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Questions before purchasng WHS (re: installation, activation, and replication) RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm thinking about using Windows Home Server but I have a couple of questions...

    1) Before Power Pack 1, WHS required 60 GB of disk space for installation because it used 20 GB for the OS and then created a "landing zone" with the other 40 GB.  From what I've read, the "landing zone" is gone, right?  If so, can I avoid the 60 GB installation requirement?  Also, what's the best OS drive setup?  From what I understand, it's best to have the OS on a dedicated drive but it seems like this is almost impossible with WHS.

    2) I currently have an unused 120-day trial of WHS.  I'd like to install it on some hardware that I have now but I also might be getting new hardware in a few days/weeks.  Can I re-install my 120-day trial and still use the remaining time even on a different machine?

    3) Let's say I have a 100 GB hard drive with non-replicated files.  Is it possible for me to remove this hard drive but have WHS move the files to a different drive before I remove it?  (eg. WHS has no concept of "drives" from what I gather so how would this situation work?)

    4) How much slower is WHS than local disks?  For example, I benchmarked a couple of SATA discs on my local machine at around 65-80 MB/s reading speed but I've been told that WHS (specifically SMB/CIFS) has a LOT of protocol overhead and slows down tranferring of files by a lot and I've also been told that write speed to WHS is very slow.

    Thanks for any help!
    Friday, November 21, 2008 6:28 PM

All replies

  • sofakng said:

    I'm thinking about using Windows Home Server but I have a couple of questions...

    1) Before Power Pack 1, WHS required 60 GB of disk space for installation because it used 20 GB for the OS and then created a "landing zone" with the other 40 GB.  From what I've read, the "landing zone" is gone, right?  If so, can I avoid the 60 GB installation requirement?  Also, what's the best OS drive setup?  From what I understand, it's best to have the OS on a dedicated drive but it seems like this is almost impossible with WHS.

    2) I currently have an unused 120-day trial of WHS.  I'd like to install it on some hardware that I have now but I also might be getting new hardware in a few days/weeks.  Can I re-install my 120-day trial and still use the remaining time even on a different machine?

    3) Let's say I have a 100 GB hard drive with non-replicated files.  Is it possible for me to remove this hard drive but have WHS move the files to a different drive before I remove it?  (eg. WHS has no concept of "drives" from what I gather so how would this situation work?)

    4) How much slower is WHS than local disks?  For example, I benchmarked a couple of SATA discs on my local machine at around 65-80 MB/s reading speed but I've been told that WHS (specifically SMB/CIFS) has a LOT of protocol overhead and slows down tranferring of files by a lot and I've also been told that write speed to WHS is very slow.

    Thanks for any help!



    1. No, the landing zone is still there. Best get a reasonably sized primary disk (+250 GB). There's not really a choice where to install WHS OS. It will always be on the C partition of your primary drive
    2. Yes, however if you've activated the first install you probably need to use phone activation for the first install. You can also use it for 30 days without activating
    3. It will automatically do this if you remove the drive through the console. (move the files to another disk which is part of the WHS drive pool.
    4. In most cases network speed will be limiting. WHS network (if fully updated) should not be any slower than any other windows network share

    More technical background and installation related info on Windows Home Server Support Resources. Especially the technical briefs are very informative.
    Friday, November 21, 2008 6:46 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the information!  I've read most of the technical briefs (eg. about the drive extender, etc, etc), but I'm a little disappointed about the landing zone.

    Basically, the landing zone isn't part of the main system storage, right?  (eg. so you "lose" that storage)

    Also, doesn't the landing zone drive drastically slow the system down if WHS is moving files off of it and you are copying files to the WHS drive?  (I would think it would slow to a crawl and the HD would be thrashing)

    From what I understand WHS only moves files during idle time, but what happens if it starts a move operation and new files are in the process of being copied to the server?
    Friday, November 21, 2008 7:34 PM
  • In addition to my last post, can you double-check that the landing zone is still there after power pack 1?

    I'm reading a lot of posts saying that the landing zone is NOT there with power pack 1 and instead files go directly to the destination drive.  (eg. no landing zone exists)

    Friday, November 21, 2008 9:58 PM
  • Hi,
    it is right, that the landing zone is not used the same way any more as before the installation of PP1.
    But the drive, which had been known as "landing zone" is still there as drive D: with label DATA and free diskspace on it determines i.e., if Vista even would bother to start copying the selected files.
    While the files are not temporary stored there any more, it is still used.
    On that disk are also the tombstones located, which are leading to the files in shared folders, and depending from your disk configuration (how many disks, how much free space) you may see here also files from backups and data files from shared folders (or duplicated files).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:04 AM
    Moderator
  • sofakng said:

    In addition to my last post, can you double-check that the landing zone is still there after power pack 1?

    I'm reading a lot of posts saying that the landing zone is NOT there with power pack 1 and instead files go directly to the destination drive.  (eg. no landing zone exists)



    Can you please post some references to these posts? I could be wrong, however AFAIK the landing zone is still there in PP1 even though the way files are handled when copied to a WHS share has changed.

    The WHS shares are all located in D:\shares, which is the landing zone. All files have to pass through there when they get copied to a WHS share. One of the main changes in PP1 is that the files are no longer duplicated immediately after copying to a share. This now happens once every hour, or when a migration pass is triggered in another way (for example reboot). A single copy of the file is immediately stored in it's final location, leaving only a tombstone on the D partition. 

    The space on the D partition is not "wasted". If the other data drives get filled up too far, or if you have a two disk system with duplication turned on for one or more folders WHS will also store data on the D partition.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008 3:25 AM
    Moderator
  • 4. I consistently get between 55-66mbits/sec over a 100meg backbone using a dedicated Intel Giga NIC. I do have my drive pool full of identica drives, but I don't know if that is any advantage or not.

    MicroSSG
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 7:34 AM
  • brubber said:

    Can you please post some references to these posts? I could be wrong, however AFAIK the landing zone is still there in PP1 even though the way files are handled when copied to a WHS share has changed.


    Here's the best that I could find:  http://blogs.msdn.com/chrisgray/archive/2008/07/04/a-brief-description-of-the-balancing-algorithms-used-in-power-pack-1-s-drive-extender.aspx

    From the description, it sounds like files are initially created on the drive with the most amount of empty space.  Then, every hour, it is duplicated (if requested) to another drive.  That article doesn't mention files going to the landing zone, then to a pooled drive, THEN duplicated to yet another drive.

    At least, I really, really hope that the "landing zone" is gone because it really does seem a little pointless since files should be placed directly on the destination drive and not copied three different times.

    EDIT: However, I'm still not really thrilled that Microsoft says not to store PST files on a WHS share.  I would hope that my file server (eg. any file system or storage solution) could handle ANY type of file instead of having to be careful what the type of file is, how it is accessed, etc, etc.
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 7:44 AM
  • Hi,
    I confirm how you understand that description about after PP1 file handling.

    sofakng said:

    EDIT: However, I'm still not really thrilled that Microsoft says not to store PST files on a WHS share.  I would hope that my file server (eg. any file system or storage solution) could handle ANY type of file instead of having to be careful what the type of file is, how it is accessed, etc, etc.

    that part is simply a decision of the Office team. They state clearly, that PST files on network drives are not supported - and why a team, which has nothing to do with the product, change this statement? PST files are database files, but while they can grow huge, they are not very robust. They are not made for multi user acces, and every drop of network connection will cause troubles (i.e. not properly closed, ongoing repairs, maybe corruption). With duplication on these issues can grow further.
    Check also this KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297019/en-us

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:31 AM
    Moderator