Microsoft’s “Colorado” Suite is on MSDN and TechNet

Yesterday, Microsoft made available for subscribers on MSDN and TechNet, Windows Home Server 2011, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (MSDN Only).

If you are a MSDN or TechNet subscriber, I highly recommend that you check out these releases. Please remember that MSDN and TechNet are for EVALUATION purposes only. If you like these products, please support the teams developing them, and buy them if you are going to use them in production.

Here are the hashes for the RTM releases:

Windows Home Server 2011

File Name: en_server_install_disc_windows_home_server_2011_x64_dvd_658487.iso

SHA1: A01A33EB26DE2A3E91C9C0371B549977173725F3
ISO/CRC: A1DFDE39

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

File Name: en_server_install_disc_windows_small_business_server_2011_essentials_x64_dvd_664391.iso

SHA1: 58FE96CD15B46107C0030713CB75A18B5FAFEF69
ISO/CRC: 1345F2EF

Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

File Name: en_server_install_disc_windows_storage_server_essentials_2008_r2_embedded_x64_dvd_658486.iso

SHA1: 8225F23C29B3BD7C07F0E046B3E6E3AEBBE17DE1
ISO/CRC: 153960D2

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 <ISO filename.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 above
  5. If the hashes match then you have successfully downloaded the ISO.

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

How-To Guide: Install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on Windows Home Server 2011

It’s finally here! I’m releasing the first draft of my Sharepoint on Windows Home Server 2011 guide. Compared to all the steps that had to be taken on Windows Home Server v1, the install experience is vastly improved and with SharePoint 2010, the feature set enhanced. I look forward to your thoughts, comments, and other ideas. I’m not a SharePoint expert, so I can’t tell you how to do some crazy thing with whatever web part, but please post your questions in the comments and hopefully an expert will see it and be able to help.

If you have feedback, either leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail (tom at tomontech dot com). NOTE: I can not provide individualized installation support, I simply don’t have the time.

WARNING: By viewing and / or downloading this guide, you assume all responsibility and liability in case anything goes wrong. You agree that I can not and will not be held responsible for any data loss or other issues resulting from the installation of SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

To view the document, click here. To download a PDF of the document, click here.

A Gift from Microsoft–HP ProLiant Microserver

HP_ProLiant_MicroServerIn the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to take a moment to announce that during the 2011 Global MVP Summit, Microsoft gave me an HP ProLiant Microserver.

The HP ProLiant Microserver is designed for the small business space, and is meant to be a first server for those that have no real IT infrastructure or are using a peer-to-peer network. The Microserver has a very low price point of only $349 for the base model with no OS.

The server supports RAID 0 and 1, and for those that want remote management, an optional iLO card can be purchased for an additional fee.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be installing Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, Windows Home Server 2011 RC, and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials RC to test the software and the performance of the ProLiant Microserver. I may have just found my replacement for my aging HP MediaSmart EX475 server.

Thanks for the server, Microsoft!

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.

Life after Drive Extender

As I’m sure everyone is now well aware, Microsoft has removed Drive Extender from both Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011. This now leaves it up to third parties and OEMs to fill the void that has been left in the marketplace.

So far, there are some companies that are stepping up and creating what look to be some very promising solutions. Let’s look at each of them.

  • StableBit DrivePool – StableBit DrivePool is an add-in that will bring some element of drive pooling and folder duplication to the WHS/SBSe 2011 platform. According to the developer’s website, DrivePool will let you take multiple hard drives and combine them into one storage pool. You can create shared folders on this pool and choose whether or not to duplicate folders. Sounds a lot like Drive Extender. There are a couple caveats to DrivePool, however. The first is that DrivePool is an add-in and requires that WHS/SBSe be installed. The second is that data is only duplicated once (stored on two hard drives), not much unlike how Drive Extender is implemented in WHSv1. As of right now, the add-in is in the alpha stages, a technical preview is expected in a few weeks, and no release date is known at this time. Look for more on DrivePool as it becomes available.
  • DriveBenderDriveBender is a new storage pooling product that is looking to WHS/SBSe as well as all versions of Windows. DriveBender is slated to have native 64-bit support, use a file system that can be read in other PCs, support data duplication, be self-balancing, and add new storage quickly and easily. DriveBender is slated to release a beta on the 21st of this month, so look forward to more on DriveBender in the next few days and weeks.
  • DataCoreDataCore is a storage virtualization company with years of experience in the enterprise storage space and is looking at providing a solution for WHS/SBSe customers. Not much in terms of specifics are known at this time about what DataCore will be offering, but they are looking to bring some of their provisioning and mirroring features to WHS/SBSe. WeGotServed did an interview with a VP from DataCore that provides some insight as to the direction DataCore is headed. I look forward to seeing what they bring to the table in the next weeks, months, and years.

These are just three possible solutions and don’t take into account what OEMs are planning or DIY solutions like Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology or using a hardware RAID setup.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the storage landscape for Windows Home Server evolves over time. I, for one, am glad to see third parties stepping up to fill the void that Microsoft left.

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.)

Walkthroughs:

Windows Home Server 2011 Dashboard

Windows Home Server 2011 Launchpad

Windows Home Server 2011 Remote Access