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DataCore

About a month ago, I installed DriveHarmony from DataCore and created a protected disk.  Today, I am updating you with the results of my unprotected disk testing and giving you a short summary of the DriveHarmony product.  Read on for details!

DataCoreDriveHarmony

As a refresher, I installed WHS2011RC on a VMWare Server installation on my HP HPE390t desktop.  Here is the test system summary again:

  • VMWare Server version 2.0.2;
  • Host machine is a HP HPE390t running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, two cores from my i7-980X and 4GB of memory allocated to the VM;
  • One 400GB IDE drive harvested from my old 2001 era Gateway desktop, loaded into a ThermalTake Silver River DUO Enclosure using USB 2.0; and,
  • One 500GB Seagate drive that was originally in my HP EX475 MSS, loaded into a RocketFish USB 3.0 3.5” SATA Hard Drive Enclosure.

My installation process was as follows:

  • Add the external enclosures to the HPE390t;
  • Allocate these USB drives to the host machine in VMWare Server;
  • Allocate these drives as new virtual drives in the virtual machine that is running WHS2011 RC;
  • Install DriveHarmony;
  • Create an unprotected drive.

Since I added the drives to the VMWare Server instance when I performed my protected drive tests, I’ll just document the process of adding the USB drives to an unprotected pool in this article.  See my last post on DriveHarmony for details on how to add the drives to the VM.

Click on Create Unprotected Drive.

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Next, click on drive(s) to add. Click on Create Drive.

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36 hours later, the format had not completed so I killed the job. DataCore advised me that USB 2 drives are too slow for acceptable performance of DriveHarmony and advised ensuring that external drives are connected either via ESATA or USB 3.  Once that drive format would have completed, I would have had an unprotected pool created from the available space on both drives.

This concludes my testing of DataCore’s DriveHarmony.

I decided to load DriveHarmony, the data pooling add-in from DataCore, onto my WHS2011 RC virtual machine.  Read on for some feedback on this greatly anticipated tool.

DriveHarmony

Last week, Andrew told you that DriveHarmony is now available as a beta.  I downloaded and installed the beta onto my WHS2011 RC virtual machine.  Here’s a rundown of the machine that I used for testing:

  • VMWare Server version 2.0.2;
  • Host machine is a HP HPE390t running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, two cores from my i7-980X and 4GB of memory allocated to the VM;
  • One 400GB IDE drive harvested from my old 2001 era Gateway desktop, loaded into a ThermalTake Silver River DUO Enclosure using USB 2.0; and,
  • One 500GB Seagate drive that was originally in my HP EX475 MSS, loaded into a RocketFish USB 3.0 3.5” SATA Hard Drive Enclosure.

My installation process was as follows:

  • Add the external enclosures to the HPE390t;
  • Allocate these USB drives to the host machine in VMWare Server;
  • Allocate these drives as new virtual drives in the virtual machine that is running WHS2011 RC;
  • Install DriveHarmony;
  • Create a protected disk;
  • Add about 40 GB of data to that virtual disk using the Move the Folder wizard.

At the end of this install, I expect to have a drive added to WHS2011 that is the size of the smaller IDE drive with RAID1 type mirroring configured.  I expect the process to be easy to implement with acceptable performance.  Could a relative newbie handle this installation and get the results expected, without being a RAID expert?  Let’s find out.

Before we begin, I need to give a shout-out to Nigel Wilks from MediaSmartServer.Net for his excellent guide to installing VMWare Server and WHS2011 on the VM.  Nigel, thanks for the help.  If you are interested in setting up a VM for free, give this tool a look and use Nigel’s guide to help you to implement it.  Now back to business!

Step 1: Add USB Drives to the HPE390t

Easy as pie: plug in the USB cables from each drive to the desktop, plug the power supplies into the power strip, fire up the desktop, and ensure that Windows 7 sees the drives.  I renamed them with the brand name of the related enclosure just to make sure that the names made sense to me.  Once the host system sees the drives, we can give them to the VM’s.

Step 2: Allocate the USB Drives to the Host Machine

First, I added the two USB drives to the VMWare Server host machine.  Bring up the VMWare Server home page and log into the web tool.  Under Inventory, click on the host machine.

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Now click on Add Datastore. I provided the paths of H:\ and O:\ to let the USB drives that were added be found by VMWare Server.  Click on OK, and then ensure that they now show up under the Datastore section in the middle center of the screen.  If they show up here, they can be added to a VM.  Now that the dives are added to the host, time to add them to the VM.

Step 3: Add the USB Drives to the VM for Testing

Make sure that the VM is shut off. All major hardware changes should be performed with the VM shut down.  Select the target VM, and then click Add Hardware.

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Click on Hard Disk. Select Create a New Virtual Disk.

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Click Browse and find the drive that you added to the host. In this example, the RocketFish and ThermalTake USB drives are the ones that I added to the host.

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Click OK and Finish and you’ve added the disk to your VM! Congratulations!  Now on to adding DriveHarmony!

The long promised beta for DataCore’s DriveHarmony software for Windows Home Server 2011 is finally available.

DriveHarmony

I’m downloading it now and will let you know how I get on with it.

[button link="http://www.datacore.com/Solutions/storage-virtualization-and-virtual-server-desktop/Microsoft/homeserver.aspx" style="download" window="yes"]Sign up for and download the DriveHarmony beta now[/button]

We heard from Carlos Carreras from DataCore today about the public beta for DriveHarmony.

DataCoreDriveHarmony

We’ve told you about DriveHarmony’s beta before.  This is the DE replacement add-in being brought to market by DataCore and is based on the pooling technology that is currently in production in enterprise data centers across the world.

This is what Carlos had to say about the beta:

Jim, the beta is ready to go, we are preparing the download site and a support site. I’m hoping our web guys get both done by today. We have received an overwhelming response to our request for beta testers so we plan to open it to all. The beta will be a 30 day eval version of the software.

As soon as we have URL’s to share with you, we’ll publish them.

And he sort of commented about the Tranquil situation:

No public comment as our activities with Tranquil are under NDA. Nothing to publish on this… we’re focusing our attention on getting the broader beta out and continuing our dialogue with prospective OEMs.

I’ve asked Carlos to keep us posted on any OEM developments, so we’ll bring you those as we hear from DataCore.

Hopefully, this week we will all get a chance to download a 30 day evaluation copy of DriveHarmony so we can test it out!

[button link="http://www.datacore.com/Solutions/storage-virtualization-and-virtual-server-desktop/Microsoft/homeserver.aspx" window="yes"]DataCore DriveHarmony[/button]

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/05/17/datacore-driveharmony-public-beta-announced/" window="yes"]DriveHarmony Beta[/button]

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/02/23/datacore-technology-and-whs2011sbs2011/" window="yes"]DataCore Technology[/button]

 

Carlos Caerreras from DataCore has been in contact to tell us that the beta for DriveHarmony has been announced at Tech Ed.  Read on for details!

DataCoreDriveHarmony

Here’s the press release, announced from Tech Ed this morning:

Microsoft Tech-Ed 2011: DataCore Software Adds Extra Data Protection, Flexibility and Speed to Windows Home Server with DriveHarmony

Welcomes beta testers to trial DriveHarmony’s new pooling, mirroring and caching features that boost performance and sidestep hard disk drive limitations
ATLANTA and FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – May 17, 2011 – DataCore Software, the industry’s premier provider of storage virtualization software, today announced the Beta release of DriveHarmony™, a simple to use add-on software package for Microsoft Windows Home Server (WHS). Users who are eager to protect, pool, accelerate, and easily expand storage capacity are welcome to request an early version of DriveHarmony for their personal beta testing by visiting DataCore’s booth (#1629) at this week’s Microsoft Tech•Ed 2011 or by sending a request to WHS@DataCore.com.

Easily Pool and Expand Storage to Simplify File Sharing and Folder Management
Leveraging techniques learned from a decade of experience in large data centers across the globe, DataCore™ DriveHarmony maximizes the value home users get from their hard disk drives. The software integrates into the familiar WHS dashboard with a simple, easy-to-use control panel. From there, users can combine one or more physical disks of variable sizes and types into one “Virtual Big Disk” pool. When this virtual drive is created, it is automatically initialized, formatted, assigned a drive letter, and selectively mirrored for data protection. The virtual drive is then ready for use by any application running on the WHS 2011 operating system.

Growing with the Needs of Today’s Digital Lifestyle
As families and small businesses gather more digital assets, their disk space consumption naturally grows. DriveHarmony delivers the right combination of power, capacity, and ease-of-use for today’s home consumers. It allows them to expand appropriately by adding more drives to virtual disks without having to split up or re-organize their files. The rest is done behind the scenes without any need for intervention.
“With more and more content going digital, people increasingly want a simple way to access, store, and enjoy the wide range of photos, personal videos, music, and films they save at home,” said Carlos M. Carreras, vice president of alliances and business development, DataCore Software. “Through the gathering of feedback during the beta process, we look forward to working closely with Microsoft and the Windows Home Server Community to bring to market a powerful solution to help home users easily protect, organize, and manage their growing disk requirements in a digital age.”

Availability
DriveHarmony is currently in Beta release and will be rolled out via select OEMs later this year. Visitors to DataCore’s booth (#1629) at Microsoft Tech•Ed 2011 can request an early version of DriveHarmony for their personal beta testing. Tech•Ed takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from Monday, May 16 until Thursday, May 19, 2011.

About DataCore Software
DataCore Software is the industry’s premier provider of storage virtualization software. Its software-as infrastructure platform solves the big problem stalling virtualization initiatives by eliminating the storage-related barriers that make virtualization too difficult and too expensive. For additional information, visit the DataCore website at www.datacore.com or call (877) 780-5111.
# # #
DataCore, the DataCore logo and DriveHarmony are trademarks or registered trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. Other DataCore product or service names or logos referenced herein are trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. All other products, services and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Carlos advises that he expects the beta to be available for download at some point next week.  If you are at Tech Ed and are interested, stop by their booth, booth 1629, or ping them at WHS@DataCore.com.  I know I will!

[button link="http://www.datacore.com/company/news/press-releases/11-05-17/Microsoft_Tech-Ed_2011_DataCore_Software_Adds_Extra_Data_Protection_Flexibility_and_Speed_to_Windows_Home_Server_with_DriveHarmony.aspx" window="yes"]DataCore DriveHarmony Public Beta Released[/button]

We mentioned a few weeks ago that Tranquil PC were going to offer an upgrade service to Windows Home Server 2011 if you had one of their SQA-5H Windows Home Server V1 boxes. Well here is some more information.

Tranquil software upgrade

Here are the details the provided:

Due to the nature of Windows Home Server and Windows Home Server 2011, there is no ‘user upgrade’ available, as perhaps you may have used to upgrade XP to Vista in the past. Neither has Microsoft issued an ‘upgrade’ of the operating system licence. Therefore the outcome of this means that our software upgrade offer is based on a factory upgrade.

SQA-5H Series 2 with Windows Home Server to SQA-5H with Windows Home Server 2011 (Operating System upgrade + new Disk Management Add In, with data transfer service, and fully factory re-test)

What do you get ?

  • Customer returns SQA-5H Series 2 to Tranquil factory
  • Tranquil copy all customer data to a secure storage server
  • The unit is then upgraded to Windows Home Server 2011, including a new licence
  • DataCore’s ‘DriveHarmony’ Add-In is installed and any additional HDDs in your server are added to the storage pool.
  • The unit is then initialised to your requirements (Admin password and machine name)
  • Your data is then moved back to your server folders
  • The unit is then fully factory tested, prior to shipping it back to you.

Please note – any add in which you have installed on your current WHS will be lost during this upgrade. If you want to still use AVA Media CD/DVD then please click on the drop down option below.

The cost for the above process is £189.00, irrespective of the amount of data that is protected and then moved back. Return shipping costs and VAT are not included but will be added on checkout.

Turnaround times may vary, but the normal service level for the above process is 5-7 days.

[button link="http://www.tranquilpcshop.co.uk/categories/Services/Upgrades/Home-Server/?sort=priceasc" window="yes"]Learn more about the service from the Tranquil PC website[/button]

I know that a few people have made comment about the cost of this service from Tranquil, however when you take into account that it includes a WHS 2011 licence, a DriveHarmony licence and all your data is migrated, I think its good value. Of course, you could do it all yourself if you are confident and have both the software and free space to move the data.

I’m currently working on upgrading my SQA-5H myself, and will be posting something very soon, so watch this space.

Carlos Carreras from DataCore has been in contact to let us know that they will be at Tech Ed between 16 May and 19 May.  They want to hear from you in person next week.  Read on for details!

DataCoreDriveHarmony

Here’s what Carlos had to say this morning about the DriveHarmony beta and their plans for Tech Ed:

…we’re planning on participating at Microsoft TechEd in Atlanta next week (May 16-19) as a Silver Sponsor. One of the topics that we’ll be covering will be our upcoming release of the DataCore DriveHarmony product. We’re encouraging folks in attendance to stop by our booth (1629) to sign up for the beta. Please spread the word!

If you are planning on being at Tech Ed in Atlanta next week, make sure that you stop by booth 1629 and sign up for the beta.

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/04/29/datacore-driveharmony-beta-updatepublic-beta/" window="yes"]DriveHarmony Beta Coverage[/button]

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/02/23/datacore-technology-and-whs2011sbs2011/" window="yes"]DataCore Technology[/button]

DataCore also announced the timing for the public beta for DriveHarmony, the add-in that they are bringing to market to augment WHS2011’s disk drive management features.  Read on for details!

datacore

Earlier today, we brought you the news that DataCore has named their add-in product and has announced the start date for the OEM beta.  In a prior post, we disclosed that the beta process would begin with an OEM beta at the beginning of May and that a public beta would start soon thereafter.  Carlos Carreras contacted me this afternoon to announce that the public beta will begin on 16 May 2011.  This is consistent with the approach that we reported to you on 15 April.

Also, he gave us a little insight into the name that was used for the add-in.  In Carlos’ own words:

The name plays off of the musical naming theme used in our products (music = creativity) and ties back to making drives “harmonious” thru the pooling and mirroring capabilities being introduced.

So mark your calendars for 16 May and prepare to download the beta.  DataCore is looking for help in ensuring that the user interface in particular is easy to use and functional, and would appreciate your involvement in the public beta.

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/02/23/datacore-technology-and-whs2011sbs2011/" window="yes"]DataCore Technology[/button]

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/04/15/datacore-beta-update/" window="yes"]DriveHarmony Announcement[/button]

Carlos Carreras from DataCore has been in contact today with an update on the beta for their add-in.  Read on for details!

datacore

Carlos Carreras got in contact today to let us know that the OEM beta will begin on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.  In addition, the add-in will be named DataCore DriveHarmony.  Catchy!

We’ll continue to bring you updates as we become aware of them, so please stay tuned to UsingWindowsHomeServer.Com!

Last week we provided some more information on Tranquil PC’s plans for Windows Home Server 2011. Now we have some more information to share.

Tranquil

I spoke with Tranquil last night and this is the update they gave me:

We are very proud to confirm our first WHS2011 solution (being launched later this week), will be powered by Intel i3 Second Generation Core processor, in line with overwhelming demand and requests from customers.  The platform is based on an upgraded version of our award winning SQA-5H chassis, with support for the very powerful, yet frugal Intel processor.  Our testing programme is now completed, and the system design will be released for pre-order later this week, with opening offers.

The 4 drive solution, with optional dual expansion ports (providing up to 10x external HDDs) will be supplied with an innovative fan less CPU cooling solution, providing a low noise, and extending life cycle solution.

Tranquil is renowned for UK designed and manufactured, custom engineered, power efficient, reliable solutions.  The new Windows Home Server 2011, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials platforms have been optimised to encapsulate our design values along with customer feedback from the original Windows Home Server series.

There will also be Intel i5 alternatives too.

Pricing will be very attractive and be in line with the performance of this amazing devices.

DE functionality will be satisfied by a full WHS Add In licence from DataCore, as soon as DataCore release their WHS application (end of June 2011), with delivery and support of the beta versions from 10th May 2011.

Shipping and pre-orders

Tranquil are accepting pre-orders from 27th April 2011, and the new WHS 2011 Servers will commence shipping from May 16th.

An ‘Early Bird’ coupon code will be offered to all who pre-order, before the shipping date.

What do you get

· Leo HS4 Home Server appliance
· 2TB Low Energy Primary Hard Disk
· 2GB DDR3 RAM
· Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor (i3-2100T 3.1GHz)
· Media Kit including PC Restore CD and Server Restore DVD
· 24 month RTB (return to base) warranty

This is all really good news for the Windows Home Server 2011 market – and it looks very much like Tranquil will be the first to market with a WHS 2011 box.

Expect more news and more very soon.

Earlier this month we told you exclusively what Tranquil PC were planning on doing with Windows Home Server 2011. Now we have some more information for you.

Tranquil

This is what they told us today:

Microsoft will shortly launch Windows Home Server 2011 licences, we expect this to be early May 2011.

Tranquil PC already has the following two devices that will be available, running Windows Home Server 2011:

· T7x1           A miniature single drive Home Server including 2GB RAM and a 2TB Hard disk

· SQAx5       A five drive system with one expansion (further five hard disks) – complete with Disk Manager Add In coupon*
(fitted with 2GB RAM and a 2TB primary Hard Disk)

The T7x1 will be available for £339.00 + VAT, and the SQAx5 will be available for £469.00

* The robust Disk Management Add In, supplied in conjunction with DataCore, will be available in its beta version, and by the end of June the fully released version will be supplied.  A coupon will be provided with each SQAx5 for a fully licenced copy of the DataCore Add In.

Both items will be available to pre-order from Tranquil from 28th April 2011.

So that is very interesting that Tranquil will be working with DataCore. I already said a few weeks ago that DataCore’s add-in for Windows Home Server 2011 was the one I was most interested in testing and using, and now that Tranquil are going to be incorporating it as well can only be yet another tick in the box for DataCore.

Expect more information soon.

A few days back, Andrew brought us word of an impending beta from DataCore.  I caught up with Carlos Carreras from DataCore and have some additional information.

datacore

Here is how DataCore describes themselves:

DataCore Software – The Storage Virtualization Company

Mission: “Make it practical for organizations large and small to remove physical, geographical and device-specific restrictions of data storage equipment that slow down, interrupt or endanger their IT operations.”

DataCore Software Corporation develops the storage virtualization software required by virtual and physical IT environments to get the highest availability, fastest performance and maximum utilization from their online disks. We provide the critical 3rd dimension on which the success of server and desktop virtualization projects hinge, regardless of the models and brands of storage devices used. Our comprehensive, yet hardware-independent solutions fundamentally change the economics of provisioning, replicating and protecting storage for large enterprises and small to midsize businesses.

DataCore clients represent the broad spectrum of IT organizations around the globe, spanning all the major vertical industries. Their physical environments consists of systems from all the major storage manufacturers, including Dell, EMC, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NetApp, and many others.

Corporate headquarters are located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with subsidiaries and branch offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

DataCore storage virtualization software is sold through authorized distributors and integration partners across the world, many of which also specialize in server and desktop virtualization solutions. DataCore does not sell directly to end-users. 24×7 post sales technical assistance is provided through a highly talented customer service organization operating from key support centers in the U.S., U.K and Japan.

As a refresher, we recently brought you a detailed interview with DataCore here.

The News

DataCore is intending to ship a beta product in May 2011.  The product will focus on the core functionality that Andrew mentioned before:

  • Drive Pooling
  • Mirroring
  • Caching

Carlos tells me that the technical features are developed and in the can; the remaining work revolves around cleaning up the user interface.  DataCore has an advantage here as they are taking an established product and leveraging that to fill a need in the WHS space.  Since the codebase is consistent between WHS2011, SBS2011, Storage Server and Server 2008 R2, DataCore sees a great opportunity to bring their established product to each product in the Microsoft server family.  WHS2011 is up first, and a call with the SBS MVP’s is forthcoming during the week of April 25th to outline their thoughts on bringing this product to the SBS platform.

The beta will roll out in three stages: starting with select OEM’s, then being opened up to WHS MVP’s, and lastly being opened up to all interested parties.  This rollout should take about two weeks, so DataCore expects to be live with a full beta that our readers can participate in within two weeks of release to the OEM’s.  They are targeting a 30-45 day beta period with most of their concern being around UI and usability of the features.  As far as public beta participants, DataCore is expecting users familiar with version 1 WHS who are technical enough to generate valuable feedback via the beta program.  They are looking to release their product to the market in June.  Current plan is to release to the partnering OEM’s first and then evaluate shipping to the general market after that.  Stay tuned for developments in bringing this product to the open market as the beta develops and DataCore finishes their preparations.  DataCore intends to sell to self-builders but there are still details that need to be worked out in how they will go to market in this space.

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