| By Woody Leonhard |
Microsoft has effectively driven a nail into Windows Home Server’s coffin and alienated WHS fans (including me!) with word that the next version of WHS will lose important functionality.
Be of good cheer. What Microsoft has torn asunder, you can join again with a minimum of fuss and surprisingly little capital.
MS delivers a nearly fatal blow to the next WHS
Two weeks ago, I almost swallowed my tongue when I read Microsoft’s announcement on a Windows Home Server (WHS) blog that it would dump Drive Extender technology in the next version of WHS, code-named “Vail.”
Drive Extender is the feature in Windows Home Server that automatically backs up all server data: you choose the folders, and your data on the server gets duplicated automatically — with astonishingly reliable recovery. (To wit, if a hard drive on your server dies, you stick in a new one, wait an hour or two, and shazaam! — all of your data’s back again.)
Drive Extender also lets you slap a new internal or external hard drive into your server and forget about it. WHS formats the drive and gives access to it; with no drive letters, no partitions, no arcane settings, no defrags, no backup scheduling, no fancy RAID hardware, no nit-picking — no problems at all. In effect, DE gives you a nearly infinite pool of highly reliable data, using the cheapest hard drives you can find, and takes care of all the details.
Drive Extender is the single most important feature in Windows Home Server. Far as I’m concerned, it’s the way Microsoft should treat all storage on all Windows machines. I can say that with some authority because I’ve been using WHS intensely since before the first beta. (I’m also the author of Windows Home Server for Dummies, and am a Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server — but I digress.)