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Storage & backup planning feedback needed RRS feed

  • Question

  • OK, I'm finally starting to put together my WHS 2011 machine after a 2 years and a half-dozen false starts.  I'll be using this to back up 3 or 4 Windows systems with a current combined disk usage of about 800 GB and also to host about another 800 GB of files I'd like to share on the network (~300 GB of digital photos, maybe 100 GB of documents, and the rest is mostly ripped music and video).  I'd also like to run Plex Media Server on the system (unless the DLNA built into WHS plays well with the Rokus I have connected to our TVs).  

    So, I've got at my disposal four 1 TB disks and a variety of smaller (160 or 250 GB) disks.  The system I'm installing in has 4 SATA ports and I've got a PCIe combo (1xSATA and 1xUSB 3.0 connections) on order.  I also have two 2 TB USB 3.0 external drives available.  My plan is as follows:

    1. Install WHS onto a 250 GB disk connected to the PCIe controller
    2. After the install, connect the four 1 TB disks to the 4 SATA headers on the board
    3. Create two 2 TB RAID 0 sets (one will be for PC backups, the other for shared media/files)
    4. Connect the two external 2 TB USB 3.0 disks and back up each RAID 0 set to a different disk

    I thought about buying larger, single 2 TB disks (now that they're more reasonably priced than when I started this project), but then what do I do with all these 1 TB disks?  Also, given current and near-future storage needs, 4 TB of total storage should be plenty.  Finally, I think the RAID 0 arrays will provide decent performance and backing up to the externals provides reasonable security of the files (although, admittedly, no fault tolerance).

    Now, the questions I have are:

    1. Can I actually specify in WHS where the PC backups are stored?
    2. Likewise, can I specify on which array the Share Folders are stored?
    3. Can WHS Backup be configured to back up each array separately to separate drives? (I know it's similar to Windows 7's Backup, which seems to only allow one backup destination for all of the files/data to be backed up)
    4. If WHS Backup can't do this, would Robocopy (run as a scheduled task or just as a timed recurring job) be a suitable alternative?  I'm leaning toward that mainly because then the data on the externals is in its native format, not a VHD, so if a disk goes bad, I can simply replace it and then copy the data back from the external.  I'm not terribly concerned with things like file versioning, etc., at least not for data stored on this server.

    So, is this a sound plan?  What faults/flaws are there that I haven't considered or overlooked?

    Sunday, October 20, 2013 2:48 AM

Answers

  • WHS2011 will create 2 partitions on your 250 GB disk: C: for the system and D: for the data. On this data partition a number of default folders are created (music, pictures, video) and the Client Computer Backup folder.

    As for Q1 and Q2: After installing the 1 TB drives you *MUST* use the Dashboard to move any folder from the D: disk to the other disks. You can indeed move the client computer backup folder to one disk and the shared folders to another one.

    Q3: This is not possible. Only one backup set can be defined.

    Q4: I don't know.

    Luc.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Monday, November 11, 2013 5:55 AM
    Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:35 AM
  • First, I would recommend strongly against the use of RAID 0 for anything other than temporary work space, as the loss of any disk in a RAID 0 disk set will result in the loss of all data on the entire disk set.

    As for your questions:

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. No; you can have only one automatic backup set configured if you use the tools in the Dashboard (there are ways around this by using command line tools, but this requires desktop access, which is not a supported way to use the product, and also requires some skill with the command line tools involved). You can have multiple backup disks, however; you can use this feature to take one backup disk off site while your server backs up to the other.
    4. This would work (I developed something similar for server backup when I was using Windows Home Server V1), but it's not going to be trivial to get it right.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Monday, November 11, 2013 5:55 AM
    Sunday, October 20, 2013 5:28 PM

All replies

  • WHS2011 will create 2 partitions on your 250 GB disk: C: for the system and D: for the data. On this data partition a number of default folders are created (music, pictures, video) and the Client Computer Backup folder.

    As for Q1 and Q2: After installing the 1 TB drives you *MUST* use the Dashboard to move any folder from the D: disk to the other disks. You can indeed move the client computer backup folder to one disk and the shared folders to another one.

    Q3: This is not possible. Only one backup set can be defined.

    Q4: I don't know.

    Luc.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Monday, November 11, 2013 5:55 AM
    Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:35 AM
  • Luc,

    Thanks for the info.  As for the backup, I've done some more reading on Robocopy and it seems like it'll be fine for copying the client backups and shared files, but won't do for backing up the OS.  I'll probably use Windows backup and another external disk for that and just exclude the two 2 TB disk arrays.

    Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:55 PM
  • First, I would recommend strongly against the use of RAID 0 for anything other than temporary work space, as the loss of any disk in a RAID 0 disk set will result in the loss of all data on the entire disk set.

    As for your questions:

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. No; you can have only one automatic backup set configured if you use the tools in the Dashboard (there are ways around this by using command line tools, but this requires desktop access, which is not a supported way to use the product, and also requires some skill with the command line tools involved). You can have multiple backup disks, however; you can use this feature to take one backup disk off site while your server backs up to the other.
    4. This would work (I developed something similar for server backup when I was using Windows Home Server V1), but it's not going to be trivial to get it right.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Monday, November 11, 2013 5:55 AM
    Sunday, October 20, 2013 5:28 PM
  • First, I would recommend strongly against the use of RAID 0 for anything other than temporary work space, as the loss of any disk in a RAID 0 disk set will result in the loss of all data on the entire disk set.

    Well, that's why I'll back up each array to a separate 2 TB external disk.  The way I see it, it's sort of like RAID 0+1, but rather than the array actually mirroring to the external, a Robocopy job will copy changes or additions to the original disks to the external.  Down the road, when those 1 TB drives fail, I'll replace them with 2 TB or larger disks as appropriate.  

    Or, I suppose I could treat each of the internal disks as a separate entity and still back them up (OK, copy their contents to the external, to be more correct) via Robocopy.  I certainly won't be storing any single files larger than 1 TB, and therefore there's no strict need to have 2 TB volumes available.  Read/write performance for these disks isn't exactly going to be a critical factor since transfers to/from the shared folders will be bottlenecked by the network (house is wired for Gb, but most clients are wireless (at best, 300 MB), which is much slower than SATA II read/write speeds).  

    Monday, October 21, 2013 2:20 AM