Windows Home Server "Vail" and "Aurora" beta available

Microsoft today made available the beta versions of Windows Home Server "Vail" and "Aurora" -- two significantly different products that fall under the same umbrella -- on Microsoft Connect.

"Aurora" is an edition based on Windows Home Server but designed with the cloud in mind, and allows the use of cloud-hosted exchange services, as well as SharePoint 2010 services. Aurora is designed for organizations with 25 users or less, fit between the "Home Server" and "Small Business server products" and are only basic domain controllers. Ars Technica adds that the cloud "doesn't do so well [at] file serving or backup provisioning" and Aurora includes extra features to help with this, using the power that is found in Windows Home Server for the "flexible, replicated storage" capabilities.

Home Server is an edition of Windows Server that is targeted at home users, designed to allow end users' to run a server with little to no knowledge. Windows Home Server "Vail" has been available for some time now, but the beta that's now available is an updated version of the original beta release. No word on new features just yet, but the Vail itself boasts Windows 7 compatibility, a new dashboard and addon framework, homegroup support and new server health utilities.

Ars also warns that the new build of Home Server is subject to a number of data loss bugs, but this sort of thing is expected when running a beta build. For more information on the issues, read the release notes.

Windows Home Server "Vail" is available on Microsoft Connect here, and "Aurora" is available on Connect here.

What do you think of the new products? Let us know in the comments!

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27 Comments

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Sweet!!! Been using the Public Preview since it came out and it has performed better than expected! It's even faster than the first Home Server!!!!

Argh! It won't let me download it It says "remove from your dashboard" so I know I'm part of the test but there is no download page :'(

Pc_Madness said,
Gah, I wish they'd add TV tuner sharing, its the only thing stopping me from buying one.

Get one of these bad boys http://www.newegg.com/Product/...t.aspx?Item=N82E16815327005 I heard they're not bad, I'm sure you can have recordings save right to the WHS and be able to use the tuner from all your computers, don't know about WMC though if that's what you're looking to use it with.

EDIT: yea the specs say you can share it with Media Center across your network, sounds pretty good, I'd def get one if it used CableCard

Mike Herm said,

Get one of these bad boys http://www.newegg.com/Product/...t.aspx?Item=N82E16815327005 I heard they're not bad, I'm sure you can have recordings save right to the WHS and be able to use the tuner from all your computers, don't know about WMC though if that's what you're looking to use it with.

EDIT: yea the specs say you can share it with Media Center across your network, sounds pretty good, I'd def get one if it used CableCard

Just like the first version of the product, you can use Vail with Windows Media Center as your repository for all your digital content and it will integrate with WMC to provide access to content through a special tile on the WMC home screen.

Windows Media Center is NOT included within Vail itself and as such does not have support to be used for recording content. You will need to continue to use a separate PC or an alternative solution if you want to record content directly on a Vail server.

lflashl said,
if you have Home Server Version 1 installed, will it you upgrade to Version 2?

No you can not upgrade to Vail for a couple of reasons.

The first being that Windows Home Server v1 is a 32-bit OS, and Vail is 64-bit, and the second being, Drive Extender has undergone many changes between v1 and Vail and are not compatible with each other.

still1 said,
when is the rtm release?

Microsoft has not yet announced the RTM date or pricing information. I'm sure as soon as it is announced, the information will be posted.

timmmay said,
Is this the actual beta coz the connect download page lists it as a "public preview"...

Any build that gets put out that is feature complete can technically be considered a beta build. The official labeling for Vail and Aurora are that these are Public Preview builds. In essence, these are beta, but Microsoft is not calling them as such.

Lewism said,
Is Home Server still 32 bit only?

No, that's impossible. Windows Server 2008 R2 is x64 only. Because this upcoming Windows Home Server is running on top of Windows Server 2008 R2, it is x64.