Microsoft has announced that its Windows Home Server 2011 (aka Vail) has reached Release Candidate status, which means that Microsoft thinks that it is stable enough to be a product. The company will test it, and unless major bugs are found, the product will then go to the next stage. Windows Home Server (WHS) is a special version of Windows that has been designed for file server appliances based on Intel processors. The HP MediaSmart Server was one of the most famous device using WHS. It has not been discontinued.
The platform was made hugely popular by the Drive Extender (DE) feature that allowed many heterogeneous hard drives to be merged as a single logical unit that was extensible, but also easy to manage for the users. Unfortunately, Microsoft has decided to remove that feature based on the (crazy) idea that drives were big enough these days and that Drive Extender was no longer needed.
Instead, Microsoft is providing a utility that makes moving data easier. While I clearly don’t want to do that (please bring the Drive Extender back), someone else might be interested, so I’ve included the video that explains how this works.