News, Windows Home Server

86% of Windows Home Server 2011 Owners Use Additional Storage Management & Protection

Here’s an interesting statistic. A few weeks ago we ran a poll asking Windows Home Server 2011 users what, if any, additional storage management software they were running on their servers. The idea was to primarily see how the new storage pooling apps for the platform were competing – but I was surprised to see just how many users felt the need to protect and pool their data with additional storage management support.

To date 868 users have contributed to the poll (please join in) which, for a niche product like Windows Home Server, is a reasonably robust sample. Going in, I was expecting a healthy proportion of respondents (say, 40-50%) to use some kind of additional storage management – after all, the loss of Drive Extender from WHS v1 was traumatic for many. But our poll results suggest that 86% – a very high majority – are feeling the need to augment the core platform’s storage features with additional hardware or software support.

In first place, with 27% of users, is the newly released (but endlessly beta tested) StableBit DrivePool. DriveBender runs it reasonably close in second place with 21% of respondents. 14% of users are pooling their drives with Windows’ own Disk Management feature (despite it being tucked away from sight) whilst 13% of users have opted for a hardware-based RAID solution for their servers. Running behind the pack were FlexRAID, a relative newcomer to the Windows Home Server world, at 6% and Other with 4%.

That left just 14% of respondents claiming to be using no additional storage management or protection with Windows Home Server 2011. Certainly that indicates either mistrust, dissatisfaction (or both) with Microsoft’s core storage platform but should give the company hope their their Windows 8 Storage Spaces feature will find some kind of market on release.

Here’s the breakdown of results:

 

So what do you make of the results? Why do you feel the need to add storage management features on top of Microsoft’s home server platform? With the majority of users using some sort of storage pooling feature, did Microsoft score an own goal by not including such a feature in the product – even if it was simple the promotion of Windows Disk Management? Will you be migrating to Windows 8 from Windows Home Server v1 or 2011 at the earliest opportunity? Let us know in the comments.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • I’m definitely considering moving to Windows 8 for the drive pools, but there is something to be said for having a server operating system as the backbone of your system….

  • Dan

    I’m just getting up and running on WHS 2011with Diskpool, so unless there’s just some really cool features coming out, I’m not going to upgrade to windows 8. 

    Can we even compare Windows 8 to WHS 2011?  Seems like a far stretch unless I’m missing something, or is there a WHS V8 in the works?

  • Wim Kreuger

    Consider the fact, as far as I know, W8 is a client OS and WHS a server os. Then why should I want to swap my WHS2011 for W8? What would be the advantage? Just the build in storagemanager? No the combination of WHS2011 and Drive Bender fulfills all my needs at this point in time.
    If MS were to put a new server platform on the market I perhaps would reconsider.

  • Cameron Harris

    Nice survey. Tidily summarises why I’m still running WHSv1.

    • Mathelo

      Same here.  Not seeing a compelling reason yet to move off of WHSv1 other than the required hack for installing 3TB and larger HDs.

  • Umfriend

    I use DrivePool just because I wanted always to have two copies of my files and having mirrors in plain NTFS seemed to me (as noob) the easiest and safest way to ensure recovery. Can’t imagine the issues one would have if the RAID controller gave out and you;d need to get the exact same type or the hassle of mixing various disks etc. I’m sure it can all be done very well, just feared it’d not be that simple. Other than that I am conservative so I’ll only start looking at W8 AIW I feel I am needing something that WHS 2011 + add-ins can’t provide. Don’t need much.

  • Matthew

    I voted for Drivepool because it is my primary storage area. I also use Windows dynamic disk with my C: volume being mirrored in case of drive failure.  That rids me of the need to do the server backup then I used Crashplan to backup data.

  • Itay

    I recently migrated from a physical installation of WHS2011 to a virtual environment under VMware ESXi 5.
    This way, WHS runs without any storage drives, and on another virtual machine I run NexentaStor Community Edition with 6x2TB drives for data storage in RAID-Z1 pool and 2x1TB in a mirrored array. These two arrays are presented to the WHS as iSCSI drives.

    Why go through all this hassle? Because I can, because I like to experiment and because the performance of ZFS arrays cannot be beaten easily, even with this consumer grade setup of hardware and drives.

  • Itay

    I recently migrated from a physical installation of WHS2011 to a virtual environment under VMware ESXi 5.
    This way, WHS runs without any storage drives, and on another virtual machine I run NexentaStor Community Edition with 6x2TB drives for data storage in RAID-Z1 pool and 2x1TB in a mirrored array. These two arrays are presented to the WHS as iSCSI drives.

    Why go through all this hassle? Because I can, because I like to experiment and because the performance of ZFS arrays cannot be beaten easily, even with this consumer grade setup of hardware and drives.

  • MMarcoux66

    Whatever happened to Datacore’s DriveHarmony?  It seems to have just vanished.

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