locked
Alternatives to WHS/Vail? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Now that WHS-Vail is no longer a viable product for many of us (due to the removal of DE), and WHS V1 will not be supported forever, does anyone have any suggestions on alternatives?   I'll stick with WHS v1 as long as I can, but I would really like to move to a higher performance 64bit server platform.


    Too bad Vail has been gutted and is no longer worth a look.   It had great potential (assuming the risks were removed of course).

    • Changed type kariya21Moderator Friday, December 10, 2010 8:52 PM not a technical question
    Saturday, November 27, 2010 7:59 PM

All replies

  • I'd be interested to know too. I'll revert back to WHS V1 for now, but want to migrate to a better solution, now that Vail isn't going to be that solution.

     

    I don't think FreeNAS yet does duplication.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 9:25 PM
  • DId you *move* from V1 to Vail.. quite risky (especially given the current known issues in Vail..) ? brrrr.....

    I'd be interested to know too. I'll revert back to WHS V1 for now, but want to migrate to a better solution, now that Vail isn't going to be that solution.

     

    I don't think FreeNAS yet does duplication.


    Have a nice day!
    Saturday, November 27, 2010 9:44 PM
  • There's Amahi at http://amahi.org which is Linux based. It also has this thing called Greyhole which is like WHS DE but free...

    Check out this link:  http://blog.amahi.org/2010/11/26/whs-vail-fail-drive-extender-greyhole-and-you/

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 9:53 PM
  • I was looking around too.  I'll probably stick with WHS v1 for a while.

    FlexRAID looks interesting.   But it seems fairly young and I'm not sure I trust it yet.  My data tends to largely be write-once, archival type data so it might be a good fit I guess.

    I was looking at the DROBO stuff, but I've just seen too many bad reviews of it in various capacities.

    But I'm starting to wonder at just springing for the extra space and using dynamic disks/RAID-5.  I just bought a 2TB disk for $79.  Rather than spending time and effort worrying myself over MS deserting WHS (which they appear to be doing) I can just buy an extra disk or two and be done with it.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 9:57 PM
  • I'd like to see some more suggestions for an alternative OS here as well.  The problem with trying to implement RAID as mentioned above is that, if you haven't been purchasing enterprise class ready drives, (which are more expensive than the standard green drives) the drives you already own may not work well in a RAID configuration (e.g. google using WD green drives in RAID).  So in addition to buying a good RAID card you would probably have to buy new drives as well (which MS says is an acceptable cost ;-)

    My feature list in decending order of priority is:

    1. Household-wide file server (we keep all of our files on the WHS; not locally)
    2. Duplicated data on the server and the ability to back-up locally and online
    3. Outside access via a web site (or VPN if easily set-up and freely available)
    4. Relatively easy user configuration
    5. Media streaming for music, video and pictures to Xbox/PS3
    6. I'd prefer a Windows solution to run games on the server but guess I could try to use Linux if no other options

    I've looked at Amahi and it looks like it may fill those needs but it's clearly not as easy to set up as WHS (I've never really used Linux).  However, I'm a bit concerned that the Greyhole is still maturing (among other things).  It looks like many of us will now have to learn Linux...

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:40 PM
  • I'll stick to WHS v1 until a turnkey system becomes available.  I looked at some of the alternatives, and they all have limitations of features, require a learning curve for implementation, or significant cost, IMO.
    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 12:49 AM
  • I would also be interested in an alternative. I am thinking about going with a standard 2008 R2 x64 build but not sure how I would get around what DE offers - mulitple mixed drives in a single pool. I am only really interested in the following:

    Not having to use RAID
    Client-side server hard drive monitoring (SMART, disk space etc)

    That's it. Not really bothered about remote access or client alerts (virus software etc) or PC backups. Being in IT I am more than capable of manually creating user accounts and shared folders myself.

    I don't really want to hang around as i'd like to make use of SMB 2.0 in 2008 R2, and could end up waiting for something that might never happen!

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 7:49 AM
  • There's Amahi at http://amahi.org which is Linux based. It also has this thing called Greyhole which is like WHS DE but free...

    Check out this link:  http://blog.amahi.org/2010/11/26/whs-vail-fail-drive-extender-greyhole-and-you/

    Not very encouraging, no design documentation, no code comments etc. Free as in 'my time has no value while I figure it out from scratch' is not an alternative to DE.

    The challenge is in testing this to your satisfaction that you can recover your data. With 8 drives and > 7TB of actual data this is a daunting task.

    Sorry to be down on what is obviously a lot of effort on the part of volunteers. I have spent far too many days on FreeSWITCH, Asterisk, Linux, OpenWRT etc to want that as an alternative to WHS. I do enjoy using the aforementioned SW but I need the Home Server to be mindless and headless to operate. IOW I need an appliance, not a tinker toy. I cant imagine telling my better half that I need to stay up all night to get her music back online.

    I will gladly wait to see what MS provides in the next Vail beta. It was brave to admit they couldn't solve the issues, but I wouldn't count them out. The key is seamless space across drives, everything else has alternatives.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 2:56 PM
  • … The key is seamless space across drives, everything else has alternatives.

    Even "seamless" isn't an absolute. A reasonably intelligent wizard that helps you manage your shares would probably be enough for expansion across drives. It would certainly be good enough for my brother in law, who's not even at the level of "Excel jockey" technically.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 3:22 PM
    Moderator
  • FreeNAS might be an option since it has ZFS. Havent tested it out though. Will do it and post to the forums.
    Anything that doesnt have a self limiting factor is of the devil.
    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 4:54 PM
  • I'll stick with WHS1 for the forseeable future.  I may have an issue when it comes to >2TB disks, but I'm currently cycling my 1.5's out for 2TB disks so some time yet (and have not had any issues with the advanced format disks so far using WD EARS and Samsung F4s).

    I haven't seen any viable alternatives to WHS.  There are a number of alternatives that come close, Amahi in particular, from a technical standpoint, but there are none that have the simplicity in terms of setup and use as WHS that I have seen or tried.  After running RAID servers and NAS boxes before WHS I don't want to go back to that, and the administration time needed, particularly when expanding storage.  I just want something that works with the minimum of fuss.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 6:04 PM
  • I'm going to rebuild my WHS1 box now instead of waiting.  There wasn't really anything in Vail I needed and I can buy another drive instead of the software.  I recon a new build should be good for a couple of years and if I need vast amounts of storage the case ( Proliant ML110 G4) could take up to seven drives if use the 5.25 bays and buy a SATA card.

     

    In that time a decent alternative should emerge.  Forget the cloud, I'm living out of town and I doubt I 'll seem more that 1M broadband in the near future.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 10:22 PM
  • For those who have a Technet subscription, wouldn't Windows Storage Server be an option?  My impression (which may be incorrect) was that WSS is pretty similar in many ways to WHS but targeted at small businesses.  Without a Technet subscription I imagine WSS is fairly expensive and therefore not a great plan for a home user.  
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 3:01 PM
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 is an OEM only product, and yes, it's more expensive than Windows Home Server (I think around $3,000 minimum). It also doesn't offer consumer-oriented features like automatic client backups, media streaming, remote access, etc.

    Also, note that Technet software such as operating systems, servers, etc. isn't intended for production use (with the exception of the SQL Server Desktop Engine, I believe). Because the software on Technet typically has no time limits, lots of people treat it as "all you can eat Microsoft stuff", but that's because Microsoft can't block that type of use without also blocking legitimate use of the software. In other words, using your Technet subscription to run production servers is software piracy.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 3:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 is an OEM only product, and yes, it's more expensive than Windows Home Server (I think around $3,000 minimum). It also doesn't offer consumer-oriented features like automatic client backups, media streaming, remote access, etc.

    Also, note that Technet software such as operating systems, servers, etc. isn't intended for production use (with the exception of the SQL Server Desktop Engine, I believe). Because the software on Technet typically has no time limits, lots of people treat it as "all you can eat Microsoft stuff", but that's because Microsoft can't block that type of use without also blocking legitimate use of the software. In other words, using your Technet subscription to run production servers is software piracy.


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

    I may well be wrong, but I swear I heard one of the guys on the homeservershow podcast talking about this exact scenario - using WSS as a replacement for WHS.  He described it as roughly the same thing, but gives you 20 users instead of 10.  Whatever, just throwing it out there.

    I personally have a technet subscription and use a number of different MS products in my home as a result.  My understanding is that I'm allowed to do that.  Paul Thurott himself has been encouraging people to do this many times on his blog.  Is my home usage of these products considered a "production" environment?  The consensus I'm getting is no.  

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 4:35 PM
  • … Is my home usage of these products considered a "production" environment?  The consensus I'm getting is no.  
    Microsoft isn't likely to chase you down for it, but yes, it probably does qualify as "production". You're not testing the software, you're using it. Technet lets you test and evaluate. Same with MSDN; the software in MSDN isn't intended for "production" use either, with (I think) a couple of exceptions. And, again, Microsoft isn't going to chase you down for diong it.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:22 PM
    Moderator
  • DId you *move* from V1 to Vail.. quite risky (especially given the current known issues in Vail..) ? brrrr.....

    I'd be interested to know too. I'll revert back to WHS V1 for now, but want to migrate to a better solution, now that Vail isn't going to be that solution.

     

    I don't think FreeNAS yet does duplication.


    Have a nice day!
    Yes - I did. I do however have off-site backups for my important files. (I don't consider ripped CD's and DVD's as important media, as I have the originals, I can re-rip).
    Friday, December 3, 2010 10:50 PM
  • unRAID looks pretty good:  http://www.lime-technology.com 

    It is linux based and it offers parity, the ability to mix and match disks of different sizes and has a storage pool type system for shares.

    The gotchas are the disks must be of equal or smaller size to the parity drive (which can be upgraded to a larger size as needed).   The parity drive also should be a fast drive or it can impact performance.

    Supported or not however, many users should be able to stick with WHS V1 long after 2003 Server support is officially dropped.   It it works it works.   Additionally OEM users running on their own systems really only have these forums for support anyway so I do not see the end of official support as being a big issue that would stop somebody from using V1.

    It is my understanding that 2TB will be the largest drive that can be added to the V1 storage pool since WHS formats using MBR, not GPT.    So users will not be able to take advantage of the 3TB or larger disks when they come out.   (Please correct me if I am wrong on this).

    So for me the desire to use 3TB+ disks is the only concern I have in the future...

     

     

     

    Friday, December 3, 2010 11:18 PM
  • Since the announcement of the removal of DE, I too have been considering an alternative.  So far the best solution I have found with similar ease of use is a Mac Mini running Snow Leopard Server combined with a Data Robotics DroboPro 8 bay storage array.  Not necessarily the most economical solution but does provide ease of expansion, mixed disks, storage protection, ease of sharing objects, web site support and actually has some enhanced functionality.

    If Microsoft keeps this up, I might even have to trade in my desktop and laptop for a iMac and MacBook :-)

    Sunday, December 5, 2010 3:10 PM
  • There are several good alternatives available depending on what you use your home server for. 

    If possible go with a system which features ZFS. ZFS is a sofware based Raid-like system which is light years ahead of any other soft or hardware based file system. ZFS is availiable in many Operating Systems including OpenIndiana, Opensolaris, FreeBSD,  NexentaCore,  Solaris Express 11, (and others). There are several GUI interfaces for these OS's which make setup of a ZFS "appliance" easy. FreeNAS. Napp-it, and ZFSguru make setting up a ZFS server possible without knowing much about the underlining OS. Napp-it is currently the most advanced with more features available. http://www.napp-it.org/index_en.html . ZFSguru is in preview stage but is designed from the ground up for people without any knowledge of FreeBSD. The author Sub.mesa is set to go live with a support website very soon. http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1521803 to try it out. View interface: http://submesa.com/images/ZFSguru-0.1.7-screenshot-03-install.png

    You can always run "Vail"  as well  in a virtual system using VirtualBox with OpenIndiana / Opensolaris / Solaris Express 11 if you will feel more comfortable with a windows based system to provide windows based services. The best of both worlds.

     

    WF

    Monday, December 6, 2010 3:01 AM
  • I will just point out that no linux-based "alternative" is really an alternative to Windows Home Server for the average consumer.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 6, 2010 5:00 AM
    Moderator
  • I will just point out that no linux-based "alternative" is really an alternative to Windows Home Server for the average consumer.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)


    I'll second that.

    I, as an "average consumer", just built an UnRaid box. UnRaid (based on Linux) is an entirely different world. I am quite lost when having to type in all of my commands and try to keep everything straight in my head. Fortunately, the UnRaid/Limetech forums have some really smart and extremely helpful people or I probably would have tossed my UnRaid server into a river by now. I must say, however, that I had a hard drive fail on me already (one that I took out of my old WHS) and UnRaid rebuilt the new one with no loss of any data.

    As impressed as I am with UnRaid, however, I plan to keep my WHS around for a while for my computer backups and important files. From what I've been able to figure out, UnRaid was designed, and is upgraded by, one guy - albeit a genius. Nonetheless, I'm concerned that if something ever happened to him, I'd be in big trouble. His website went down for a short time a couple of months ago and it was quite unnerving.

    Monday, December 6, 2010 7:33 AM
  • The examples I posted did not include "Unraid". ZFS is not unraid. Some of the largest corporations in the world use ZFS.

     

    Ken.. to a large extent I will agree with you however the ZFSguru GUI interface is already at the stage that any novice can install a very funtional system with little to no knowledge of FreeBSD or ZFS. The sole design purpose of this GUI is to allow total novices to work with ZFS. WHS was not without a learning curve to some degree. The volume of posts on this board pay tribute to what I speak.he power of FreeBSD with full shell access and the ability to run almost anything, paired with the convenience of a Web-GUI to do most basic tasks

    Original message

    Wouldn't that be great: a FreeBSD distribution that really is FreeBSD, but comes with a nice Web-GUI to manage your disks for use with ZFS. Still the power of FreeBSD with full shell access and the ability to run almost anything, paired with the convenience of a Web-GUI to do most basic tasks..  (Taken from ZFSguru opening statement)

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:09 PM
  • If a "home server" product is going to succeed, it has to be one of two things: In the long term it has to be integrated seamlessly into the consumer's life in such a way that he doesn't even realize it's there unless a problem occurs. In the short term, it has to do things that the consumer needs or wants (such as backup/bare metal restore of other home computers, decent media streaming, etc.), it has to stay out of the way while it does them, it has to be trivially easy for a consumer to do the basic configuration, and it has to be affordable. Windows Home Server is, obviously, intended to be the latter tool, with elements of the former.

    However, you lose the consumer as soon as you say "install":

    "… however the ZFSguru GUI interface is already at the stage that any novice can install a very funtional system with little to no knowledge of FreeBSD or ZFS. …"

    Where can I buy one? Does Best Buy carry them? Microcenter? Fry's? How about <your favorite computer "big box" store here>? If I can't point my brother in law (who isn't even an Excel jockey) to a retailer where he can buy one off the shelf or mail order, it's not simple enough. Sorry, but linux (freeBSD, ZFS) is not the answer here, not for the average consumer. Don't think like a technophile, think like someone who uses technology, but has no deep understanding of it, and hates the idea of having to "get under the hood".

    Personally, I don't think the removal of Drive Extender is a disaster for Windows Home Server. I think the way Microsoft handled the announcement was, umm, "not very smart", I think the decision was probably overly focussed on the business SKUs that are built on the same code base, and certainly the removal of DE reduces the "value proposition" for Windows Home Server. And I've been bluntly outspoken (in my opinion) in saying so, both here and directly to Microsoft's Home And Small Business Server management team.

    But local data protection/high availability isn't, at the end of the day (and no matter how I argued a couple of years ago that duplication was "enough for the consumer", a statement I still agree with because the consumer isn't backing their server up regularly or taking backups off-site even though that capability was added in PP1), in the same league as regards data protection as the ability to restore your entire server, and (eventually) all the data in your network, from a disk you can carry in your briefcase. Which is what server backup in Vail buys you.

     


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:09 PM
    Moderator
  • ZFS is all fine and dandy for file storage, in fact it's great, but
    there's no decent backup solution in Linux that has the same level of
    ease of use and compression as WHS...  (Or at least I haven't found it
    yet and I want to find it.)


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:18 PM
  • Ken,

    I'm just not sure there's enough value in WHS without DE. It is an excellent backup solution, I'll grant that, spectacular even. And I could see trying trying to buy a 2GB hdd to put in the thing and a 2GB harddrive to offsite backup that one volume, and that being enough for most folks. Maybe I'll even consider that if Vail hasn't eroded any of the backup and media features that I use the product for, because there just doesnt seem to be a good enough turnkey alternative to DE out there currently. 

    The danger is, I think Microsoft just killed all the community goodwill for this project. They can't strike out one of the main pillars of the platform with only half-assed (and, I think, non genuine) justification and expect the community to think they are still committed to their needs from the product. And then HPs departure further reeks of a vote of no confidence from the OEM partners. And we're expected to think they will fill the void for some of these missing features?

    And why is everyone so quiet all of a sudden? When we voiced our concerns with the direction they were taking DE (block based) there was at least some sort of interplay on these forums where they at least attempted to justify their decisions. If someone there still cared about the platform shouldn't they be trying to get in front of this customer satisfaction catastrophe? Its been vaguely hinted that there will be some interesting news at CES. Yeah, screw that,  how about some damage control and just give us more info now huh? 

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:45 PM
  • gmurray,

    HP: I said elsewhere that HP probably made their decision to exit the Windows Home Server market more or less independently of the decision to remove Drive Extender. In other words, the decisions were probably made at about the same time, and possibly one was used as an "after the fact" justification for the other (i.e. "See what Microsoft just did? This is a good reason for the decision we made last week." or vice versa), and I don't think they were an "action-reaction" couplet in either direction.

    Community goodwill and Microsoft's silence: This message has already been delivered to the HSBS management team in the most emphatic terms consonant with not insulting senior executives of a large corporation. What they may do as a result is anybody's guess. As for "damage control", Microsoft is a very large corporation, and because of it's internal structure nothing happens quickly. If you see something further on this subject or anything even remotely related this week, it's really a pretty quick reaction.

    Backups: Personally, if you can only afford two large hard drives, I feel that you are enormously better off using one for data storage (minus duplication) with the other in an external enclosure for backups that you can take off site. If you can afford three,  going with two backup drives, rotated off-site on a regular basis, is better than duplication plus one backup drive (duplication plus one backup drive is probably a more common configuration). Best is duplication plus 2 (or more) backups. And yes, the reality is that most consumers won't back up their server if it doesn't happen with no user intervention, and most users won't take a backup off-site no matter how often the advantages are explained.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 3:25 PM
    Moderator
  • I agree that duplication is not enough for data protection in the current version of WHS due to the simple fact that the network shares have no recycle bin support. But I do think it fills two voids that are really important:

    1) Seamless management.

    If a drive dies, I just plop a new one in. If I need more space I just plop one in. Its the perfect plug and play scenario. 

    2) Medium level protection.

    Yes if I delete my data and don't have an external backup I'm hosed. If the whole system or my house catches fire then I'm also hosed. But the amount of data that we absolutely need to keep is a smaller subset of data that it would merely be inconvenient or unfortunate to lose. I think for the essential data external backups and online backups fill a good void. But for my media center recorded tv shows? That would merely be inconvenient to lose. My itunes music/video collection? That would be very unfortunate to lose, but I might lose much more important things in a fire or other such catastrophe. 

    I think for most people duplication provides "good enough" protection for "most" of their data. Is it ideal? No. But it IS easy. And sometimes thats the most important thing. When you are trying to sell an data appliance. Which sounds better? "Here is a box that will keep everything reasonably safe and marvelously shared and integrated. If it tells you to, feed it another hard drive, please." or "Here is a box that will keep everything safe, as long as you periodically hook up this other box (that you should store elsewhere) and press the magic voodoo button. If you run out of space or the box suddenly doesn't give you your data when you ask for it then feed it another (larger) hard drive, go get your other box and press the other magic voodoo button. If your new harddrive is bigger than the one in the other box, then you should get a new other box also." 

    I just don't see how you turn the second version into a data appliance that people buy. I think, for most, the protection that WHS provides is "good enough". It would be nice if there was some built in integration with skydrive so that users could automatically offsite only their most critical pieces. But once you require adding an extra add-in and service things are starting to get more complicated. If WHS had an app store built in, maybe things would be a bit different, but I think it would still be a hard sell to the average consumer. If meanwhile, there was a shell extension so that, from windows, a user could mark a file as "important", and that automatically configged it to sync with skydrive or whatever built in offsite provider was pre-configured, then that would be a pretty awesome solution for even the non-technical.

    But online replication alone doesnt really help with data that it would merely be inconvenient to lose. WHS is really good at convenience. Is it a really big deal if one of my computers hard drive dies? I already have their important data stored elsewhere, so no, merely inconvenient. But WHS removes all the inconvenience from this. Same thing if a drive dies in the WHS itself. I don't need to do any restores, or anything, just feed it a new drive. Nice and simple and convenient. What we want from this product is simplicity. If the data resiliency scenario isn't adequate to keep us protected then MS should wait till they have a simple solution for this before adding it to the product not over-complicate the product just to shoot for a better level of resiliency.

    Its rather like iPhone and Windows Phone. They have an extremely pared down experience compared to Android or Windows Mobile. The reason why they did this, though, was to strive for simplicity. They aren't going to add a feature to either of those until it can be accommodated in a way that doesn't complicate the device and its User Experience. This is how you build something User Friendly, IMO, rather than starting with a device that does everything (WinMO) and trying to simplify it until its actually usable. Each new feature needs to be fit into the simplified model the device is trying to create. WHS doesn't need to start out as the perfect data protector. But it does have to start out as the most simple. And it has to stay simple, or it just isn't really the same product we invested in any longer.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 4:12 PM
  • If Microsoft wants to go back to more traditional storage ideas, here is my proposal. 

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cjtgO4dIqP0g9pTPKQTj8w?feat=directlink

    This would allow for a hybrid of data protection while still allowing the dynamic expansion we like.  There would be two storage areas for shares (protected and unprotected) but would offer more efficient data protection then the "Raid 1-based folder protection" that WHS v1 and v2(pre de-removal) provides.

    EDIT:
    Followup to a few PM's.  This is by no means a solution for those who want 100% duplication but it does offer more flexibility then traditional raid-5 based storage in that you have a choice of how much redundancy you use and don't sacrifice the ability to add a mixture of drive sizes.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010 3:34 PM
  • I have a couple of noob questions...

    1. How robust (speed and reliability) is the software RAID that is/has been avaialble in Windows Server 2008 R2 that we would be getting with Vail?
    2. If Vail offers software RAID 1 as suggested in the DE removal announcement will each drive still be readable outside of the RAID array (if one drive fails)?

     

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010 11:44 PM
  • I think, as average consumer, the alternatives to WHS/Vail should do/have features of this/these:

    1. Definitely NO RAID!!!

    2. Seamless add/remove HDD Installations (Add/remove any size of HDDs).

    3. Most easy to add/remove/manage the HDD/Home Server.

    4. Pretty decent backup/restore capabilities (Includes automatic backup/restore the both wired and wireless computers/laptops).

    5. Pretty fast backup/restore capabilities (Gigabit for Wired, at least wireless N in forms of either 2.4 or 5Ghz)

    6. Definitely GUI form.

    7. Simultaneous media streaming (HD Quality Photos, at least 1080p Full HD Videos, and high quality musics.

    8. Etc...... (Not sure of any other features)

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 9:16 AM
  • On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 10:57:55 +0000, DrK273 wrote:

    I need it over V1 because it will (supposedly) allow me to restore my 64-bit Windows systems. WHS V1 won't and I have to get all my 32-bit drivers for those systems and save them to do any restore and there doesn't seem to be a way to verify that they will work until you need them in an emergency!

    Sorry but this is simply not the case for V1. The only computer on my
    network that is running an x86 version of Windows is my WHS V1 computer and
    I have done restores of all of my x64 computers that were backed up with
    WHS V1. You do potentially need x86 drivers for things like network cards
    and possibly storage controllers but those really aren't hard to locate. I
    have a thumb drive that contains the drivers I need for all of my backed up
    clients that I use when I need to perform a restore.

    As far as your comment about not being able to verify the drivers will work
    until you need them in an emergency, the same goes for your actual backups.
    If you haven't tested your backups, to make sure they work when needed then
    you don't have valid backups.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 11:20 AM
  • On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 11:34:15 +0000, DrK273 wrote:

    However, I maintain that?V1 doesn't "seemlessly" allow me to do my drive restores to 64-bit systems whereas V2 will.? I have to do, what you have done: namely?get those 32-bit drivers even though it backs up the 64-bit ones and can't use them!? For a Consumer targetted product, this is unacceptable.? Being technically savvy, I can do it - but?I shouldn't need to.

    And you're going to run into exactly the same issues if or when you wind up
    with client computers that have new hardware with drivers that don't ship
    in the box with Server 2008 R2 and conversely if all of your current
    hardware had inbox drivers for Server 2003 you wouldn't have the issue for
    WHS V1 either.
    This really has nothing at all to do with x64 vs. x86, it has everything to
    do with whether or not your hardware has inbox drivers for the OS that is
    being loaded during the restore process.

    You haven't mentioned an alternative to WHS V2 that wil meet my needs, apart from staying with V1 and doing the above until support runs out.

    Sorry, but not my role here.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 11:40 AM
  • This really has nothing at all to do with x64 vs. x86, it has everything to
    do with whether or not your hardware has inbox drivers for the OS that is
    being loaded during the restore process.
    Actually, the restore environment is a WinPE environment. WinPE 2.0 (Vista) for Windows Home Server V1, WinPE 3.0 for Vail.
    Sorry, but not my role here.

    Nobody's role here. "Not Vail" is pretty much by definition "not on topic", this being the Vail beta forum. Feel free to express an opinion, though, mine being that there's no need for an alternative to Vail. :)

    Extending storage will be less seamless without Drive Extender, for sure. The local data protection/high availability duplicaiton feature won't exist at all (unless someone creates an add-in to perform the same function), but frankly a server backup (particularly one that includes your client backup database, and no, I don't mind the loss of that database, but I do understand why others do) is a more robust answer to data protection anyway.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 9, 2010 5:44 PM
    Moderator
  • On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 17:44:05 +0000, Ken Warren [MVP] wrote:

    This really has nothing at all to do with x64 vs. x86, it has everything to
    do with whether or not your hardware has inbox drivers for the OS that is
    being loaded during the restore process.

    Actually, the restore environment is a WinPE environment. WinPE?2.0 (Vista) for Windows Home Server V1, WinPE 3.0 for Vail.

    And actually Ken, by definition, WinPE is an operating system so sticking
    your nose in to correct what I posted was completely unnecessary.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 5:48 PM
  • Paul, the post I replied to conflated the server operating systems behind Windows Home Server with the WinPE environments used for product installation and client recovery. It's incorrect to do so (there are differences in quite a number of areas, including drivers), and I corrected that mis-statement.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 9, 2010 5:58 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm another one of those people that see HP's pull-out and the removal of DE making WHS a dead-end product.  I've looked over the new features of Vail and see nothing that is really compelling, particularly when I have to look at a Raid solution.  I have three machines up now running "pre-production:" Vail, Amahi, and a media center PC.  Here's my gameplan as a result of the announcement:

    - get rid of the Vail server - too much work to upgrade (more than switching to Amahi) and port add-ons

    - start migrating storage over to Amahi from WHS.  It's free and has some really interesting features.  I have the Amahi system on identical hardware to WHS and it runs circles around WHS.

    - While the media center is a pretty good solution the Vail changes will make things more complex not less.  BUT - media center options have pretty much evaporated and the longer term solution seems to be going to a network based DVR solution. So I'm going to start moving towards that direction with a Linux system.

    Bottom line is that Vail is too much of pain to convert to, and without DE to make life easy the only thing of value is the automated backup.  The good thing is that these announcements came in time to stop a bunch of fruitless work and to start making the switch easy.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 9:46 PM
  • Greyhole is the DE equivalent in Amahi.  Seems to work pretty well but has a few minor bugs (but no more so than I've encountered in WHS).  Like others, Amahi appears to be leveraging the WHS/DE situation and is putting an effort to make things even better with Greyhole.  My experience is that Amahi is no more work than WHS to implement and keep running.  I've found that the installation of Amahi is much smoother and it runs much faster than WHS given the same hardware.

    As far as backups go - so far I've used the standard backup of Windows 7 with Amahi as a networked file server.  There were a few gotchas initially that appeared in Windows 7 and appear to some as mysteriously appearing to make it harder to use non-Microsoft products.  Amahi is also working on something called PBA (personal backup assistant) that is a cross platform solution.

    Personally, I have used the backup feature several times and it's saved my bacon.  But it's not worth the downsides of Vail.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 10:32 PM

  • My experience is that Amahi is no more work than WHS to implement and keep running. 

    This is a point I've made before: When you say "install" you lose the consumer. If you can't walk into Best Buy and pick one up, or buy it from Amazon, it's not a consumer solution. So where can I buy a fully configured Amahi server?

    While I personally am an enthusiast with, I believe, above average technical expertise, I have approximately zero interest in enthusiast "solutions". For something I will use every day, and that will have to provide me with the ability to keep my data safe, it is absolutely essential that it "just work". Vail is a vastly better consumer solution even without Drive Extender than anything based on linux is ever likely to be.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, December 10, 2010 1:27 AM
    Moderator
  • I just hope now that DE is dead someone gets up and uses FUSE (or dokan on Windows) to write a custom filesystem that does the same stuff as DE/Greyhole, with maybe even more customization options.

    Currently a lot of proposed solutions fall off the grid for me because they don't support different HDD sizes in 1 cluster and even if they do, they often don't leave single HDDs in a readable state without having the other HDDs of the same set (Vail DE didn't do this too, which is a big reason for me why I wouldn't have chosen it anyways).

    The only current alternatives to DE (including independent readability of member HDDs and accepting various HDD sizes) I know of are:

    Greyhole (more or less an implementation of DE in PHP requiring Samba on Linux) and

    Various RAID-4 implementations ("UnRAID") where you have to have a single parity disk that's (one of) the largest disk(s) in the cluster

     

    I'm confident something like DE could be done properly (and also for Windows Systems too, using dokan) and might emerge in the next few years, should the demand really be that big for a successor to DE on WHSv1.

    Friday, December 10, 2010 1:06 PM
  • I believe that you vastly underestimate the skills of the average consumer. They purchase billions of dollars worth of software and hardware each year that ALL requires some understanding of the word "install". Only because you mentioned Amahi specifically, I would like to say that I recently built an Amahi/Greyhole serverand it wasn't alot more complicated than installing iTunes.  Whether or not its a viable to WHS might be another question, and I seriously doubt it will be my solution, but to say that consumers are lost as soon as you say "install" is at a minimum arrogance on your part and is certainly out of touch with the wider world of computer owners/users.  This isn't 1987. People, for the most part, are quite comfortable with cracking open their cases.

    As for Vail, the users of the current version will have alot of influence over those who are considering, as thier first purchase, the new version of WHS.  Few current owners will evangelize to their friends and colleagues about the things Vail does better, when such a beloved component as DE has been removed.  And, its worth pointing out, that if you happen to be right about people being scared of by the word "install", what do you think they are going to do when you start throwing around the word "RAID".  Vail will die in the womb.  

    Why buy a product that does little more than I can accomplish with any Windows 7 computer with a few readily available programs "installed". Please tell me that its worthwhile just for automated backups from the server side.  Please tell me its better at streaming than anything else around, please tell me that there's some way to create a 10, 20, or 50TB volume to store a movie/photo/music collection without having to buy yet another appliance that can mostly replace Vail on its own merits. The fact is that Vail in its future form, as we know it, won't "just work" for a huge number of people who bought into the marketing of the original product.

    I have always appreciated your technical expertise, but it appears that you're becoming a salesman for a product that you know is inadequate for the average consumer.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 8:56 PM
  • Most computer users use a computer supplied by their employer and/or buy one at a store like (in the US) Best Buy, Walmart, etc., or from a local system builder. These users don't (won't) install an operating system; if you suggest they do so, they'll decline immediately, they won't know where to start if they do give it a try, and they'll likely give up at the first minor problem that you or I wouldn't even notice had occurred. Amahi (any flavor of linux) is only an option for these folks if someone else installs and maintains it for them. These users also don't frequent online enthusiast forums like this one. :) (Actually, that last is completely serious; just by virtue of participating here, you've displayed above average technical skills. Too bad, really, the folks with average skills could learn a lot here, but if they come here at all they ask one question and leave.)

    The people with very large collections of data generally have technical skills that are far above that mark. They (we) can do as they (we :-) ) please. The people with very large collections of data are also generally folks who experienced many of the warts that DE V1 had. I'm actually a little surprised that you're complaining given your implied volume of data, as you will now have some level of access to the individual drives, and to the file system on those drives.

    As for other features of WHS:

    • Streaming is pretty nice (much better than V1); DLNA support means that most current consumer electronics with streaming built in will be able to act as clients, and the ability to stream afar via the Silverlight client is nice when it works (though it's kind of buggy if you aren't pure Microsoft from beginning to end). (No, you don't get Media Center. Sorry, but that's not the direction the industry is going in, and Microsoft is only one of many players in the industry. Microsoft is just following the money here.)
    • Client backup is the best in the industry, in my opinion, both in terms of "ease of use" and in terms of storage efficiency. Not much change here from V1, really, other than somewhat better support for x64 clients.
    • Server backup is automated, and allows "bare metal" restoration of a server from a full backup. (This is subject to some additional pain for folks with very large collections of data, since there are restrictions on how large a disk you can back up via server backup.) The effect here is that you can theoretically carry your entire network away on one external disk, unless you have a huge amount of data (in which case presumably you take snapshots of static data off-site regularly already).

    And finally, no I'm not selling Windows Home Server. I'm an enthusiast. I just happen to believe that Vail isn't crippled by the removal of Drive Extender. (Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who feels that way; there's a huge amount of negativity around here at the moment.)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 13, 2010 6:34 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    The more time passes the less fervently I feel that removing DE is the death of the product. Its still one of the main pillars on which it was built, and I think its a hard sell to the average consumer without it (they are going to ask the question, what if I run out of space?). But the more thought I give to it, the more I realize how much I like the backup facility that WHS provides. So It may be possible to get by with just a large harddrive in the unit and a large external drive to back the thing up. This should suit a lot of people, but not the people that are trying to build a video jukebox, or extreme photo archival. (Most of us would have trouble filling 2TB with photos I think). 

    But the removal of DE was handled SO POORLY, that I'm afraid the backlash will outright kill the product now, and we'll lose the best PC backup solution on the market as well as the best expandable storage solution on the market. Is there a way we could vote to get the PMs that cared about the WHS product back? I assume they are no longer involved with it.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 7:53 PM

  • But the removal of DE was handled SO POORLY, 

    Is there a way we could vote to get the PMs that cared about the WHS product back? I assume they are no longer involved with it.

    "handled SO POORLY" he says. Gift for understatement, I say. :) I don't think it's any surprise that the Windows Home Server MVPs had some advance notice (under NDA) that this was happening. It was obviously a done deal, no point in insisting that the decision be revisited, no point in complaining, not worth violating the NDA over since Microsoft was going to announce it themselves. "Nothing to see here, folks! Move along!"

    We didn't, however, see the blog posts before they went live, or I think we'd have reamed Microsoft a new one. The public communication around the decision was horrible; I think there are three or four different stories about the reasons, probably all with some element of truth, that have been published since Microsoft's posts. I think there were lessons learned on both sides just before Thanksgiving. On Microsoft's side is "Keep your MVPs in the loop or they will go sideways under you at the worst possible time", and on ours is "insist on getting more than a marketing brief, and never let Microsoft handle this kind of announcement without insisting on feedback."

    As for dealing with adding more disk space, Microsoft will come up with something that will be functional, and probably fairly awkward. It will be better than just letting you click on a button in the Dashboard to open up The Disk Management MMC snap-in, though. (At least, I hope so.) And to be honest, I'd think the guys with lots of data (say 2+ TB in their shares) would be relatively happy with this; they're already dealing with where their files are somehow.

    Voting for PMs: don't hold your breath. :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 13, 2010 9:05 PM
    Moderator
  • I was also severely taken aback by the loss of DE, but as time has passed, I'm willing to reconsider moving to VAIL anyway.  It occurs to me that I have an Areca RAID controller lying around from a previous build, which I could insert into a VAIL build and use as an expandable RAID6 array.  These RAID cards have that nice ability to expand your storage by adding drives to an existing array without having to rebuild the array, and we can doubly protect our data by having the dual parity drives inherent to RAID6, plus a hot spare plugged in at all times.  This would require a moderate additional investment to change over to a system entirely made up of 2TB HDDs (well, except for the system/boot HDD, anyway).  Then, additional 2TB HDDs can be added every 18 months or so as needed (and will have fallen in price every time, too).

    I agree that this is an expensive proposition and perhaps too daunting in terms of technicality for average users, but there are probably enough of us with the wherewithal to do this that Microsoft will still be able to profit from selling VAIL.

    BTW, has anyone opted to do this sort of a RAID card setup using a Windows 7 machine as a server?  I imagine that too would work very well --- it would just lose the automated client backup feature when compared with the VAIL build I'm describing.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 9:05 PM
  • I think I was a lot more gungho about avoiding the DE-less Vail before I realized how bleak the alternatives still are. There really aren't any other turnkey solutions that work well. The only other turnkey solution seems to be Drobo, and not only are its features not competitive, but there are also horror stories circulating about its reliability. Plus its expensive. So I'm probably willing to do the Vail upgrade, still, if only just. And the fact that there aren't any turnkey competitors may work in MS's favor for the short term. But things probably wont stay this way. And the platform won't shine as nicely as a whole now that MS has alienated most of the enthusiasts.
    Monday, December 13, 2010 10:53 PM
  • Ken.For me, as long as MS include the features that I wrote about on the above (one of my reply) that WHS will do, I'm fine with it.
    And since you said there will be alternative features for adding more disk space.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 3:19 AM
  • As for dealing with adding more disk space, Microsoft will come up with something that will be functional, and probably fairly awkward. It will be better than just letting you click on a button in the Dashboard to open up The Disk Management MMC snap-in, though. (At least, I hope so.) And to be honest, I'd think the guys with lots of data (say 2+ TB in their shares) would be relatively happy with this; they're already dealing with where their files are somehow.

    This would imply either inside knowledge or utter speculation. I can only hope its the former.

    Yes. Those of use with larger systems (I have 35TB in my pool) should already have some organizational system that makes sense to us, but it certainly wouldn't be workable on anything resembling a bunch of separate 2TB volumes, nor would it be workable if we had to rebuild an array every time we need to add a hard drive.

    Its pretty clear that DE is of more importance to some than it is others. Where one presently stands in terms of storage requirements has everything to do with their perspective. I would guess that the majority of the 5,000+ negative comments are from people who consider a couple 2TB drives as trivial.

    I would agree that WHS's backup feature is excellant and likely the best in the business, but hardly a standalone reason to buy WHS.

    Reliable streaming within the home is only possible with a device that connects directly to network share, preferrably over a wired connection. DLNA isn't now and will likely never be ready for primetime. Manufactures can't even agree on what it is, what to call it or how to implement it. Streaming via Silverlight will have to prove itself to be a viable technology... buggy isn't what customers deserve. It seems like it should work before MS tries to market it.  I agree that Media Center is obsolete.

    Adding server backup is a great addition, albeit three years late. This should have always been there.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see where this all falls out. Forgive me if I'm not optimistic. 

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 4:59 AM
  • This would imply either inside knowledge or utter speculation. I can only hope its the former.

    Speculation (didn't you catch the "I hope so"?) but c'mon, Microsoft has already been through one round of derision in the blogosphere. If they did something as stupid as directly exposing Explorer and/or Disk Management in the Dashboard (which is an extremely ugly option), don't you think the public reaction would be even more negative than the removal of DE?

    As for the "fairly awkward" bit: Microsoft has never been able to get anything done fast. They will do the bare minimum, so it's going to be awkward to use it. I don't know how, exactly, and I don't know who's going to experience which bits of pain. There just isn't time for anything more, though, if they're going to have a prayer of meeting an RTM date in H1 2011. It will let you add a drive to your server and it will help you keep your data from filling up a drive. That's pretty obvious, and it really is the bare minimum. Beyond that, you'll probably have increased (albeit unsupported) access to Windows functionality behind the scenes. What specific bits you'll be able to use safely, I couldn't tell you right now.

    And I'm speaking from over a quarter century in IT, mostly as a development resource, architect, lead, DB architect, etc. Those sorts of roles give me a decent picture of what's really possible in the time frame (not a huge amount; there's only 6 months in the timeline now), and what percentage of that Microsoft is likely to be willing to take on (even less; they need to nail this down so their partners can start developing any additional functionality they think will help them sell Vail boxes).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 5:17 AM
    Moderator
  • I agree that Media Center is obsolete.
    Why do you say that exactly? I agree that Media Center is greatly underachieving after years of so-called development. I have been playing with Google TV in the Best Buy store; it's neat, but Media Center could so easily do that and more.
     
    With the arrival of CableCard tuners at last (in the US), don't you think there is some chance of a resurgence?
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 6:33 PM

  • With the arrival of CableCard tuners at last (in the US), don't you think there is some chance of a resurgence?

    The entertainment industry would have to support Media Center for it to catch on, Dave, and as far as I can see, they won't. WMC allows consumers a good bit of control over their media experience, when it's pretty obvious that the entertainment industry wants that control themselves: what you watch, when you watch it, how much you pay for it, if you can watch it more than once, etc. "On demand" is where the entertainment industry wants you to go, but with more profit than they get from Netflix. I expect to see Netflix suffer in the next year or so, BTW, as the industry puts the profit screws to them: either increased costs get passed on to the consumer (costing Netflix customers) or Netflix goes under in a sea of red ink.

    WMC is a cool toy, though. :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:21 PM
    Moderator
  • >With the arrival of CableCard tuners at last (in the US), don't you think there is some chance of a resurgence?

    Not until you don't have to get the cablecard from the local cable TV
    shop -- they're hard to get and they have to be installed by a cable
    TV tech.


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:53 PM
  • There was a sizable Netflix price increase this month...


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:54 PM


  • Vail is a vastly better consumer solution even without Drive Extender than anything based on linux is ever likely to be.



    I would argue that the only thing out there right now that even approaches consumer-level simplicity is Drobo.  (possibly Synology too)  And I'm quite certain that Drobo is running on a Linux kernel.  :)  (I know that's not exactly what you meant - I assume you were referring to an installable Linux distro)  And while WHS is not quite a true consumer appliance (in my opinion), the removal of DE pushes it about 50 yards further away from that mythical "consumer-y" solution.  With DE you could at least make the argument that WHS gives you both data protection as well as a central repository for your media.  Now it's only a central respository, and really, how many average non-technical consumers do you know that need that solution?  Those that do are probably best served by Apple with their ability to share iTunes libraries, "air-share", etc.  
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 8:11 PM
  • With the arrival of CableCard tuners at last (in the US), don't you think there is some chance of a resurgence?
    Not until you don't have to get the cablecard from the local cable TV
    shop -- they're hard to get and they have to be installed by a cable
    TV tech.
    Are you sure you cannot install it yourself now? I did not ask about that specifically, but when I asked about CableCard they told me it was $7.50 a month (compared to their HD STB at $15.00 per month). The tuner I would like to get is the new CableCard tuner from SiloconDust with three HD tuners on a single CableCard (assuming it comes available before I die).
     
    I know there are a lot of complaints about Comcast, but I have generally been very happy with the service and the personnel. The only things I do not like are the STB/software (a piece of garbage), and the prices, which are outrageous.
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 8:27 PM
  • >Are you sure you cannot install it yourself now?
    I'm positive about it here with Comcast.

    From their FAQ:

    "Can I install a CableCARD myself or does a technician need to come to
    my home?
    At this time, professional installation by a Comcast technician is
    required."


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 8:56 PM
  • "There just isn't time for anything more, though, if they're going to have a prayer of meeting an RTM date in H1 2011." -- probably so, because the various development teams appear to now use the 'Sinofsky' approach to application development... set a date and push it out ready or not. Just because that worked for W7 does not mean it should be the model for all MS products. Recent history has shown this methodology is seriously flawed. It is obvious to me that unless they change their strict adherence to this notion, then Vail is doomed to failure before it even hits the streets.

    Art (artfudd) Folden
    ------------------------------
    "Ken Warren [MVP]" wrote in message news:396d9cf9-fea3-44c8-9ce4-5d16faea1ecf@communitybridge.codeplex.com...

    This would imply either inside knowledge or utter speculation. I can only hope its the former.

    Speculation (didn't you catch the "I hope so"?) but c'mon, Microsoft has already been through one round of derision in the blogosphere. If they did something as stupid as directly exposing Explorer and/or Disk Management in the Dashboard (which is an extremely ugly option), don't you think the public reaction would be even more negative than the removal of DE?

    As for the "fairly awkward" bit: Microsoft has never been able to get anything done*fast*. They will do the bare minimum, so it's going to be awkward to use it. I don't know how, exactly, and I don't know who's going to experience which bits of pain. There just isn't time for anything more, though, if they're going to have a prayer of meeting an RTM date in H1 2011. It will let you add a drive to your server and it will help you keep your data from filling up a drive. That's pretty obvious, and it really *is* the bare minimum. Beyond that, you'll probably have increased (albeit unsupported) access to Windows functionality behind the scenes. What specific bits you'll be able to use safely, I couldn't tell you right now.

    And I'm speaking from over a quarter century in IT, mostly as a development resource, architect, lead, DB architect, etc. Those sorts of roles give me a decent picture of what's really possible in the time frame (not a huge amount; there's only 6 months in the timeline now), and what percentage of that Microsoft is likely to be willing to take on (even less; they need to nail this down so their partners can start developing any additional functionality they think will help them sell Vail boxes).


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


    Art Folden
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 9:32 PM
  • "There just isn't time for anything more, though, if they're going to have a prayer of meeting an RTM date in H1 2011." -- probably so, because the various development teams appear to now use the 'Sinofsky' approach to application development... set a date and push it out ready or not. Just because that worked for W7 does not mean it should be the model for all MS products. Recent history has shown this methodology is seriously flawed. It is obvious to me that unless they change their strict adherence to this notion, then Vail is doomed to failure before it even hits the streets.

    Art (artfudd) Folden
    ------------------------------

    I agree that as things stand now, there isn't time to make many changes, however with a new beta sans DE supposedly being available somewhere in the January timeframe, it wouldn't give beta testers much time to give it much of a shakeout.  Its interesting that you would point to Windows 7 as an example of just picking a date and releasing the product, ready or not. That wasn't my experience with Windows 7, at all.  It was the one shining example of Microsoft actually listening to customers, and putting the product through the longest and widest reaching beta test in history. As late as August, it wasn't clear that MS would release it for RTM in September.

    I'm not totally convinved that MS has already forgotten those lessons, but its completely up to them whether to meet an arbitrary date or a standard of excellance.  They recieved great praise for their methodology with Windows 7 and were rewarded with a huge boost to their bottom line.  They are receiving similar praise for W7P, although it IS a little late to the party. It would be a shame for Vail to be more Vista than Windows 7 in terms of consumer response to it.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:28 PM
  • I think too many people are not patient enough. We don't even know what Microsoft plans to replace DE with. I am confident that they will come up with something that we will be happy with. They aren't in the market to make products that we don't like.

    What Microsoft needs to do is to come up with a technology like ZFS. Perhaps they already have something that they are working on. The filing systems that we are working with are antiquated with respect to some other systems out there. ZFS has RAID-Z with single, double and triple parity as well as mirroring and a combination mirroring and RAID-Z, all of which are easy to implement with a line or two in the terminal. Microsoft could easily make something like this even easier with a couple of push buttons or check boxes. ZFS also has pool storage like DE, which means you can use all your odd drives to build up a pool. Adding duplication is something easy to impliment on top of a file system like that. Even Linux (ZFS is not on Linux, it is developed by Sun/Oarcle, a Unix operating system, and implemented on the BSD unixes) has an answer to ZFS which is now in development and called BTRFS. ZFS  has something else that DE does not have that is important to most of us and that is speed, something many DE users have been complaining about since the beginning.

    I am confident that eventually Microsoft will come up with a competing filing system that will be perfect on WHS and any other server that Microsoft sells.

     

    I am not sorry to see DE go. Microsoft has something better coming. I am sure of that. Whether they know it now or not.

    Monday, December 20, 2010 6:28 PM
  • Have you considered Solaris 11? It has ZFS with De-duplication and RAID-Z (no controller needed) and is fast. The backup and restore function is not as good as WHS, but there is one available and with built in deduplication it should be a viable option.

    Vail does have de-duplication in the backup folder. The paper "Windows_Home_Server_Technical_Brief_-_Home_Computer_Backup_and_Restore.docx" found here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=196fe38c-df20-4e19-92ca-6bda7bec3ecb even the overview talks about this although it does not call it de-duplication.

    With Windows 7 Pro you can backup to a network share on a ZFS server. Solaris has a paper on "Setting Up an OpenSolaris NAS Box".

    Maybe WHS will have something like ZFS soon?

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 9:40 AM
  • I am in the process of setting up a home server and was interested in the comments about alternatives to WHS.  Vail LOOKS great, but I am not sure (especially after going to the WHS web page) why I need WHS versus running a box with Win 7?  I ask because the WHS web page does not really explain/sell me on what I gain from a server over a Win box. This is what the web page states:

    Backup -can't I backup over a network connected Win box.  I currently ise a 3rd party backup solution to external USB drive (capable of network backups and restore).

    Share - can't I share through my homegroup?

    Remote-remote desktop or I use Teamviewer (free)

    Media Server - WMP12 streaming

    Document management -Windows Live -mesh

    Add-ins -Still not sure if I can run home automation and video survailance software that are not addins on WHS (addins are very limited).  Does an add-in allow multiple people to access the software simultaneously?  Why an add in versus just running the application?

    I am currently running Win 7 ultimate on my desktop with a 500gb mian drive and a 2T raid1 configuration - couldn't I make this a server (so to speak)?  I have been seeing more and more about WHS but not sure why I need/want it.

    If I want to store backups, run home automation, video survailance and media stream, maybe even DVR functionality, have remote access and share documents what does VAIL do that Win 7 doesn't? (I know hardware demands will increase for all my wants, but is that not true of WHS also? -Currently running Intel E6750 Core 2 Duo with 6GB Ram) I don't know where to find the answer to that question.

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Carl

    Thursday, December 30, 2010 11:26 PM
  • I have gone back and forth with WHS (v1 and Vail; e7500 with 4GB of RAM) or using a desktop with sharing capabilities. I use mostly Macs in my home network. I use my i7 with 8 GB of RAM and 10.3 TB of storage running Win7 Ultimate connected to Drobo to share folders/media over the network. I also tried many different alternatives but found nothing that beats WHS. With that said, I have reverted back to the desktop. I miss the easy login from the Macs but will not waste a good desktop box on an alternative.
    Friday, December 31, 2010 11:41 AM
  • I am in the process of setting up a home server and was interested in the comments about alternatives to WHS. Vail LOOKS great, but I am not sure (especially after going to the WHS web page) why I need WHS versus running a box with Win 7? I ask because the WHS web page does not really explain/sell me on what I gain from a server over a Win box. This is what the web page states:
     
    Backup -can't I backup over a network connected Win box. I currently ise a 3rd party backup solution to external USB drive (capable of network backups and restore).
     
    Share - can't I share through my homegroup?
     
    Remote-remote desktop or I use Teamviewer (free)
     
    Media Server - WMP12 streaming
     
    Document management -Windows Live -mesh
     
    Add-ins -Still not sure if I can run home automation and video survailance software that are not addins on WHS (addins are very limited). Does an add-in allow multiple people to access the software simultaneously? Why an add in versus just running the application?
     
    I am currently running Win 7 ultimate on my desktop with a 500gb mian drive and a 2T raid1 configuration - couldn't I make this a server (so to speak)? I have been seeing more and more about WHS but not sure why I need/want it.
     
    If I want to store backups, run home automation, video survailance and media stream, maybe even DVR functionality, have remote access and share documents what does VAIL do that Win 7 doesn't? (I know hardware demands will increase for all my wants, but is that not true of WHS also? -Currently running Intel E6750 Core 2 Duo with 6GB Ram) I don't know where to find the answer to that question.
    I have to say that I struggled mightily with this. I am/was not intersted in DE, because a single disk WHS is enough for my needs, and because DE seems like a major cause of complication (and bugs) in the product. What I do like about WHS are the backup and the remote access. The shares are OK, but I could use my always-on Win7 HTPC for that.
     
    For me the solution was to put the WHS (V1) in a virtual machine, with my Win7 HTPC as host (using VMWare Server). I have the VM files in an external eSata RAID1 enclosure. It has worked flawlessly for most of a year now, including surviving a disk failure in the eSata enclosure.
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Friday, December 31, 2010 12:20 PM
  • If this is really all you need, you should be able to use just about any NAS or external drive on the market along with a copy of Acronis True Image Home with bare-metal restore. I used this combination for a couple of years before migrating to Windows Home Server and it worked fairly well. What I didn’t like about Acronis True Image is that you have to have to purchase bare-metal restore separately, manually create separate stores for each client computer on the NAS, and it’s rotating schedule of differential backups is somewhat of a pain to get right. I remember having to create the backup store three or four times before it started automatically removing older backup archives. Windows Home Server does all this out of the box without having to touch anything.
     
    Keep in mind, the above is based on True Image Home 10 and True Image Echo Server so these issues may have been addressed in the current version of TrueImage Home 2011. You still need to purchase Acronis True Image Home 2011 Plus Pack separately if you need to backup dynamic or GPT disks (software RAID) or perform a bare metal restore to different hardware.
     
    "DrK273" wrote in message news:5051826d-8d80-4429-a5f9-6eb7478c2882...

    I want WHS V2 with or without DE.  I need it over V1 because it will (supposedly) allow me to restore my 64-bit Windows systems. WHS V1 won't and I have to get all my 32-bit drivers for those systems and save them to do any restore and there doesn't seem to be a way to verify that they will work until you need them in an emergency!

    I really only use WHS as a backup/restore solution and a file server to be accessed over the web - I don't use/need media streaming.

    So, if there is an alternative to WHS V2, I need it to backup my client PCs/laptops (32 & 64-bit varieties) automatically in a similar manner using the WHS Connector and manage the backups and provide a suitable restore function - be it whole client PC drive, folder or files.  Given that I have multiple clients each having very similar applications installed, I also want it to support de-duplication i.e. only save a single copy of a file in a backup if it is common. Why store multiple copies of the same Windows system, Office program files or even data files when one would do?

    As far as I can see, none of the NAS solutions based on Linux or Windows Server 2008 have these features.  Please enlighten me if they do and I will consider them viable alternatives.

    Friday, December 31, 2010 6:06 PM
  •    I am intrigued by the idea of using Windows 7 instead of WHS v1, WHS v2 (whatever becomes of it) or even a Linux distro like FreeNAS or something similar.  WHS has a 10 user limit and Windows 7 has a 20 user limit shares, neither would be an issue.  Just about everything would work with Windows 7, including running iTunes without a hack for an install.  I understand it does not have DE but at this point, nothing from MS does so I am not losing anything there.  

       So I purchase some backup software like Acronis for backups and convert my WHS server into a Windows 7 machine and setup shares for it.  I think I can handle creating some shared folders.  What am I missing in using this for a home server?

     

    Jeff

    Sunday, January 2, 2011 4:17 AM
  • > What am I missing in using this for a home server?
     
    The single instance sector level backup -- the compression achieved
    with that is phenomenal compared to traditional backup compression.
    Some other backup software use a similar scheme but it's usually
    pretty costly and it doesn't do quite as good a job as WHS.
     
    So to answer -- a lot of space and if that's not a problem, then
    you're good to go.
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Sunday, January 2, 2011 4:35 AM
  • The first is potentially cost. You can purchase Acronis True Image Home 2011 for $49.99 per computer so it quickly becomes expensive as you add more computers to the network. I thought Acronis had a family pack that covered three computers, but I don’t see it listed currently. The only bundle I see is for Acronis Backup and Security, but that’s for online backups in the “cloud”. Windows Home Server does seem more attractive when you consider it offers full backup for 10 computers out of the box.
     
    You’ll need a single share to store all the backups of each computer. You can probably get away with using a single 2TB drive to host all the backups along with say another drive to host backups of the backup images if you want that level of redundancy. If you need more than about 2TB to host all the backups, you’ll need to either split the backups across drives (e.g. half the computers backup to one share, the other half backup to a different share) or (yick) create a RAID array of a sufficient size and pray it doesn’t fail.
     
    Acronis can help here as well because you can configure it such that it retains incremental or differential backups for x days and/or keeps the size the backups below a specified threshold; e.g. you can keep all backups for seven days and/or keep up to 250GB of the backups. Windows Home Server is actually a little smarter here because it keeps backups from the past few days, the past few weeks, and the past two or three months depending on available storage space.
     
    I still prefer to use Windows Home Server for my backups because it just works without me having to mess with it at all. I’m just not sure what kind of pickle Vail is going to create for us. If Microsoft decides to use something better than Drive Extender, I’ll probably upgrade when the time comes. If Microsoft decides Vail requires RAID or something less than ideal, I haven’t decided whether I’ll continue using WHS v1 for the distant future or jump ship to something else. My problem is that I need more powerful hardware today but Microsoft isn’t giving us any idea what the hardware requirements will be for Vail.
     
    "jeffwarner" wrote in message news:991775b5-044b-4858-b946-f30c2d7fd619...

       I am intrigued by the idea of using Windows 7 instead of WHS v1, WHS v2 (whatever becomes of it) or even a Linux distro like FreeNAS or something similar.  WHS has a 10 user limit and Windows 7 has a 20 user limit shares, neither would be an issue.  Just about everything would work with Windows 7, including running iTunes without a hack for an install.  I understand it does not have DE but at this point, nothing from MS does so I am not losing anything there. 

       So I purchase some backup software like Acronis for backups and convert my WHS server into a Windows 7 machine and setup shares for it.  I think I can handle creating some shared folders.  What am I missing in using this for a home server?

    Jeff

    Sunday, January 2, 2011 4:55 AM
  • … If Microsoft decides to use something better than Drive Extender, I’ll probably upgrade when the time comes. If Microsoft decides Vail requires RAID or something less than ideal, I haven’t decided whether I’ll continue using WHS v1 for the distant future or jump ship to something else. My problem is that I need more powerful hardware today but Microsoft isn’t giving us any idea what the hardware requirements will be for Vail.

    Microsoft is removing Drive Extender; as far as I know that means you will be able to use whatever local data protection/high availability solution you prefer, with the understanding that it won't be supported by Microsoft/Vail in the sense that it's built into/designed for use with the product. OEMs will be free to innovate in this area, as will system builders.

    As for Vail hardware requirements: 1.4 GHz processor minimum, 2 GB memory minimum, 1 x 160 GB HDD minimum. That's in the release notes.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, January 2, 2011 6:50 AM
    Moderator
  • I have decided to say "Goodbye" to WHS and my 3TB of unrecoverable data.  I have decided to move back to Windows Storage Server 2008 R2... at least that's backed by a platform with plenty of supports (Win08 R2). 
    Lawrence, MVP System Management, Microsoft V-TSP Virtualization
    Sunday, January 2, 2011 7:24 AM
  • I'm stuck in the same logical argument loop as most others here about Vail/WHS2 as WHS' DE was the key feature for me, since I have a Rosewill RSV-S8 and do have external backups of all my data.   I'm looking at 2008 Storage Server now as a potential replacement, running a few virtual servers on it. 

    I've noticed a lot of people are struggling with computer backup options.  Has anyone tried CrashPlan  http://b5.crashplan.com/consumer/crashplan.html ?

    Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:41 PM
  • I saw the hardware requirements in the release notes, but I was more concerned with what Microsoft might recommend to allow volumes to span more than one drive. I suspect you’re right that there will no option to do so, not even with RAID – at least that’s supported. If that’s the case, I don’t see Vail as a viable option.
     
    "Ken Warren" wrote in message news:deabf67e-78de-4452-b424-7d819a209a0f...
    … If Microsoft decides to use something better than Drive Extender, I’ll probably upgrade when the time comes. If Microsoft decides Vail requires RAID or something less than ideal, I haven’t decided whether I’ll continue using WHS v1 for the distant future or jump ship to something else. My problem is that I need more powerful hardware today but Microsoft isn’t giving us any idea what the hardware requirements will be for Vail.

    Microsoft is removing Drive Extender; as far as I know that means you will be able to use whatever local data protection/high availability solution you prefer, with the understanding that it won't be supported by Microsoft/Vail in the sense that it's built into/designed for use with the product. OEMs will be free to innovate in this area, as will system builders.

    As for Vail hardware requirements: 1.4 GHz processor minimum, 2 GB memory minimum, 1 x 160 GB HDD minimum. That's in the release notes.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 3, 2011 1:46 AM
  • Has anyone tried CrashPlan  http://b5.crashplan.com/consumer/crashplan.html ?

    Thanks for the link, it looks like it has a lot of desirable features.  Data redundancy elimination, multiple OS backup, automatic or scheduled backups, option for encrypted cloud backup, and best of all it's free for personal use.  This in combination with some of the other options mentioned earlier in this thread could be a decent Vail (sans DE) replacement.

    John


    Vail Server HW: Asus socket 775 mobo, E6500 dual core processor. 4 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 5400 RPM drives, 1 IDE DVD drive, 2GB RAM, latest build of Vail
    Tuesday, January 4, 2011 2:09 AM
  • lol the Vail no DE discussion commandeers every corner post - and yet nothing from the geniuses at Microbumble.

    Bill Gates wanted a PC in every house - well before WHS, I was championing a Server in every house. Way back in the "day" I ran Windows 2000 Server as my desktop OS at home, while testing it and I couldn't believe how convenient it was to have one right there at home (back then I had 3 machines and between sneakernet and ethernet, we got stuff "shared").

     After buying WHS, I was practically shoving it down people's throats.

    Now - i'm left with looking at alterntives. If I go the Linux route, I will need to learn it and if that's the case, all my Windows machines will slowly be replaced by some sort of Linux variant. None of this Separate but equal BS. All Linux or all Windows or all MAC. keep it simple.

    Well enough ranting. sign the Vail Fail Agita petition if you want to try get some pressure on corporate. Otherwise hack drives to work in WHS v1 until Linux Home Server comes out.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:17 PM
  • Some people appear to enjoy living at the extremes... all in or all out. It doesn't say much for perspective, but whatever makes them happy.
    Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:36 PM
  • Yep.
    I'm waiting to see what MSFT comes up with.
    DE is nice, but I'm more concerned with the backup capability.
    I've looked at UnRaid and Amahi, but those don't fit my needs.
    So I'll just wait and see.
    If the Vail beta expires, I'll turn my V1 box back on.
      --
    Dave N.
    MS-MVP (Mail)
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64
    "GaPony" wrote in message
    news:96bd9cce-30eb-4f86-9313-c2a6bbc0c462@communitybridge.codeplex.com...
     
    Some people appear to enjoy living at the extremes... all in or all out. It
    doesn't say much for perspective, but whatever makes them happy.
     
     

    Windows 7 32bit beta
    Thursday, January 6, 2011 11:30 PM
  • I've used WHS happily for some time now and am not quite sure where to go after MS dropped DE from Vail. I can use WHS for a while with most of the functionality that I want / need but it won't last forever. Advanced Format drives are not supported and Live Mesh will (I assume) at some point stop working as I can't upgrade to the new 2011 version which does not work on WHS v1.

    I have started to look at ZFS but I am not clear yet on how flexible ZFS is? Can I add / remove drives one at a time from a pool? If I can, great - but I still have to pick one ZFS implementation over the others and if I go that way I have to rely on WHS for client backups and I still lose the ability to sync with Live Mesh.

    So is Vail worth the upgrade? I get to use Live Mesh again and I get to use Advanced Format drives. But the removal of DE is a big deal for me - I duplicate everything so that if a drive fails I can be up and running again with the minimum of user intervention. I can wait to see how Vail handles this I guess.

    I also need a platform that will let me backup online to the vendor of my choice. I have not looked in to this issue on ZFS at all yet. As good as ZFS sounds I want a single solution and I am not sure if ZFS is it. I have looked at Amahi and have installed various versions and tinkered with it. The fact that Greyhole is beta makes me uneasy if I think about replacing WHS with it.

    My wishlist in no particular order:

    Windows client backup

    De-duplication

    Ability to sync important data between many machines

    Seamlessly expand / shrink storage pool

    Advanced format drives

    Online backup

    Remote access

    Uninterrupted media streaming (1080p)

    Ability to remove drives and read them directly in another PC

    I may end up sticking with WHS and upgrading but at the moment it will be a reluctant upgrade unless MS can pull something decent out of the hat.

    Monday, January 17, 2011 6:07 AM
  • I don't ever use my Home Server to backup other PC's I have 2 Raid NAS's w/a backup client for that. The Nas's can also handle the public/centralized storage/folders securely/pswd protected, hidden, whatever (one is 10TB other is 5TB after Raid 5 Config-with hot swap). They will defrag themselves, diskcheck themselves (on whatever schedule I set) and send me an email w/results, and any problems. I even got AT&T to unlock SMTP port 25 for me which allows lot's of perks like these sending emails and my multifuntion color LaserJet Samsung to scan directly to email!

    They operate fine as home directories, they just have to be setup once for each user/machine, oh and yes they do allow remote web access, also have a built in ftp server and bitorrent client as well. They stream right to my sony TV directly, or thru the XBOX 360/PS3.

    So I've kind of prepared myself to go without WHS/Vail... I will have to setup a server perhaps for more efficient Home Directories, and I've gotten so used to WSUS/or maybe move up to SCCM to do all the updating (9 machines in the house, sigh-all good ones folding@home of course)

    Hate to say it but after all the beta testing on WHS, then just to see them flush many good ideas-improvements, my centralized storage setup is looking mighty good right now :-(


    Jeff aka Toyster
    Monday, January 17, 2011 10:14 AM
  •    So I had some this weekend and pulled out the hard drives and put in some new ones and went with Windows 7 in the same hardware.  I set up a couple 2TB drives in a RAID 1 (hardware) configuration for media and user files and set up another drive for backups.  I went with CrashPlan for the backups.  A couple of comments:

     

       1) Speed: WOW, same hardware and Windows 7 is MUCH faster for disk I/O.  I saw 25-27MB/s consistently on file copies from the USB backup drive.  That was using the RAID 1 drives.  The single drive was not much slower at 20-22MB/s.  That was based on my MP3 collection.

       2) CrashPlan is superb.  It is FREE for home use and the 1,181GB of backups became 629GB of backup on the server and the same tool can be used to have the server backup to another device.  Restores and interface are very nice too.

       3) HomeGroup works but is not as flexible as I had hoped.  It can be configured for user level security as well without just bypassing it but it was not recognizing the user across computers.  I suspect that I have to learn a bit more there.  

       4) Streaming became very simple.  I just added the media to the libraries and ran Windows Media Player and told it to stream the content.  Very easy.

       5) Remote management works.  I just enabled it on Windows 7 and the computer now runs in headless mode.  CrashPlan will even send me email to let me know it is doing its job.

       6) Antivirus and drivers were trivial, I went with MSE and it 

       7) Remote access.  I have not done anything with this yet.

       Yes, I miss having a simple disk management approach with DE but it sure it nice to have some speed on the server.  With a couple 2TB drives, I think I will be okay without it.  I realize this is not a solution for a user with 35TB of storage but I would not recommend WHS for that either (just because you can do something does not necessarily mean it is a good idea...).

     

       It is not a perfect solution but it is stable, fast and does what I need it to do.  The fact that I am not waiting for MS to release another beta is nice too.  Based on my experience with this, I would not be surprised to see MS release their own version of a Mac-mini but running Windows 7 in a "server" configuration.  It would work and for a lot of users with modest needs, they would be quite happy.  

    Jeff

    Friday, January 21, 2011 1:58 AM
  • They were probably talking about "Breckenridge".  Windows Storage Server 2011 Essentials.  Same engine as vail.
    D.W.
    Monday, January 24, 2011 3:03 PM
  • Has anyone tried CrashPlan  http://b5.crashplan.com/consumer/crashplan.html ?

    Thanks for the link, it looks like it has a lot of desirable features.  Data redundancy elimination, multiple OS backup, automatic or scheduled backups, option for encrypted cloud backup, and best of all it's free for personal use.  This in combination with some of the other options mentioned earlier in this thread could be a decent Vail (sans DE) replacement.

    John


    Vail Server HW: Asus socket 775 mobo, E6500 dual core processor. 4 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 5400 RPM drives, 1 IDE DVD drive, 2GB RAM, latest build of Vail


    John

     

    Yes Crashplan may be functionally interesting but as usual it could just be snake-oil. If they are selling a secure solution I need to be assured that the security works, so, the first thing to look for is independent assurance that the security works. Open source has some advantages here as you may be able to check the source or be assured that the open community has done that. But with a closed system any claim by the vendor is fairly worthless.

     

    Sorry just my own specialist interest in security!

    Bernie

    MSP

    Friday, January 28, 2011 1:50 PM
  • Has anyone tried CrashPlan  http://b5.crashplan.com/consumer/crashplan.html

     

    Yes Crashplan may be functionally interesting but as usual it could just be snake-oil. If they are selling a secure solution I need to be assured that the security works, so, the first thing to look for is independent assurance that the security works. Open source has some advantages here as you may be able to check the source or be assured that the open community has done that. But with a closed system any claim by the vendor is fairly worthless.

     

    Sorry just my own specialist interest in security!

    Bernie

    MSP


    Good points, Bernie.

    The free version can't back up to the cloud, only to local (network) storage, so presumably security is less of a worry.  (Though if it was malware it could presumably mine your data and transmit it to some third party.)  I'm testing a SBS 2011 standard edition server as a Vail replacement (kind of overkill,  but I'm liking some of the features so far.)  I'm considering Crashplan as a replacement for the Vail backup feature.  Right now I'm trying the Win 7 native backup functionality, and it's the best backup Microsoft has built in to Windows to date, but still lacking in a lot of ways.  If I try Crashplan I'll post back about the experience.

    Regards,

    John


    Vail Server HW: Asus socket 775 mobo, E6500 dual core processor. 4 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 5400 RPM drives, 1 IDE DVD drive, 2GB RAM, latest build of Vail
    Monday, January 31, 2011 2:33 AM
  • ...I'm testing a SBS 2011 standard edition server as a Vail replacement (kind of overkill,  but I'm liking some of the features so far.)...


    I might go full circle with SBS.  Began with SBS about 6 yrs ago for a home server, moved to WHS for simplicity and DE, and now I may move back without a robust Vail offering.   Or, just give up on the home server architecture.
    Monday, January 31, 2011 2:10 PM
  • Thought I would throw my two cents in.   I’ve   been using WHS V1 since it was first released.   I started using it as a simple store and backup solution.  With the install of the software called My Movies for Windows Home Server, I turned WHS into a very easy to use media Server which effortlessly rips my DVD’s and streams them through My Windows 7 computer to my x-box and Linksys extenders.   With the install of Twonky, my DLNA TV’s now talk directly with WHS and I can stream my movies and music  from WHS to the TV’s in my home.   Yes I was very sad to see DE being pulled and with 8TB of data and a server that was out of space and no upgrade path to WHS V2, I admit I freaked and am glad I did not drop money on a new case and raid controller a few months ago.    My solution to this mess is simply.

    I went to my local computer store and picked up an Intel Gig NIC and a Hitachi 2TB hard Drive.   Through a friend a picked up an 8-bay DroboPro at cost.   I installed the NIC and the Drobo dashboard Software on WHS, inserted the new 2TB drive in the drobo, and then connected the DroboPro to the USB port on the server and the Server picked up the DroboPro perfectly and set up the drive as drive E: .  I then disconnected the DroboPro from Server and reconnected it via iSCSI and again the server saw the unit just fine.  Next comes the migration of data which took days and days.  I copied about 1TB of data from the Server to the DroboPro and then deleted it from the server.  This took about 4-hours.  Since the data I just copied was  duplicated, suddenly I had 2TB of storage free on my server.  I then used the Hard Drive removal Wizard and removed a 2TB Drive from the WHS Drive pool.  This took about 14 hours.  I then removed that drive from the server, installed it in the DroboPro and then repeated that process until the only drive in my server was the boot drive.   

    I now have a store pool that is even easier to manage than DE without the corroption issues, better fault tolerance, better drive management, and I room for 16TB of storage today and this will increase to 24TB when Drobo releases a firmware update to support the 3TB Drives this month.  The best thing is that when Microsoft does release WHS V2, unless they pull iSCSI out which I hope they will not do, I have eliminated the migration path.   I just plug in the DroboPro to the sen server, set upmy shares, and I'm good.   It may be an expensive solution, but it works.


    WHS_retail version
    Monday, January 31, 2011 11:17 PM