One of the key selling points of the original version of Windows Home Server was the ability to add physical storage and have the OS take care of seamlessly integrating it with existing drives. It could even duplicate data automatically to protect against a drive failing further down the line.
However, the development team working on the next version of the OS - codenamed Vail - has announced that the feature will be dropped from the OS when it's released next year. The reasoning was that large drives are much more affordable now than they were when Home Server was originally released three years ago. This means that OEMs will be able to configure high capacity servers and use on-board RAID functionality to provide data security that won't be unreasonably expensive.
The announcement also explained that feedback from the small and medium business markets - which will use Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, both of which are built on the same code-base - suggested that Drive Extender technology wasn't meeting the customer's needs.
Accordingly, the feature will be removed from the final version of Vail, as well the next beta release, which is due early next year.
Unfortunately for the team, this hasn't gone over well with the WHS community. Since the announcement yesterday afternoon, almost 150 comments have been made on the official blog with the vast majority deriding the decision to remove Drive Extender. The majority seem to see the feature as a fundamental part of the OS and a major reason for choosing it over competing solutions. There was also frustration over the emphasis on the opinions of business users when Home Server is primarily a consumer-oriented product.
So far, no-one from Microsoft has responded to the criticism.