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External 4-5 Bay RAID sub-system to mate with EX470 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Does anyone have any experience/recommendations for a compatible 4 or 5 bay external RAID sub-system to use in conjunction with the EX470's eSata port?

    Thanks.
    Monday, August 4, 2008 9:51 PM

Answers

  • You're not going to get a lot of advice as to the best RAID box to buy in this forum, I'm afraid, because Windows Home Server in concert with RAID is an unsupported scenario. (It will normally work, but Microsoft doesn't intend RAID to be part of a WHS solution, and isn't interested in bugs that may result.)

    A couple of problems (off the top of my head) with your particular scenario:
    • RAID technology will not fully protect your data. In any production IT environment, regular backups are run for all data, because RAID arrays will fail and take their data with them.
    • You seem to think that Windows Home Server can be controlled in some fashion to force one copy of your files to exist on the internal drives, and a second copy on the external array. That isn't the case; Windows Home Server will choose where to store each copy of a file based on internal algorithms. Those algorithms favor drives that already have data; the result is that until the internal drives are almost full, your external array is likely to remain empty.
    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 6:27 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Donavon West wrote about this over on HomeServerHacks.com.
    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 1:25 AM
    Moderator
  • I had seen this article. The Terabox Donavon refers to is nothing more than a HD housing and power supply and it's no longer available at NewEgg. I didn't check other source cause that's not the solution I'm looking for.

    I really need an external RAID to provide two levels of redundancy to my WHS.
    First, I need the added capacity to enable file duplication on the WHS side. With file duplication enabled I will need close to 2.7tb of available space.
    Second, I'd like RAID capability to ensure HD fault tolerance to the 4tb installed on the WHS. By adding a 4tb+ RAID sub-system I will be able to 'file duplicate' everything on the WHS.

    I'm just not comfortable with this much data not having at least two levels of protection.

    Any thoughts?
    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:44 PM
  • You're not going to get a lot of advice as to the best RAID box to buy in this forum, I'm afraid, because Windows Home Server in concert with RAID is an unsupported scenario. (It will normally work, but Microsoft doesn't intend RAID to be part of a WHS solution, and isn't interested in bugs that may result.)

    A couple of problems (off the top of my head) with your particular scenario:
    • RAID technology will not fully protect your data. In any production IT environment, regular backups are run for all data, because RAID arrays will fail and take their data with them.
    • You seem to think that Windows Home Server can be controlled in some fashion to force one copy of your files to exist on the internal drives, and a second copy on the external array. That isn't the case; Windows Home Server will choose where to store each copy of a file based on internal algorithms. Those algorithms favor drives that already have data; the result is that until the internal drives are almost full, your external array is likely to remain empty.
    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 6:27 PM
    Moderator
    • I am very familiar with RAID and understand that B/U's are integral to an overall data storage strategy. For my WHS I just wanted one more level of redundancy.
    • I understand that added external HD's whether in an array or as individual drives become part of the WHS 'pool' of storage.
    You've answered my questions and I appreciate the input.

    Friday, August 8, 2008 3:50 PM
  • I don't have personal experience with this, but here is a product from Buffalo Technology that is an external 4-bay SATA RAID enclosure.

     

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822165051R&Tpk=drivestation%2bquattro

     

    It's pretty expensive, and comes wiht 4x 500GB drives, so if you want more storage than that, you'd have to rip them out and replace them, but it's an option.

     

     

     

    Friday, August 8, 2008 5:40 PM
  •  

    A couple weeks ago I went to Fry's Electronics looking for the External 4-Bay eSata (Port Multiplier) Enclosure that Donavon refers to on HomeServerHacks.  I was told that they did not carry it, only the USB 2.0 version.  Yet, in todays Fry's sale paper (good 8/22 thru 8/26), they have the enclosure and at an unbelievable price.....$149.99.  That's $100.00 less than NewEgg.  Limit one per customer.  They also have the Seagate 1TB 32MB Sata Hard drives on sale for $159.99.  I bought two drives and the enclosure.  For now, I'm using one drive as a server backup drive and the other drive I just left alone.  I didn't add it to the storage pool, nor assign it as a backup drive.

     

    SilkRod

     

    p.s.

    My server is an HP MSS EX470.

     

    sr

    Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:03 AM
  •  kaylix wrote:
    • I am very familiar with RAID and understand that B/U's are integral to an overall data storage strategy. For my WHS I just wanted one more level of redundancy.
    • I understand that added external HD's whether in an array or as individual drives become part of the WHS 'pool' of storage.

    You've answered my questions and I appreciate the input.

     

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've understood external HDs are not automatically added to the WHS pool.  You have to add them manually.  That's how I plan on backing up the OS; using Acronis to an external drive (USB).

     

    The issue I had with RAID is the 2 TB size limit.  If you want more than 2 TB storage, you have to add another set, and that's when WHS starts load balancing between the two sets, or more, depending on what you have.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008 5:53 AM
  •  Matt Greer wrote:

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've understood external HDs are not automatically added to the WHS pool.  You have to add them manually.  That's how I plan on backing up the OS; using Acronis to an external drive (USB).

    No hard drive is automatically added to the storage pool, except hard drives that are present during installation (or during server setup, if working with an OEM server like the HP MediaSmart Server line).

     Matt Greer wrote:
    The issue I had with RAID is the 2 TB size limit.  If you want more than 2 TB storage, you have to add another set, and that's when WHS starts load balancing between the two sets, or more, depending on what you have.

    That's correct. Windows Home Server uses MBR style partition tables, which support a maximum of 2 TB. If you have an array that's larger than that, you need to create multiple volumes, and using them in the storage pool will involve Drive Extender. Note however that Drive Extender is a lot less aggressive after Power Pack 1 than it was previously.

    I still recommend against the use of RAID for WHS because it's an unsupported technology.
    Sunday, August 24, 2008 2:57 PM
    Moderator
  •   First before I ask the questions, let me layout my setup:

    1.  HP MediaSmart EX-470 Server w/500GB and 3-1TB Hard Drives.

    2.  Sans Digiatal External 4-Bay eSata (Port Multiplier) Enclosure w/two 1TB Hard Drives  (Two bays are empty).

            Note:  One of the external drives is part of the storage pool and the other is used to back up the server.

    Not thinking in advance about a possible size limitation, during Black Friday, I order two Seagate 7200.11 3GB/s 1.5TB Hard Drives from Newegg.  Couldn't pass up the price of $119.00 each.

    Questions:  1.  Will I be able to use these two 1.5TB drives in my two vacant bays of my eSata Enclosure?

                        2.  If so, how do I move the server backups from the 1TB drive to one of the 1.5TB drives?

    Thanks,

    SilkRod
    Monday, December 1, 2008 10:50 AM
  • I can see no reason why you couldn't put those drives in your external enclosure.

    Using in the storage pool: Some users have been reporting problems with WHS recognizing the first round of 1.5 TB drives. This could be nothing more than needing to format the drive.

    Using for server backups: you can't tell the server to "move" existing backups to the new drive. You can simply designate the new drive as a server backup drive, though, and use the current drive for other purposes.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 1, 2008 12:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken Warren said:

    I can see no reason why you couldn't put those drives in your external enclosure.

    Using in the storage pool: Some users have been reporting problems with WHS recognizing the first round of 1.5 TB drives. This could be nothing more than needing to format the drive.

    Using for server backups: you can't tell the server to "move" existing backups to the new drive. You can simply designate the new drive as a server backup drive, though, and use the current drive for other purposes.


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



    Thanks Ken.

    I got my two new 1.5TB drives and they both work just fine in the eSata enclosure.  I was able to add one to the storage pool and assign the other as a server backup drive.

    I will attempt to do a server backup to the new 1.5TB drive.  I'm just wondering will a complete backup be done, or will a subsequent backup be done.....based on previous backups done to the 1TB drive?  I'm about to do it, I'll let you know the outcome.

    Another question:  Is there any type of compression used in backing up the server shares?

    SilkRod
    Thursday, December 4, 2008 10:07 PM
  • A complete backup to the new drive will be done.

    No compression is used per se. However, subsequent backups of the same shares don't copy files that are already on the drive to the drive all over again, so you may be able to fit many backups of a share on a drive that seems only slightly larger than a single backup. WHS does this through "hard links", which are a form of reference to a file which exists elsewhere on a disk.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 4, 2008 10:36 PM
    Moderator