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WHS data storage on external raid HD's only...? RRS feed

  • Question

  • To facilitate replacing defective HD's in my WHS server I have considered the following solution:

    1. No internal data HD's in the cabinet.
    2. An external HD array in a suitable cabinet with 0+1 Raid controller and power supply.
    3. A single eSATA connection between the external HD array and the PC/WHS.

    I assume that this arrangement would be 'seen' by WHS as if only a single data HD is present. The load balancing between the external HD's would be handled by the Raid controller in the array cabinet.

    The advantage of this arrangement (provided that it works...?) would be:

    1. HD's could be hot swapped/replaced/upgraded in the HD array without 'disturbing' WHS data management as WHS will only 'see' a single HD (i.e., the HD array)
    2. The external HD array could be disconnected and placed in a safebox during vacation etc.

    Disadvantages:
    1. Load balancing cannot be monitored in WHS.

    Questions:
    1. Changes to the composition of the storage space in the HD array (new disks with different capacity) may be interpreted by WHS as a new data HD?

    Any comments to this arrangement would be highly appreciated...
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 9:25 AM

Answers

  • To facilitate replacing defective HD's in my WHS server I have considered the following solution:

    1. No internal data HD's in the cabinet.
    2. An external HD array in a suitable cabinet with 0+1 Raid controller and power supply.
    3. A single eSATA connection between the external HD array and the PC/WHS.

    I assume that this arrangement would be 'seen' by WHS as if only a single data HD is present. The load balancing between the external HD's would be handled by the Raid controller in the array cabinet.

    The advantage of this arrangement (provided that it works...?) would be:

    1. HD's could be hot swapped/replaced/upgraded in the HD array without 'disturbing' WHS data management as WHS will only 'see' a single HD (i.e., the HD array)
    2. The external HD array could be disconnected and placed in a safebox during vacation etc.

    Disadvantages:
    1. Load balancing cannot be monitored in WHS.

    Questions:
    1. Changes to the composition of the storage space in the HD array (new disks with different capacity) may be interpreted by WHS as a new data HD?

    Any comments to this arrangement would be highly appreciated...
    First, using RAID on WHS in any fashion is unsupported.  Second, in regards to your question, you can't change a RAID array (i.e. adding hard drives) without breaking the array first, which means losing everything that is stored on the array.  And third, the maximum size of a single logical hard drive on WHS is 2 TB (because it doesn't support GPT), which means if you set up a big 3, 4, 10 TB logical drive through RAID, you won't get more than 2 TB of storage out of it.

    You would be better off providing each hard drive separately to WHS and let the OS handle the files.
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 3:44 PM
    Moderator
  • If you add a disk to the storage pool, Windows Home Server will use that disk as it sees fit. So no, there is no way to tell your server to use this disk for primary storage, that disk for duplication, and the other one for the backup database.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:58 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • To facilitate replacing defective HD's in my WHS server I have considered the following solution:

    1. No internal data HD's in the cabinet.
    2. An external HD array in a suitable cabinet with 0+1 Raid controller and power supply.
    3. A single eSATA connection between the external HD array and the PC/WHS.

    I assume that this arrangement would be 'seen' by WHS as if only a single data HD is present. The load balancing between the external HD's would be handled by the Raid controller in the array cabinet.

    The advantage of this arrangement (provided that it works...?) would be:

    1. HD's could be hot swapped/replaced/upgraded in the HD array without 'disturbing' WHS data management as WHS will only 'see' a single HD (i.e., the HD array)
    2. The external HD array could be disconnected and placed in a safebox during vacation etc.

    Disadvantages:
    1. Load balancing cannot be monitored in WHS.

    Questions:
    1. Changes to the composition of the storage space in the HD array (new disks with different capacity) may be interpreted by WHS as a new data HD?

    Any comments to this arrangement would be highly appreciated...
    First, using RAID on WHS in any fashion is unsupported.  Second, in regards to your question, you can't change a RAID array (i.e. adding hard drives) without breaking the array first, which means losing everything that is stored on the array.  And third, the maximum size of a single logical hard drive on WHS is 2 TB (because it doesn't support GPT), which means if you set up a big 3, 4, 10 TB logical drive through RAID, you won't get more than 2 TB of storage out of it.

    You would be better off providing each hard drive separately to WHS and let the OS handle the files.
    Saturday, February 27, 2010 3:44 PM
    Moderator
  • I have a similar issue. My existing case is full. I was considering an eSATA box to house 4x400GB SATA III disks that I have spare. Any of the available cases appear to offer some form of RAID. I was thinking of deploying the disks in JBOD mode so that each is visible to the OS.

    I am concerned about the effect on the rest of the server if I "lose" this box due to power outage or stupidity. Is it possible to "tell" WHS which disks can be used as "duplicates" so that I can assign the JBOD disks not to hold primary data.
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 11:09 AM
  • If you add a disk to the storage pool, Windows Home Server will use that disk as it sees fit. So no, there is no way to tell your server to use this disk for primary storage, that disk for duplication, and the other one for the backup database.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:58 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    Thanks for the reply. I rather thought that would be the case. However, what is your view on using an eSATA box to extend the storage pool?
    Monday, March 1, 2010 1:44 PM
  • You're much better off with eSATA than with USB, given that USB is perhaps the worst mass storage bus I can think of that's still in regular use. Does that help? :) 

    Really, though, eSATA should be fine. Windows (and therefore Windows Home Server) is likely to detect any drives as internal, though.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, March 1, 2010 8:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    That's what I thought as well. No prob with the drives being considered internal. The LAST thing I really want to do is disconnect them from the pool, which already comprises 5 disks.
    Thursday, March 4, 2010 6:16 PM