The Home Server Show 114

Is this the beginning of the end for Windows Home Server or just a new beginning?  You decide after listening to all we have to say about Microsoft’s announcement about pulling drive extender out of Vail.  We have a lot to talk about on this episode and several folks joined up to do just that.  Special thanks to:

Alex Kuretz

Timothy Daleo

Michael Martis

Zero news in this show.  It’s all Drive Extender and Vail.

The Microsoft Announcement: Windows Home Server code name “Vail”– Update

The follow up: Windows Home Server code name “Vail” and Drive Extender

Alex’s thoughts: Is Windows Home Server Dead?

Great coverage of the breaking news by and – Add drive extender back to Vail?

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16 Responses

  1. vnangia says:

    I don't know who is speaking about "Oh, I still have to backup computers – I have a bunch of them I need to backup", around the 20 minute mark, but you need to have a serious rethink about this for three reasons:

    1. Without DE, GOOD LUCK trying to backup that bunch of computers, each with possibly multiple terabytes of data on them. If you even have just 500GB of data on each computer, you're limited to largest drive / 500GB, which is six computers right now. Your data growth is going to outstrip storage growth, if it hasn't already. Good luck trying to backup 2TB worth of data from two computers.

    2. Goodbye redundancy, unless you use RAID (and see #3 below). What use is a backup if it isn't recoverable, because there wasn't space enough to make enough duplicates of the files?

    3. I take it you've never, ever, even once tried to combine drives from multiple manufacturers or even multiple batches from the same manufacturer. The Hitachi 1TB drive might be 1,000,908,182 bytes, the Samsung 1,000,087,716 bytes, and that's sufficiently different that most RAID implementations will decide that you don't have matched drives. I switched away from BSD, a significantly more secure OS, to WHS because of the issue of finding matched drives. The only way to get matched drives is to get identical drives. And if you get identical drives, the chances are they are manufactured the same day on the same machine, and if there's a flaw on one, there will be a flaw on the other – and both will manifest themselves at the same time.

    So, whomever you are around the 20 minute mark with that bunch of computers around the house, you're screwed unless you have a tiny little bit of data (in which case, why are you bothering with high-priced devices like WHS). Isn't it time as something of a leader or spokesperson for the WHS community for you to stop trying to rationalise Microsoft's piss-poor decision and tell them to put it back into the home product?

  2. joboehl says:

    Sorry, but the show was very disappointing.

    Things like "we are entuhsiasts and can setup RAID", "DE had compatibility problems with applications" show that you are more in tune with the distorted vision from Microsoft than with the target community.

    A HomeServer is not meant for critical applications, its file sharing, adding storage and backups. If customers want to run apps over it, go buy the regular SBS. Home Server is up to 10 users with mostly file sharing. And for that the DE concept is more than enough.

    Sure as hell I can setup RAID. I just dont want. RAID is not a good solution for a HomeServer, never was. And HomeServer should be about easy of use, I cant recomment it anymore to average Joe, and will not. RAID is not average Joe tech.

    Apparently a lot of MVPs are trying to do damage control for Microsoft, while the burning truth is MS screwed up with DE on Vail. Design from the beginning was flawed and it was risky to use it. And they dont have time/money to fix it in this release. Is not that the concept is flawed, thats clear. Its a failed implementation for witch Microsoft dont want lawsuits or the negative media of users loosing data. So they dropped instead of fixing.

    MVPs are on the risk of loosing their reputation if they blindly stand behind Microsoft during this misstep led by bad management and bad engeneering. Judging users are wrong, dumb or hysterical because of the news is not servicing the community. Users know why they are complaining. Missing this feature is huge for most users.

  3. yakuza says:

    joboehl, I'm hearing a fairly unified response from the WHS MVPs that we're all unhappy and upset with the decision to remove DE. Can I ask specifically which MVPs you think are standing behind MS on this decision?

  4. Homeserver says:

    @John Koch Thanks for your feedback and sorry to disappoint you. MVP's have known about this for a couple of weeks this is true. We have a unique situation on this podcast as two of us are MVP's and Jim is not. Due to the NDA we can't openly talk with Jim about these issues so we can't start blasting Vail as a piece of crap and soon you will find out why, hint hint. I could break NDA and announce it to the world but what would that give me? 10, 15 minutes of fame maybe? If you have ever seen a Microsoft NDA agreement you would agree that the litigation threat in it is not worth blowing a 2 week lead time on information.

    So that means you heard on or two podcasts while I secretly hid this information from you. I talked about RAID and streaming along with the other add-ins announced. I hardly think that is "talking great" about Vail. I admitted in the podcast that we knew for two weeks. It wasn't a surprise, it was a surprise to the community.

    As for the other comments here I'm having a hard time understanding what you are talking about. We talked about RAID and how we know how to set it up. BUT, we chose to purchase and use WHS.

    It sucks that MS pulled DE. I don't like and I'm glad you don't and you are entitled to your opinion but come on. I think you missed something. I didn't pull the plug. I reported it as such. I enjoy a good discussion so email me or hit the forums anytime.

    20 minute man commenter. We got it handled. Thanks for your assistance.

    Dave(just as pissed as you)

  5. John Koch says:

    Funny show. Most people I’ve spoken to agree

    – The home server show has lost all credibility with it’s rapidly dwindling listener base because we now know most of you guys actually KNEW this announcement was coming weeks before yet you kept on talking Vail up saying how it was going to be so great etc etc (what a crock) Listening to you all faking this ‘whoa surprise’ and ‘oh boy was this news to me’ talk really rings hollow.

    – So what will you do next when MS takes out something else say like ‘PC backups – talk it up as ‘well it’s not so bad – I really didn’t need PC backup so much. I’ll just my stuff on floppies from now on. Truly pathetic

    The HSS podcast was supposed to be a user informational source instead you turned out to be just as deceptive as any other ‘kiss up’ only concerned with keeping ‘in with the big boys’

  6. Homeserver says:

    Hey John,

    Thanks again for following up. I can certainly understand your point. I didn't serve the listeners a bunch of bull for two weeks while I knew the info. To be honest, there is a lot of things that have popped up in NDA that would make people dislike it less but I can't just go silent on the product because of that. MVP's learn new features and ideas every month from MS. Some good, some bad. There have even been times when we disliked a decision so much that MS reversed their course and bent to our wishes. MVP's voiced their dislike with it and we waited for MS to make the final decision. We can't stop talking about a product that exists and people tune in to hear about. I hope that helps but I still appreciate your comment.


  7. John Koch says:

    Dave: I’m not pissed with MS. One look at their track record for this kind of stuff and you know that you just have to 2nd source everything with those guys. Hell, I’m still using Photodraw and it’s MIX files. No I use their stuff and do my own support. I don’t expect anything more.

    No. I’m pissed with Home Server show for the way you handled the situation. You kept saying stuff like ‘let’s wait and see’ ‘Oh yeah maybe there will be a new Beta in time for CES’ Because you knew this was coming You should have just gone SILENT and serve your audience not dance around trying to fill in the time till MS announced. You reduced the value of the content. Put yourself in my place. You want to have me listen to the podcast right and in a way be guided by you *but* how do I know to trust what you are saying from now on. What i mean is the show is compromised because I can’t believe you are speaking objectively from now on and Dave I’m not the only one who thinks so. Was that 20 minutes?

  8. John Koch says:

    Dave: Somewhat sad. I just re-listened to the HSS 112-113-114 and regrettably the overwhelming feeling I got each time you spoke was 'Now is that the truth and his own frank opinion *or* is he shading it to conceal what he knows or what he has been told as a MVP' I couldn't tell. The trust and confidence is gone. I can't listen to the HSS show anymore. Sorry.

  9. yakuza says:

    John, if you can’t trust the Home Server Show, who remains in the Windows Home Server online community that you do trust? Many of the sites are run by MVPs, all of us knew the news about 3 weeks before it went public, and we all continued on running our sites the best we can. Though some of us like to flirt with violating our NDA and Tweet about upcoming news before we are supposed to.

  10. mrossco says:

    I'd like to take a brief moment to defend the Home Server Show. Managing an MVP status as well as access to closed betas is a double-edged sword. You are given early access to information and/or software that you can use because it interests you, and you are given awesome channels for feedback to let Microsoft know what you like and disklike about the product. I trust that Dave and John are doing everything they can to ensure Microsoft is well aware that they and the rest of the user community are very unhappy with the decision to pull DE. It is a very important feature in WHSv1 that drew many of us to the product. I appreciate that the HomeServerShow is trying to explain WHY DE was so important and perhaps seek a resolution that will deliver the same features that we enjoyed from DE through some other means. DE is not the only feature in Vail worth getting excited about, however, and its still worth a look in 2011 Q1 when the next beta is released. I'm personally hopeful that the whole thing can be salvaged as I was really excited about the new remote access and streaming capabilities promised in Vail as well.

  11. no-control says:

    Are you people serious??? Really you can't trust the information delivered?

    We're dancing around making excuses for Microsoft? WHAT show were you listening to?

    I can understand being disappointed that a company chose to scrap a feature in THEIR product. Whether you can come to terms with the new direction of the software, Microsoft and your own personal issues is all on you. Don't hang the messengers out to dry. I like several others were blindsided by this. I suppose I understand this industry a lot better, and can look OBJECTIVELY from both positions and formulate an opinion. Blaming those reporting the news or the MVP's (again they are not M$) and thinking we're at fault for not going with mob mentality, carrying a torch and pitchfork to storm the castle walls, is just stupid.

    Regardless if MVPs had the info 3 weeks or 3 months ahead they are bound by an NDA. If you think we should throw away our relationships with companies by disregarding NDA's and ban on information leaks you need a head check.

  12. John Koch says:

    Again this NDA excuse! Didn't anyone of you guys think that running a podcast or website is actually in conflict with being a MVP. If you *carefully* think about it you will see that you can only do one or the other, not both. You can't work for two masters! As we now know eventually you will have to 'adjust' what you say to accommodate your MVP status.

    As for the comments by 'no-control' – calm down dude, don't work so hard to live up to your handle. Other than wildly misunderstanding my comments, do you have ant valid point to make. What I'm saying is that 'for me' and others I have spoken to the MVPs who speak on the show have been compromised by the fact that, in this instance, they were performing 'doublespeak' and in the end they misled their audience. As Yakuza says the MVPs operate 'as best you can' but that's not 'as best as possible' is it? You will always be muzzled by the NDA. How about If I had asked you two weeks ago 'do you know of of any major flaw coming up in the next version of WHS' I bet that would have been a doozy of an answer to listen to.

  13. mrossco says:

    Uh, welcome to life! There's not a single journalist (for lack of a better term) that doesn't have to continually balance the trust of their audience with the trust of their sources. As MVPs, John and Dave are privy to a lot of information and have a lot of access. They must play by MS's rules to get this, but when they can, they certainly share what they know with everyone else. Had the announcement been, "Vail is dead", then I might see that John Koch has a point. But, there are still plenty of cool features in Vail worth talking about aside from DE. They have never faultered from their stance that Vail is a product in BETA, and everything is subject to change until Microsoft chooses to release it. There's no reason to treat John and Dave as if they shot your dog.

  14. yakuza says:

    John, it sounds like you would rather listen to a group of uninformed peers rather than recognized experts that are given advanced, detailed information with enough time to absorb, distill, and learn so that we can best deliver that info to the community.

    And yes, the community is our "master", not Microsoft. We advocate FOR YOU 100% of the time to Microsoft. In order to give our input to Microsoft, we have to know some things before the general public does, and Microsoft asks us what the community will think about it.

    If you think we could operate "as best as possible" by NOT having advanced knowledge of some topics, then I strongly disagree with you. It takes hours, sometimes days or even weeks to write the reviews, articles, guides, etc that we do FOR YOU. You would not benefit from our expertise if we learned about it the same time as you.

    I didn't hear the Home Server Show crew tell you to go buy a Vail server right now in shows 112-113 and then suddenly change their minds when the DE announcement went public. I think you have unreasonable expectations and an unreasonable attitude.

  15. John Koch says:

    Yakuza. Sorry, My doctor says I'm not allowed to argue on the internet. Anyway I've made my point. As I said I can’t listen to the HSS show anymore.

  16. John Koch says:


    'HP are out of the Windows Home Server market'

    No doubt about it now – Vail is about to be canceled and that will be the end of WHS.

    Of course I expect the MVPs already know this but hey gotta keep that NDA right.