WHS Optimum Config RRS feed

  • Question

  • I realize this question has been discussed at length in this forum but please bear with me as i attempt to clarify how WHS can best utilize storage. 

    I have a pool of SATA drives I can use for my server.  These include 2x74GB 10K rpm drives, at least 1x500GB 7.2K rpm, and 5x2TB 7.2K rpm drives.  The system I am going to repurpose for this project will hold 6 drives in total.  Being from traditional server building roots, i was planning on using the 74GB as Raid 1 System drives and the 5x2TB as data drives in a RAID 5 configuration.  The RAID 1 and RAID 5 would be software (unfortunaltely) based.  After reading through the excellent discussions here, I realize this config would not be optimal.

    Please let me know what would be an optimal config for this server given these resources.

    Thanks in advance,
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 9:02 AM

All replies

  • As regards the software RAID you propose: if by "not optimal" you mean "won't work" I agree. There's a KB article which states very plainly that Windows Home Server does not work properly on drives which are configured as dynamic disks (as Windows-based software RAID will be) and will cause file corruption. With a large RAID array you also run into the problem of formatting the (desired, I'm sure) single large volume. Windows Home Server doesn't use GPT when partitioning a disk, it uses MBR, which is limited to a maximum of 2 TB.

    As for the small, fast drives: they're fine if you have them, and one could be used as the system drive. But you won't see the added performance in real world use, as there are other bottlenecks in the overall system that will mask the performance of those drives. Or you could use the 500 GB drive as the system drive, if you prefer. 

    Your optimal configuration, though, will be two (or more) large drives to maximize storage. If you have 2 TB drives, use those. Let Windows Home Server manage them and use share duplication for data protection.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 2:28 PM
  • The 74GB Drives wouldn't be usable as a system drive as WHS requires and checks for a system drive of 80GB or larger.
    Sunday, December 6, 2009 5:05 PM
  • Thank s for the reply.  I am trying to avoid using folder duplication and was hoping to use RAID 5.  The software RAID I refer to is based upon a driver for a raid card, 'independent' of windows software raid.  Would this still cause file corruption?  Would I be able to set up the drives as 2x500GB raid 1 for system and 4x2TB raid 5 but partition the approximate  6 TB space as 3x2 TB partitions?  Would the 500GB drives be large enough to hold the tomstones etc that are stored on the system drive?  I am still trying to think in terms of a traditional server and am having difficulty making the transition so pardon any mental blocks I am having!
    Monday, December 7, 2009 5:15 AM
  • good point, I missed that fact.  thanks
    Monday, December 7, 2009 5:16 AM
  • The 74GB Drives wouldn't be usable as a system drive as WHS requires and checks for a system drive of 80GB or larger.

    it might work, since I have been asked for at least 65 GByte disk in the introduction period of WHS - but can be that this has been changed for refreshed media.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Monday, December 7, 2009 3:50 PM
  • Go for maximum compatibility. Set your SATA drives to legacy IDE mode and let Windows Home Server manage them. You will significantly complicate recovery scenarios if you do otherwise, as a recovery from e.g. OS corruption will require you to supply drivers, possibly more than one set, and possibly more than once (in which case you'll need them on a floppy disk).
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 7, 2009 4:23 PM
  • Thanks Olaf.  I'm going to use 500GB instead.  Had one in my 'goodie box.'
    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:47 PM
  • Good points, thanks Ken
    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:48 PM