Good news for Aurora, Bad news for Vail

Windows Home Server code name “Vail”– Update:

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials – Update – The Official SBS Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs:

Bottom line?  Microsoft just ripped out Drive Extender from Vail, Aurora and Breckinridge.

My thoughts?  Thank goodness.

“But Susan, that’s a big hunky hairy deal for Home Server”.  Yup, oh yeah, I think it is a big hunky hairy deal right now for Home Server.  It’s the reason I think the Home Server MVPs are going to hate the guts of SBS MVPs for a while.  Because while that’s not so good news for Home server, it’s WONDERFUL good news for SBS Essentials/Aurora and Breckinridge/Storage Server.  Why do I say that?  Because it means that Intuit (Quickbooks) and any other line of business application that you want to stick on Aurora will have no reason at all to not support that platform.  It’s now Windows 2008 R2.  No DE stuff to allow any vendor to push back on support.  You call up tech support, you tell them it’s Win2k8 r2, as that’s what it is.

I was honestly really really really concerned that  vendors like Intuit wouldn’t support Aurora.  They’d have an out with that DE on there.  They certainly did with home server.  Past issues of data corruption meant that they pushed back and would not support Quickbooks on that platform.  We have the battle scars of putting Quicken and Quickbooks on DE to know that it didn’t like it AT ALL.  Best we could do is to put another drive in and put any LOB app on there and then lie to them if we needed support and tell them it was Server 2003.  It wasn’t the best of support stories at all if you wanted the Home server in a small business setting.  But now that roadblock is taken away.

Granted it also means a little bit of my deep deep fear for putting client backup onto SBSv7 is gone as well.  I didn’t want drive extender technology comingled with my SBS 2011.  So all of you who want SBS 2011 and client backup and disagree with my stance of not putting it on the same box just got another argument against my stance, but I’ll still put my line in the sand still that I don’t want client backup going on at the same time as an already very busy box.  That’s what Breckinridge is for. And now that DE is not there, if you need a member file server (not a Domain Controller as it can’t do that) in a remote location) Breck may be the perfect solution for that too.  More on that in a later post.

Bottom line, the Home Server MVPs are going to hate me, because while I’m totally wincing at this decision for what it means for Vail, I’m totally cheering this decision for what it means for Breck and Aurora.

Take that Intuit!

6 Thoughts on “Good news for Aurora, Bad news for Vail

  1. I’m a bit more torn – I think there are two ways to look at the announcment and what it means for the SBS Essentials product.

    – People (read: businesses) buying SBS should be working with and availing themselves or the services of a professional IT partner. Professional IT partners likely don’t need, and quite possibly don’t want (for some of the reasons you describe amongst other things) – Drive Extender – it was a solution to a problem that really doesn’t exist in the professional IT world. In that sense, I’m with you and won’t be shedding a tear for the loss of DE from the SBS product. As one of the aforementioned IT partners, this is perhaps a slightly selfish view

    Less selfishly and thinking of this from a product perspective, I think the reality is that a lot of people doing SBS – especially the new Essentials SKU – are, and will be, DIY-ers installing, running and managing the system within their own business. Microsoft have definately put a lot of effort in too making this a viable proposition. For these people, Drive Extender was a great feature which would have made their lives simpler – so this is goodbye to a clever, and potentially valuable feature for lots of potential customers.

    I’m not a big home-server-er, I’ll definately be interested to see how that community reacts as it strikes me as a much more clear cut loss for them.


  2. If you put something called Home Server, which is clearly labeled Home Server, in a business setting, you deserve to have problems.

  3. @Dean Can not get past your comment :( Yes, we have been telling our folks not use use “home” windows in a office but, there is always an exception and Windows Home Server (whs) is the exception with out a doubt.

    HP even rebranded their Mediasmart for ‘home’ users with the StorageWorks x510 Data Vault for the ‘office’ with the thought that the product totally rocks in a home and/or office.

    We have a couple offices using the mediasmart with quickbooks with no issues “after” adding a third drive dedicated to backup, quickbooks and misc storage outside Drive Extender (DE).

    In the real world the whs should have a third drive for the server backup (home/office) purposes regardless.

    I have more than a couple sitting next to a SBS just doing client imaging of pc’s we can’t afford to be down very long, like the owners computer and the finance computers.

    For me, I would have to say whs may be the most exciting product (next to xbox Kinect) microsoft has released in 4 years. Am looking forward to checking out the storage server.

  4. Mr. Kenyon

    Just because something can be made to work doesn’t mean it should be done. You can take a desktop machine and use it as a server but should you. I will tell you the answer. No. Home Server was never meant to be an office product.

  5. I think this whole furor goes to show that combining product groups because some in management think it will create synergy…usually just creates a giant mess.

    I wonder when Aurora and SBS 2011 might have been out had the top-down approach to their product groups not been thrown into the works, and when Vail might have been out had the same occurred.

    Instead, they all take forever.

  6. @dean – sorry to see you can’t look beyond the product name. I create solutions for my customers that save them money, and for many of them that includes me selling Home Server next to SBS as a “Key PC” backup solution. that doesn’t use the Drive Extender technology btw. works well, doesn’t step outside the Microsoft Support Matrix. Lets just say i’m enjoying an uptick in business due to these solutions. You do what you want, believe what you want, the rest of us will keep innovating for our customers.
    have a good thanksgiving holiday everyone!

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