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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:36 pm 
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Once the RC became available and once Alex posted his review, my first reaction was “What the heck, this is totally useless and why should I bother to even download and test drive this release?” I was and am (my MSS 495 is very much alive and kicking) enjoying the comfort of DE on WHS v1, because pretty much all my old HDD got recycled im my server (sort of an end-of-life use). I had drives fail (because of age) more than once (data drives as well as system drives), and every time I did not lose a single file. In addition, I have an almost complete Apple household (actually I kept one Windows 7 laptop just to setup the MSS – for emergency purposes so to speak) and the Time Machine integration in my MSS is THE add-in that makes the difference for me.

So I did what most of you did – ranted because of the loss of drive extender and I promised myself to never look to the MS Connect platform again. And then I had one of many (I have insomnia) sleepless nights and I thought – you know what MS put it out there, so if I am going to trash it, I trash it with reason and supported test results. And I went onto Connect and downloaded the RC and installed it in my HP ProLiant Microserver, which has 4GB ECC RAM and 2 x 1TB hard drives and a low power dual core 1.3GHz Althlon II processor.

The OS installed like a charm, no driver issues whatsoever. I did have 3 drive letters assigned C (system partition) D (remainder of the system drive) E (second drive). Here are my thoughts after testing some of the features:

a) Loss of Drive Extender: Yes, this feature is dearly missed but once backup is configured (to a dual bay ESATA disk also with 2 x 1TB drives in it) and a routine is set up (i.e. server backup), my system is backed up on a given schedule (I set it up daily). I also enabled shadow copies, but have not had to rely on them to revert back to a file so I cannot comment whether they are useful when s*** hits the fan.
b) Backup: Works great for PCs - no issues - but the MAC is a problem and that is very disappointing, especially since MS acknowledged the bug in the beta test back in August 2010. The cumbersome workaround works, but again this should really work right out of the box and I do not believe that this is a fix that is tremendously hard to implement.
c) PC versus MAC experience: That for me is an even bigger disappointment than the loss of DE. And this is really where I hoped MS would make up some lost turf. But again, the MAC experience is half hearted at best. Why is it not possible to emulate the same connection in the Launchpad and to the Console compared to a PC? MS has a MAC version of Remote Desktop Connection and why not put it to use here ?
d) Remote Access – works as intended, no issues.
e) Media Sharing: Don’t use MS Media Center products. But I installed a x64 version of iTunes and enabled home sharing. Streaming of Movies and Music to my Apple TVs works flawlessly. So no issues here. Would have liked to have some sort of add-in but that will probably never happen and is absolutely not a requirement.
f) Virus protection – again, why is there no add-in for Security Essentials? I have installed the x64 version directly on the server but a remote management system (such as Avast delivered in WHS v1) would again make up for lost turf regarding the DE issue.
g) Disk Defragmentation: I assume that the built-in disk defragmenter works but am sure that Diskeeper (which I prefer) or Raxco will develop add-ins quickly after release – so no issues.
h) Cosmetics: There are quite a few things that need to be cleaned up (i.e. help files, etc).

Resume:

While the loss of DE adds some maintenance work which I would have liked to avoid, I will probably move to WHS v2 sooner rather than later. However, I do expect that MS will fix the MAC connector issues and make it equal to the PCs, fix the Time Machine problem and does some cleanup prior to RTM. In the end, I assume that Aurora has the same MAC problems and business is apparently MS’s clientel of interest. What should the price point be for WHS 2011 – no more than $50 if your asked me – provided that you download electronically of course.

Cheers,
Lars

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm glad you have given it a try to decide for yourself if it's the right fit. Given that WHS v1 was usually around $99 I'd have to say there is no chance WHS 2011 will go for $50.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:40 am 
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I am not saying that the release is a good fit. But I do see the writing on the wall. And to be quite honest, knowing that my system will continue to be updated with fixes and SP gives me peace of mind - especially since I use the server remotely quite frequently. That is also the reason why I am so dissappointed that MS can't even leverage their own technologies (ie RDP for MAC, Security Essentials, ...). These are shortcomings that also exist in the Aurora version - does MS clearly believe that the small businesses don't have the requirement for virus protection? Does MS really believe that the small mom and pop shops don't use Macs? It took me 15 years to switch but since then I have not regretted it a split second. And I know many people who feel exactly the same way.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:32 pm 
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The ProLiant Microserver works great as a WHS 2011 Test machine, thanks to Windows Server 2008 R2 driver availability. The system has RAID 0, 1 built in, but I have not played with it.
I do miss drive extender but I am not a hard core streamer as some others here on the forum. I have built a roadmap of how much storage I could ever possibly need and I can easily work with this server ans 4x2GB drives.
The more I play with it, the more I actually like it. Let's just hope the MAC experience will be as complete in the RTM as the PC experience.

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Apple Network infrastructure & 2 Apple TVs


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