Print 28 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Dec 2 at 3:38 PM

The largest supporter of Windows Home Server calls its quits

When it rains it pours. Last week we learned that Microsoft was dropping the popular Drive Extender feature from the next version of Windows Home Server, codenamed "Vail". Today we here even more damning news: HP is pulling out of the Windows Home Server market.

This is a huge blow to both fans of HP's tiny little MediaSmart Servers and to Microsoft. HP was easily the highest profile and largest shipping customer of Windows Home Server devices and this news could very well be a death blow for the platform.

For its part, HP says that it will instead be focusing on bringing out webOS products in 2011 instead of working on niche products like MediaSmart Server. According to WeGotServed, lower than expected sales for the servers were probably a big reason for pulling out of the market, although the removal of Drive Extender in Vail probably didn't do HP any favors either.

The Windows Home Server Team responded to the news on its blog reiterating that HP will continue selling its current MediaSmart Server products through the end of the year and that it will continue to support its current customers. Microsoft also explicitly denied any claims that the removal of Drive Extender was behind the motivation of HP to abandon the platform.

The future of the Windows Home Server platform doesn't exactly look bright now -- with HP now out of the mix, Microsoft could only offer up Acer and Tranquil as strong supporters of the platform.

“Vail will have a big impact on the home media environment, providing an easy streaming and seamless digital file sharing experience for consumers, and Acer is excited to be alongside Microsoft delivering on this goal,” said Gianpiero Morbello, Acer Group Corporate Vice President Marketing & Brand.

Maybe Microsoft knows something that we don't, but Vail could very well end up meaning "Fail" come next year.

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By Spivonious on 12/1/2010 10:17:15 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. DE was the primary feature of WHS. Without it, it becomes like any other OS. Take a Windows 2000 box and share a few folders and you have Vail.

By FATCamaro on 12/1/2010 1:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry I use LVM & RAID extensively and it's not quite the same as DE which is great for advanced home use. It is a LOT more involved than having a redundant pool show up automatically. That said I don't mind LVM at all.

By Spivonious on 12/1/2010 1:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
LVM in Linux lets you set up RAID 1 like mirroring at the folder level while letting you add/remove drives of different sizes, all while the OS is running?

If so, that's pretty impressive, and I wonder why MS didn't port it over instead of writing their own.

By Ammohunt on 12/1/2010 2:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes is does.. folders are meaningless in Linux. I can slice up,mirror, resize, reduce logical volumes all day long add drives of any size into a Volume group and its instantly availabe. and i disagree with the previous poster that says its way more involved then what MS offers a few LVM commands versus a few clicks of the mouse = seconds in both cases.

By Spivonious on 12/1/2010 3:18:14 PM , Rating: 2
Neat, I'll have to check that out next time I'm playing around with Linux. Do you know if it's included with the latest Ubuntu distro?

Windows can do logical volumes on the fly as well. I am really puzzled as to why the WHS team had so much trouble with DE.

By Ammohunt on 12/1/2010 5:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure it is but I recommend using Debian for learning debian based distros and LVM since its part of the install if you so choose. LVM has been around and functionally the same for ages in Unix I personally don't build a UNIX/Linux system without it. I first used it with HP-UX over a decade ago the Gnu version is pretty much identical.

My guess is they had a hard time porting it from a XP/2003 base to a Vista/Win7/2008 server since the OSes are very different.

By Spivonious on 12/1/2010 3:21:57 PM , Rating: 2
Also, does it play well with Samba? Maybe someone should put together a distro focused on providing WHS-like functionality.

By Ammohunt on 12/1/2010 5:47:08 PM , Rating: 3
LVM lives between the physical hardware and the Filesystem. i.e. Physical Volume(/dev/sda1)<-Logical Volume(/dev/sysvg/lv01/)<-Filesystem(ext3,ext4 resierfs etc..) There are some really cool projects that doing just that like FreeNAS and NexentaStor.

By sdsdv10 on 12/1/2010 7:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds interesting, but do you think they will be selling LVM based systems at Best Buy?
Like this:

By Ammohunt on 12/2/2010 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt they would sell packaged products but one never knows. I don't see why someone could not purchase one of these type of NAS devices an install FreeNAS on it since its basically just a lowend PC with a ton of disk.

By ekv on 12/2/2010 2:07:27 AM , Rating: 3
I realize ZFS, e.g. Nexenta community-edition, is not exactly intended for HTPC, but for an advanced user like you wouldn't it suit your needs better than WHS?

Much better perf, plays nice with Windows networks, not terribly difficult to install, support (and momentum) going forward, etc.

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