Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In a corporate blog posting, Microsoft has confirmed that HP is retiring their MediaSmart Server line, which includes Windows Home Server.

HP have told Microsoft that they do not plan to provide a platform for Windows Home Server (WHS) code named “Vail”.

Microsoft claims the decision by HP had nothing to do with a controversial decision last month by the software giant to drop Drive Extender technology from the Windows Home server product. (discussed here)

HP told Microsoft that it will continue to sell the existing version of MediaSmart Server until the end of this year and will honour future service and support agreements.
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
This has to come close to killing this product. Perhaps last week's announcement was a result of HP dropping WHS?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
Wow this is unfortunate. The HP IMO was the best of the bunch. I guess if you wanted you will have to go with the older one and fast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
We're lamenting this and looking to pick one up. Our original model is still going strong but knowing our luck will be dead shortly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,666 Posts
I would build my own WHS box again before I would buy a prepackaged one, but there are other manufacturers than HP. Asus and Acer among them. I think HP's decision is far more tied to its WebOS plans than anything else. That said, without DE, Vail's dead in the water ... WHS v1 is a better product for the target buyer and without a major OE PC manufacturer on board, I can't MS continuing the investment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
I never saw WHS as a viable product, except as a server for a few diehard MS vendors and fans. Recently it has come under fire from an extremely competitive small NAS server market. The media server functionality can be done by a number of other products, including Windows 7 Home Premium. WHS has become a product that doesn't perform home network file server or media server functions as well, or as cheaply, as other products.

Part of the issue may be Microsoft's stance on crippling home products so they don't interfere with their business product sales. MS should be adding features, not removing them. Another issue is that peer to peer or HomeGroup networking is good enough for most home users. Windows Media Center, included in Win7, is good enough for most media server applications as well. If it isn't, there are lots of other solutions, some of which are free.
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
On the contrary, I believe WHS had tremendous potential and I was extremely excited when it was announced and released.

Unfortunately, they forgot it was for home users.

I remember after the data corruption issues, I was talking to the product manager for WHS and asked why I couldn't put Outlook file on WHS and check my email from any computer in the house. He replied that it had never been considered. Yikes.

I asked about the upcoming Sharing feature (this was several years ago) and how it would work with non-Windows 7 computers. The answer was it wouldn't. MS wanted everyone to upgrade all their systems (even if their hardware wouldn't allow it) to W7.

Very shortsighted and very stupid.

Great product with great potential but ruined by shortsighted decisions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,666 Posts
I'm with hugh on this one. And, to be honest, I am hard pressed to come up with a product that suits my needs better (maintain backups on two Windows 7 PC's and run two media servers side by side (Sonos and PS3 Media Server)). I can do it with NAS units, I can do it with Drobo, I can purpose build a Linux box, etc. ... but WHS does a better job for my needs than any of those especially with Drive Extender.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
The way WHS integrates with the backup of client PCs, automatic archiving of recorded TV shows with Media Center, streaming with Media Center, none of those other solutions can do it the way WHS does. It's a shame about DE but that one part of the WHS solution can be picked up by other hardware solutions. The reason for this decision is to get WHS in the same codebase as the two SBS solutions and DE was conflicting with the SBS software. Hopefully this will mean WHS will be a stronger product going fwd as a result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
315 Posts
Rather than add a drive to my HP WHS, I think I will switch to the Apple Time Capsule and Apple TV (thus completing Steven Job's evil plan to monopolize my home network).;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
Hugh said:
... I believe WHS had tremendous potential... but ruined by shortsighted decisions.
Nice summary of my post Hugh. ;)

Sorry about taking you statements out of context but I think those decisions were there from the start and just got worse. Just chalk it up as another failed MS consumer product. If they had marketed the backup software alone, or included it in Windows, that might have been a great product. As it stands, there are other products that can do that, if not as easily. Meanwhile, MS intentionally leaves backup software out of some version of Windows to try and upsell customers to more expensive products. More bad decisions? IMHO, MS might have a winner if they included the WHS backup software and functionality in Win7 Pro and/or Ultimate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
You are correct. I believe backup was left out of WinXP Home and Win7 Starter. I guess MS made at lest one good decision about Win7 Home Premium. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
516 Posts
Disappointing news to be sure. I have the original HP Mediasmart server and love it. If anyone can point me to a solution that allows me to expand drives at will, backup all of my windows network computers automatically (waking them up at night to do so) and stream all of my media to my PS3, all with a lower power consumption (under 200 watts) - please point me to it. :)

Oh, and it takes up only 1 square foot of space (if that).

I'll be using mine until it dies. Not sure what plan I have after that, thinking some kind of Drobo solution perhaps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
Drainc,

You will still be able to purchase a WHS from another vendor or build your own. You will just have to decide what to do with the lack of drive extender. Or are you saying this is a deal breaker for you?

Perhaps the development community can come up with a DE add-in for VAIL. MS should release the DE code to the masses now that they are abandoning it. :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,368 Posts
I'm a happy HP Mediasmart owner (I got one of the original models in early 2007) and I've been very happy with it. The system backups have saved my bacon twice, and have made upgrading to a larger boot drive on my computers a relatively painless process.

When I first got the system I upgraded the memory to 2GB and and used a 1TB boot drive. Since then I've upgraded the other 3 bays to 2TB WD Green drives and I love the ability to remove old drives from the storage pool (although it takes a while for the data to migrate) and add new drives. I haven't needed to reformat the system once, and it has worked "like an appliance".

I was actually planning to upgrade to a new HP Mediasmart box (I like their form factor) when V2 of WHS was released, but obviously that isn't going to happen now.

Drobo is one alternative, but the disk performance of the original Drobo model (USB2, 4 drives) is substantially worse than what I got from my WHS box.

I really think Microsoft should finish the DE v2 feature and leave it as an optional feature in their new product line. The small business server doesn't need to use DE disk space for Exchange (or whatever else they want to run on their). Stick to using DE v2 for file shares, and if the performance is anything like DE v1, it will be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
This is very unfortunate even though I'm a home-brew, rather than commercial WHS user.

I wish the data-migration algorithm could be improved, but IMHO, DE is an integral feature of WHS. The integrated solution does a lot more than a NAS/RAID box, and DE is much more versatile than RAID;

1. Like Drobo, DE will allow one to use different sized HDDs in the array and adjust accordingly, whereas RAID requires drives of the same capacity.

2. The number of drives is not fixed. If I wanted RAID, I'd only go w/ RAID5 to maximise efficiency. However, I currently have 6 SATA/HDD slots in my WHS (5 used) and can readily add a 6th HDD and/or swap out a 2TB for a larger HDD in the future. RAID wouldn't give me that flexibility.

3. DE has the option to mirror only critical files e.g. photos and home-movies, thus making it more efficient in environments where large parts of the storage are not critical e.g. of my 10TB (~8TB used), about half is allocated to music and movies, most of which I don't need duplicated.

Not having DE will be a compelling reason for me not to upgrade to Vail and might also be a deal-killer for others. Perhaps this is the death-knell of the WHS as we know it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
Since they put all the support for Win7 in the current version, what other reasons would there be to upgrade? Do you (or will you) really need 64bit and over 4GB of RAM in a WHS box?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
^ Agree that these would not be compelling reasons to upgrade. I already have 4GB and no plans to add RAM, but then I've no idea what other goodies they might be adding to WHS v2.

Clearly, MS believes there's a positive ROI for it's R&D investment or it wouldn't be going ahead with the initiative. Also, they're not going to put all their eggs into the new deployment basket, so upgrades would be a significant part of the business case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,239 Posts
I guess I have another obsolete device! I like WHS as an appliance, but I probably wouldn't use it if I was building something from scratch. My second generation HP Home Server is pretty fast, and I make use of the data duplication feature of it with almost 5 TB of storage. I suspect this is the end of the line for the WHS product as well.

-Mike
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top