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can this be done??? WHS and exchange or SBS...virtually? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Ok, i have been reading and reading and reading, and i can't seem to find a simple answer so i thought i would post and see what you guys think.

    I am new to WHS, but I have an IT friend who does pretty much nothing besides business server setup.  He's pretty good.  So get as technical as you want, as I am sure he will understand what your saying.

    What I am trying to do is:

    1.  Have the WHS rig do all my backups on my network (couple PC's and a couple laptops)
    2.  Would like to be able to backup my mother's PC over the internet...Is it possible by giving her a user ID so she has remote access to files, etc. as well?
    3.  Have the WHS rig be the central place for all media and files that can then stream out to everything on the network.  (I am building a HTPC rig that will be pretty powerful so that i can take all my DVD, CD, and Blueray's and put them on the WHS rig so they can be watched by any computer on the network)
    4.  Would like to have exchange or SBS (already have the OS for al of these) or whatever can be done on the WHS rig, but not interfere with WHS OS.  Can this be done or done virtually or some other way?
    5.  Can the WHS rig OS be actually backed up itself?  I mean once everything is setup and working is there a way to actually backup that OS HD?  Raid, external drive, etc.
    6.  And is it best to have a small SATA HD(320 or 500G) for the WHS OS?  and would this be where the raid would come into play?

    Below are the specs of my current tower that i want to use for this project.  Is it adequate for what i want to do above?


    All black, understated Compucase LX-6A19 computer case (Antec 3700AMB clone with front and rear 120 mm fan ports carefully cut out with Wiss tin snips)

    FSP Group 400W Blue Storm II PSU (up to 85% efficiency) 

    Intel BoxDG31PR mobo (quick boots, low power consumption, Intel quality)

    Intel Celeron Conroe-L 440 2.0 ghz 35W single core cpu with stock Intel cooler

    2 x 1 GB Crucial PC6400 DDR2 RAM (always run at stock speed and voltage)

    WD6400AAKS hard drive (high performance 640 GB 7200 rpm hard drive)

    Two WD 1TB 32MB buffer green drives also added

    Pioneer DVR-216 dvd burner

     


    Thanks so much for helping a newbie out on this.  Feel free to ask anything else you need.  Thanks again!
    Monday, February 8, 2010 1:08 PM

All replies

  • Hi Chewybtc,

    1.  Backups are one of the main functions of Windows Home Server - so Yes.

    2.  Remote backup is not supported.  If you really wanted to you could carry this out over a VPN but think about your internet connection.  You can give people user IDs so they can access files or systems remotely.

    3.  Yes this is supported - you might want to look into myMovies which is an Add-In to catalogue collections on Windows Home Server. http://www.mymovies.dk/

    4.  Running Exchange on Windows Home Server is not supported.  You may be interested in this thread: http://social.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/28e77222-b854-48f0-9244-87292d2d9174

    5.  Windows Home Server provides a method to back up data.  It's regarded that backup of the server OS is not necessary as there is an installation option that will retain your data on a server reinstall.  However it is annoying that Microsoft and OEMs do not provide downloadable media with the latest power packs already installed.  Hence, after reinstall it takes a number of hours to install all updates.

    6.  Any disk over 80GB will be fine.  Windows Home Server will use 20GB for the System Partition and then use the rest as for your data pool.

    The hardware spec you have is more than ample for Windows Home Server.

    Feel free to ask anything else.

    Cheers,
    Al
    --
    Monday, February 8, 2010 2:04 PM
  • Some additional considerations: 

    2. You can back up over a VPN connection. You can't restore over a point-to-point VPN connection, however, only over a site-to-site VPN connection (and that's not supported, so you will have a challenge unless you're very familiar with VPN issues). 

    4. Exchange 2007 requires a 64 bit host OS and Active Directory, so it will not be possible to install that on Windows Home Server. If you have a need for an Exchange server at home, consider Small Business server instead of, or in addition to Windows Home Server.

    5. Windows Home Server includes functionality to back up the contents of the shares, nothing else. You can back up the backup database following the instructions in the Home Computer Backup and Restore technical brief. The OS is considered sacrificial, as Al has mentioned.

    RAID is not supported for Windows Home Server; you can normally use it but you will encounter a number of challenges if you use RAID and ever need to recover your server after e.g. an OS corruption incident.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, February 8, 2010 4:15 PM
    Moderator
  • Hey thanks so much for clarifing some of those things.    here are some questions to your answers:

    3.  I'll check this out as i have seen a couple people posting about it.  That's actually my last thing I'm worried about...i just want to get the backups and mail server stuff working perfect first, then worry about the fun stuff with movies.  :)

    4.  I've read thru the thread you suggested and i think I'm more confused now then before.  It seems some people are able to get exchange and even SBS running virtually on their WHS  server.  I know it wouldn't be supported by MS, but I have the programs (both of them actually) from my old office and i have the IT friend that set it all up, so it would be  a shame if i couldn't use them.  The problem is i don't know what virtual means or if my current WHS rig could do it?  Can you tell me if it could?

    They also talked about a program that seems to sync mail, etc. called smartermail server.  it has a free version which allows 10 accounts from the way it looks.  This might be the other way to go since it seems this program runs on WHS as well according to those guys in that thread.

    5.  Man that really sucks that WHS doesn't allow raid or a simple back up to an external drive to protect all the add ins and setup that goes into getting things working correctly.  SO you guys are saying that there is no way to back those setting s up?  Just seems stupid that a backup server wouldn't allow you to back it's OS up???  i thought of just getting two identical smaller drives and put OS on one and then raid it to the other identical drive.  No go huh?

    Thanks again for all the help?  Just trying to get as much knowledge together as I can so i can go to my IT friend and give him as much help as possible.  Like I said he's a wiz at business setups with exchange and that stuff, but never worked with WHS.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:37 AM
  • Thanks Ken.

    2.  I'll have to ask my It buddy if this is doable from me to my parents house.  She doesn't live far away, so i could go to her house to fix something, but she's worried about her drive crashing and losing everything.  So it would be nice if i could reassure her i have everything here at my house on the WHS.

    4.  I think mine is the older exchange version.  As well as SBS or maybe I have server 2003, i can't remember.  I paid quite a bit for all the server stuff i had at my office, so I'm sure I have it with him.  i know he said he would be able to get me the newer stuff like 2008 if I needed it and just swap me for my old stuff.  So no money out of pocket.  Whatever works best

    5.  Just seems pointless to me as i stated in my reply to Al.
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:44 AM
  • I didn't say RAID doesn't work. It does. It's "unsupported" in the sense that Microsoft didn't design Windows Home Server around RAID, and that as a result the choice to use RAID anyway means you may have problems down the line.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:11 AM
    Moderator
  • 5.  Man that really sucks that WHS doesn't allow raid or a simple back up to an external drive to protect all the add ins and setup that goes into getting things working correctly.  SO you guys are saying that there is no way to back those setting s up?  Just seems stupid that a backup server wouldn't allow you to back it's OS up???  i thought of just getting two identical smaller drives and put OS on one and then raid it to the other identical drive.  No go huh?
    For 99% of users you don't need to backup the OS.  Add-Ins are saved in the Data area so are still retained with a server install.  As you'll be making a lot of modifications it probably doesn't suit you.
    --
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:45 AM
  • Ok I guess i misunderstood you guys before.  i thought that if the OS drive fails then i would lose everything that i worked hard to get running correctly.  So raid isn't needed then is what your saying.  Good saves me some money.  :)

    And if the OS drive fails, then its as easy as getting a new drive and putting it back in the server?  Does it have to be the same size as before?

    Will WHS automatically reinstall itself with all the old addin, users and settings?  Or do i have to make a disk or somehting when I have everything setup correctly?

    Thanks again guys.

    By the way I have been doing a bunch more research on the mail server, and that smartermail thing looks like it could really do everything that I want.  Doing some more research, but hopefully that will be the way to go.
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:00 PM
  • Define "everything". :) By design, the system partition (i.e. the operating system and all installed software) is considered sacrificial in Windows Home Server. See this FAQ for details on your risks.

    BTW, I honestly think you'll regret wanting to run your own mail server. I'm an IT pro, and have plenty of knowledge of how to do what you're thinking of, and I would never want to host my own mail server at home. If I want Exchange, I'll buy a hosted Exchange solution from a web presence provider.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 3:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Microsoft BPOS is a pretty good solution for an organization that wants a Home Server and mail and Share Point and Web Conferencing. Maintaining a mail server is a real pain for just a couple of people.

    Tim
    Friday, February 19, 2010 2:58 PM