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can i determine what will be saved on which drive? and should I use a smaller drive as the system drive? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,
    I keep trying to find out if I should install the OS on a smaller (e.g. 120-320Gb) drive and have additional drives (1-1.5Tb) for storage, but can't really find a good answer.
    I currently run one 1TB Hitachi, but am contemplating if I should reinstall the OS on a smaller drive and use the 1TB (and later more drives) for only storage.

    The only reason I would want to do that is if I have to reinstall WHS after I played around with it too much and tried too many things that I don't know enough of. I know that I should just leave it sitting by itself, but I just have the desire to try out add ins and I tried to run a virtual machine on it, etc.
    Now, if I keep everything (Back Ups, media, etc.) stored on the bigger drive (eventually multiple drives) can I even determine what will be saved where and when I reinstall, does WHS want to format those other drives as well? (I know that I can do a re-install, but that didn't fix the latest issues I had, so I am actually in the process right now of reinstalling and moved everything stored to all other PCs and ext. HDs I had -> tedious...)

    So what do you guys say? Should I just stick with the 1TB and add as I go, or is a small system drive the way to go? what are the advantages / disadvantages.

    I tried searching, but couldn't find the answers and I am sure that other newbies, especially the ones that are getting ready to build a WHS are having this same question.

    Thanks in advance. This is a great and helpful forum by the way...

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 1:32 AM

Answers

  • Hi,
    I keep trying to find out if I should install the OS on a smaller (e.g. 120-320Gb) drive and have additional drives (1-1.5Tb) for storage, but can't really find a good answer.
    I currently run one 1TB Hitachi, but am contemplating if I should reinstall the OS on a smaller drive and use the 1TB (and later more drives) for only storage.

    The only reason I would want to do that is if I have to reinstall WHS after I played around with it too much and tried too many things that I don't know enough of. I know that I should just leave it sitting by itself, but I just have the desire to try out add ins and I tried to run a virtual machine on it, etc.

    My suggestion: leave WHS alone to do its job.  Setup VM on your client (and, if you want to try out add-ins, try them out in a WHS VM first).

    Now, if I keep everything (Back Ups, media, etc.) stored on the bigger drive (eventually multiple drives) can I even determine what will be saved where

    No.

    and when I reinstall, does WHS want to format those other drives as well?

    A Server Reinstallation will not format any of the secondary drives.  A New Installation will format all drives.

    (I know that I can do a re-install, but that didn't fix the latest issues I had, so I am actually in the process right now of reinstalling and moved everything stored to all other PCs and ext. HDs I had -> tedious...)

    So what do you guys say? Should I just stick with the 1TB and add as I go, or is a small system drive the way to go?

    It doesn't really matter any more.  The "landing zone" is a thing of the past. :)

    what are the advantages / disadvantages.

    I tried searching, but couldn't find the answers and I am sure that other newbies, especially the ones that are getting ready to build a WHS are having this same question.

    Thanks in advance. This is a great and helpful forum by the way...


    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, May 30, 2009 4:30 AM
    • Marked as answer by TheGerman Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:53 AM
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 4:25 AM
    Moderator
  • That's sort of correct, in that Windows Home Server now sends files directly to the secondary drives in the storage pool. However, you still have no control over where exactly any given file is placed. Windows Home Server will choose which drives to use based on algorithms built into Drive Extender, and there's nothing available to allow you to tweak that choice.

    In addition, the home computer backup database is, by design, considered sacrificial in the event of a drive failure. The theory is that you can recreate the backup database by simply backing up all home computers again. Since the primary purpose of the backup tool is to allow you to restore a home computer after a drive failure, that seems like an acceptable design decision to me.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by TheGerman Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:53 AM
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 3:27 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I have equipment and software on order to build, hopefully next week. I am curious what the answer is as well. I have been reading through many of the posts the last few days. From what I understand, and it might not be correct, is that WHS uses the primary disk for storage also. Not sure if we have any control over that. I wanted to do something similar to what you are saying. Small drive for OS, and two additional drives for storage. Second storage drive for a mirror of the first. If WHS messes up, I could wipe the drive and start over, with out touching the storage drives. This doesn't sound possible from what I have been reading.
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 2:10 AM
  • Hi,
    I keep trying to find out if I should install the OS on a smaller (e.g. 120-320Gb) drive and have additional drives (1-1.5Tb) for storage, but can't really find a good answer.
    I currently run one 1TB Hitachi, but am contemplating if I should reinstall the OS on a smaller drive and use the 1TB (and later more drives) for only storage.

    The only reason I would want to do that is if I have to reinstall WHS after I played around with it too much and tried too many things that I don't know enough of. I know that I should just leave it sitting by itself, but I just have the desire to try out add ins and I tried to run a virtual machine on it, etc.

    My suggestion: leave WHS alone to do its job.  Setup VM on your client (and, if you want to try out add-ins, try them out in a WHS VM first).

    Now, if I keep everything (Back Ups, media, etc.) stored on the bigger drive (eventually multiple drives) can I even determine what will be saved where

    No.

    and when I reinstall, does WHS want to format those other drives as well?

    A Server Reinstallation will not format any of the secondary drives.  A New Installation will format all drives.

    (I know that I can do a re-install, but that didn't fix the latest issues I had, so I am actually in the process right now of reinstalling and moved everything stored to all other PCs and ext. HDs I had -> tedious...)

    So what do you guys say? Should I just stick with the 1TB and add as I go, or is a small system drive the way to go?

    It doesn't really matter any more.  The "landing zone" is a thing of the past. :)

    what are the advantages / disadvantages.

    I tried searching, but couldn't find the answers and I am sure that other newbies, especially the ones that are getting ready to build a WHS are having this same question.

    Thanks in advance. This is a great and helpful forum by the way...


    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, May 30, 2009 4:30 AM
    • Marked as answer by TheGerman Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:53 AM
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 4:25 AM
    Moderator
  • I have equipment and software on order to build, hopefully next week. I am curious what the answer is as well. I have been reading through many of the posts the last few days. From what I understand, and it might not be correct, is that WHS uses the primary disk for storage also.

    It uses the primary drive for storage, but only when there is no room on any other drive.

    Not sure if we have any control over that.

    Nope, no user control at all.

    I wanted to do something similar to what you are saying. Small drive for OS, and two additional drives for storage. Second storage drive for a mirror of the first. If WHS messes up, I could wipe the drive and start over, with out touching the storage drives. This doesn't sound possible from what I have been reading.
    That's correct (not to mention any flavor of RAID is not supported).  The whole concept of WHS is to let it handle itself (so you don't have to).  The more you keep your hands off, the better it works. :)
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 4:30 AM
    Moderator
  • This might seem redundant, but I want to make sure I understand. I want to have redundancy on my WHS. My current plan is to have two 750 gb hard drives. Should I add a third for the OS, stores on the second drive, and backs up on the third? If I have no control over where it stores the files, will it create backups on a different drive? My main purpose is to have WHS configured in a way that if one hard drive goes bad, I can replace, and not lose anything. Can you suggest a configuration?

    If raid isn't supported, and we can't choose the location, can you explain how WHS determines back up location. I really wanted to move all or most of my storage off of my desktops, and have them stored primarily on WHS and backed up there also. Am I looking at this wrong? Is WHS only good for backing up my desktops, and not capable of backing up itself? If so that seems like a waste of a good opportunity. I would like to keep my desktop clean except for programs, and a few currently used files. No long term storage.

    Thank you or your assistance. I know this is probalby covered elsewhere in the forum. I have been spending many hours searching the forums and reading documentation. There is a lot of info here, and everytime I think I have something figured out, I read a post that just confuses me again.

    ****UPDATE: I just found this in an earlier post by Ken. I guess I was getting confused by the differences between the first release, and the changes made in SP1. Here was his suggestion to another person. "If I were building a server from scratch today, I would buy a 500 GB drive and two 1 or 1.5 TB drives (whatever gives the best price per GB at the e-tailer I buy from). I would use the 500 GB drive as the system drive, and the larger drives as secondary drives in the storage pool." He also stated that WHS now transfers data directly to the first drive in the storage pool, not to the primary system drive, if I understood him correctly. I assume, that file backup could be set, and that would go to the second drive in the storage pool?

    This seems like what I am wanting to do. If this is still a good suggested configuration, I will get a third smaller (500GB?) drive for the system drive.
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 9:56 AM
  • That's sort of correct, in that Windows Home Server now sends files directly to the secondary drives in the storage pool. However, you still have no control over where exactly any given file is placed. Windows Home Server will choose which drives to use based on algorithms built into Drive Extender, and there's nothing available to allow you to tweak that choice.

    In addition, the home computer backup database is, by design, considered sacrificial in the event of a drive failure. The theory is that you can recreate the backup database by simply backing up all home computers again. Since the primary purpose of the backup tool is to allow you to restore a home computer after a drive failure, that seems like an acceptable design decision to me.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by TheGerman Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:53 AM
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 3:27 PM
    Moderator
  • This might seem redundant, but I want to make sure I understand. I want to have redundancy on my WHS. My current plan is to have two 750 gb hard drives. Should I add a third for the OS, stores on the second drive, and backs up on the third?

    WHS doesn't "back itself up" anywhere.  All Folder Duplication does is it stores all files in that duplicated share on 2 different physical hard drives (so if one drive fails, you still have your file on another hard drive).  As Ken said, WHS determines on which drive(s) it stores files.  It will store files on any drive (including the primary drive, when necessary).

    If I have no control over where it stores the files, will it create backups on a different drive?

    Again, it doesn't create "backups" of data stored on the server.  It creates duplicates of files that are in a share with Folder Duplication enabled.

    My main purpose is to have WHS configured in a way that if one hard drive goes bad, I can replace, and not lose anything. Can you suggest a configuration?

    If raid isn't supported, and we can't choose the location, can you explain how WHS determines back up location.  I really wanted to move all or most of my storage off of my desktops, and have them stored primarily on WHS and backed up there also. Am I looking at this wrong? Is WHS only good for backing up my desktops, and not capable of backing up itself?

    That is correct.  WHS does not backup itself.  I think the problem here is that you need to understand that "backups" and Folder Duplication, while similar in concept, are not the same.

    If so that seems like a waste of a good opportunity. I would like to keep my desktop clean except for programs, and a few currently used files. No long term storage.

    Thank you or your assistance. I know this is probalby covered elsewhere in the forum. I have been spending many hours searching the forums and reading documentation. There is a lot of info here, and everytime I think I have something figured out, I read a post that just confuses me again.

    ****UPDATE: I just found this in an earlier post by Ken. I guess I was getting confused by the differences between the first release, and the changes made in SP1. Here was his suggestion to another person. "If I were building a server from scratch today, I would buy a 500 GB drive and two 1 or 1.5 TB drives (whatever gives the best price per GB at the e-tailer I buy from). I would use the 500 GB drive as the system drive, and the larger drives as secondary drives in the storage pool." He also stated that WHS now transfers data directly to the first drive in the storage pool, not to the primary system drive, if I understood him correctly. I assume, that file backup could be set, and that would go to the second drive in the storage pool?

    This seems like what I am wanting to do. If this is still a good suggested configuration, I will get a third smaller (500GB?) drive for the system drive.

    You can have your drive configuration however you like (as long as your primary drive is at least 80 GB).  I have a 400 GB as my primary drive and a 500 GB and a 1.5 TB as my secondary drives.
    Sunday, May 31, 2009 2:12 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for your replies. This helps be better understand how "duplication" works. I just wanted to make sure that I can have two copies of my data on two seperate drives.
    Sunday, May 31, 2009 6:06 PM
  • kariya21 and Ken, thanks a lot for your answers... I feel comfortable now to just leave my 1TB drive as system drive and storage. I think I will later on add drives as I go once this one is full. (It's already getting close) Does anybody know if there is a recommendation of how much used disk space one should not exceed? I mean should I keep a certain percentage free? just wondering... thanks again
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 1:56 AM
  • WHS itself tries to keep 20 GB free on each data drive. That should be enough to allow WHS to move files in and out. Also it will start warning you when the total free storage space is less than a certain amount (80 GB I believe)
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:44 AM