Microsoft has decided to remove the Drive Extender technology from Windows Home Server Code Name "Vail" (and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) which are currently in beta.
When Microsoft first designed Windows Home Sever code name "Vail" one of its initial focuses was to continue to provide support for multiple internal and external hard drives. Drive Extender provided the ability to take the small hard drives many small businesses and households may have acquired, and pool them together in a simple volume.
During Microsoft's current testing period for the Windows Home Server product, the company has received feedback from partners and customers about how they use storage today and how they plan to use it moving forward. Today large hard drives of over 1TB are reasonably priced, and freely available. Microsoft is also seeing further expansion of hard drive sizes at a fast rate, where 2Tb drives and more are becoming easy accessible to small businesses. Microsoft said that since its customers looking to buy Windows Home Server solutons from OEM's will now have the ability to include larger drives, the need for Drive Extender functionality will be reduced.
"When weighing up the future direction of storage in the consumer and SMB market, the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs," Microsoft said.
While this removes the integrated ability for storage pooling of multiple hard drives and automated data duplication, Microsoft keeps working with its OEM partners to implement storage management and protection solutions, as well as other software solutions.
Microsoft's customers will also have access to the in-built storage solutions Windows Server 2008 R2 provides for data protection.
Target product availability of the Windows Home Server is H1 2011. Microsoft also expects to deliver a new beta without drive extender for Windows Home Server Code Name "Vail" early in the New Year.