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Hard Drive Size and Disaster Prevention RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have been using WHS for a few months and just upgraded to the licensed version. I need to add/reconfigure hard drive space and plan on adding some removable hard drives (we are in a potential forest fire area and I want to be able to pull up my hard drives and leave if necessary).

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) I understand that the SYS volume and the primary DATA volume are on the primary (boot) hard drive. I also understand that the primary DATA volume is not used unless all the other drives are full. My current primary drive is 80 GB. My sons' computer only has a 20 GB drive that is nearly full. Do you think it would be okay to use their 20 GB drive as my primary drive (and give them my 80 GB drive which would be the goal of this maneuver)? I understand that the SYS volume uses about 10 GB leaving about 10 GB free. I plan to have more than enough storage on my other drives (probably 2 x 1 TB SATA).

    2) Am I correct in assuming that in the worst-case scenario I could pull out my two removable data drives and if I did end up losing all my computers to a disaster, I could slip those drives into a newly rebuilt WHS and then restore all my other network computers (or at least their data as I would have to buy new computers)?

    Is there a better way to prepare for physical disaster?

    Thanks,

    Mitch
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 1:25 AM

Answers

  • Makman said:

    I have been using WHS for a few months and just upgraded to the licensed version. I need to add/reconfigure hard drive space and plan on adding some removable hard drives (we are in a potential forest fire area and I want to be able to pull up my hard drives and leave if necessary).

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) I understand that the SYS volume and the primary DATA volume are on the primary (boot) hard drive. I also understand that the primary DATA volume is not used unless all the other drives are full. My current primary drive is 80 GB. My sons' computer only has a 20 GB drive that is nearly full. Do you think it would be okay to use their 20 GB drive as my primary drive (and give them my 80 GB drive which would be the goal of this maneuver)?
     

    No.  WHS will not install on a drive less than 80 GB.

    Makman said:

    I understand that the SYS volume uses about 10 GB leaving about 10 GB free. I plan to have more than enough storage on my other drives (probably 2 x 1 TB SATA).

    2) Am I correct in assuming that in the worst-case scenario I could pull out my two removable data drives and if I did end up losing all my computers to a disaster, I could slip those drives into a newly rebuilt WHS and then restore all my other network computers (or at least their data as I would have to buy new computers)?

    That depends on whether or not the entire backup database is stored on those 2 drives (plus the fact that your server would have had to survive your disaster, which most likely wouldn't happen if all of the other computers didn't).  To be honest, I wouldn't count on it.

    Makman said:

    Is there a better way to prepare for physical disaster?

    Thanks,

    Mitch

    You should backup your shares to an external drive and take it off-site.  As for your PC backups, there is a way to back it up (either through a procedure written here, or an add-in that effectively automates the process).
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 3:29 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Makman said:

    I have been using WHS for a few months and just upgraded to the licensed version. I need to add/reconfigure hard drive space and plan on adding some removable hard drives (we are in a potential forest fire area and I want to be able to pull up my hard drives and leave if necessary).

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) I understand that the SYS volume and the primary DATA volume are on the primary (boot) hard drive. I also understand that the primary DATA volume is not used unless all the other drives are full. My current primary drive is 80 GB. My sons' computer only has a 20 GB drive that is nearly full. Do you think it would be okay to use their 20 GB drive as my primary drive (and give them my 80 GB drive which would be the goal of this maneuver)?
     

    No.  WHS will not install on a drive less than 80 GB.

    Makman said:

    I understand that the SYS volume uses about 10 GB leaving about 10 GB free. I plan to have more than enough storage on my other drives (probably 2 x 1 TB SATA).

    2) Am I correct in assuming that in the worst-case scenario I could pull out my two removable data drives and if I did end up losing all my computers to a disaster, I could slip those drives into a newly rebuilt WHS and then restore all my other network computers (or at least their data as I would have to buy new computers)?

    That depends on whether or not the entire backup database is stored on those 2 drives (plus the fact that your server would have had to survive your disaster, which most likely wouldn't happen if all of the other computers didn't).  To be honest, I wouldn't count on it.

    Makman said:

    Is there a better way to prepare for physical disaster?

    Thanks,

    Mitch

    You should backup your shares to an external drive and take it off-site.  As for your PC backups, there is a way to back it up (either through a procedure written here, or an add-in that effectively automates the process).
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 3:29 AM
    Moderator
  • Ok, I guess I will buy them a new drive.

    So if I leave the 80 gig drive in as my primary drive, I should get 2 new (large) drives with one being external or removable. Then I can take or keep the external drive off site, and if disaster strikes I will have my shares and my backup database safe and sound.

    If I do physically lose all computers including the WHS, I would need to get a new WHS and restore my backups and shares. This can be done with completely different hardware?

    Thanks

    Mitch
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:58 AM
  • Hi,

    If you have copied off your Backups and Shared Folders copies to the external drive, then yes, they can be copied back to a new server.
    Note though, that in your scenario, (loosing all computers etc), that your Backups will be of no practical use.
    These backups are designed as disaster restore to the same hardware. In all probability, any new Client hardware will be different, so it would not boot or be stable with the old software. You would however, be able to open one of the Backups and copy files from it.

    Colin

    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 5:52 PM
    Moderator
  • Colin Hodgson said:

    Hi,

    If you have copied off your Backups and Shared Folders copies to the external drive, then yes, they can be copied back to a new server.
    Note though, that in your scenario, (loosing all computers etc), that your Backups will be of no practical use.
    These backups are designed as disaster restore to the same hardware. In all probability, any new Client hardware will be different, so it would not boot or be stable with the old software. You would however, be able to open one of the Backups and copy files from it.

    Colin


    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.



    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for getting back to me. Yes I realize that I could only retrieve the data and I would have to reinstall all the programs from scratch to a brand-new machine. However that is true any time a backed up computer dies and cannot be repaired but must be replaced, isn't it?

    I have a question about my initial scenario. Assuming I left the 80 gig hard drive as my primary drive and installed two removable 1 TB drives. If I do nothing else and there is a risk that some of my shares in the backup database may be on the primary drive which I would lose because it would not remove it .

    If I turn on file duplication for my shares, and using the above add-in turn on file duplication for my backup database, wouldn't I accomplish the same thing as backing up to an external drive? I would be able to pull out both drives in the event of a disaster and have at least one copy of my shares and my backup database.

    I have not fully explored that add-in, but on brief review it looks like database duplication is done automatically but a database backup is a manual procedure. That is why I am asking.

    Thanks,

    Mitch

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:13 PM
  • Yes,

    If those drives are easily removeable, then there is no reason why they couldn't be removed and used.
    Do not though, that the drive used for the Shared Folders backup has to be designated as such when it is installed into the server - The Wizard asks you if you want to use this drive as part of the Storage Pool, or as a backup drive. So, if these drives you are talking about have been utilised that way, then no problem.

    The rational behind the Shared Folders Backup facility was to allow users to have multiple portable drives and rotate them off-site on a regular basis. WHS recognises these drives specifically, so can differentiate between these rotating drives. That means for example, that when the off-site drive is returned to the server, it knows to only copy over changed files since it was last connected. It's just a pity that this has to be triggered manually.
    Personally, as well of using this, I also run a scheduled copy to a NAS device as well.

    Colin

    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:31 PM
    Moderator
  • Okay but I am talking about file duplication for shared folders, not shared folders backup. This goes to a second drive in the storage pool, doesn't it? Similarly, with duplication turned on for the database, this would go to a second drive in the storage pool as well, wouldn't it? This would all be automated. The only thing I would not have would-be off-site storage.

    I am not sure if I will use removable drives or external drives. I am still researching the fastest transfer rate based on connection type.

    Thanks,

    Mitch
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:44 PM
  •  Hi,
    Yes - in theory - don't forget that if there are more than two drives in the Server, then some files might be duplicated across drives A and B, while other files might be duplicated across A and C, or even B and C. It would be transparent to the user either way. To be sure you had them all, you would have to take all data drives; that's why the separate drive option was set up.

    Colin

    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:51 PM
    Moderator
  • Hmmm, I am not sure if this will screw up my plan. For some reason in my mind I thought that if the share is duplicated then the entire duplicate folder would be on one drive. However what you are saying is that if I have my 80 gigabyte primary drive and my two 1 TB removable drives, files from say a user's share or the music share could be on all three drives. Since there has to be two copies on two different drives of each file, by removing all the removable drives I would have to have at least one copy of each file and sometimes two, if a particular file happened to be duplicated across the two removable drives. When I built the new WHS (after the disaster) and added the two removable drives, would WHS figure out the shares or would I have to manually do something to put the shares back together?

    Same question if I do database duplication using the add-in? Would WHS be able to put together a full database from the two newly added removable drives?

    Thanks

    Mitch

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:04 PM
  • Hi,

    On your newly built server you would have to manually copy across any files you needed onto this server, there is no automated method of WHS itself doing this.
    Another point to note is that the Client Backups are in a database in 4GB 'chunks'. That means that although when you open one of these Backups and see a full copy of the Clients' drive(s), WHS has in fact rebuilt this from the initial and various incremental backups thats been done each night.

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:16 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Okay so I am trying to envision the process after a disaster. I would build or purchase a new computer and install WHS software. I would then re-create each user account. I would then plug in the new drives and would WHS recognize the backup database?
    I would then have to fix the shares using ?Windows Explorer? to find the old shares and drag them to the new shares?

    What if I added the drives prior to installing WHS? Could I then do a server reinstall? I have read elsewhere in this forum that people have said if your primary drive dies you simply have to pop in a new one and do a server reinstall. My scenario would kind of be a similar situation.

    It perhaps is starting to sound simpler to plug in an external drive and do the manual backup of the shares and database. However if you have a big database it must take forever to back it up using the add-in. Does it?

    Thanks

    Mitch
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:34 PM
  • Sorry, I still have some questions about restoring a backup database. Assume I were to lose all my clients and my server and I had to rebuild a new server. Could I just restore the backup database that I kept at an off-site location? Is it as simple as restoring it to the correct folder on the new WHS box either manually or with the add-in? Would WHS then allow me access to the data in the backups?

    How long does it take to backup the database to an external drive? I realize this depends on the connection and the database size, but a rough idea would be helpful.

    Thanks,

    Mitch

     

    Friday, March 6, 2009 2:36 AM
  • Makman said:

    Hi,

    Okay so I am trying to envision the process after a disaster. I would build or purchase a new computer and install WHS software. I would then re-create each user account. I would then plug in the new drives and would WHS recognize the backup database?
    I would then have to fix the shares using ?Windows Explorer? to find the old shares and drag them to the new shares?

    If you lost everything, you would have to copy your data from your external drive(s) back to the server through the network shares or through the backup database add-in.

    Makman said:

    What if I added the drives prior to installing WHS? Could I then do a server reinstall?
     

    No.  Those drives were never part of a storage pool.  It doesn't work like that.

    Makman said:

    I have read elsewhere in this forum that people have said if your primary drive dies you simply have to pop in a new one and do a server reinstall. My scenario would kind of be a similar situation.

    No, it's not.  Your drives were not ever part of a storage pool.  You cannot use a backup drive as part of a Server Reinstallation.

    Makman said:

    It perhaps is starting to sound simpler to plug in an external drive and do the manual backup of the shares and database. However if you have a big database it must take forever to back it up using the add-in. Does it?

    Thanks

    Mitch



    Friday, March 6, 2009 5:59 AM
    Moderator
  • Makman said:

    Sorry, I still have some questions about restoring a backup database. Assume I were to lose all my clients and my server and I had to rebuild a new server. Could I just restore the backup database that I kept at an off-site location? Is it as simple as restoring it to the correct folder on the new WHS box either manually or with the add-in? Would WHS then allow me access to the data in the backups?

    Yep.  You might want to check the MS WHS site for more details about the product works as well.

    Makman said:

    How long does it take to backup the database to an external drive? I realize this depends on the connection and the database size, but a rough idea would be helpful.

    Thanks,

    Mitch

     

    Like you said, it depends on how much data you're talking about.
    Friday, March 6, 2009 6:01 AM
    Moderator
  • kariya21 said:

    Makman said:

    What if I added the drives prior to installing WHS? Could I then do a server reinstall?
     

    No.  Those drives were never part of a storage pool.  It doesn't work like that.




    Sorry to be confusing. Actually, for that question I meant if I had taken out my 2 removable drives that were part of the storage pool in my initial scenario (which included a non removable primary drive and 2 removable drives). However, I now realize that I may have part of the backup database on the primary drive. If there was a way to make sure that the backup database (and the shares) were solely on the 2 removable drives than I could put those in my new computer with a new unused primary drive, do the server reinstall, and be done. Right?

    I wonder If my primary drive can be removable too (not a WHS question, just a general hardware question-something like this:
    http://kingwin.com/product_pages/kf4000-bk.asp )?

    Thanks

    Mitch

    Friday, March 6, 2009 6:57 AM
  • Makman said:

    Sorry to be confusing. Actually, for that question I meant if I had taken out my 2 removable drives that were part of the storage pool in my initial scenario (which included a non removable primary drive and 2 removable drives). However, I now realize that I may have part of the backup database on the primary drive. If there was a way to make sure that the backup database (and the shares) were solely on the 2 removable drives than I could put those in my new computer with a new unused primary drive, do the server reinstall, and be done. Right?

    First, I would advise against using USB drives as part of the storage pool (other users have had issues with drives disappearing and reappearing, most likely due to the power saving features in the enclosures).  Having said that, you can do a Server Reinstallation no matter where the data is.  Worst case scenario is you just copy the left-over data from your old primary drive to your server shares through the network.  (And no, you can't control which drive contains which data, if any.)

    Makman said:

    I wonder If my primary drive can be removable too (not a WHS question, just a general hardware question-something like this:
    http://kingwin.com/product_pages/kf4000-bk.asp )?

    Thanks

    Mitch


    If you install the drivers for the controller, it's theoretically possible (although even if it did work, it will be more trouble down the line for a Reinstallation).  I wouldn't advise it.  Besides, why would you want to?  If you are concerned about disaster recovery, you need to assume your entire server is gone (hard drives and all) in the disaster and base your recovery plan on that (meaning off-site backups).

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 12:03 AM
    Moderator
  • kariya21 said:

    Makman said:

    Sorry to be confusing. Actually, for that question I meant if I had taken out my 2 removable drives that were part of the storage pool in my initial scenario (which included a non removable primary drive and 2 removable drives). However, I now realize that I may have part of the backup database on the primary drive. If there was a way to make sure that the backup database (and the shares) were solely on the 2 removable drives than I could put those in my new computer with a new unused primary drive, do the server reinstall, and be done. Right?

    First, I would advise against using USB drives as part of the storage pool (other users have had issues with drives disappearing and reappearing, most likely due to the power saving features in the enclosures).  Having said that, you can do a Server Reinstallation no matter where the data is.  Worst case scenario is you just copy the left-over data from your old primary drive to your server shares through the network.  (And no, you can't control which drive contains which data, if any.)

    Makman said:

    I wonder If my primary drive can be removable too (not a WHS question, just a general hardware question-something like this:
    http://kingwin.com/product_pages/kf4000-bk.asp )?

    Thanks

    Mitch


    If you install the drivers for the controller, it's theoretically possible (although even if it did work, it will be more trouble down the line for a Reinstallation).  I wouldn't advise it.  Besides, why would you want to?  If you are concerned about disaster recovery, you need to assume your entire server is gone (hard drives and all) in the disaster and base your recovery plan on that (meaning off-site backups).

    I did not mean USB drives. I was thinking more along the lines of the SATA enclosures I linked to.( http://kingwin.com/product_pages/kf4000-bk.asp )

    The reason I want to, is that in our neck of the woods, sometimes people are given evacuation orders. It would be nice to eject the drives and leave. I suppose I can take the whole server. The off site backup would be for the times we had no warning.

    Thanks, Mitch
    Saturday, March 7, 2009 1:39 AM