Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Top 10 Features

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 became available for users of TechNet and MSDN yesterday and will be reach General Availability (GA) on October 18th.

Scott Johnson on the Windows Storage Server blog gives us his top 10 new features on this new release of Storage Server.

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard and Workgroup Differences

Toy can find Scott’s list here, which also has a chart with the differences between the 2 editions Standard and Workgroup.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Released on TechNet and MSDN

In response to requests Microsoft have released Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 and more importantly for us Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials earlier than expected to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on TechNet

Also released today was Visual Studio 2013 RC and Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Server and Foundation (MSDN only).

More information is available from Steve "Guggs" Guggenheimer’s blog post.

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (x64) – DVD (English) from MSDN.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (x64) – DVD (English) from TechNet.

Video: HP MicroServer Teardown

There is a nice 14 minute video on the HP MicroServer where it is torn down and returned to stock condition:

“The N40L MicroServer I had used in earlier testing of Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 Preview Storage Spaces Performance is Torn-Down and Returned to a Stock Condition.”

What’s Coming in Drive Bender v2

Drive Bender v2 is well under way and the plan from Division-M (the company behind it), is to roll out a number of staged releases (i.e. v2.0, v2.1 etc) with beta milestones in between.

Drive Bender Logo

In the works is:

  • VSS Support
  • New user interface
  • Network drive support
  • Pool to Pool replication
  • Drive specific duplication
  • Cloud specific duplication
  • File system health monitor improvements
  • Hard drive performance monitor
  • Enhanced file balancing options
  • Multilingual support

Late September should see the release of beta 1 but in the meantime to learn more about these upcoming features you can have a look at the following blog post.

Add-In: StableBit DrivePool v RC

StableBit DrivePool for WHS 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials, Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials has had an update.

StableBit DrivePool v RC

Version RC has the following change log:

  • Added DE, ES, FR, IT, PL localizations.
  • When adding a RAW disk to the pool it would disappear from the disks list for a bit, which looked odd.
  • Pooled disk list was not being resorted automatically.
  • Creating partitions was failing on x86 systems. As a result, adding a blank disk to the pool was not working. This was due to a bug in .NET’s COM interop. A workaround is now in place.
  • Do not show the performance UI when creating a new pool.
  • Fixed issue where error reports were being written out after updating.
  • Before duplicating a file, update the task status so that the correct folder is shown in the tooltip.
  • Minor file duplication service tweaks related to the timing of things.
  • When clicking save on the balancing window, the overall settings are saved first before each balancer’s settings are saved. This is to ensure that any changed triggers and the balancing time are processed correctly with the new settings.
  • Added UI_NoVersion to the UI .config. This will hide the version number from the UI, which is useful for taking demo screenshots / videos.
  • [D] Changed the part of the read striping algorithm that passively calculates the speed of each disk to work correctly with concurrent I/O.
  • [D] Fixed synchronization and a division by zero error in the read striping disk selection algorithm.
  • [D] Fixed crash due to race condition in file create.

More information on this specific release can be found in this blog post.

This version can be downloaded from here.

WD Release 2.5-inch up to 1 TB Red’s and 3.5-inch 4 TB Red Too

WD have released 2.5" Red hard drives up to 1 TB and a 4TB 3.5" Red drive too.

WD 2.5 Inch Red Hard Drives

The 2.5" Red drives are available in 1TB (WD10JFCX $99) and 750GB (WD750BFCX $79) capacities, whilst the new 4TB 3.5" Red is available for $229 (WD40EFRX).

Here is the full press release:

IRVINE, Calif. – Sept. 3, 2013 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) company and storage industry leader, today announced the expansion of its category-leading WD® Red™ line of SATA hard drives specifically designed for home and small office NAS (network attached storage) systems with one- to five-drive bays. WD Red hard drives are now available in a 2.5-inch form factor offering 1 TB and 750 GB capacities and a new 3.5-inch 4 TB capacity. Powered by NASware™ 2.0 technology, WD Red is compatibility-tested with top NAS system manufacturers and optimized for performance and reduced power consumption.
“WD defined the NAS drive category by leading the development of hard drives specifically built for small NAS environments,” said Matt Rutledge, vice president of client storage for WD. ”The WD Red product line serves the unique environment of NAS and meets the growing demand for affordable, reliable, and compatible storage. Through dialogue with our NAS partners and customer advocacy for WD Red, we saw the need for additional capacity in the 3.5-inch form factor and delivered our new 4 TB offering. We also wanted to deliver a highly reliable and compatible 2.5-inch hard drive built specifically for small NAS. This small form factor enables our customers to use high capacity NAS hard drives with high performance, quiet operation and low power consumption in compact NAS enclosures. We also see an opportunity in smaller-footprint NAS systems, media players and other industrial applications. Our pride in our product and our vision is shared with our customers.”
Top industry analysts see NAS continuing to represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the worldwide SOHO storage systems market. From both revenue and terabyte perspectives, NAS will continue to experience strong growth through the forecast period (to 2015), driven by a major shift of storage deployments toward IP-connected systems (Worldwide Personal and Entry Level Storage Tracker IDC 2013).
The next generation of WD Red hard drives deliver the best NAS experience for customers with a new version of NASware™ 2.0, which further improves drive reliability and protects customer data in the event of a power loss or disruption. WD Red hard drives also feature 3D Active Balance Plus™, an enhanced balance control technology, which significantly improves overall drive performance and reliability. Exclusive for WD Red customers, WD offers free premium 24×7 dedicated phone support and a three-year limited warranty.
The addition of a new form factor and higher capacity WD Red hard drives further underscores WD’s “Power of Choice” mission for client hard drive solutions. WD recognizes the diverse challenges of customers and their applications and strives to empower them with storage solutions tailored to best suit their specific needs.
Integrating with WD NAS solutions, WD Red hard drives are qualified to work with a wide array of WD OEM partners. A regularly updated list of WD Red-qualified products and manufacturers is available on the WD website at
Price and Availability
Shipping now through select distributors and resellers, WD Red hard drives are covered by a three-year limited warranty. MSRP for the new 2.5-inch WD Red 1 TB, model #: (WD10JFCX) is $99; the 750 GB, model #: (WD750BFCX) is $79 and the 3.5-inch 4 TB, model #: (WD40EFRX) is $229 USD. Additional information about WD Red hard drives and limited warranty terms may be found on the company website at

MicroServer Gen8 Infographic

A nice infographic is available on the Coffee Coaching blog on the MicroServer Gen8:

MicroServer Gen8 Infographic

You can find it here.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Licensing

WS2012 Essentials Box Shot

Would you like to understand about licensing for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the Windows Server Essentials Experience role then you may find the following article interesting.

The Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog have this great article which hopefully shall answer your licensing questions, which you can find here.

N54L MicroServer Cashback – Again

UK based Servers Plus have the N54L with £100 cashback for purchases between 1st and 30th September 2013.

HP ProLiant MicroServer

They are also offering a 3 Year Warranty Upgrade for just £20 extra. Just purchase the warranty for £96 ex VAT and claim a further £76 cash back, effectively making the care pack just £20 ex VAT!

More details are available from here.

The Home Tech Podcast Episode 133

Home Tech Podcast

Another fine episode of the Home Tech podcast is up:

We spent the majority of the show talking about how John (Zajdler) is using Windows To Go on a 32GB Data Traveler Workspace drive from Kingston.  We get an update from Paul (Baran) on the new release from VMware ESXi 5.5 just announced at VMWorld 2013.

It’s all on episode 133 of the Home Tech podcast.