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Setup without formatting? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a Promise Supertrak EX16350 controller with 16 * 500GB drives in a RAID6 configuration.  It is being run on Windows Server 2003.  I was running Vista Home Premium before this and was getting around 400MB/sec read speed but when I switched to W2K3 server, speed dropped to less than that of a *single* SATA hard drive and I now get around 40MB/sec.  This is with no change in the array.

    Vista was giving me problems with other hardware so neither Vista nor W2K3 server work.  I would like to try WHS but can I get my existing array going without formatting it?  I do not have a place to backup the entire array.  If I can't use it without formatting then I absolutely cannot use WHS.

    Also, can I install standard software on WHS like Apache and PHP?  I have a list of programs/server applications I run on my server and can only consider WHS if it allows me to install them.
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 5:23 PM

All replies

  • WHS won't install without formatting the initial boot drive. There is no user intervention possible, and it is programmed to provide a C: partion of 20GB, with the remainder being formatted as drive D:

    Also, Raid operations aren't a supported scenario with WHS, although people who have tried it, report success.

    As far as Apache and PHP go, there is no reason why they wouldn't work just fine; you just have to configure so the ports used don't conflict with the WHS ports.

     

    Colin

     

    Sunday, December 30, 2007 6:25 PM
  • I understand that the boot drive must be formatted and that is absolutely okay.  But once WHS is up and running, can I plug in my RAID card and import the RAID array without formatting it?  For example: when I was running Vista, I had my array running great and then just rebooted, installed W2K3 Server on the main OS drive.  Then, after installing the RAID card drivers, it showed up in the management console as a new drive.  I think I had to import it or initalize it or something.  After this, I could mount the array and take ownership of all the files.  At this point, all my data was accessible to w2K3 server.

    Can I do something like this with WHS?  If I install my RAID drivers will WHS see the 7TB drive and allow it to be used without formatting it?  It is NTFS.
    I understand that the boot drive must be formatted and that is absolutely okay.  But once WHS is up and running, can I plug in my RAID card and import the RAID array without formatting it?  For example: when I was running Vista, I had my array running great and then just rebooted, installed W2K3 Server on the main OS drive.  Then, after installing the RAID card drivers, it showed up in the management console as a new drive.  I think I had to import it or initalize it or something.  After this, I could mount the array and take ownership of all the files.  At this point, all my data was accessible to w2K3 server.

    Can I do something like this with WHS?  If I install my RAID drivers will WHS see the 7TB drive and allow it to be used without formatting it?  It is NTFS.
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 7:49 PM
  • I started a new thread accidentally but I'll continue here too.

    I don't mind the initial format to install the OS--I always do that anyway.  I'm talking about when it is installed and I want to import my 7TB RAID array.  Can I then start using it without formatting it?  It is NTFS.
    Sunday, December 30, 2007 7:54 PM
  • (merged threads...)

    You will not be able to use your 7 TB array as part of the storage pool, no matter what you do. First, Windows Home Server would format the array when it's added to the pool, so you will lose any data on it. Second, Windows Home Server doesn't use GPT disks, only MBR disks, so when the array is formatted, you will lose access to 5 TB of storage (assuming you have that space in a single large array).

    What you can do is install Windows Home Server but no RAID drivers. Then install the RAID drivers "after the fact", but don't add the array to the storage pool. You will be able to manage the array just as you would on any other operating system. You will have to create shares, manage permissions, etc. yourself, I'm afraid, and that storage space won't be available for client PC backups, won't participate in the share duplication that Windows Home Server offers, and in general will be exactly like it is today.
    Monday, December 31, 2007 12:30 AM
    Moderator
  • That may work for me.  At this point, I could care less about backup stuff, etc.  Our client computers store literally next to no data because everything goes on the server and backups are handled from there by me.  The only reason I would go through all this hassle is to see if it will fix my slowdown with W2K3 server and I have to admit it may be neat.

    I would like to handle permissions myself.

    So after reading your post, it appears that perhaps the whole "no more letters" thing deals with only the shared drive portion.  So perhaps the actual OS (for installing programs, etc.) still uses letters.  So I can still mount the RAID array and use it, right?

    I'm going to keep my W2K3 Server OS drive unplugged through the installation so I can revert back to it if I decide I want to.
    Monday, December 31, 2007 1:26 AM
  • I have to warn you, Windows Home Server is built on Windows Server 2003. You are unlikely to see better performance out of WHS than W2K3; likely you'll see worse performance, because of the features that support the storage pool. So I would advise you to order the 120 day evaluation from Microsoft and determine whether Windows Home Server can meet your needs before you commit to it.
    Monday, December 31, 2007 3:27 AM
    Moderator
  • I am using the trial.  Initial tests look like it is in fact faster and basically that it fixed my slowdown problem.  I'll know for sure in a little bit.  A drive in my RAID array failed (RAID6) so its rebuilding.  Tests are still much faster than I was getting with w2K3 server but they can probably be even faster when its not degraded and rebuilding.
    Monday, December 31, 2007 4:16 PM
  •  

     

    Ben,

     

     BenN600 wrote:

    So after reading your post, it appears that perhaps the whole "no more letters" thing deals with only the shared drive portion.  So perhaps the actual OS (for installing programs, etc.) still uses letters.  So I can still mount the RAID array and use it, right?

     

    That's right, any drives,(including your array,) that are not added to the storage pool, will be external to the 'shared drive' portion and so will have their own drive letters.

     

    It would be worthwhile doing as much 'fiddling' as you have time for, as the possible changes to 2003 might well manifest themselves in subtle ways that aren't readily apparent

     

     

    Colin

    Monday, December 31, 2007 5:54 PM