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Coming Home to Windows Home Server Part 37

Mar 7, 2011 4:38 PM, by Eric B. Rux

What’s new with Vail?


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These past two months have seen some interesting activity on the Vail front. Vail as you probably know, is Microsoft’s new version of its amazingly popular Windows Home Server product. I think we’re getting close to an official release, and I’m starting to get excited. Here’s the latest:

New Release Candidate

Early last month, Microsoft released the latest built of Windows Home Server. This build has been labeled a “Release Candidate”, and indicates that the product is just about ready, in Microsoft’s eyes. Unless Microsoft (or the army of beta testers) finds a serious bug in this version, this is probably a case of ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get”. This is good news as I’m itching to write more about Vail and its many features, but have been a little reluctant until I knew we had a product that was close to completion.

What’s specifically new in this release? According to Windows Server blog:

“A new Move Folder Wizard makes it easy for you to move data from one drive to another. As Hard Drives are added to the Home Server, your health alerts will notify you that a new Hard Drive is available. From here, you can automatically format and configure the new drive for additional storage.”

I’m installing this new build as we speak. If all goes well, this will be the topic of next month’s post.

Drive Extender Add-In

As you remember, Microsoft decided to remove drive extender late last year. I’m not going to rehash that decision here – what’s done is done. But as I hoped, some third-party developers have stepped up to fill the void.

Covercube announced last month that they would throw their hat into the ring to come up with an alternative to Drive Extender.

According to Covercube, their “drive pool” software will feature:

  • Combine all your hard drives into one big storage pool (except the system drive with the OS).
  • Add and remove drives from the pool at any time without re-partitioning or manually moving folders.
  • Create duplicated folders on the storage drive pool that are protected against single drive failure. If a drive fails on which a duplicated file was stored, the contents of that file will remain readable even without the drive.

Another product, called Drive Bender is also in the works, and it sounds quite a lot like Microsoft’s version of Drive Extender:

“Drive Bender is state of the art, single point storage pool technology for Microsoft Windows. Drive Bender presents multiple hard drives as a single pool of data storage, either as a logical drive letter, or a network shared drive. Drive Bender is able to do this with internal and USB (or any externally) connected hard drives, of any size.”

A third product, DataCore is also floating around, but is not clear to me exactly how their product will fill the Disk Extender void.

While the decision to remove Disk Extender from the “Home” server product still has me scratching my head, seeing these products announced warms my heart. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on these products and kicking the tires.

That’s the latest news. If the Release Candidate looks good, I’ll hope to be sharing what I find with you in next month’s column.



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