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What heppens when..... RRS feed

  • Question

  • You need to reinstall WHS and already have data on your WHS box?  Will the OS see the 'old' storage pool and rebuild it, or will the data be lost in the digital abyss?

    I work for a small OEM and we are currently discussing using WHS as an option for our customers who ask for a backup solution.  Any info or pointers in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
    Friday, May 8, 2009 3:27 AM

Answers

  • This depends. If the system uses IDE disks or SATA disks with controller in IDE mode, there are rarely problems to do a server reinstall. In this installation mode the C: drive will wiped, but the data preserved and the storage pool rebuilt. You will have to recreate the user accounts, apply the updates and install the Add-Ins and any other costumizations you may have done.
    For pure SATA systems its more difficult and depends especially from the drivers, since they are not core part of the Windows Server 2003 installation disk).
    OEM devices like from HP, Fujitsu, Acer offer a modified recovery installation of the server from a client PC, which should keep the data also intact.
    Please remember, that this does not replace an offsite backup, since the same overvoltage, which just killed the other IT equipment of your customer, may have done the same with the WHS (or equipment been stolen, to name only two worst case scenarios).

    For this purpose WHS supports (manual) backups to a USB disk for the shared folders and you could extend this by scripting also a backup of the backup database from time to time or using an Add-In (WHS BDBB) for doing this.

    The data in Shared folders can also be restored, if the Server reinstall does not work, as the FAQ How to recover data after server failure describes.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, May 8, 2009 8:25 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    slipstreaming drivers to the installation media is not supported and seems to be a bit complicated especially due to the mix of the Windows Server 2003 sources and Vista PE (and of course all the different SATA drivers), so I cannot recommend this method.
    The performance boost you get due to AHCI enabled is usually not the large benefit, since the bottleneck is the network interface. Only if your server has more than about 3 or 4 disks, the need for AHCI may come up.

    About offsite backup - you could add this as part of the maintenance contract - give them maybe 4 external drives (ideally 2.5" disks, but depends on the amount of data stored on the server). Call them each Friday afternoon to attach one of the numbered disks to the server. Via Remote Access perform the backups as needed. Call them again after you are finished and have removed the disk from console to detach it from the PC and take it to a safe place.
    This is approximately how I do it for the office, in which my spouse works.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, May 9, 2009 2:00 PM
    • Marked as answer by kozmo403 Saturday, May 9, 2009 5:01 PM
    Friday, May 8, 2009 9:43 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • This depends. If the system uses IDE disks or SATA disks with controller in IDE mode, there are rarely problems to do a server reinstall. In this installation mode the C: drive will wiped, but the data preserved and the storage pool rebuilt. You will have to recreate the user accounts, apply the updates and install the Add-Ins and any other costumizations you may have done.
    For pure SATA systems its more difficult and depends especially from the drivers, since they are not core part of the Windows Server 2003 installation disk).
    OEM devices like from HP, Fujitsu, Acer offer a modified recovery installation of the server from a client PC, which should keep the data also intact.
    Please remember, that this does not replace an offsite backup, since the same overvoltage, which just killed the other IT equipment of your customer, may have done the same with the WHS (or equipment been stolen, to name only two worst case scenarios).

    For this purpose WHS supports (manual) backups to a USB disk for the shared folders and you could extend this by scripting also a backup of the backup database from time to time or using an Add-In (WHS BDBB) for doing this.

    The data in Shared folders can also be restored, if the Server reinstall does not work, as the FAQ How to recover data after server failure describes.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, May 8, 2009 8:25 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf,

    Danke.  You make a very valid point about the offsite backups.  We do recommend this to our customers, though I'm sure most of them don't take it very seriously.  From what I've seen with the repairs we do, most of our customers data loss comes from sub-par virus protection and plain user error.  And most of these people have absolutely no backup plan.  I'm sure WHS is not the 'End-all, Be-all' of backup solutions, but it's a definite start.

    In a SATA based system where the SATA drives are configured to AHCI, would recreating the install media with the AHCI drivers slipstreamed work at all for the recovery process?  All of the motherboards we sell (at least the Intel based ones we use on a regular basis) offer setting the SATA controller to IDE mode, so that's nearly a non-issue.  Just curious for those in my company that like to experiment with things.

    Thanks again.
    Friday, May 8, 2009 1:03 PM
  • Hi,
    slipstreaming drivers to the installation media is not supported and seems to be a bit complicated especially due to the mix of the Windows Server 2003 sources and Vista PE (and of course all the different SATA drivers), so I cannot recommend this method.
    The performance boost you get due to AHCI enabled is usually not the large benefit, since the bottleneck is the network interface. Only if your server has more than about 3 or 4 disks, the need for AHCI may come up.

    About offsite backup - you could add this as part of the maintenance contract - give them maybe 4 external drives (ideally 2.5" disks, but depends on the amount of data stored on the server). Call them each Friday afternoon to attach one of the numbered disks to the server. Via Remote Access perform the backups as needed. Call them again after you are finished and have removed the disk from console to detach it from the PC and take it to a safe place.
    This is approximately how I do it for the office, in which my spouse works.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, May 9, 2009 2:00 PM
    • Marked as answer by kozmo403 Saturday, May 9, 2009 5:01 PM
    Friday, May 8, 2009 9:43 PM
    Moderator