Did you know that WS2012e includes DirectAccess?

Did you know that Windows Server 2012 Essentials includes DirectAccess?

Windows Server 2012 Essentials now includes the ability to be a DirectAccess server!  In the Windows Server 2008 R2 timeframe, DirectAccess required two distinct servers and two public facing IP addresses.  In Windows Server 2012, only one public IP address is required and DirectAccess can be configured for a single server scenario.

What is DirectAccess?

DirectAccess is a solution that provides users with the same experience working remotely as they would have when working in the office.
With DirectAccess, remote users can access corporate file shares, Web sites, and applications without connecting to a virtual private network ( VPN).  Further, DirectAccess separates intranet traffic from Internet traffic, and reduces unnecessary traffic on the corporate network.

More information can be found here.

Storage Spaces Performance in WS2012e on a HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer

The Home Server Show blog has a great post on Storage Spaces Performance in Windows Server 2012 Essentials on a HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer:

While I was expecting poorer write speeds with Parity drives (based on past testing) I was surprised by the relative poor write speeds for 2-way and 3-way Mirror drives with ReFS. I simply don’t understand how ReFS’s performance is so heavily impacted.

For good overall performance with some resiliency the 2-Way & 3-Way Mirrors with NTFS would seem to be good choices to consider and offered protection against one or more failures of the physical drives making up the underlying drive pool.

A Storage Spaces Virtual Drive with 2-Way Mirror resiliency, NTFS and Thin provisioning is what I plan to continue using for the foreseeable future in S2012E.

Storage Spaces Performance in WS2012 Essentials on a HP N40L ProLiant MicroServer

You can read the full account here.

Lights-Out for Windows 8 "Home Server" Announced

If you are thinking of using Windows 8 as a Home Server then the guys behind the add-in Lights-Out have a preview of Lights-Out for Windows 8 "Home Server" available to beta testers.

Lights-Out for Windows 8

Lights-Out for Windows 8 "Home Server" (but will also run on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 and later) will be available for all to beta test in the future.

Add-In: Drive Bender v1.4.6.0

Drive Bender Logo

Drive Bender for WHS2011, SBS Essentials 2011 and WS2012 Essentials has had an update.

Version has the following changes:

  • Update: Added detail debug logging on license check.
  • Update: Drive removal changed so that a number of checks are made when the client indicates the process has finish.
  • Update: Updated help file.
  • Update: Some interface additions and tweaks.
  • Bug fix: Some users have been experiencing "License does not belong to this machine" errors.
  • Update: A number of performance improvements with regards to how pool free space is calculated and reported.

Drive Bender can be downloaded from here.

Headless installation Using Autounattend.XML

If you want to install Windows Server 2012 Essentials on a server without a display and keyboard then you need to use autounattend.xml.

The autounattend.xml will have your locale, server name, password, product key etc pre set so the install will continue unattended.

Headless installation Using Autounattend.XML in WS2012e

If this is something which interests you, then you can find a sample autounattend.xml here.

Looking to Upgrade from WHS? Where Do You Go From Here?

Windows Server News asks where do you go from here if you are looking to upgrade from Windows Home Server?

WHS Welcome Screen

For the answer they give us three options:

  1. Stick With Windows Home Server
  2. Use the Windows 8, probably Enterprise Edition
  3. Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Essentials

For the low down on all 3 options head on over to here.

Managing File History in WS2012 Essentials

The Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog have an article on Managing File History in Windows Server 2012 Essentials:

One of the key values Windows Server 2012 Essentials offers is network-based computer backup. With client computer backup (a centralized, image-based backup), in the event of data loss, you can restore individual files or folders. If necessary, you can even restore the entire system from a successful backup on the server. If you have computers running Windows 8, the backup and restore experience becomes even easier and more natural thanks to the new File History feature in Windows 8.

The article goes on to explain how to configure File History on Windows 8 and from within the Dashboard within WS2012e.

File History Configeration in WS2012e

You can find the post here.

A Hands-On Look at Windows Server 2012 Essentials

ServerWatch gives us a hands-on look at Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

Their short introduction to Microsoft’s latest offering goes through the installation process and the management options available within WS 2012 Essentials.

WS20121e Management Features

You can read it here.

Western Digital Black 4TB Hard Drive Review

TechSpot reviews the WD Black 4TB Hard Drive and at $350 its cheaper than a pair of WD Black 2TB drives and much more affordable than the previously released enterprise WD RE 4TB drive. But how does it perform?

WD Black 4TB Hard Drive

You can find out in this 7 page review from TechSpot.

Connection to Office 365 Account may Fail or Timeout When You Try to Connect from WS 2012 Essentials Dashboard

When you try to connect to Office 365 from the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard, the connection may fail or timeout.

Office 365 Timeout from WS2012e Dashboard

This happens when the SYSTEM account is not able to establish an internet connection to the Office 365 site, but there is a workaround:

  1. Download PsTools from http://download.sysinternals.com/files/PSTools.zip and extract it into a folder.
  2. Open Command Prompt as Administrator and navigate to the folder where PsTools are extracted.
  3. To open Internet Explorer under SYSTEM account, run PsExec.exe s i “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Iexplore.exe”.
  4. On the Internet Explorer window that has been opened under SYSTEM account, open Internet Options from the Tools icon. Navigate to the Connections tab, and click on LAN Settings. Clear the check for Automatically detect settings.
  5. Close the Dashboard and restart the Windows Server Office 365 Integration Service.
  6. Open the Dashboard again and you will find the Office 365 information available in the respective windows now. If that is not the case, you may need to restart the server.

More information on this particular error can be found here.