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WHS 2011 RAID 1 Hardware Mirrored Drives RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello:

    Before I posted, I read "Home Server 2011 Unleashed", searched this forum for "RAID 1 Hardware Mirroring", and also Binged it.  I'm surprised I didn't come up with anything.

    Here's what I'm hoping to do:

    (1) Install a RAID 1 Hardware Card
    (2) Install two blank 2-TB drives
    (3) Set the RAID 1 card to mirror Drive 1 to Drive 2
    (4) Install WHS 2011 (it should only see one drive)
    (5) I should not have to configure WHS in any way for the hardware mirror... correct?
    (5) If there is a drive failure, the RAID 1 driver should let me know and I can swap the bad drive out
    (6) With this type of setup, I'm hoping that even the workstation backups will be mirrored
    (7) I will still do the usual Server System volume backup and the workstation backups

    Any comments on the RAID 1 hardware solution?

    Regards, 


    Rich Locus, Logicwurks, LLC

    http://www.logicwurks.com

    Friday, November 18, 2011 10:58 PM

Answers

  • (4) Use WHS's software mirroring feature to write to Drive2

    If by this you mean Drive Extender, it no longer exists. If you mean the software RAID built into Windows, we've counseled pretty consistently against using RAID without a real need for high availability.

    Instead, use the second drive, along with a third drive, as backup drives, and rotate them off-site regularly.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Edited by Ken Warren Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:17 AM
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:17 AM
  • (3) Install WHS on Drive 1

    (4) Use WHS's software mirroring feature to write to Drive2
    (5) Perform backups of the Server and the Shares to a USB-attached drive
    (6) If my whole system crashes:  (A) Restore the WHS System (B) Restore the Shares (C) All my individual workstation backups are lost, since they are not backed up


    Drive 1 can still store data but if it fails and you have to replace it, the data would have to be restored from a server backup. Data on the other drives remains intact. You can back up Client Computer Backups like any other data as part of a Server backup.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:49 AM

All replies

  • Rich

    Are you saying you will install WHS on the RAID array? Personally I do not like installing an OS on RAID as it introduces problems with drivers and is inherently more likely to fail as you have 2 pieces of hardware which could fail. I have no experience of installing WHS on an array and can not say whether it will actually work - you will certainly have had to set up the array in advance (in RAID card BIOS) and supply WHS installation with the appropriate drivers. Does your RAID card have Windows Server 2008 R2 drivers (I am almost certain it will not have WHS specific drivers)? If your RAID card fails you have real problems as your system will not boot and you will not have access to your data even by looking at each individual disk on another computer.

    RAID mirroring is fine for data availability - one drive goes down and you still have access to your data. Then you need to allow time for the array to rebuild when you have added your new drive. It does not provide protection from the unexpected fire, theft etc.

    Personally, if I wanted maximum data availability and security including protection from fire, flood etc. I would:

    • Install WHS on a single drive
    • Mirror your data
    • Perform regular automated server backups (server + data)
    • Store backups of critical data offsite.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 2:37 AM
  • What's the purpose of using RAID? Do you have a requirement for high availability? (Note: requirement is distinct from "desirement". :) ) If not, don't use RAID; it will just add complexity.

    If you do have a real requirement for high availability:

    • If available, Intel chipset RAID is pretty good, and built into your motherboard. 
    • If not, any reasonably priced RAID card with Windows Server 2008 R2 drivers is likely to be okay, just make sure you get one you can boot from.
    • You may need to install drivers during setup. Consult your RAID HBA manual (motherboard or add-in card) for assistance; you will want Windows Server 2008 R2 drivers if available, failing that you will want Windows 7 drivers.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 3:39 AM
  • Ken and Phil:

    Thanks for the replies.  I really don't require 100% up-time.  So, to sum up both of your helpful suggestions:

    (1) Jettison the idea of RAID
    (2) Use a computer with two 2-TB drives (Drive1 and Drive2)
    (3) Install WHS on Drive 1
    (4) Use WHS's software mirroring feature to write to Drive2
    (5) Perform backups of the Server and the Shares to a USB-attached drive
    (6) If my whole system crashes:  (A) Restore the WHS System (B) Restore the Shares (C) All my individual workstation backups are lost, since they are not backed up

    Does this sound correct?

    Regards, 


    Rich Locus, Logicwurks, LLC

    http://www.logicwurks.com

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 3:55 AM
  • (4) Use WHS's software mirroring feature to write to Drive2

    If by this you mean Drive Extender, it no longer exists. If you mean the software RAID built into Windows, we've counseled pretty consistently against using RAID without a real need for high availability.

    Instead, use the second drive, along with a third drive, as backup drives, and rotate them off-site regularly.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Edited by Ken Warren Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:17 AM
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:17 AM
  • (3) Install WHS on Drive 1

    (4) Use WHS's software mirroring feature to write to Drive2
    (5) Perform backups of the Server and the Shares to a USB-attached drive
    (6) If my whole system crashes:  (A) Restore the WHS System (B) Restore the Shares (C) All my individual workstation backups are lost, since they are not backed up


    Drive 1 can still store data but if it fails and you have to replace it, the data would have to be restored from a server backup. Data on the other drives remains intact. You can back up Client Computer Backups like any other data as part of a Server backup.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:49 AM