Microsoft released its final Windows Home Server 2011 bits for TechNet and MSDN customers on Tuesday.
The release to MSDN and TechNet is the first in a process of making Windows Home Server 2011 generally available. OEMs and system builders are expected to start shipping the first Windows Home Server 2011 devices in May. The Home Server engineering team signed off on the release version of WHS 2011 in late March.
Microsoft announced in November that it planed to remove the Drive Extender functionality from Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials 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 WHS 2011 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.
The move angered many die hard Windows Home Server fans and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised to look into the removal. Shortly after Microsoft’s announcements, HPsaid it would ditch any plans for future Windows Home Server devices. Microsoft issued a statement on HP’s decision, stating: “This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server Vail.” Microsoft says it plans to work closely with other partners such as Acer, Tranquil and other smaller System Builders to bring “the best solution to market.”
Microsoft issued a Windows Home Server 2011 Release Candidate in February. The release included changes in the storage feature. All existing technologies such as server and client backup, health monitoring, remote web access, streaming media, and simplified dashboard management are still included according to Microsoft. The software maker has introduced a new Move Folder Wizard that makes it easy to move data from one drive to another. As Hard Drives are added to the Home Server, health alerts will notify owners that a new Hard Drive is available. WHS 2011 will allow users to automatically format and configure the new drive for additional storage.
The following are available to download for MSDN/TechNet customers:
EN-US_WHS_PREM_InstallDVD.iso (4,100.85 MB)
EN-US_WHS_PREM_RestoreCD.iso (476.07 MB)