Microsoft abandons Drive Extender for Windows Home Server Vail

In a very unexpected move, Microsoft has removed the Drive Extender technology that is a part of the Windows Home Server and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 products.

The technology, which only existed in Windows Home Server and Storage Server allows users to combine their drive storage using a combination of internal and external drives, to create a large storage pool for media, as well as replicating the data to protect against failure. Essentially, shared folders became entire volumes for media.

Microsoft says that the move is largely down to that they've had extensive feedback from customers about Drive Extender, and it largely has been negative. Customers have complained that when the drive replication fails, there is no way to recover data, as the server technology uses features that are not found in any other version of Windows, meaning that the data is not recoverable. In addition to this, larger drives have become more available, with the advent of 1TB drives, and 2TB drives being close to becoming feasible, Microsoft says the technology is no longer required.

Many comments on the blog post were also bad, too. A large amount of Windows Home Server customers liked the feature, with two users saying:

Well, congratulations.  I have 3 HP Mediasmart servers in my family, and was planning on going with a new one based on Vail when it got released.  Good job, MS- you've just shot yourself in the foot

Most stupid decision ever. It was THE main selling point. All the people I sold a home server got it for THAT reason. Else, they would have bought just another NAS.

According to Microsoft, Windows Home Server is still on track for a 1st half of 2011 release, and will deliver the same feature set, minus the Drive Extender technology. 

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