Technote: Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Router Setup

Quick note for those of you that may be setting up Small Business Server 2011 Essentials servers and are using the online documentation, there is a slight error. Currently the documentation for router configuration links to the wiki article for Small Business Server Standard and the ports required for proper operation of SBS Standard.

The only ports that need to be forwarded for Small Business Server 2011 Essentials are ports 80 and 443. Although, to be honest, you don’t even need port 80. Just train users to use https:// instead of http:// to access the Remote Access website.

P.S. If you use Windows Home Server 2011 or Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, the same port(s) need to be forwarded as well.

Released to Manufacturing: Microsoft’s “Colorado” Line of Products

This past week, Microsoft released to manufacturing it’s “Colorado” line of products (Aurora, Vail, and Breckenridge). Aurora is now known as Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Vail is Windows Home Server 2011, and Breckenridge is Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.

Microsoft is committing to making each of these products available for evaluation purposes only on MSDN and TechNet in early April. Below is a brief comparison of each of the products with link to Microsoft’s datasheets.

I’m extremely excited to see these three products launch, and can’t wait to see what OEMs and ISVs come with for hardware and software on these platforms. Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be sharing more about each of these products and how then can benefit you.

  Windows Home Server 2011 Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials
User Limit 10 Users 25 Users 25 Users
Computer Limit 10 Computers 25 Computers 25 Computers
CPU Socket Support 1 CPU Socket 2 CPU Sockets 1 CPU Socket
Maximum Supported RAM 8 GB RAM 32 GB RAM 8 GB RAM
Domain Join? None Domain Controller Yes
Data Sheet Click Here Click Here Click Here

Drive Bender Beta Now Available

Division-M, the company behind Drive Bender, has made available the beta release of their flagship product. With Drive Bender, you will be able to achieve some Drive Extender like functionality with storage pooling and data duplication.

This beta release is no where near final and does come with some risk. I do NOT recommend using Drive Bender on a server with production data.

System Requirements:

– Windows Home Server 2011

– .NET Framework 4.0 (if not installed, the Drive Bender installer will take care of this for you)

Important Notes:

– As stated previously, DO NOT use with production data. You are solely responsible for taking necessary precautions with your data.

– This release does not contain the add-in for the Windows Home Server 2011 Console. It will be coming in a future release.

– Performance during read/write operations is not optimal (read: saving and accessing data is slow)

– Be aware of a locking issue when renaming folders.

– When deleting folders or files, if a lock is held on the target folder or files, the folder or files may remain on one or more volumes in the storage pool.

– A file size check has not been implemented yet. What this means is that Drive Bender does not check to make sure that there is enough space in the pool when files are being stored to properly ensure data integrity. This will be fixed in a future release.

To download Drive Bender, click here.

Windows Home Server 2011 Walkthroughs

To coincide with the release of the Release Candidate build of Windows Home Server 2011, I will be posting walkthroughs of functionality in Windows Home Server 2011 periodically. These are very high-level walkthroughs (think 100-level) and are designed to provide a brief introduction into the Windows Home Server 2011 feature set.

(To view these walkthroughs you will need to have Adobe Flash Player installed.)


Windows Home Server 2011 Dashboard

Windows Home Server 2011 Launchpad

Windows Home Server 2011 Remote Access

Windows Home Server 2011 Release Candidate Now Available


Today Microsoft has made available to the public, the Release Candidate build of Windows Home Server 2011.

This build is the first build made available without Drive Extender technology, and is the first build to officially reveal that “Vail” will indeed be called Windows Home Server 2011. (For those that remember, I blogged about this after some confusion during CES.)

Because there is no Drive Extender anymore, you will need to rely either on some form of RAID to increase your amount of available storage, or rely on a large single drive if you want lots of storage from the get go. Microsoft is not saying too much yet about what they and their OEMs strategy is around storage. Hopefully in the coming days and weeks we will know more.

As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated. Since this is a release candidate, not everything can or will be acted upon, but every bug report will be looked at. You can file bugs online through the Microsoft Connect website.

For the build number curious amongst us, this is build 8400.16385 and is available from Microsoft Connect today. The CRC and SHA1 hashes for the ISO have been posted below along with steps to check the integrity of the downloaded ISO.

Hashes for today’s release:

Volume label: GRMSHSxFRE_EN_DVD

CRC: 0xC191510A

SHA1: 0x65AB44627F12E6FC5268BE2ED9F5489CB98021DF

To run MSCDCRC against an ISO file that you have downloaded follow these steps.

  1. Download MSCDCRC to the same folder that you downloaded the Vail ISO to. (Click here to download MSCDCRC)
  2. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to the folder from Step 1
  3. Type “MSCDCRC EN-US_WHS_PREM_InstallDVD.iso” (without quotes)
  4. The integrity check will take a few moments to complete. After the check is complete compare the CRC and SHA hashes to the hashes posted below
  5. If the hashes match then you have successfully downloaded the ISO

Proof that Windows Home Server “Vail” is Windows Home Server 2011

Over the last few days there has been speculation, possible confirmation, possible denial, and even silence on the matter of what the official name of Windows Home Server Code Name “Vail” will be when it is released later this year.

There was some speculation this past week that it would be called Windows 7 Home Server. That’s not correct. Here’s what I’m offering as proof that Vail will indeed be marketed as Windows Home Server 2011.

This past week at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Windows Home Server team showed off integration between Vail and Windows Phone 7, and then took to their blog to tell us all about it. In that blog post, there is a screenshot showing a remote access domain name ( I decided to see if after the show that server was still up and publicly accessible. At the time these screenshots were taken, Microsoft’s demo server was still available. Upon arriving at the login screen, I was presented with Exhibit A.

If you look at the logo as well as the title bar it says Windows Home Server 2011.

To be completely clear, this is not a screenshot taken from a server of mine, it is not taken running a build of Vail that I have access to, nor is the image photoshopped in any way. This comes directly from a server hosted by Microsoft, using a build of their choosing, and it appears conclusive that Vail is in fact Windows Home Server 2011.

Windows Home Server Vail Public Preview Update

If you are using the Vail Public Preview that was released in August of 2010, please be aware that this build will be expiring on January 10th, 2011.

There is no workaround to prevent the build from expiring. If you have any data that you don’t wish to lose (which you shouldn’t as this is pre-production code), please back that data up before the 10th.

Microsoft announced in a forums post today that they are committed to providing an updated public preview build within the next 4-6 weeks.

Once a new build is released, you’ll find out about it here, the Microsoft forums, and the Windows Home Server team blog.