Happy New Year everyone! I am pleased to announce that Microsoft has chosen me as a 2013 Most Valuable Professional. It is a real honor, I’d like to thank Microsoft for selecting me, and I look forward to working with the community and my fellow MVPs in the year ahead.
Windows Home Server 2011
As I’m sure most of you heard, Windows Home Server is no more. Microsoft this past week announced the Windows Server lineup, and both Windows Home Server and Windows Small Business Server Standard were not on that list.
In a Frequently Asked Questions document, alongside the announcement of Windows Server 2012 Essentials (more on that soon), Microsoft answers the question of “Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?”
No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.
I can’t say that I’m surprised by this decision. I’ve known about this for a few months now. However, it is disappointing.
Microsoft is right though. Windows Home Server is heavily adopted in home based businesses, and used in small businesses primarily for PC backup in conjunction with Small Business Server. What Microsoft saw as its primary market never fully materialized. Not many OEMs built a hardware product around it, marketing by the OEMs that did was iffy, and you could hardly find it in a brick and mortar store.
In some ways, the market killed the product. Not because the product sucked but because the feature set was championed by small business. This then led to Small Business Server Essentials, which really was Windows Home Server (minus Media Streaming) + Active Directory (what a lot of people wanted originally), and some hooks for integrating with Office 365. [Side note: Windows Home Server when it was designed initially used Active Directory, but it was cut after looking at the home market and finding that most home users were using Windows XP Home Edition.] There was also a NAS type version of Windows Home Server 2011 as well called Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. Why I call it a “NAS type version” is because it’s designed to be an embedded product (similar to an HP MediaSmart Server), it supports up to 25 computers, and can be joined to existing domains.
Small Business consultants used to install Windows Home Server but when Small Business Server 2011 Essentials arrived they moved to that because it provided a compelling feature set. With Active Directory and Group Policy they could manage customer networks with ease. The integration module for Office 365 meant that businesses could use cloud-based services with ease. Create a new account on the SBSe server and have that user automatically created in the Office 365 tenant.
Another nail in the coffin for Windows Home Server was the removal of Drive Extender. I can’t tell you how many people I heard from that threw their arms up at that point and said they were done and moving to something else. However, now with Storage Spaces in Windows 8 / Server 2012 users can perform Drive Extender like tasks with ease.
Soon I’ll be able to talk more about the replacement to Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but until then I want to leave you with a thank you.
I want to thank the Windows Home Server community as a whole. Having been around the product since it was announced at CES in 2007, I’ve watched the community mature and develop over the last five years. During my time at Microsoft the part I loved most was interacting with the community through the beta program newsgroups, the forums, or at different events. Outside of Microsoft, I’ve loved blogging and writing the SharePoint on WHS guide. The thank you emails and the emails of encouragement are what keep me at it.
Expect a flurry of posts and other goodness about Windows Server 2012 Essentials in the coming days / weeks / months / years.
If you use Windows Home Server 2011, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, or Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, and you’ve seen alerts that say there is a “Computer Monitoring Error”, Microsoft has a fix. There are various reasons that this alert can appear, and this is a fix for one of those reasons.
Please note that you might still see the alert after the update is installed. If it still appears, please go to http://connect.microsoft.com and report a bug. You’ll need to upload logs to the bug in order for the team to properly diagnose and produce a fix. The log collector tool is available from http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27567. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the page to install the tool on your server and any affected clients.
You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials after you install Update Rollup 2
You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials after you install Update Rollup 2
You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Home Server 2011 after you install Update Rollup 2
There is a known issue between Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Home Server 2011. The connector installation requires .NET 3.5, however, Windows 8 Consumer Preview ships with .NET 3.5 turned off. This is an easy fix and will enable the connector to install successfully.
1. From the Start Screen, select Desktop
2. Click the Windows Explorer icon (next to the Internet Explorer icon) on the taskbar.
3. Click on Uninstall or Change a Program on the Ribbon (may need to expand the Ribbon first)
4. Click Turn Windows Features on or off
5. Check the box for .NET Framework 3.5, and click OK
6. You’ll be notified that Windows needs additional files to install the requested feature. Click Download files from Windows Update.
7. Windows will download required files and when done click Close.
That’s it! Now, you can install the Windows Home Server 2011 Connector as you would on any other computer.
If you are running SharePoint Foundation 2010 on Windows Home Server, this post is for you.
Microsoft has released some updates for SharePoint that you may or may not have seen through Windows Update. If you have not updated, then I would advise that you do, as the base version of SharePoint Foundation can be woefully out of date.
The updates that you will want to install (as of October 26, 2011):
– SharePoint Foundation Service Pack 1 – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=0F56EBFB-183F-4F4D-9D41-DF1E5ACEB893
– June 2011 Cumulative Update (must be installed after Service Pack 1 and after installation reboot before installing next update) – Click here
– August 2011 Cumulative Update – Click here
NOTE: After each update, you must re-run the SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard to apply the update to your installation. This means you must run wizard three times before your installation is fully patched.
Tonight, I have released an update to the how-to guide, Installing SharePoint Foundation 2010 on Windows Home Server.
The guide can be found here. Please note even though the post says first draft, the PDF link and the Scribd document have been updated.
The following updates have been included:
– Grammatical errors have been addressed
– Corrected directions to prevent users from seeing an error message similar to the one below. When asked for credentials during the SharePoint database creation process, they must be entered in the form of servername\username.
After having used such servers as the HP MediaSmart Server, the HP Proliant MicroServer, and various Dell servers, I decided to set out to see if I could build my own server for a reasonable cost with features I desired.
The intent of this build is to showcase a server that can be used in the home with Windows Home Server 2011 (yes, this build is somewhat overkill), and in home based / small businesses, with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials or Small Business Server 2011 Standard.
My requirements were as follows:
· Total cost could not exceed $1500. (Ideally, I wanted to stay at or below $1000.)
· All parts used must be server grade. By that I mean, must have 3-5 year warranty depending on part, and similar to parts used by the major server manufacturers.
· Must support future expandability. Must support large amounts of memory and case used must support addition of multiple hard drives.
· With Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server on the horizon, processor support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) and hardware virtualization were key to this build.
So what parts did I use?
Specs as configured:
· Intel Server Board S1200BTS
· 16GB ECC DDR3 RAM
· (1) 1.0TB Western Digital RE4 Enterprise Hard Drive
· Intel Xeon E3-1230 Processor
How does this build stack up to my requirements?
· Total cost: $1050+tax. I bought all the parts I needed from a local vendor instead of online and was willing to pay a bit more because of it. It is entirely possible to find these parts for cheaper online, but if you can, support your local businesses.
· Warranties on all parts are at least three years. Western Digital’s warranty is five years on enterprise hard drives, and on memory Kingston has a lifetime warranty.
· From an expandability standpoint, the case allows for up to 6 hard drives, the motherboard allows for 6 SATA connections, and the motherboard supports a maximum of 32GB of RAM.
· The processor used in this build supports hardware virtualization and SLAT, or as Intel calls it, Extended Page Tables. When looking for an Intel-based processor to be used for virtualization I suggest ensuring that it supports Intel-VT and Extended Page Tables. The Intel ARK tool, http://ark.intel.com, is a great resource for that type of information.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be showcasing more about what this server can do.
Today, DataCore has released a beta of their DriveHarmony software for Windows Home Server 2011.
This beta release will expire after 30 days, and is NOT meant for production use. DO NOT use production data with this release.
I’m downloading right now and will have more later. If you want to download the beta, click the link below.
Figured I’d post this in case anyone else runs into this issue. I was performing an unattended install of Windows Home Server 2011 and the setup failed. I tried to use the same cfg.ini file again, however, setup didn’t like the file the second time around. Knowing that I hadn’t changed anything, I opened the file and noticed something strange. There was an additional line that Setup adds to the file once its used it.
The line added is located in the [WinPE] section and is called Processed=true.
In my testing, removing this line will allow the cfg.ini file to be used again.
Before setup runs After setup runs
This tip applies to:
- Windows Home Server 2011
- Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
- Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials
This one’s a short post. Here are the direct links to the online help sites for Windows Home Server 2011, Small Business Server 2011, and Storage Server R2 Essentials.
Windows Home Server 2011 – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowshomeserver2011
Small Business Server 2011 Essentials – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/sbs2011essentials/
Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/storageserver2008r2/