I was chatting with someone over the DE announcement and he said that main thing that was handled wrong was the line about how Microsoft had listened to customer feedback. He said it was a BS line.
I said, actually yes they did talk to customers.
Dell and HP.
In the grand scheme of the world, there’s customers and then there are customers. And while I can say in this bully pulpit of a blog that I can help people with the current versions of SBS, many time when it comes to betas, I’m not, and you’re not, the customer they listen to all the time. Yeah, I can point to some connect bug wins, but I can also state without a doubt that if I was in charge of the Universe, SBS 2011, SBS 2011 essentials and Windows Home server next wouldn’t look the way they look. To start with I wouldn’t have called Essential Business Server that, when it wasnt’, and I wouldn’t call “Aurora” Small Business Server Essentials. Mark my word the naming of Aurora is going to lead to people getting confused between it and SBSv7 (SBS 2011 standard). Lousy naming.
Then I’d have then more in virtualized pools then they are now. I’d have a hyperV base and parts would be in virtualized sections. But obviously, I’m not THE customer they are listening to, nor does my plan meet with their sales goals as while I’d want a virtualized/modularized platform, I sure wouldn’t be willing to pay for the licensing of it as it stands now. I’d want it cheap. But I’m always reminded by Mark Minasi’s quote that Microsoft builds software for the Fortune 499 (everyone but Apple). While they have strong solutions for SMB, the base code that they build from is not built with SMB in mind (just look at Exchange 2010 as an example). The SBS team doesn’t have the fortunes (and budget) to build a custom solution of specifically designed products for SMB.
When you look at the connect bug https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/details/624029/add-drive-extender-back-to-vail asking for DE back (nearly 1,900 and counting at the time of this blog post), it’s pretty obvious that Microsoft didn’t ask the constituency of their current Home Server customers what they thought of this ahead of time. Nor did they ask SBS MVPs or WHS MVPs about their decision. By the time the announcement got to us it was a done deal decision:
“Here is is, this is what we’re going to do.”
So what happened to DE? My take, it started to try to fit into a three headed beast. In Paul Thurrott’s post http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2010/11/23/120150.aspx you can see the reality. We know the history of DE. That data corruption bug in v1 was a reputation breaking event. v2 had to be perfect. No runs, no drips, no errors. Read again the part where it’s quoted “we discovered some application compatibility and disk tool problems related to its ability to correct data errors on the fly“.
Bottom line, Aurora happened to DE. The future customers of Aurora killed DE. Home Server customers unfortunately got broadsided in the process. As one of the Home Server MVPs said “at the end of the day, this was a business-orientated decision”.
P.S. got word from several WHS MVPs that they don’t hate me. They know that neither I nor they (nor any MVP, honestly) had any input into this decision. It was a business decision by Microsoft on this one.