Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it plans to remove the Drive Extender functionality from Windows Home Server “Vail”, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentiuals and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.
In a surprising move the software giant explained that, due to customer feedback, it would be pulling the feature. Microsoft heard from customers, during the Vail and SBS 2011 beta’s, that many users are expanding their data use to 1TB and 2TB drives. Microsoft had originally planned to continue supporting multiple internal and external hard drives. Drive Extender allowed users to take small drives and pool them together to create a simple volume. Microsoft announced the cut in a company blog posting on Tuesday:
“When weighing up the future direction storage in the consumer and SMB market, the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs. Customers also told us that they wanted easier access to data stored on Drive Extender drives so they are able to view these files outside of Drive Extender. Therefore, moving forward we have 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.”
The move is likely to to generate anger amongst die hard Windows Home Server fans. Wegotserved, a Home Server enthusiast site, described the move as a “shock”. Rafael Rivera, a technical Windows blogger, proclaimed that Microsoft has sh*t on Home Server users and the product. Rivera suggests that users start a petition to get the feature recalled. Some commenters to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley’s blog called the decision stupid. “Drive Extender was a major selling point for many users, this is a huge mistake for Vail” said one.
Microsoft also confirmed that Windows Home Server “Vail” and SBS 2011 will ship in “H1 2011″. The software giant will also issue a new beta of “Vail” and SBS 2011, without the drive extender functionality, in the new year.