Enter Another DE Replacement: Drive Bender

Microsoft created a huge void with the removal of Drive Extender in WHS 2011.  Voids have a habit of not remaining so for long.  Just yesterday, we had an announcement about one potential replacement called StableBit DrivePool.  Today, we hear from a reader, Johnny, as a comment in that particular article about another potential replacement called Drive Bender.

The announcement on the developer’s website below indicates that a Beta will be available on the 21st of February.


This is great and not so great at the same time, in my opinion.  It is great in that there are enterprising individuals/companies out there willing to spend the time and effort to develop a DE replacement add-in.

I applaud them (one and all) for their efforts.

It is not so great in that one now has to do a significant amount of testing to determine which of two or more options is the better choice at a time when users are ready to make decisions to upgrade to WHS 2011.  Or not.  I know that I will playing with the alternatives on a test server.  Key word is “test” in that I need that warm fuzzy feeling that my data will be safe before I turn “test” into “production”.

Unless, of course, you decide RAID to be the ultimate choice.

StableBit started the ball rolling.  Drive Bender wants to be heard from also.  Who else will join and who will come out the winner?

If you want to try out the Beta, you need to head over to http://www.drivebender.com/ and sign up.



  1. I wonder how much this is going to cost to maintain functionality we had and depended on with the first version of WHS?

    It’s getting expensive.

  2. Hmmm… drive pooling on a media center pc

    It's starting to look like MS' DE boondoggle has opened up 3rd party innovation!

    Just don't forget- Price, Reliability, and Support. Things are getting interesting.

  3. Once you put DE on Win7 as far as I'm concerned the only thing missing is centralised backup and there are solutions for that.

  4. Main thing with 3rd party will be stability and performace, no DE pre pp1 data loss.

    Like I said on another forum when asked if I would pay for R&D to get drive extender back, I said no… but I would have gladly have paid $300 or $400 for WHS with a solid DE implementation, a drobo which to me is external DE costs at least that much and proper DE would not have the smaller amount of drive limits you have with a drobo ie: 4,5 or 8 max and the 5 and 8 drive versions are much more expensive anyways.

    I am all for this, but it needs to be done right, cost is not as much of an issue to me as getting it right, if 2011 comes out at $150-$200 and solid DE is $150 – $200 I would have no problems forking out the cash for that.. still cheaper than the alternatives.

  5. Should any of these products be good enough, I can almost bet that MS folks are going to fork out some $$ to license / buy the talent. This would be my way of fixing the lack of internal talent. Let's hope the solution is near.. Love capitalism, and individual drive to succeed.

    1. Nothing to do with a lack of internal talent; it's pretty clear that some executive decision was made to drop DE in favour of 'business' use.

      1. Executives don't make so lightly decisions who clearly embarrass the company. It is a documented fact, that Vale WAS to deliver all WHS v1 features and some, so… removing one of the main features from WHS due to acknowledged technical problems constitutes a failure to deliver, and the lack of (or at least limited) internal talent, IMHO.

        This does not reflect badly on MSFT (all companies experience that). It simply indicates existing limitations of current development group working on WHS. Luckily MSFT does have resources to go outside and get whatever it needs.

        1. Sorry I wans't aware of an acknowledged technical limitation. From what I remember it was some stupid excuse along the lines of DE is too slow for business use.

          1. No it wasn't the reason. MSFT couldn't make both DE and the new application support (letter assignment) to work nicely, and they gave up on DE. Wrong decision IMHO. This executive decision is going to bite them in the …. Drobo and now these new Windows products will fill the void and… people will really start to ask:"why do we need Microsoft?".
            My main reason for WHS is its backup with DE. I simply love it. I couldn't care less about all the "extras" like remote access / website /media. There are so many other solutions today that can provide these functions. Only WHS v1 gives me everything that is important for my house in one neat package.

  6. Nice, good point Jim, too many DE replacements and we could be testing for a year solid. But that being said, glad to see at least 2.

  7. let me tell you a true story….

    shimano make mountain bike components
    many mountain bikers liked and used trigger shifters on their bikes
    shimano decided to stop making trigger shifters and attempt to force tha market to an alternative
    the market was not happy!
    an alternative mountain bike components company picked up where shimano left off; making trigger shifters
    shimano realised the error, dropped the alternative and re-started making trigger shifters.

    the moral:
    MS may soon learn the error of its ways and re-introduce DE
    if MS does not, others will take the business

  8. I don't see how several alternatives could possibly be a bad thing. The techies enjoy testing stuff, the mainstream users can simply wait for a winner to emerge. Everybody is happy.

    Microsoft won't be "buying the talent". That would be a highly public admission that they were wrong. Microsoft doesn't do that, at least not until they've fixed it or moved on to something better.

  9. Think I might simply try duplicating data between my WHSv1 and WHSv2 and use WHSv2 for all the new backup and remote access stuff. Once I get the good word on either of these products, I'll consider switching my data over too.

  10. One thing I noticed on the DriveBender site … it is not just for WHS. They state that it is for all versions of Windows (from XP forward). This could bring DE style file storage to a much wider audience.

  11. drivebender talks about working on any Windows IS from XP on. Given that W7 has the WMC which some say is just as important as DE, does DriveBender LESSEN the WHS advantage? There are centralized backup solutions out there, so what else keeps WHS on top?

  12. With the plethora of high end servers available on EBay I don’t seewhy anyone is so worried. Many of those servers come with RAID cards, etc already needed for the drive system. Take the Dell 2850 that I have been running the original WHS on now ever since the beta version was available… It cost me $500.00 and came with the PERC raid card, and six 146gb scsi drives. Later model 2950 servers with SATA drives are now appearing for aboutthe same amount of money so you could run a RAID with terabyte or larger drives and have gobs of storage. I could build a similar computer for lots more money and it wouldn’t have near the build quality that a high end IT rack server has. Personally, I wouldn’t trust my files to be stored on anything lesser!!

    1. Rack server are too loud for most home environments. I got rid of all mine and installed everything on a small tower and an external eSATA cabinet. Now the loudest thing in my home office are the fans in my switches.

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