Earlier this week, we reported that Microsoft has made the decision to remove Drive Extender from Windows Home Server "Vail" and Windows Small Business Server "Aurora" for good. Many upset customers have spoken out about the change, including prominent bloggers, as well as various others online.
Microsoft may have shot themselves in the foot, unless they make a backtrack decision now; with over 2600 users voting on a "bug" filed for Windows Home Server on Microsoft Connect, with many sharing their anger and frustration.
It seems that one of the primary drivers of Windows Home Server sales was the Drive Extender feature, a tool that allowed users to bridge multiple storage devices (including external hard drives) to create a larger storage pool, which replicated data across devices. Microsoft say there were "listening" to customers, but it seems this is not the whole truth. If you decipher the announcement, they specifically say that they are making the change for this reason:
We are also seeing further expansion of hard drive sizes at a fast rate, where 2Tb drives and more are becoming easy accessible to small businesses.
Looking at Windows Home Server as a product, this makes no sense. Most home users actually buy WHS because it's the only product that offers the ability to extend storage across many drives, aside from purchasing a NAS, and small businesses shouldn't really be using the product anyway. A home user probably doesn't know what RAID stands for, and just want to buy a product that can do things easily, with minimal effort, just like the HP Media Smart Servers that were released with WHS v1.
If you dig deeper, Paul Thurrott says on his blog that Microsoft removed the feature because of issues that occurred for small businesses under server application loads. Which essentially means that Microsoft is removing the feature from a Home product because Small Businesses were having issues. Is anyone else lost here?
If we're entirely honest, we aren't quite sure who will buy Windows Home Server "Vail" when it's actually released now. Many are saying that they will now only consider a Drobo or other NAS solution for their files, and won't look at the product again. There's still hope though, Microsoft have previously turned around decisions.
If you're disappointed that Microsoft's removed Drive Extender, let the team know on Microsoft Connect.