R2, can be downloaded from Microsoft Connect. Microsoft recommends that you install this beta build onto a secondary machine as it is test software and it will completely wipe all the data from the machine.



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Really...
By DanNeely on 4/26/2010 3:45:30 PM , Rating: 3
From the mediaserver.net article: "I imagine that last bullet point has several of you with your jaws hanging open. This is the first I’ve heard of a 10 drive limit in Vail, and if it is true I believe this is a bad idea and will be feeding that back to Microsoft."

Am I the only person here who's thinking that at the point of having 11+ HDs installed you've gone well beyond the scope of a home server and really ought to be using a more business oriented product?




RE: Really...
By bradmshannon on 4/26/2010 3:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
That is probably their intent


RE: Really...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/26/2010 3:50:24 PM , Rating: 3
I tend to agree. I personally have a MediaSmart EX485 which has four drive bays. It came with one 750GB drive installed, and I put in another 750GB HDD.

I can't imagine having 11 drives just for home use -- that sounds a bit ridiculous.


RE: Really...
By jonmcc33 on 4/26/2010 4:26:32 PM , Rating: 1
Well, with 2TB drives so cheap now it isn't necessary. The main negative about WHS in my book is lack of RAID 5 support, even if it is software. Windows Server has the ability to do software RAID 5. It's not like it's an expensive feature to add.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 4:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
You really have no idea what RAID is for.

Folder duplication is directly in contradiction to how RAID functions.


RE: Really...
By funkyd99 on 4/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: Really...
By Smilin on 4/26/2010 4:55:05 PM , Rating: 4
Ok you have two drives.

You duplicate a folder from one drive to the other.
You also use both drives to form a Raid 1 array.

See? Contradiction.

Windows Home server has no need of RAID really and that would limit some of the flexibility it offers (like adding a drive on the fly and having your redundancy increase). Dig into the details of WHS and it'll make sense.


RE: Really...
By funkyd99 on 4/27/2010 12:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking folder duplications vs. RAID1, not folder duplication and RAID1 on the same machine. Folder duplication and RAID1 generally accomplish the same thing, so they only contradict each other if used on the same machine.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:07:47 PM , Rating: 5
I hope you don't work in IT.

With the exception of RAID1 (which is inferior to what folder duplication does) there is no backup function in RAID. RAID is all about speed (RAID0) or uptime (5/6). Not backup. If you are running an array as your only method of securing your data you are asking for it.


RE: Really...
By tastyratz on 4/26/2010 9:40:35 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed.
No raid will cover you from virus/accidental deletion/bad save/etc.

HOWEVER... I personally see raid with parity 5/6 as an assurance of data integrity - if parity is calculated and checked against whats written you know from the controller level down that the write was clean.
Importantly You also decrease your needs to rely on backups - which is very important because without live backups with revision history (rarely implemented at home) your much more likely to find something missing/outdated/etc. If I never (yea right) have to restore from backup... I'm not doing too bad.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 10:21:08 PM , Rating: 3
Parity doesn't really address data integrity. Data corruption can be spread across an array as easily as a single platter. The key benefit to RAID5/6 is the ability to remain functional while a bad drive is pulled and replaced (ideally with a hot spare). While software raid can perform the calculations to implement such an array, it lacks the tools to properly recover and dynamically expand an array. Only quality hardware controllers are really capable of that. I always roll my eyes when people tell me that they run RAID5 and I ask them what controller they use and they reply the motherboard.
When I decided to build a home media server my choice was between a real server - likely some flavor of Linux - or a WHS box. I bought 20 1.5TB Seagates to start with and discovered that it would be considerably cheaper to use WHS. A good Adaptec controller with SATA/SAS spreaders will cost well over $1k. I don't need the 99.999% uptime, so why spend the money? WHS offered a selective duplication (I have both duplicated and non-duplicated folders since I manually duplicate a lot of data offsite) which works well with my usage. Another hidden benefit is that WHS will only spin-up the drive or drives that are needed. That means when I am watching a movie at most two drives are spinning. With an array ALL of the drives spin. I like power savings.


RE: Really...
By tastyratz on 4/27/2010 9:01:49 AM , Rating: 3
data corruption can spread across all the drives if the problem happens at a layer prior to the controller. I am saying if you have a single drive that is producing bad writes whether it be its internal logic board/tweaked cable/etc. parity allows you to correct for that.

Yea I agree with software raid - I cant imagine how people live with the peformance... and yes motherboard raid IS software raid not done at the OS level. I cant imagine using it day to day on 200 i/o's. I personally have a highpoint 8x pcie controller with ONBOARD xor processing and ddr.


RE: Really...
By angryplayer on 4/27/2010 12:05:53 AM , Rating: 3
You MUST work IT. You're missing the point of cost-effectiveness. It's why companies use Windows instead of FREE linux - insurance against the risk of expensive people like you kicking the bucket and the whole IT schema goes to hell.

Yes it's not a proper backup, but let's be honest here, it's just home data. I want RAID5 so that if a drive fails, I can replace the drive and have a better chance at recovering data than NO RAID at all. Simply put, it's the more appropriate insurance against data loss for a SOHO than a full blown off-site mirror. The risk and impact simply don't offset any larger insurance options. On the off chance your data is just that little more important, RAID6 should nicely cover the one in a billion.

Personally I have 4x2TB drives (+ other 1TBs), all independent. I've had good luck with HDDs and if they do start failing, I've had time to move data off before they go kaput. But I don't want to push my luck - speaking of which, can anyone recommend a simple, inexpensive solution for RAID5 (or some other RAID clone). I was looking at Drobo, but reviews are mixed (and it's pricey).


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 12:37:23 AM , Rating: 3
I actually work in finance for a Fortune 50 company.

Companies spend money on things they NEED. Choosing Outlook means Exchange. Having employees with Blackberrys means there is a BES or two lurking about. My company uses MS products only as far as they are needed to support commercial office applications. All of our production-oriented equipment runs only on highly specialized servers. Most of them run some variant of Unix/Linux. The data warehouse is completely SQL/MS-free too.

As to your assertion that data stored at home not being of value. Yeah. Everything of serious value I have is backed up offsite. These are the risks you should prepare for, in order of likelyhood:

Accidental deletion
System/registry failure
Virii/data corruption
Controller failure (card or MB)
Drive failure
Physical theft
Deliberate destruction
Disaster (fire, earthquake)

You should have contingency plans for all of these if you value your data.

Beware of anything with parity. Non-battery powered, non-hardware accelerated caching controllers can die and permanently destroy the whole array. No drive failure required. Drobo runs a weird RAID with adjustable partitions. Simple, but pricey. Also not very fast. All of my data that I have ever created is on my server. If I am actively working on/modifying it I also save to the cloud as a backup. If it is no longer being modified it is deleted from the cloud and backed up offsite as well. My house can burn down tomorrow and every bit of my data is protected. It hasn't even costed me that much money.


RE: Really...
By rett448 on 4/27/2010 9:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think the OP's main point was that RAID-5 is a compromise between cost and data security for a home user. It can survive the failure of 1 drive but doesnt cost as much as a full RAID-1. I think that most people that build a home raid-5 server are not worried about accidently deleting a file or getting a virus from looking at porn sites on their server


RE: Really...
By callmeroy on 4/28/2010 1:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes it's not a proper backup, but let's be honest here, it's just home data .


1. Not having backup on a server (excluding a test/sand box system or a gaming server) makes as much sense to me as buying the upgraded version of a sports car with the most powerful engine......to never drive over 60 mph. What's the point? One of the reasons for a server is to secure your data.

2. "just home data"....it could be argued folks would be MORE/MOST interested in securing their "home" data more than at work. If you store your personal finance statements, tax information, bank records, investments...seems pretty damn important to me.


RE: Really...
By funkyd99 on 4/27/2010 12:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
I do work in IT. And you're making assumptions based on my post. Did I ever say RAID was a form of backup? No, I said RAID protects against hardware failure. More specifically, a catastrophic drive failure. WHS folder duplication does the same. Which is why I wondered how you could call the two a contradiction to each other when they're both accomplishing the same thing. I guess I was assuming jonmcc33 wanted to use software RAID5 in lieu of folder duplication because he didn't understand how WHS works.

How is folder duplication superior to RAID1? I'm talking hardware RAID here, which is basically mirroring the data in real time. No "disk balancing" to worry about. Folder duplication does nothing more to protect against data corruption. Folder duplication is easier than RAID1 as far as the end user is concerned, but it's more cumbersome than a RAID1 setup.

That being said, I prefer WHS to RAID for my home server. In the office we have a mix of RAID1 and RAID5 servers. In both places there are off-site backups.


RE: Really...
By funkyd99 on 4/26/2010 4:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
WHS doesn't use the standard software RAID built into Windows, so RAID 5 isn't possible (and with the low cost of disks today, is RAID 5 even worth the extra overhead?)


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
Software RAID would destroy performance. All of those parity calculations handled by the OS would cripple it. My WHS box can saturate gigE. I doubt software RAID could get past 20MB/s if it was even available. Or you could spend serious money on Adaptec controllers that handle parity for you. WHS is a great product and MS is wrecking the followup.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have 22.


RE: Really...
By Cr0nJ0b on 4/27/2010 11:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
I have 12 on one and 12 on my backup system. I'm a SOHO user with lots of 500GB drives. They are old and I'm not yet ready to replace them with 1.5TB drives...but with the prices coming down...I'll likely start replacing this year or next and then I'll go to maybe 10 drives total.

I use SW RAID 0 and SW RAID 5 on Linux and the performance is fine for me. It's been stable and safe for the last 3 years...so I'm happy.


RE: Really...
By Xoddoza on 4/26/2010 5:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
I currently have 10 storage drives + 1 OS Drive, and I'm almost at capacity on the drives I do have.

Granted half of my drive, are only 1tb the other half are 1.5tb, so in theory I could upgrade to 2tb drives but it really doesn't seem worth it if theres such a hard cap on it.

Its a shame really i was quite looking forward to WHS2, but if this limit does exist then it will be a deal breaker for me. As it is I'm considering shifting my storage to two separate raid 6 arrays for performance and cost reasons.

Probably doesnt worry them too much though, since I'll end up having to get a copy of 2k8 R2 instead.


RE: Really...
By Xoddoza on 4/26/2010 5:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
Another interesting situation that I've just thought of is the Upgrade when you do it eventually. You'll have to reformat your OS drive, thats a given. And if the initial reports of a non NTFS File system is true then you'll have to copy all your data across from your current drives via a different machine?

I've got 5tb of data, thats going to take a very long time. Would have been nice is WHS2 had supported the same tombstone system as WHS1, and thus you could nuke the OS drive and reinstall and it would recognise the storage drives already attached.


RE: Really...
By imaheadcase on 4/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: Really...
By tastyratz on 4/26/2010 4:33:39 PM , Rating: 3
it's complete bs for a finite number of users who legitimately have 10+ hdd's in a home server environment. It is statistically advantageous in preventing its use in a large business application where that would be significantly more commonplace.

I have a lot of hard drives too... mostly because I am too cheap to throw away the old ones since they still function. I completely think Microsoft is absolutely in the right from a Business sense.
HOWEVER
There is 1 big roadblock here. Windows does not generally see hardware arrays and their respective disk quantity. Since that is generally what professionals run I can see this impact to people utilizing whs in a business environment as negligible. They would really be restricted from software arrays.
Other than limiting the number of simultaneous clients I don't know many ways for MS to differentiate home/business software models as those lines blur these days.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:14:59 PM , Rating: 2
WHS is already limited to ten computers on a network, so that prevents commercial use. You can also only use one Home Server on a network, which further limits commercial applications.

WHS is for home and very small business applications. Guess what? Those small businesses aren't going to spring for server 2008 and ten seats. The only reason WHS has had success is based upon simplicity and price. People that want more than 10 drives aren't businesses. They are home video enthusiasts, and are a fairly large chunk of the WHS market.


RE: Really...
By namechamps on 4/27/2010 9:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Plenty of small businesses have 10 or less users especially ones that use computers as ancillary functions.

Microsoft wants business users (yes small business users are business users) to purchase business software.

In the grand scheme of things a true Server OS isn't that expensive. 2008 Server R2 - Standard is about $1000 about $900 more than WHS.

A business needing 20TB of data likely would consider the software costs to be negligible in total life-cycle cost (hardware, software, upgrades, repair components, labor, applications, networking, etc).


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 4:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
WHS is like a pickup truck. It is really handy for a lot of personal and business tasks. Server 2008 is like a tractor trailer. It requires a lot of expertise to setup and operate. WHS is plug and go, requiring minimal IT knowledge. Moving to 2008 will not only require more money (10x) to acquire, but also cost a lot to maintain and service since an IT professional will likely be required.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 4:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
WHS is clearly aimed at small businesses.

Why?

Drastically enhanced Remote Desktop features. Those DO NOT work on Windows Home Premium (XP, Vista, or 7) which 99% of home users will actually use. Only businesses have bought the professional, Business, and Ultimate versions that support remote access.


RE: Really...
By omnicronx on 4/27/2010 11:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
You are missing the point, at 10+ HDD's you are leaving the realm of a home server..

You are looking for trouble if you have data spread across 10+ HD's on a normal system.. Way too many points of failure, spreading your PSU a little too thin, and I imagine there must be alot of overhead to combine all of those drives together into one (the way in which WHS works).

I had a 3 drive WHS system, one of my HD's failed and it was no fun trying to fix.


RE: Really...
By omnicronx on 4/27/2010 11:05:45 AM , Rating: 2
Then again, i wonder if this limit includes mirroring.. a 10hd limit could definitely be an issue here..


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 4:21:12 PM , Rating: 2
WHS does not run drives like an array. It only spins up drives that are actively needed. My server uses well under 80w when playing video. Adding hard disks doesn't increase complexity at all.

Forcing a very small business or enthusiast home user to buy Server 2008 just isn't going to happen. They won't use 99% of what Server can do.
Also, Server 2008 can't do the two main features of WHS2 - folder duplication (retained) and media streaming (new). You have to pay for media software to stream off of Server 2008. But I am sure having a domain controller and virtualization options will really be used by a WHS customer...


RE: Really...
By micksh on 4/26/2010 4:23:34 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of people build home media storage servers in Norco 4020 20 HDD bay case. That's for up to 21 hard drives (including system drive). See the thread below.
Some people store backups of blu-rays and DVDs on server. 10 disks may not be enough for that.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=10...


RE: Really...
By Smilin on 4/26/2010 4:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
Those people should consider a real server then.


RE: Really...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:16:48 PM , Rating: 3
And 100% of them would go Linux. Server 2008 and 5-10 seats is damn expensive and far more difficult to setup.


RE: Really...
By MadMan007 on 4/26/2010 10:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
When people are using WHS as a backup system, common data repository and media streamer it's 'real' enough. It's sort of like an uber-NAS in that scenario. I'm curious why you think having lots of data necessitates a 'real' server. Quantity of data does not dictate needing an expensive 'real' server how it's used does and the way people use their WHS does not necessitate a heavy-duty server whatsoever.

I have a WHS box and don't need a ton of drives because I don't have lots of video on it but if I did want to use it for video I could easily see wanting more than 10 drives, especially if the data is duplicated. Limiting the number of drives, because all lots of drives mean is lots of data not how you use it, is a bs and backwards move by MS.


RE: Really...
By rudy on 4/26/2010 4:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes i would agree if people purchased it as a package but I think alot of people just like to throw old hard drives into these servers which may be more hard drives of smaller size. At least that is how I would do it. And keep the better hard drives for the work stations.


Reinventing the wheel...
By funkyd99 on 4/26/2010 4:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
From the mediasmartserver.net article:

quote:
The drives are no longer formatted with NTFS and so your data is “hidden” behind the abstraction of Drive Extender.


That scares me a bit, remembering Home Server v1's Drive Extender randomly trashing data while the early adopters waited patiently for a fix. If it's not formatted as NTFS, what file system DOES it use?

The added backup options are welcome enhancements, but I wonder if the Drive Extender is getting even more complex (hence prone to issues) with this update... Hopefully there will be a whitepaper on how it all works.




RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 4:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
As a longtime WHS user I am really concerned with the loss of NTFS. I have a great deal of confidence in knowing that I can literally pull the drives out of my server and take the files off them on a different computer if I choose. I don't want to be absolutely dependent on Microsoft's software. There is no damn good reason to abandon NTFS for anything except Advanced Format (to exceed 2TB).

I am also concerned about an upgrade path. Sorry, but they can't pull the same crap (back up your data while the install wipes the drives) as they have recently required when switching from 32 to 64 bit. I can't just backup 30TB.

Also, what is the need for 64 bits? WHS, or even Vail, isn't really going to require more than 4GB of RAM. Mine runs flawlessly on 1GB.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By King of Heroes on 4/26/2010 4:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can't just backup 30TB.


....what the hell? On a home server? Why the hell do you---no, forget it, nevermind. I don't want to know. I think reading the justification will be worse than not knowing.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By Smilin on 4/26/2010 5:00:58 PM , Rating: 3
You display much thought and wisdom grasshoppa. Perhaps you are ready to snatch the pebble from my hand.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:40:10 PM , Rating: 3
It piles up in a hurry.
About 100 hours of converted 8mm film from my grandfather.
About 80 hours of video and converted film from my father (8mm film, beta, VHSC, 8mm tape, and miniDV)
At least 200 hours of my own video (beta, VHS, 8mm video, and miniDV)
All of my DVDs (over 1100)
All of my CDs (over 800) in FLAC, WMA, and MP3
All of my Bluerays and HD-DVDs (about 80)
Well over 100k pictures (scanned prints and digital)
At least a hundred hours of recorded TV (HDHomerun + WMC = free HD TiVo)
Plus all of my documents and backups of my wife's data from the office.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By namechamps on 4/27/2010 9:37:44 AM , Rating: 3
What I find funny is that people feel they need all that.

I mean ballpark figure is that looks like about 3000-4000 hours of content.

Starts looking like a solution in need of a problem. How many times do you really watch all 1100 movies?

It is the software equivalent of people with hoarding disorders. They keep every newspaper forever just in case they might need it at some point in the future.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By theapparition on 4/27/2010 11:33:44 AM , Rating: 2
Plus remove the 15TB of illegally copied DVD's and BDs and it's not looking so bad.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By CSMR on 4/27/2010 1:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
By the time WHS v2 is out video compression should be much easier (GPU accelerated).
If you compress all that stuff fairly generously:
DVD: 2GB*1100=2.2TB
HD: 12GB*80=1TB
All the rest: probably under 1TB

Could fit on two currently available HDDs!


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By mcnabney on 4/27/2010 4:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
I compress nothing.

Storage is too cheap to even think about degrading quality.

And I have played with CUDA. Sorry, but the quality is CRAP. That might be fine to shrink down to load onto a smartphone or to be compressed on the fly for streaming offsite. But watching on a big screen or listening on some nice speakers.....not a chance.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By CSMR on 4/28/2010 8:53:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's why I said: when WHSv2 is out.
Currently a lot of the hardware accelerated video compression software is poor-quality and buggy.


RE: Reinventing the wheel...
By Xoddoza on 4/26/2010 5:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
This is greatly disturbing. I'm wondering if its WinFS ala Sql server in origin?

If it does render data unreadable then that poses another problem, esp if the OS drive dies. It is nice to be able to just pull out the drives and chuck'm into another box.


Windows Home Server Vail Preview Deep Dive
By Terry Walsh on 4/26/2010 3:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
If you'd like to know more about Windows Home Server Vail Preview Deep Dive, we've got a 12 part Deep Dive on the new features in Vail over at We Got Served.

You can check it out at: http://www.wegotserved.com/whs-vail-preview/




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/26/2010 4:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the heads up. I added it to the article.


RE: Windows Home Server Vail Preview Deep Dive
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 4:58:31 PM , Rating: 3
I also 'loved' how the key new feature of Vail is provided.

To watch your content (stored on YOUR server) it has to go through a Microsoft website running Silverlight. Anybody else ecstatic about looping your data through Microsoft?

I am pretty much out of reasons to upgrade to Vail now. FYI - you can stream video through Orb right now.


RE: Windows Home Server Vail Preview Deep Dive
By Smilin on 4/26/2010 5:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
What do I care about sending encrypted data THROUGH Microsoft (without them being able to view it)?

And FYI - You can stream video a LOT of ways.


RE: Windows Home Server Vail Preview Deep Dive
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 5:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
In order to activate the software Microsoft will pretty much know who you are. I prefer them not knowing (and making a note of) the entire directory structure and file names of my server (which will be fed through their Sliverlight-powered page). People are already twitchy about what they type into a Google search window. In this case MS can keep of list of all of your files. I'm sure nothing will ever come of it...


By namechamps on 4/27/2010 9:41:20 AM , Rating: 3
How does activation facilitate Microsoft "knowing who you are".

If you are that scared:
1) put on your tinfoil hat.
2) use public wifi to activate windows.

For added security you could wardrive to find a random residential unprotected wifi connection (more than 20 miles from your residence) to activate your ultra secret box.

For even more security pay a friend to do it.

For even more security kill him once he finishes.


Forgot to add..
By imaheadcase on 4/26/2010 3:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
# Multi-PC backup and restore
# Simplified setup and user experience

These are already in WHS, why is that mentioned?

It really sounds like the only thing changing is media streaming part.




RE: Forgot to add..
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/26/2010 4:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
They've refined these areas as noted. But if you read the piece from HomeServer.net, they state that (regarding the two bullet points you bring up):

quote:
First, the client PC backup feature has been made more robust and so we should see less errors and erratic failures that we are used to in Windows Home Server v1. They have also added a computer backup archive feature, so that you can save off the backup of a PC that you wish to retire and not have it count as one of the 10 connected PCs. Vail also borrows a cue from the popularity of my BDBB Add-In and has a “Backup the Backups” feature, just like you can back up the shared folders. This is a welcome change, but means I’ll have to find a new Add-In to work on for Vail.

quote:
After the installation completes you are ready to join your client PCs to your Vail server. This process is now completely web based instead of requiring a Client Install CD, which means you perform the installation and configuration simply by pointing your browser to http://servername/connect. This will download a small file to run on your computer that joins your PC with your Vail server.


RE: Forgot to add..
By Smilin on 4/26/2010 4:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
“Backup the Backups”


Nice. This will simplify my solution then. I never have a single backup of anything...that bit me in the "great crash of 2001".


Hardware RAID?
By Jammrock on 4/26/2010 9:33:29 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see what the big deal about the 10 drive limit is. If you can afford a 10 disk setup I would think you could afford a board with hardware RAID or a hardware RAID controller. A virtual disk made by a hardware RAID controller looks like a regular old physical disk to the OS. That basically means you can have unlimited disks if you setup your RAID properly.




RE: Hardware RAID?
By mcnabney on 4/26/2010 11:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think there is such a thing as a hardware RAID motherboard. Those are just MBs with controllers that support software RAID profiles (ie - all parity calculations are done by the CPU and have to go across the main bus). Cards that support real hardware RAID start at around $500 and go north in a hurry. You also have to worry about the card failing. Best Buy doesn't carry anything interesting from Adaptec, so you are going to be waiting for a while for what might have to be an IDENTICAL replacement. With WHS you can actually take the hard disks out, plug them into a completely different computer, and you will be up and running within minutes.


RE: Hardware RAID?
By namechamps on 4/27/2010 9:49:37 AM , Rating: 2
Very good point. Lots of people don't realize that hardware RAID outside Enterprise IT.

RAID is not a backup. RAID is not a backup. RAID is not a backup.

If you have hardware RAID (or any RAID) you should be able to assume that tomorrow everything is lost and I have a solution to completely back everything up.

RAID gained a reputation as "uber" among non IT users. It doesn't do what most people think it does.

RaID isn't designed to act as a backup. RAID is designed so that if a drive goes down I DON'T NEED TO USE MY BACKUP I can switch to hotspare and rebuild array. It saves time, $$$, and productivity.

However a RAID without a complete backup is simply a data disaster waiting to happen. Using hardware RAID card simply adds yet another path to lose everything.


10 drives?!
By notposting on 4/26/2010 4:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
More than 10 is totally reasonable. I'm already at 5 drives and only about halfway through the CD collection and about a quarter of the way through the DVD collection.

For that matter, the DVD portion isn't being duplicated yet either. Once I tick that option I will need more drives.




Differences?
By LCS2009 on 4/26/2010 7:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
And which are exactly the differences between this Server and Windows 7 Ultimate?
W7U can also stream via WMP and have several admin features. And as far as i know it's completely compatible with RAIDs configurations.

So which are benefits and disadvantages?




Agreed
By namechamps on 4/27/2010 9:25:00 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone wants something for free.

2TB drive * 10 drives = "only" 20TB of raw storage.

I mean software shouldn't be free. Windows 2008 R2 Server Standard can be bought for $1000 (w/ 10 client access licenses).

If you are buying 11+ drives likely you have the resources and requirements that demand the full capability server.




Never fail to miss an opportunity.
By arazok on 4/27/2010 10:45:37 AM , Rating: 2
What the hell is wrong with Microsoft? For years now, the #1 request from its user base has been for media center integration into WHS. And they don’t do it…

Most people are looking to stream media from this thing, so why do I need a separate machine to do this? I was really hoping that with Vail, I could finally stream my media around the house without needing to get into weak 3rd party transcoding software, or ensuring all my videos are in some BS format that the XBOX can handle. I just wanted something that would work, and be simple.

Now I need to buy ANOTHER PC with media center on it to do all this? No frigin chance. I’ll probably just end up getting a media tank like the popcorn hour to replace my XBOX as my media extender. I’m so disappointed.




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