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Should I use drive extender for my media server RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all,

    I am having to reinstall my home media server this weekend which was running on windows 7 pro but I am considering using WHS instead. I use windows media center for all my TV recording via 3 hauppauge cards giving 4 freeview inputs and 1 freesat input (situated in UK) and also store all my movies, tv series, music etc across 7 internal drives (2 x 2tb 5 x 1tb). The movies etc are streamed around the house to 2 popcorn hour units and a Couple of Dlink media centers.

    Not having used WHS before it seems from what I have picked up in forums that WHS will do what I need but I am concerned about the disk spanning feature, I like the idea of having all drives spanned for simple management but due to the size of my drives I am unable to create backups of everything so need to be certain that using WHS disk spanning is safe in that I cannot lose all content if 1 drive fails. At present all drives are kept seperate under different drive letters and are pretty full so adding each drive to the system is going to be a logistical nightmare as I assume that all drives are wiped as they are added to the spanned array which means I have to juggle content from drive to drive throughout the install process. I also need to be certain that spanning the disks wont create any issues with data transfer speeds as I also have my BluRay disks backed up onto the media server for streaming which works fine at the moment but any speed decreases could cause stuttering etc. Also is there any maximum limit to the spanned array as it is possible that over time I will replace the 5 1tb drives with 2tb drives which would give me a total of 14tb, would this be a problem.

    My final concern is if I need to revert back to standard volumes for any reason how simple is it to do this without losing all my existing data. With these facts in mind would it still be advisable to use the WHS disk spanning facility as opposed to just simply having the drives as seperate volumes.

    If anyone could offer advice on the above concerns it would be appreciated.

     

    Thanks in advance for any help.

     

     

    Friday, July 30, 2010 2:25 PM

All replies

  • Hi all,

    I am having to reinstall my home media server this weekend which was running on windows 7 pro but I am considering using WHS instead. I use windows media center for all my TV recording via 3 hauppauge cards giving 4 freeview inputs and 1 freesat input (situated in UK) and also store all my movies, tv series, music etc across 7 internal drives (2 x 2tb 5 x 1tb). The movies etc are streamed around the house to 2 popcorn hour units and a Couple of Dlink media centers. 

    WHS uses Windows Media Connect 2.0 for streaming.  So as long as your devices can stream from WMC or from a traditional network share, it should work.

    Not having used WHS before it seems from what I have picked up in forums that WHS will do what I need but I am concerned about the disk spanning feature, I like the idea of having all drives spanned for simple management but due to the size of my drives I am unable to create backups of everything so need to be certain that using WHS disk spanning is safe in that I cannot lose all content if 1 drive fails.

    Correct.  In the current version of WHS, each file is stored in its entirety on a single drive (so if a drive fails, you only lose what is on that drive).

    At present all drives are kept seperate under different drive letters and are pretty full so adding each drive to the system is going to be a logistical nightmare as I assume that all drives are wiped as they are added to the spanned array which means I have to juggle content from drive to drive throughout the install process.

    Correct.

    I also need to be certain that spanning the disks wont create any issues with data transfer speeds as I also have my BluRay disks backed up onto the media server for streaming which works fine at the moment but any speed decreases could cause stuttering etc.

    I don't know about 1080p, but I am able to stream 720p to my Xbox360 (the only reason I stream 720p instead of 1080p is because my 360 is wireless and the signal strength isn't strong enough to stream 1080p consistently).

    Also is there any maximum limit to the spanned array as it is possible that over time I will replace the 5 1tb drives with 2tb drives which would give me a total of 14tb, would this be a problem.

    No.

    My final concern is if I need to revert back to standard volumes for any reason how simple is it to do this without losing all my existing data.

    The drives are formatted as NTFS drives so they can be read in any computer.

    With these facts in mind would it still be advisable to use the WHS disk spanning facility as opposed to just simply having the drives as seperate volumes.

    If anyone could offer advice on the above concerns it would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    You might want to check the MS WHS website for additional details.  There is some good material there (including Technical Briefs that get more "in-depth" in the OS).

    Friday, July 30, 2010 3:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the quick response, it looks as though this will be worth a go, if all fails I can always go back to windows 7 just dont want to risk losing data.

    Your info has helped a lot and put my mind at rest.

    Friday, July 30, 2010 3:33 PM
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the quick response, it looks as though this will be worth a go, if all fails I can always go back to windows 7 just dont want to risk losing data.

    Your info has helped a lot and put my mind at rest.

    Just to make sure you don't have any issues, you can always download and install the 30-day trial version of it.
    Friday, July 30, 2010 3:39 PM
    Moderator