Microsoft confirms enthusiasts' fears: No more versions of Windows Home Server

Microsoft confirms enthusiasts' fears: No more versions of Windows Home Server

Summary: Windows Home Server 2011 is the last version of Microsoft's home-server operating system, company officials have finally confirmed.

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After a year-plus of hints and rumors, Microsoft officials are finally confirming what Windows Home Server fans have known and feared. There will be no more versions.


WHS2011Microsoft's new Windows Server 2012 Essentials frequently asked questions (FAQ) document has Microsoft’s statement:

Q: Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?

A: 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.


Interesting that Microsoft is saying Windows Server 2012 Essentials -- its new hybrid cloud/on-premises SKU for small businesses is the successor to WHS. I thought Microsoft would position Windows 8 Pro with Media Center (and Storage Spaces) as the Windows Home Server follow-on.

The last version of WHS is Windows Home Server 2011, codenamed "Vail," which Microsoft released to manufacturing in March, 2011.

Over on the WeGotServed site, Terry Walsh recalls the history and user enthusiasm for WHS. The end-of-life date for the product is 2016. Actually: Windows Home Server 2011 will remain available as an OEM embedded product until December 31, 2025, and will remain available in all other current channels until December 31, 2013, according to Microsoft's documentation.

In spite of its end-of-life, lame-duck status, Walsh notes that in spirit WHS will live on:

"Going forward, whilst there may no longer be a dedicated Windows Home Server product, much of the platform’s intent has been subsumed into Windows 8 development. On the client side, improvements in backup and restore and new storage pooling functionality via Storage Spaces owe much to Windows Home Server – in spirit, if not in architecture."

Topics: Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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112 comments
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  • Already Moved Along

    to headless Ubuntu server + MiniDLNA (for media) + Webmin. Easier to manage, does not require anti-virus, access files via SSH. Would run FreeNAS but Dropbox does not run on BSD, runs like a champ on Linux.

    Linux is for servers, Windows is for Desktops (except for Win8 which is for tablets/phones).
    txscott
    • That's great. So why are you here?

      Just to tell us you band-aided together a free, half capable system?

      Most have moved on from Linux already, so I think you're in the wrong blog.
      William Farrel
      • Ran WHS v1 and 2011

        for years. I find my current solution more capable, just as I find my Linux servers at work more capable, stable and cheaper than Windows servers. I run Windows servers too when I need to support windows server applications (it happens).
        txscott
        • Just because you don't know what you're doing...

          Doesn't mean a platform isn't capable. If you can't make windows run circles around linux installations doing anything functional, you're an idiot! =D
          Tea.Rollins
          • Sigh.

            THis sort of ad hominem attack isn't convincing, and doesn't make supporters of Windows look good. I've got one of these units, but am frustrated by the lack of support for non-Windows PC drivers.
            meski.oz@...
          • Totally!

            If you can't make linux run circles around windows installations doing anything functional, you're an idiot! =D
            vgrig
      • ...because this is a discussion of server software?

        Your snarky reply isn't warranted - there are many good Linux server packages out there now, even one designed as a WHS replacement that I use (Amahi). This isn't a blog, and people who use server software will be naturally interested in such a topic, so that's why he's 'here'.

        For the record - I've used WHS as well. Amahi blows it away. No it's not as easy. Yes, it does much, much more. Everyone has different interests, and rshol's opinion is as easily as valid as your belief that "most have moved on from Linux already". I'm interested to see what MS does with WS2012, and will watch it carefully. Until then? I'm *very* happy with my Linux server, and don't plan to change it any time soon.
        Craig Macaulay
        • You said it right here

          "No it's not as easy"

          Then it isn't as good.
          toddbottom3
          • That's what we in the business like to call an 'opinion'.

            YOU might want ease. I want functionality. We can both be right.
            Craig Macaulay
          • You can try to hide behind "its my opinion"

            WHS took a product that had immense functionality (Windows Server 2008) and wrapped it up in an easy to use shell. To suggest that some complicated, hard to use Linux package is "as good" as WHS while admitting that it wasn't anywhere near as easy to use means that no, in this market, your Linux package isn't as good.

            In the sports car market, a Ford F150 isn't as good as a Ford Mustang. Coming back with "You might want speed, I want towing capacity, we can both be right" is wrong.
            toddbottom3
          • Interesting how you put words into others mouths

            to make your argument sound more convincing. I did not read anywhere that Amahi "wasn't anywhere near as easy". Besides, easy is relative. What some people can admit is not as easy may seem nowhere near as easy to the intellectually challenged.

            Any product with less functionality is easier than a more functional one. A sledge hammer is easier to operate than a bulldozer, for instance, even though they both can be used for the same job, ie. knocking down a wall. Saying to someone who prefers the power of a bulldozer even though it requires some additional skills to operate than a sledgehammer is wrong as well.
            techadmin.cc@...
          • More like "right tool for the job" than "easier/harder"

            "Any product with less functionality is easier than a more functional one. A sledge hammer is easier to operate than a bulldozer, for instance, even though they both can be used for the same job, ie. knocking down a wall. Saying to someone who prefers the power of a bulldozer even though it requires some additional skills to operate than a sledgehammer is wrong as well."

            Possibly - but if that person were trying to knock down interior walls of a house and wanted the exterior walls and floors to remain intact, they would be absolutely wrong to use a bulldozer over a sledgehammer, no matter what their skill level is.

            There are more reasons other than "it's less functional / easier" that make one tool better than others for certain tasks. Linux and Windows included.
            daftkey
          • Interior walls? What a convoluted argument.

            Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on how that analogy applies to the actual discussion at hand.
            techadmin.cc@...
          • Sledgehammer vs. Bulldozer

            You're correct - both a sledgehammer and a bulldozer will knock down a wall, and one requires more skill than the other. However, if you work in a business/enterprise environment with thousands of walls and where you have to pay people to knock them down, does it make sense to use something more complicated that costs more overall because you have to pay for that expertise?

            I hope you can come up with a better argument than that. For me, Windows works better in some situations and Linux/Unix in others. But it doesn't mean one is better, it just means you use whatever works best for you in each situation.
            smtp4me@...
          • I agree with the right tool for the job concept

            But we're talking about a home server, one that's being discontinued, and a potential replacement which arguably can perform the same job but with additional training.

            There's nothing wrong with my argument but your analogy regarding thousands of walls and paying people to knock them down does not apply. A home server is not the same as enterprise desktops, which sounds like what your argument is trying to reference. Unfortunately, your argument does not stand up since Linux desktops are functionally similar to Windows desktops. Desktop support is where most enterprises spend their IT dollars and many companies and governments have provided plenty of credible data that suggests that Linux provides overall lower TCO.

            None of this, I will mention again, has anything to do with the power and utility of Linux as a potential replacement for a soon to be discontinued home server. I'm sure their will be a learning curve to get it up and running and maintenance but doubt if it is any worse than the learning curve a Linux/Unix admin would have stepping into a windows home server for the first time.
            techadmin.cc@...
          • Client backups?

            So can Amahi do automatic client backups? Can you then do bare-metal restores of the client machines? To me, this is the feature that makes WHS a killer product. The rest is just gravy.
            A_lex_B
          • Exactly

            +1

            This is the reason I run WHS. How are Windows users supposed to make bare metal restores?
            brhorv
          • Re: Client backups

            So can Amahi do automatic client backups? Yes.
            Can you then do bare-metal restores of the client machines? Yes.
            ultimitloozer
          • and that's exactly why

            You don't represent the majority of users out there
            MattPV
          • todd's bottom wants troll

            And since he's used neither software...
            CaviarBlack