Can this article on The Register be true?  Has Microsoft removed Storage Spaces Direct from the latest Windows Server build?

Where to obtain Windows Server, version 1709To be honest I’d initially not given this article much thought until I decided to have a look at the latest Windows Server build myself.  I was interested to find that I can’t actually download an evaluation copy unless I’m an existing customer (VLSC or Visual Studio subscription).  The only alternative is to pay to run Windows Server in Azure or AWS.  Corporations may not care about this because they will always have access, but where does that leave the individual who wants to learn about Windows?  If this is the trend Microsoft is taking, then we can expect more defections like those in the comments of the article I just shared.

Storage Spaces Direct

What about Storage Spaces?  The Register article comments also question whether Microsoft is looking to make this a paid feature.  I guess it is possible, however again, why completely remove it?  The idea of having to pay first for the O/S and then for features seems to be taking customers for granted.  Maybe there are issues with the use of Storage Spaces and the Core version of Windows – 1709 is being released as a CLI (non-GUI version).

The Architect’s View

I get the feeling that Microsoft doesn’t care about onsite Windows deployments any more.  They’d much rather push customers to Azure or if necessary Azure Stack.  The only sticky products for most customers appear to be Exchange (you can go Office 365) or SQL Server (now almost there on Linux).  What’s left to keep people on Windows, other than Active Directory for file shares?  I personally see fewer and fewer reasons to run Windows Server.  I also only run Windows Desktop for an ageing version of Quickbooks, which if I spent time, I could move to a SaaS service.

Am I missing something with the Microsoft strategy?  It’s a genuine question because I really don’t see any strategy in the direction Windows Server is taking.

Update: Vinícius Apolinário from Microsoft confirmed on Twitter that Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) will return in the next Windows release after 1709 (cold comfort for those using it now).  Also that release 1709 and the semi-annual builds are only available to paying customers or through public cloud.  Time limited previews (not releases) continue to be available through the Windows Insider Program.

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Written by Chris Evans

With 30+ years in IT, Chris has worked on everything from mainframe to open platforms, Windows and more. During that time, he has focused on storage, developed software and even co-founded a music company in the late 1990s. These days it's all about analysis, advice and consultancy.