Here’s an interesting statistic. A few weeks ago we ran a poll asking Windows Home Server 2011 users what, if any, additional storage management software they were running on their servers. The idea was to primarily see how the new storage pooling apps for the platform were competing – but I was surprised to see just how many users felt the need to protect and pool their data with additional storage management support.

To date 868 users have contributed to the poll (please join in) which, for a niche product like Windows Home Server, is a reasonably robust sample. Going in, I was expecting a healthy proportion of respondents (say, 40-50%) to use some kind of additional storage management – after all, the loss of Drive Extender from WHS v1 was traumatic for many. But our poll results suggest that 86% – a very high majority – are feeling the need to augment the core platform’s storage features with additional hardware or software support.

In first place, with 27% of users, is the newly released (but endlessly beta tested) StableBit DrivePool. DriveBender runs it reasonably close in second place with 21% of respondents. 14% of users are pooling their drives with Windows’ own Disk Management feature (despite it being tucked away from sight) whilst 13% of users have opted for a hardware-based RAID solution for their servers. Running behind the pack were FlexRAID, a relative newcomer to the Windows Home Server world, at 6% and Other with 4%.

That left just 14% of respondents claiming to be using no additional storage management or protection with Windows Home Server 2011. Certainly that indicates either mistrust, dissatisfaction (or both) with Microsoft’s core storage platform but should give the company hope their their Windows 8 Storage Spaces feature will find some kind of market on release.

Here’s the breakdown of results:


So what do you make of the results? Why do you feel the need to add storage management features on top of Microsoft’s home server platform? With the majority of users using some sort of storage pooling feature, did Microsoft score an own goal by not including such a feature in the product – even if it was simple the promotion of Windows Disk Management? Will you be migrating to Windows 8 from Windows Home Server v1 or 2011 at the earliest opportunity? Let us know in the comments.