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Home Server SMART 2011 now available! (Beta testers needed)


msawyer91
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The great day for Home Server SMART 2011 has finally come...first public release! I am now respectfully requesting beta testers to download this first release, what I am calling "Alpha Build 6." I call it this because there are things I definitely know still need to be coded, so I can't really call it a beta, and yet I think it's ready enough to let seasoned veteran eyes start taking a gander at it.

 

The build in question is version 2.1.11.29, and it can be downloaded here: http://www.dojonorth...rSMART2011.aspx

 

Please let me know here, in this forum, if you plan to partake in the testing. However, if you find bugs, please report them in the bug tracking site @ https://www.dojonort...are.net/bugtraq (there's a project named Home Server SMART 2011 or HS2). You will need to register as a new user (my original database was corrupted when moving it between servers on GoDaddy so user registrations were lost).

 

Home Server SMART 2011 will not work in WHS v1. It is designed for the Windows Server Solutions family of products. While the only development platform I have is WHS 2011, this should also run on Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. If you're running SBS or Storage Server, your feedback is definitely desired because I want to be sure it works on all three platforms.

 

I know I said in the software that it is and will always be free, and that the software will never pop up alerts begging you to pay or donate, and that's true today. So I'll nag you here instead. Home Server SMART (v1 and 2011) represent well in excess of a thousand hours of work, so if you find this tool beneficial to you, I hope you will consider showing me a small token of your appreciation by making a donation via PayPal (a PayPal account is not required): https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=11344152 (Thank you in advance.)

 

So what's new in Home Server SMART 2011? Everything you knew and (hopefully) loved in HSS for WHS v1 is there, like automated disk monitoring and alerting, a UI that reports problems visually, double-click on an attribute to learn more about it, etc. But here are some of the new or improved features:

  • Full integration with BitLocker Drive Encryption. Manage, encrypt and decrypt all of your lettered drives with BitLocker. If the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature is not installed/enabled on your Server, you can install it right from the add-in with the click of a button (and a reboot).
  • You could ignore individual problems (i.e. bad sectors, end-to-end errors) in WHS v1, but now you can un-ignore (resume monitoring) for them, either on an individual problem basis or resume all ignored problems.
  • You can now ignore (and resume) entire disks. This is useful for hiding flash drives and media card readers, and also some hard disks where you know incorrect information is reported (it's rare, but it's been reported to me).
  • Improved the ability to start, stop and restart the HSS service from within the add-in.
  • Improved the Settings area overall.
  • Shut down or reboot the Server from within the add-in.
  • Send email when an alert condition is detected or cleared. (This may go away when Alex releases a new version of Remote Notification.)
  • Bug Report Helper - this collects some information via a small self-test to detect problems with the installation. This can help make reporting bugs easier.
  • Added a "Fast Refresh" button which just refreshes the physical disk list without performing a full re-polling of the disks. This allows you a quick visual update using the latest saved data, rather than re-querying the disks for it.

OK now for the things I know still need work -- please don't submit a bug report for these because I know they're still a work in progress!

  • Clicking the SMART Status throws a NotImplementedException, which is caught and shows off the bug reporting feature via my "Epic FAIL" dialogue -- go ahead and click the button if you want to see it.
  • Main documentation has not been written; clicking the Documentation button on the Hard Drive Health and BitLocker Drive Encryption tabs displays the Help About dialogue instead. (The Quick Help is available, though -- accessible on Hard Drive Health as its own button, and on BitLocker Drive Encryption under the Options button.)
  • Generating alerts within WHS/Dashboard has yet to be done. If you want to be alerted, enable Email reporting because that is working. Of course the UI will alert you.
  • The "Reset EVERYTHING" button in Settings > Advanced doesn't have any code behind it so it doesn't work.
  • The check for updates isn't coded.
  • Clickable links aren't coded.
  • And there are probably some remaining bugs...

Most importantly, I hope you enjoy the add-in. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line with questions, comments, praise or criticisms. :P

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Just wanted to let everyone know that I posted Alpha 7 today (v2.1.11.30). I found a pretty serious bug that I wanted to fix. It wasn't serious enough to crash, but it rendered part of the BitLocker UI inoperative. Basically what was happening was the UI refresh timer fires every 15 seconds to keep the UI up to date and it's possible if a disk has gone to sleep or if the WMI provider recycles that a System.ManagementException can be thrown. This was caught and the "Epic FAIL" window was displaying it. I closed the window and found that the exception handling code forgot to flip a flag back, preventing all future UI updates without needing to restart the Dashboard.

 

And so I fixed that. And while I was at it, I got these items up and running:

  • SMART Status button now works! It displays the SMART status, just like in HSS for WHS v1, rather than the not implemented message.
  • Clickable links are all working now (needed that Donate link working :D).
  • Reset Everything button works now.
  • Check for Updates works now.

And so the two major remaining items are the generation of alerts within WHS (the Dashboard) and the documentation.

 

Download is in the usual spot: http://www.dojonorth...rSMART2011.aspx (download link is updated on the site)

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If you're running Drive Bender, do NOT install HSS 2011. It has issues, especially if you have the BitLocker feature enabled on your Server. In the latter case, this WILL crash the Dashboard. Otherwise you'll get the "Epic FAIL" error dialogue when you click on physical disks that are DB's "StorLib virtual storage" devices.

 

I'm working on getting a hotfix out right away and then will work on getting the add-in working the right way with DB.

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  • 1 month later...

I think we can close down this thread. :)

 

Home Server SMART has been rebranded as Home Server SMART 2012 and is now out as Beta 1. Out of the alpha stage! :)

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