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Best Drive Configuration to Use for Off-Site Backups RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a home-built WHS system in a Supermicro 6-drive-bay rack mount chassis.  Two of the drive bays are occupied currently.

    My current solution for creating off-site backups of my WHS is taking too long - I'm currently using a USB drive and backing up the WHS shares to it with WHS' native backup facility and then backing up the computer backups with the BDBB add-in.  The last time I did this it took several hours.

    Now I'm planning an expansion in storage - adding eventually two or three 1TB drives to the storage pool so USB backup is out of the question going forward.

    I'm looking at two options:  1) installing a PCI card that will give me eSATA ports so I can back up to an external eSATA drive instead of USB, or 2) using one of the unoccupied SATA drive bays to take a regular 2TB SATA drive and use it for backup, then remove it to off-site.

    I know that there are issues with removing an eSATA drive (i.e., you cannot "safely remove" this like a USB), and I'm worried about how utilities like HotSwap! would screw up WHS since it's so sensitive.  I don't mind powering down the server so I can remove an eSATA drive.

    With the other option, I'm worrying that if I insert a regular SATA drive into one of the unoccupied bays, it will add it to the storage pool and not consider it to be a candidate for a backup drive - will it give me the ability to let it know that it is a backup drive?  Also, removal would have to be after a power-down.

    What route do you think I should go?

    Thanks for your help on this.  I've done a lot of googling and reading of this forum and can't seem to find all the answers.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 2:26 AM

Answers

  • Hi Ken,

    Wow - it sounds like USB is the only option here.  I calculated that eventually my backup times with USB will exceed 12 hours.  Not good.

    Just so that I don't misunderstand - you're saying that if I attach an eSATA drive, WHS will NOT give me the option to use it like a USB backup drive? 

    You can use it.  You just can't remove it from the Console (so you would have to shut your server down first).

    I don't really care about having to shut down the server to remove it - that's just a minor annoyance.

    My thinking is that eSATA would be a backup option since all of those neatly-packaged WHS systems (like the HP Mediasmart Server) have eSATA ports - otherwise, what is the purpose for having the port? 

    It's really designed for more drives for the storage pool.  (Keep in mind that when WHS first came out and when the OEM manufacturers were designing their hardware for it, there was no backup option.)

    They have plenty of drive bays
    I wouldn't call 4 (which is what the majority of hardware designs have) "plenty".  :)

    so it's not likely a user would have to resort to eSATA drives to expand the storage pool.

    I'm ready to purchase hardware either way - USB or eSATA - so I'd like to get a definitive answer so I don't make a mistake.

    Also, if you know of any links to any definitive guidance here that would be appreciated.

    Thank you very much for your expertise!

    • Marked as answer by Sysadmin_Ed Monday, March 29, 2010 2:29 PM
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 3:33 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • For offsite backups use an external USB drive. eSATA will usually be detected as an internal drive, and Windows Home Server will not allow you to remove an internal drive temporarily through the console. So to remove it to take off site you would have to shut your server down. You can back up shares individually if you want, so you could use multiple USB drives.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 12:58 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ken,

    Wow - it sounds like USB is the only option here.  I calculated that eventually my backup times with USB will exceed 12 hours.  Not good.

    Just so that I don't misunderstand - you're saying that if I attach an eSATA drive, WHS will NOT give me the option to use it like a USB backup drive?  I don't really care about having to shut down the server to remove it - that's just a minor annoyance.

    My thinking is that eSATA would be a backup option since all of those neatly-packaged WHS systems (like the HP Mediasmart Server) have eSATA ports - otherwise, what is the purpose for having the port?  They have plenty of drive bays so it's not likely a user would have to resort to eSATA drives to expand the storage pool.

    I'm ready to purchase hardware either way - USB or eSATA - so I don't want make a mistake.

    Also, if you know of any links to any additional guidance here that would be appreciated.

    Thank you very much for your expertise!

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 3:13 PM
  • Hi Ken,

    Wow - it sounds like USB is the only option here.  I calculated that eventually my backup times with USB will exceed 12 hours.  Not good.

    Just so that I don't misunderstand - you're saying that if I attach an eSATA drive, WHS will NOT give me the option to use it like a USB backup drive? 

    You can use it.  You just can't remove it from the Console (so you would have to shut your server down first).

    I don't really care about having to shut down the server to remove it - that's just a minor annoyance.

    My thinking is that eSATA would be a backup option since all of those neatly-packaged WHS systems (like the HP Mediasmart Server) have eSATA ports - otherwise, what is the purpose for having the port? 

    It's really designed for more drives for the storage pool.  (Keep in mind that when WHS first came out and when the OEM manufacturers were designing their hardware for it, there was no backup option.)

    They have plenty of drive bays
    I wouldn't call 4 (which is what the majority of hardware designs have) "plenty".  :)

    so it's not likely a user would have to resort to eSATA drives to expand the storage pool.

    I'm ready to purchase hardware either way - USB or eSATA - so I'd like to get a definitive answer so I don't make a mistake.

    Also, if you know of any links to any definitive guidance here that would be appreciated.

    Thank you very much for your expertise!

    • Marked as answer by Sysadmin_Ed Monday, March 29, 2010 2:29 PM
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 3:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Kariya,

    Thank for this information!  Much appreciated.  Now I can proceed with confidence.

    You would think that given the massive amounts of data that needs to be backed up on typical WHS systems that MS would provide an option to use eSATA devices for backups with ease - read: give us the capability to eject/remove eSATA devices.  USB speeds just DON'T cut it.  Yeah, with USB 3.0 it be much better, but that's stll in the future for brand-new systems or for those willing to upgrade their hardware.  What about us with USB 2.0?

    MS, I hope you're reading this and taking the hint.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 4:58 PM
  • Hints are best raised by submitting a bug on connect for Windows Home Server.  Possibly it's been raised before so give it a serch before adding one:

    https://connect.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver/Feedback


    --
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 5:24 PM
  • Al,

    I have a MS Connect account, am logged in to it, but when I click on the your link above I get this:

    "Page Not Found

    The content that you requested cannot be found or you do not have permission to view it.

    If you believe you have reached this page in error, click the Help link at the top of the page to report the issue and include this ID in your e-mail: 953679eb-f5d1-4a60-a6df-0bd35fa77ed4

    Microsoft Connect welcome page"

     

    Your feedback link two posts above works just fine.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:18 PM
  • Strange.  I found the current bug submission by searching for eSata - should come up in the first 5 results and will have the title:

    "Removable eSATA and drive trays not recognized as removable backup disks by WHS by beasleym "


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    Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:23 PM
  • Kariya,

    Thank for this information!  Much appreciated.  Now I can proceed with confidence.

    You would think that given the massive amounts of data that needs to be backed up on typical WHS systems that MS would provide an option to use eSATA devices for backups with ease - read: give us the capability to eject/remove eSATA devices.  USB speeds just DON'T cut it.  Yeah, with USB 3.0 it be much better, but that's stll in the future for brand-new systems or for those willing to upgrade their hardware.  What about us with USB 2.0?

    MS, I hope you're reading this and taking the hint.

    It shouldn't take that long after the first backup (unless you're adding lots of data to your shares between each backup).
    Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:47 PM
    Moderator
  • Shutting down is a pain in the butt. You'll hate it after the first few times. Trust me on this... :)

    The main reason for an eSATA port, to me, is to allow one to add more storage to one's server. And you'll go through the space in your server faster than you will believe. I don't know the current stats, but at one time Microsoft mentioned that someone had a server (home-built) with something like 27 TB of disks attached.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:38 AM
    Moderator
  • Finally found it, and voted for it!

    Thanks!

    Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:10 PM
  • Kariya,

    What you just said is very significant, and thanks for pointing this out... yes, the first backup at USB speeds will be very long and painful, but I forgot that the shares backup process is incremental .

    I'll be adding between 35GB and 100GB per month in the shares which is up to an hour backup at USB speeds, maybe a little more.  The BDBB backup is always full (not incremental) and there is about 100GB in the computer backups area so that is another hour.

    Can I live with a two- to three-hour backup process once a month?  Certainly.

    Would I like eSATA to reduce it to about 30 minutes?  Most certainly.

    Based on this, I'll try the USB approach, but it would be great to have an unencumbered eSATA solution.

    Thanks again!

    Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:32 PM
  • Ken,

    Thanks.  Yes, shutting down is a PITA!

    27TB!!! Imagine trying to back that up.  He would have to use tape, with an automated auto-loader, if that was even possible for WHS.

    How many movies can a person acquire and store, LOL!

    Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:37 PM
  • My question/issue has been answered.  The guidelines say to mark your thread as answered when you are satisfied with the answer(s), but I don't see the option to do this anywhere.

    Thanks.

    Monday, March 29, 2010 7:29 AM
  • Answers are for posts raised/marked as questions.  This thread is a discussion so there is no way to give an answer.  Glad you are sorted now.

    Cheers,
    Al


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    Monday, March 29, 2010 9:21 AM
  • Mark away. It looks like someone mistakenly changed your post from a question to a discussion.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, March 29, 2010 12:15 PM
    Moderator