Going for 3TB in WHS v1

22 04 2011

So Windows Home Server 2011 is out, but it is missing a major component that I really liked about WHS (and what made WHS unique) – Drive Extender.

Basically, in WHS v1, you could add a drive to your machine, and WHS would add it automatically to its “storage pool”. From there, my files would get distributed and duplicated across the new drive. That means in case of failure, my files are fairly safe, and Drive Extender removed most of the concerns about sizing drives properly when you do a “hardware RAID” type solution on regular hardware storage options.

In Windows Home Server 2011, they removed Drive Extender. But I wrote about why I don’t like that already.

So, I bought an HP MediaSmart Home Server just after they decided to pull the plug on them. (Why? Because they’re nice boxes and 64 bit – so if I decide to jump on WHS 2011, I can do it manually.) But, I wanted to add a big big drive, and WHS v1 doesn’t like anything above 2TB.

Here’s how you can fix it…

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Why removing “Drive Extender” from the next Windows Home Server is bad product management

29 11 2010

Yeah, I should have posted at least once more this year.  But I guess it takes something of epic frustration to prod me into re-prioritizing my schedule right now.  Removing a technology called “Drive Extender” from Windows Home Server is just the right move to get my fingers on the keyboard again.

Let me explain why…

Through a series of weird coincidences, I happened upon the necessity to consider purchasing a “real” Windows Home Server box from an OEM.  My current “Frankenstein’s Monster” box I assembled many years ago (after all, Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster) is probably a liability.  I keep feeding it drives, and it keeps running.

For all of you out there who have businesses of some sort, the end of 2010 means the last opportunity to spend some money on capital assets (i.e. shiny toys) and write them off.  Because everyone is soooo scared that taxes might change in 2011, CPA’s are telling people to spend money this year as though a great plague is upon us and the only way to slake its blood lust is to feed it cash.

It’s like written permission

So when you get this letter from your CPA and you look for toys to buy, you start thinking about all the non-sexy stuff that you worry about at 2AM when you can’t sleep.  My Windows Home Server is one of those items.

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Long term digital lifestyle vision

26 02 2010

I love it when a plan comes together… or at least, I like to watch someone put a long term plan together and execute it – especially when I am along for the ride. 

I’ve been told that I’m too impatient when it comes to proposing and executing strategic organizational and product movement.  Perhaps that’s true.  Sometimes the wait is internal inertia, sometimes it is for technology to catch up with the science fiction, and sometimes it’s waiting for the market to emerge.

Seeing the market before it emerges is what differentiates revolutionary plans from incremental plans.  While revolutionary plans come together on the backs of incremental gains, those gains are shaped and directed by a vision.

Your digital lifestyle

OK, this is going to sound like an advertisement, but I’m looking at it from a strategic roadmap and product management perspective.  Also, I already have a lot of this stuff lying around, so I’d like to see it work!  Now, onward…

Whether you knew it or not, the first thing to make progress toward the “paperless” (or perhaps “virtual”) anything was your house.  The office has too much inertia and weighty processes holding it back to really embrace the digital vision wholeheartedly.  It will move that direction, but nowhere near as quickly as your own household. 

That’s largely because you choose your own digital destiny.  New sexy products become available rapidly and the adoption curve for certain new technology items is based both on peer pressure and the desire for shiny objects.  Because of this, your house is very likely more advanced than your office.

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Moving to Windows 7 while keeping one foot in the past

17 11 2009

I finally made the commitment to Windows 7 as my main OS on my tablet PC.  I’d been running it in a dual boot configuration for a while, but a few weeks ago, it was time to move on.  My Vista installation was over 2 years old and was starting to act unpredictably.

As with every fresh operating system installation, the pain of starting from scratch makes you swear to never let your machine get to its inevitable ugly state again.

Keeping that promise might be a little easier this time around though.  By using some cool virtualization technology, you can have the best of both worlds.

Easy transfer wizard

There are many discussions about how to make life a little bit easier when moving to Windows 7 by using the Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer wizard.  I discovered a few things that I didn’t know while using it and thought I should pass it along.

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Windows Home Server and the 12 hour undelete

6 10 2009

A thoroughly scary and disappointing thing happened to me this weekend that made me reevaluate my cavalier way of doing IT work at home (you know, where the data is actually important).

I admit I was over-confident about certain things.  Heck, the thing we were doing worked before, so why shouldn’t it work again?

Here are some of the lessons and quirks that I uncovered:

You’ve got 720 minutes

Windows Home Server (WHS) does some really great things.  It mirrors your files so that in case of most hardware failures, your content is safe.  It backs up your other computers so that you’ve got peace of mind when your computers start making funny noises… but what’s backing up your WHS box (I would link in JungleDisk here, but they just pulled their WHS backup beta until further notice)? 

What if you make a mistake (or something else does), and you lose some files?

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Opera Unite + Windows Home Server?

16 06 2009

I’ve gotten a lot of hits on my article about how I extended my Windows Home Server (WHS) with Hamachi.  I use Hamachi because I need a more direct way to interact with my WHS content away from home (beyond what Microsoft’s remote access supports).  But that’s really just file sharing.

The next step to me is socialization.  If you’ve listened to Seth Godin’s TED talk about enabling “tribes”, you could see that the most immediate tribe most people have is their family.  WHS can help fulfill your tribe’s interest in family photos and media, but there could be more to it…

Perhaps there’s a way to use Opera Unite to create a richer experience around WHS.  While Opera Unite says it’s designed to remove the middleman (or the middle machine?) from the content-sharing equation, I contend there is a role for a server in this brave new peer-to-peer world.

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Windows Home Server and the Hamachi Surprise*

18 05 2009

Synchronizing your digital life is a necessity in today’s modern world.  When you work for a company with a good IT department, you can keep up with the mothership using a collection of software applications and Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s).

But, let’s say you’re at home.  Maybe you have a home office, or maybe you just need to access stuff from your computers at home once in a while.  There are many options that can help you get the job done (and everyone has their own preference).  I’m going to talk about the way(s) I do it.

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