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Old 11-12-2012, 01:13 AM   #1
kmmatney
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Default Upgrading to WHS 2011 - Not missing Drive Extender

I figured I should upgrade to WHS 2011 while it's still cheap and available. I was happy with the odl version, but really wanted to go higher than 3GB oif RAM. I really thought I'd miss drive extender, but it's big a non-issue, as Windows built-in software RAID is quite capable.

I installed the OS on an old Intel G1 80GB SSD (which was tricky since it requires 160GB to install). Then used Microsoft's software RAID to mirror two 2TB drives (not identical), and created another RAID mirror across a mismatched 1TB and 500GB drive, and was able to format the remaining 500GB left over as a another unduplicated drive. Replacing a drive is easy enough - I just break the mirror, put in a new hard drive, and recreate the RAID. I lost the ability to have a single large hard drive, but I also can now choose which drives old which data, which I couldn't do with DE.

Software RAID may not be the fastest, but it's very easy to use, and probably faster than DE (since that is also software-based). So the loss of Drive Extender is really not a big deal, there is enough flexibility in software RAID to get the same effect.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:59 AM   #2
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no 3TB partition support

server 2012 essentials FTW
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
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What's the price on that? I guess if you really need that much storage to require 3TB hard drives, then spending 400+ on the OS is OK. I just wanted something where I could throw in random hard drives, and get storage with some duplication. Drive extender was perfect for that, but I've found Windows RAID also works quite well, essentially giving be similar ability to drive extender.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
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Stable bit drive pool is fantastic and seem less. I love the drive extender functionality and stable bit filled that need perfectly.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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no 3TB partition support
My WHS 2011 has 5.84TB partitions.... What are you talking about? Or are you talking about that it can't backup GPT partitions?
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
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My WHS 2011 has 5.84TB partitions.... What are you talking about? Or are you talking about that it can't backup GPT partitions?
I suspect he's confusing WHSv1 and WHS 2011. Other than a lack of drive extender, WHS 2011's storage capabilities are in-line with Win7/Server2K8R2.

However the lack of GPT backups is going to be a real problem. Win8 certification requires using GPT, so all OEM machines will come that way. As a result WHS 2011 won't be very useful for backing up Win8 machines.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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Hmm I have windows 8 installed and it is backing up fine via WHS 2011 with stablebit? I havent had an issue yet. Mind you my pc backup is only about 300gb as most of my content is stored on the server itself with everything important backed up to CrashPlan.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:43 PM   #8
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Hmm I have windows 8 installed and it is backing up fine via WHS 2011 with stablebit? I havent had an issue yet. Mind you my pc backup is only about 300gb as most of my content is stored on the server itself with everything important backed up to CrashPlan.
For end user installations most end users will still be using BIOS/MBR, so that's not a problem. This would only be an issue for OEM machines that ship with Windows 8.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:45 PM   #9
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I only upgraded to WHS-2011 a couple months ago, on an old (but little used) 680i (nvidia) mobo. I purchased the StableBit DE Add-in, the Advanced Admin Console add-in and the Lights Out Add-in.

I'm no stranger to RAID configurations, but had been pretty happy with the way the old DE worked. I'm only using three 1TB drives. The client-workstation backup feature doesn't seem to create redundancy, and does incremental backups. I still have about 2.4 TB of free space, with the backups, the shared and selectively duplicated folders, and about 100GB of video captures.

And I'm sort of getting weary of OS updates "just to keep current."

It's good, and I'm happy . . .
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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I'm looking at getting Stable Bit DP but I'm not sure what's the best way to approach pooling 3 1tb drives. 2 of the drives have data on them, 1 of them is brand new. Being completely new to this stuff will I lose data attempting to pool the drives together? Should the drives not have any data on them prior to install? Oh 1 of the drives has whs11 installed in a partition (thinking of getting an ssd to install the OS on).
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViRGE View Post
I suspect he's confusing WHSv1 and WHS 2011. Other than a lack of drive extender, WHS 2011's storage capabilities are in-line with Win7/Server2K8R2.

However the lack of GPT backups is going to be a real problem. Win8 certification requires using GPT, so all OEM machines will come that way. As a result WHS 2011 won't be very useful for backing up Win8 machines.
From what I remember, Home Server 2011 will not correctly back up partitions that are greater than 2TB in size. I know it can handle them itself, but I do remember there being limitations as to how it can do backups, that had to do with the size of the volume.

It definitely doesn't back up GPT partitions. I ran into that myself before upgrading to Essentials 2012. I installed Win 7 using UEFI and the backup process failed for it forever at that point.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:47 PM   #12
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From what I remember, Home Server 2011 will not correctly back up partitions that are greater than 2TB in size. I know it can handle them itself, but I do remember there being limitations as to how it can do backups, that had to do with the size of the volume.

It definitely doesn't back up GPT partitions. I ran into that myself before upgrading to Essentials 2012. I installed Win 7 using UEFI and the backup process failed for it forever at that point.
I have my OS on a 256GB HDD; although I allowed the remaining ~190GB to be a separate partition and and added to the drive pool, there's nothing on it.

So all my data is on three 1TB HDDs with a pooled logical drive of about 2.9+TB. I've backed up the OS to a 320GB HDD, but excluded the shared files -- most of which are either duplicated or are non-volatile and backed up somewhere else.

I've yet to try backing up the data, but I can't see that as a problem. Either attempt to let WHS-2011 back them up as part of the server-backup process or schedule, or you would simply perform a single copy of the folders onto a formatted basic disk. You can choose to duplicate the client-workstation backups, or try backing them up the same way.

I back up the system/boot drive after major software changes, then disable the backup until the next one. I have hot-swap bays for the extra OS and data backup disks. And I also clone the HDDs for two of three clients at least once every month or two.

Because the mobo SATA-II controller doesn't have an AHCI mode, I use a hot-swap utility freeware I found on the web. I think it's called "Hotswap!" Everything seems to work with Server Manager running in background or foreground.
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