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How long will WHS 2011 updates continue? What's next? RRS feed

  • Question

  • My WHS 2011 continues to receive updates, though the Windows Server 2008 R2 platform upon which it is based supposedly reached the end of its life cycle in January. The Lifecycle Table entry for WHS 2011 only lists primary support until 2016 and no entry for extended support.

    When the retirement day comes, what options will there be for a low cost home server?

    • Use WHS 2011 without security updates?
    • Use current "Pro" desktop version of Windows (Win10 or whatever)?
    • I assume there will no longer be a Microsoft Home Server product, correct?
    • Switch to some flavor of Linux or other OS (suggestions?)
    • Other?

    What are the pros and cons of the above? What backup and media streaming options most closely duplicate WHS 2011?

    Dave H.

    WHS 2011
    Dell PowerEdge T30
    2 x 120GB SSDs
    1 x 1 TB HD, 3 x 2 TB HD
    StableBit Drive Pool

    Wednesday, April 29, 2020 7:07 PM

Answers

  • Dave

    This is an ongoing question that has no satisfactory answer - I guess WHS was indeed an excellent product. There are are many personal factors to be taken into account but here is my personal solution:

    • I have two WHS2011 Servers both backed up locally with the data on the first server backed up on the second. Remote access is not available on either but I can remotely access them using a VPN to my home Network. Security updates are less important under these circumstances although not ideal. Local PCs still back up to the first server.
    • My main Server is a W10 based machine (using Storage Spaces for drive pooling) with as much as possible of the standard stuff removed. It is used as a Media Server (using Plex), EMail (hMailServer) and backs up local PCs using Veeam (also backed up to WHS as above). It also runs Roon for HiFi music and various other applications.

    It's not as simple as using WHS but it works for me.

    Phil


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    • Marked as answer by FormerPE Monday, May 4, 2020 1:10 AM
    Saturday, May 2, 2020 10:33 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Windows Home Server 2011 End of Mainstream Support:
    https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-server-essentials-and/windows-home-server-2011-end-of-mainstream-support/ba-p/399076

    If possible, it is recommended to migrate your WHS to newer OS version.

    You can consider of Windows Server Essentials, it is designed for small business environment. Supports up to 25 users and 50 devices, and there is no necessary to purchase Windows Server CALs additionally. Windows Server 2012 – 2016 Essentials has similar function as WHS, such as centralized management for computers/users, built-in configuration wizard which simplify the configuration steps and etc. 

    Also, you can consider of Windows Server Standard, which includes 2 virtualization instances. And you need to purchase CALs for user/device which use the server service. It would be more expensive than Windows Server Essentials. 

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:42 AM
  • Dave

    This is an ongoing question that has no satisfactory answer - I guess WHS was indeed an excellent product. There are are many personal factors to be taken into account but here is my personal solution:

    • I have two WHS2011 Servers both backed up locally with the data on the first server backed up on the second. Remote access is not available on either but I can remotely access them using a VPN to my home Network. Security updates are less important under these circumstances although not ideal. Local PCs still back up to the first server.
    • My main Server is a W10 based machine (using Storage Spaces for drive pooling) with as much as possible of the standard stuff removed. It is used as a Media Server (using Plex), EMail (hMailServer) and backs up local PCs using Veeam (also backed up to WHS as above). It also runs Roon for HiFi music and various other applications.

    It's not as simple as using WHS but it works for me.

    Phil


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    • Marked as answer by FormerPE Monday, May 4, 2020 1:10 AM
    Saturday, May 2, 2020 10:33 PM
  • Eve:

    Thanks for the reply. I think I paid $60 for Windows Home Server 2011.  Windows Server Essentials is more than 5 times as expensive. That's prohibitive for me unless there is a low cost home version that is for personal/non-business use only.

    Dave

    Monday, May 4, 2020 1:07 AM
  • Phil:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. I'm trying to keep things simple, but it's looking like some type of hybrid solution may be needed if I want to keep costs low. Not sure which way I'll go, but you've given me some ideas and things to think about.

    Dave

    Monday, May 4, 2020 1:09 AM
  • Hi,

    It’s my pleasure.

    If there is anything else we can do for you, please feel free to post on the forum.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Monday, May 4, 2020 7:33 AM
  • Eve: I'm still considering WSE 2019 and have a few questions. (Should I post these separately in new posts?)

    • I have numerous client computer backups in WHS 2011 for both active and retired clients (about 1.5 TB). One must access these backups in WHS 2011 from a client machine through the dashboard. The backed-up files are in compressed form and cannot be accessed directly. Is there any way to preserve access to these files within WSE 2019?
    • Assuming the answer is no, can my current WHS 2011 physical server be converted to a virtual machine?
    • If so, can a WHS 2011 virtual machine be run on a host running WSE 2019 when access to those backups are necessary?
    • Could both WHS 2011 and WSE 2019 be set up to run as virtual machines on a Win 10 Pro host?

    Any insight would be appreciated.


    • Edited by FormerPE Thursday, May 7, 2020 5:19 PM
    Thursday, May 7, 2020 5:17 PM
  • Dave, I have been (was?) a long time faithful WHS user.  Did beta testing before V1 came out so many years ago.  Anyway, when Microsoft abandoned us WHS users I looked at a lot of options to see what would work best for me and also be in my price range.

    My existing WHS server(s) where composed of Core-2 Duo 3.00GHz Intel motherboards with 8GB memory and onboard Intel gigabit network, an 80GB drive for WHS and three 2TB drives for backups, file shares and server backups.  Motherboards were circa 2010; no where bleeding edge!

    I needed a server to firstly act as a file server, secondly to aid in the backup of my families small network computers (Windows, a Mac and a Linux box) and finally to act as a DLNA media server.

    First I took a serious look at Windows Server Essentials.  Started with version 2012 then looked at 2016 and finally looked into 2019.  Versions 2012 and 2016 both acted very much like WHS 2011, albeit with a much heavier footprint and hence, as they said in the movie, "going to need a bigger boat".  However, by the time I was ready to make the switch, only version 2019 was available and in that version Microsoft in all their great wisdom removed all the parts that made Essentials worth looking at.  Both versions 2012 and 2016 out of the box would do file serving, backups and media serving just like WHS, but version 2019, while it could do all of these things, they did not come easy.  So I gave up on Windows Server.

    Next, I looked at a product called Amahi.  This product looked promising, but because I run PiHole, it would not fit into my network without me making some major changes.  Might be worth a look for you though.

    As my background was in computing and systems management, I decided to take one of my existing WHS boxes, and build my own server using Ubuntu Server 19.10.  So I installed Ubuntu, added Samba for file sharing, Plex for media sharing and a few other utilities for managing the server.  Took me a couple of days to get everything working right, but it worked like a charm.  Lastly, I used a product called Veeam to backup my clients.  Copied all my data from my WHS box to this new box and ran in parallel for a couple of weeks.  Everything was going great till one fine day when my file share disk went south.  As I had two WHS servers, one backing the other one up, I didn't lose my data but did have to recreate it.  I didn't like doing this so I started looking into hardware RAID and such.

    This lead me to what became my final solution.  I'm now running FreeNAS and have been doing so for the past 7 months.  I trashed my Ubuntu system and loaded the FreeNAS software on it, configured Samba for my file shares, installed Plex for my media sharing and everything is going great.

    I adjusted my server hardware a bit using a 256GB SSD drive for boot and 4 x 4TB IronWolf NAS drives for storage.  One of the really nice things about FreeNAS is that is based upon FreeBSD and FreeBSD has supported a filesystem called ZFS for many years.  ZFS is basically a software RAID implementation and is probably the best filesystem available to prevent the loss of data.  My 4 x 4TB drives are configured into what is called RAIDZ2 pool.  The important thing is the final number in that name: 2.  So a RAIDZ2 pool can withstand the simultaneous failure of 2 drives before the pool itself fails. That's why I upped the WHS drives from 3 x 2TB to 4 x 4TB, because the RAIDZ2 uses about a drive and a half for redundancy.

    I created Samba shares for all my normal WHS data.  In addition I created a share for my client backups and then pointed my Veeam software at this share as a place to store the backups.  One of the great things about Veeam is that it comes with a Bare Metal Restore build in and when software is installed on each client system, it creates an ISO for recover which include all required drivers.  WHS failed me on this when it would not load proper network drivers and so made it difficult to do BMRs.

    Finally, Plex Media Server is one of the standard packages offered by FreeNAS.  Plex run's in what is called a Jail so should something go terribly wrong or some virus gets into Plex it is firewalled against the rest of the system.  ClamAV (a free anti virus) is also a standard install from FreeNAS, and can be run against your file shares just to be safe.

    FreeNAS takes a little effort to set up and get running, but is not that difficult.  The documentation is great and the online help, while acerbic at times, is usually outstanding.

    Hope this gave you somethings to think about.  If you want more information or just have questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

    I am not an employee or shill for FreeNAS, just an old retired computer geek.

    Greg ...

    Thursday, July 2, 2020 12:28 AM