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Windows Home Server: Drive Extender and its replacements. RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Drive Extender

    The purpose of this post is to discuss Drive Extender replacements.

    As discussed extensively, Drive Extender (DE) is gone.  With it go the storage pool and duplication.  While duplication had some considerable doubters in the early days due to its RAID 1 like capabilities, the storage pool has always been a favored feature.

    The obvious replacement for DE is RAID.  The early days of WHS saw much commotion about the lack of RAID support in WHS v1.  This is because Microsoft felt that RAID was beyond the scope of WHS and DE was a suitable replacement for it.  For what it's worth, I agree that DE was a suitable replacement for RAID, and that RAID was beyond the scope of WHS.  While many disagree with that, in my own experiences with setting up RAID with WHS is that its very user error prone.  Once you have a RAID setup, you have to have a hands off approach because tinkering with it can easily cause downfall.  If you're in a flying Boeing 747, you wouldn't go into the cockpit and randomly flip switches.  RAID requires the same approach.  If you don't know what a feature does, don't mess with it.  If your RAID array ever fails to boot, you have to resist doing anything before reading crappy documentation about your RAID controller.  You also have to have patience because if you feel that on your 3rd day of your array recovering/rebuilding that nothing is happening and you decide to reboot things, you've lost your data.  Beyond user error, RAID has its own share of faulty drivers, crummy controllers, broken software & horrible documentation.

    So, beyond RAID what else is there to replace DE, other than not having DE like functionality of course?

    Friday, February 4, 2011 5:11 PM

All replies

  • The purpose of this post is to discuss Drive Extender replacements.

    As discussed extensively, Drive Extender (DE) is gone.  With it go the storage pool and duplication.  While duplication had some considerable doubters in the early days due to its RAID 1 like capabilities, the storage pool has always been a favored feature.
    ======
    Sorry, but I won't go the Raid route. Windows Home Server (no matter what the version) should be an economic and simple to set up server that the home user can handle. When Raid is thrown into the mix, WHS is no longer an economic or simple solution to backing up my three or four computers.

    I have no problem with Raid being a solution, but it should not be the only solution to storage.

    Nancy Ward
    Windows 8 BetaFerret
    Please Don't Text and Drive
    My Grand Kids May be in Your Path


    Nancy Ward
    Friday, February 4, 2011 5:56 PM
  • I have over 1.5 TB of music and movies and (4) 1 TB drives, (1) 2 TB drive, (1) 1.5 TB drive, and (1) 750 GB drive.  Since DE is dead and the is a 2 TB limit and raid 5 would be wasting space for a home server. 

    I guess I would create at least 1 stripe set (raid 0) to handle the large shares and 2 simple volumes for the other shares.  This would leave the 2 TB and 1.5 TB for backup drives and the 750 GB for a possible spare. 

    This is becoming an effort to manage.

    Friday, February 4, 2011 6:29 PM
  • When Raid is thrown into the mix, WHS is no longer an economic or simple solution to backing up my three or four computers.

    I have no problem with Raid being a solution, but it should not be the only solution to storage.


    Nancy Ward


    I'm interested in what Microsoft has to suggest.  Two economical options are Microsoft supported software RAID (perhaps in WHS 2012) & onboard (motherboard) RAID (i.e. fakeraid) controllers.

    Simplicity is a different issue.  JBOD(spanning) is possibly the simplest approach.  Many RAID controllers can do in place RAID expansion depending on the RAID level.  But as mentioned, it's another layer of management beyond the WHS console.

    Friday, February 4, 2011 9:13 PM
  • I have over 1.5 TB of music and movies and (4) 1 TB drives, (1) 2 TB drive, (1) 1.5 TB drive, and (1) 750 GB drive.  Since DE is dead and the is a 2 TB limit and raid 5 would be wasting space for a home server. 

    I guess I would create at least 1 stripe set (raid 0) to handle the large shares and 2 simple volumes for the other shares.  This would leave the 2 TB and 1.5 TB for backup drives and the 750 GB for a possible spare. 

    This is becoming an effort to manage.

    Yes, it'll be work to manage.  I have about 4 TB of DVD rips which are located in my Videos share.  The Video share is added as a library to my Windows Meda Center PC.  I really don't want to have to manage things such that I have Video1, Video2, Video3, VideoX...shares and add each one as a library to multiple client machines.

    As you say, using spanning (RAID 0, JBOD) for the larger shares would work.  Unfortunately one of the benefits of using DE (at least v1 DE) is that it used NTFS.  If JBOD can implement spanning while using NTFS then you're somewhat protected against losing *all* data if a drive fails.

     

    Friday, February 4, 2011 9:21 PM
  • >As you say, using spanning (RAID 0, JBOD) for the larger shares would work.
     
    If we're limited to 2TB for a partition, JBOD or any other RAID setup
    wont really make much of a difference unless they're small disks.
     
    My big question is can we do client backups that span more than one
    client backup folder or drive on the server (to get past the 2TB max
    folder size)  If not it's a total deal breaker for me. :(
     
    Nobody has answered that question yet and the docs and blogs sure
    don't talk about it!  (all that I've read anyway.)
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Friday, February 4, 2011 9:32 PM
  • >As you say, using spanning (RAID 0, JBOD) for the larger shares would work.
     
    If we're limited to 2TB for a partition, JBOD or any other RAID setup
    wont really make much of a difference unless they're small disks.
     
    My big question is can we do client backups that span more than one
    client backup folder or drive on the server (to get past the 2TB max
    folder size)  If not it's a total deal breaker for me. :(
     
    Nobody has answered that question yet and the docs and blogs sure
    don't talk about it!  (all that I've read anyway.)
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    I'm wondering the same thing.  I have another thread open for this save question, but have yet to receive an answer.
    Friday, February 4, 2011 9:53 PM
  • If not on raid no folder can grow bigger than biggest harddrive wich is 2 TB itight?

     

    I can manage files in folders over different drives thats no problem,

     

    Then only big prioblem i see is client backup.

    I dont have alot of data on each pc at home maby 6-700gig on each, but i have 6 of them, all with different type of data.

    That is 4 TB.....

     

    Home server supports 10 computers right?

     

    This is not a big Rant DE is gone...but this is a real problem that will hit everyone that has more than just 2 small laptops....

    They must have something planned so that you can do more than 2 TB client backup?

     

    Friday, February 4, 2011 10:00 PM
  • hard drives are now bigger then 2tb.  
    Friday, February 4, 2011 10:02 PM
  • >hard drives are now bigger then 2tb.  
     
    That's not the only limitation, read the release notes and blogs...
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Friday, February 4, 2011 10:03 PM
  • True, but you need EFI (instead of BIOS) to boot from eg a 3 GB HD.
    And right now, the > 2 TB drives have a wrong $ per GB ratio.
     
    hard drives are now bigger then 2tb.  

    Have a nice day!
    Friday, February 4, 2011 10:30 PM
  • Since I am going to do a new server build and want to use a buttload of RAM for virtualisation, I'll be needing a x64 OS. This brings me to Vail, but the missing DE is a dealbreaker for me.
    Right now I'm looking into alternatives in linux, like Amahi, Greyhole, LVM etc. They seem to be doing the same as WHSv1.

    For more, also check here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/36458/9-alternatives-for-windows-home-servers-drive-extender/

    Maybe this helps some people.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 1:47 AM
  • try again... the 2TB limitation is not there with vail.  It was with v1.  You can have a large  a vol as you want as long as you are not booting from it.
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 1:49 AM
  • Thank you, I'll look into this alternative.  Right now M$ have messed up a good product in my opinion. 
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 1:49 AM
  • >try again... the 2TB limitation is not there with vail.  It was with v1.  You can have a large  a vol as you want as long as you are not booting from it.
     
    I hope you're right and what I read about 2TB today is wrong...
     
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 3:24 AM
  • Heh, here's a nice comparison between Drive Extender and a Linux solution called Greyhole. An interesting read.

    http://code.google.com/p/greyhole/wiki/MigrateFromWHS

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 3:37 AM
  • On Sat, 5 Feb 2011 03:24:11 +0000, Bob Comer [MVP] wrote:

    try again... the 2TB limitation is not there with vail.? It was with v1.? You can have a large? a vol as you want as long as you are not booting from it.

    ?
    I hope you're right and what I read about 2TB today is wrong...

    The issue with shares larger than 2 TB only applies if you want to use
    Server Backup in WHS 2011. The issue here is that the underlying technology
    used for WHS 2011 Server Backup is the built-in Windows Server Backup in
    Server 2008 R2 is limited to 2 TB for any given volume.

    WHS 2011 certainly supports volumes/shares larger than 2 TB as long as you
    don't want to use Server Backup to back them up.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Protect your software at all costs -- all else is meat.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 3:53 AM
  • >WHS 2011 certainly supports volumes/shares larger than 2 TB as long as you
    >don't want to use Server Backup to back them up.
     
    Makes sense.  I expect that wont be a problem for me as my home backup
    strategy doesn't need the server itself to be backed up.  It might be
    a problem for others though...
     
    Do you know if the client backup folder can span disks in any other
    way than hardware RAID? or a NAS?
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 4:00 AM
  • >WHS 2011 certainly supports volumes/shares larger than 2 TB as long as you
    >don't want to use Server Backup to back them up.
     
    Makes sense.  I expect that wont be a problem for me as my home backup
    strategy doesn't need the server itself to be backed up.  It might be
    a problem for others though...
     
    Do you know if the client backup folder can span disks in any other
    way than hardware RAID? or a NAS?
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine


    I'm guessing this won't be a problem for me either.  Only because the shares that I currently backup from WHS are smaller than 2TB.  This seems to be an odd restriction though.  I didn't see it listed in the Server 2008 r2 info I read tonight.

    Thanks to those who've provided links to alternatives to WHS.  I haven't had time to look at greyhole.

    In regards to staying with WHS 2011, it seems the simplest way to "mimic" the DE is to use the Disk Management plug-in/extension to create spanned volumes.  I'm guessing that the current DE may simply use DiskPart, and could be a reason why it was never included as a feature in WHS v1.  This allows a user to create a storage pool volume which can be easily extended when a new disk is added.  It would be pretty simple to create a WHS add-in that the user could use to do this. 

    The draw back, of course, is data recovery.  You can shrink spanned volumes, but removing bad disks from a spanned volume or dealing with a failed disk in a spanned volume becomes a delicate process.  Often requiring you to have the entire volume backed up.

    I'm sure DE can be emulated by using DiskPart, DiskShadow & DiskRAID.  WHS 2011 DE may have been using those commands.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 5:19 AM
  • On Sat, 5 Feb 2011 05:19:24 +0000, Chris  H wrote:

    I'm guessing this won't be a problem for me either.? Only because the shares that I currently backup from WHS are smaller than 2TB.? This seems to be an odd restriction though.? I didn't see it listed in the Server 2008 r2 info I read tonight.

    As per -
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2009/06/22/backup-version-and-space-management-in-windows-server-backup.aspx

    Windows Server Backup uses the .vhd format for writing backups. The current
    virtual hard disk specification limits the size of a virtual hard disk to
    be 2040 GB, which can fit a volume of size 2040 GB ? 2 MB, (i.e., 2088958
    MB). Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 also limits the maximum
    source volume size to be 2088958 MB. In Windows Server 2008 R2, if you are
    not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected
    files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB,
    provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB. If you are
    creating a full volume backup, the maximum source volume size limit
    continues to be 2088958 MB.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    E Pluribus UNIX.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 6:56 AM
  • On Sat, 5 Feb 2011 04:00:02 +0000, Bob Comer [MVP] wrote:

    Do you know if the client backup folder can span disks in any other
    way than hardware RAID? or a NAS?

    Software RAID is also an option. The bottom line here is that in order for
    any Server Folder to span more than 1 physical disk, the spanned disks
    have to be able to be assigned a single drive letter by the OS. As long as
    that is possible, the underlying technology is irrelevant.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Thrashing is just virtual crashing.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 6:59 AM
  • >I'm sure DE can be emulated by using DiskPart, DiskShadow & DiskRAID.  WHS 2011 DE may have been using those commands.
     
    I've never used Windows Spanned Volumes, but intend to test them out
    shortly, but RAID anything that spans disks is just not an acceptable
    on anything but real good hardware and disks, and I don't spend that
    much money or time on my WHS.. 
     
    RAID 0 on a regular motherboard would work, if I had same size disks
    and I was willing to lose it all if one of the disks in the set died,
    but I'm not.
     
    >The draw back, of course, is data recovery.  You can shrink spanned volumes, but removing bad disks from a spanned volume or dealing with a failed disk in a spanned volume becomes a delicate process.  Often requiring you to have the entire volume backed up.
     
    Hmmm, that sounds like RAID 0's problem, and I guess that makes sense.
    (and makes spanned volumes not useable either, darn, that's what I had
    planned to try.) 
     
    Remember there's the 2TB limit that makes the recovery scenario not
    possible with RAID 0 or spanned volumes, even if I did have enough
    backup disks.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 12:50 PM
  • >Software RAID is also an option. The bottom line here is that in order for
    >any Server Folder to span more than 1 physical disk, the spanned disks
    >have to be able to be assigned a single drive letter by the OS. As long as
    >that is possible, the underlying technology is irrelevant.
     
    Not a great solution for me, it would cost more money. (too much)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 12:55 PM
  • I assume most of the OEM offerings will probably use onboard chipset (firmware) RAID. Seems like a fairly simple way to go.

    Most modern motherboards support 4-6 SATA ports, which gives 8-12TB (with standard 2TB drives). Cheap, effective, and plenty of storage.

    I suspect much of the angst is over people who have legacy systems, and a bunch of old sub 1TB. Two options here:

    1) 2TB drives are under $100...time to ditch the old stuff. I just tossed a stack of 320GB maxtors..unfortunately they were worth less than shipping cost even on ebay!.

    2) use Windows disk explorer, and create a large JBOD disk set.

     

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 1:55 AM
  • >I assume most of the OEM offerings will probably use onboard chipset (firmware) RAID. Seems like a fairly simple way to go.
     
    I wouldn't trust that type of RAID controller for anything other than
    RAID0 and RAID1.  RAID0 is not redundant, so you'd have to have a more
    stringent backup, and while RAID1 would be good up to the biggest
    sized drive you could buy, it takes twice the disk space.  Since
    Vail's backup can only back up 2TB, that limits just how much you can
    keep on a disk array that you'd have to back up.
     
    >Most modern motherboards support 4-6 SATA ports, which gives 8-12TB (with standard 2TB drives). Cheap, effective, and plenty of storage.
     
    Where you going to back that all up to?  In reality, it'd be half
    storage, and half backup, plus you'll have to split up the backups
    somehow so you only back up 2TB at a time. (I don't know if it's
    possible, the dashboard doesn't expose that kind of functionality.)
     
    >I suspect much of the angst is over people who have legacy systems, and a bunch of old sub 1TB. Two options here:
     
    I only have 1 sub 1TB drive in my WHS V1.
     
    >2) use Windows disk explorer, and create a large JBOD disk set.
     
    JBOD, or spanned volumes in Windows, needs full backups, you lose one
    drive, you lose it all.  If ever I move up to Vail (I don't know if I
    will yet), that's exactly what I'll do, but I'll have to buy more
    disks and it'll be a pita to admin compared to WHSV1.
     
    I could go with another backup product that would solve most of the
    issues, but they are mondo expensive for server level OS's. (but that
    kind of negates the need for WHS as I could use it to backup the
    client PC's.)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 3:18 AM
  • +1

    --
    _________________
     
    BullDawg
    In God We Trust
    _________________
    >I assume most of the OEM offerings will probably use onboard chipset (firmware) RAID. Seems like a fairly simple way to go.
     
    I wouldn't trust that type of RAID controller for anything other than
    RAID0 and RAID1.  RAID0 is not redundant, so you'd have to have a more
    stringent backup, and while RAID1 would be good up to the biggest
    sized drive you could buy, it takes twice the disk space.  Since
    Vail's backup can only back up 2TB, that limits just how much you can
    keep on a disk array that you'd have to back up.
     
    >Most modern motherboards support 4-6 SATA ports, which gives 8-12TB (with standard 2TB drives). Cheap, effective, and plenty of storage.
     
    Where you going to back that all up to?  In reality, it'd be half
    storage, and half backup, plus you'll have to split up the backups
    somehow so you only back up 2TB at a time. (I don't know if it's
    possible, the dashboard doesn't expose that kind of functionality.)
     
    >I suspect much of the angst is over people who have legacy systems, and a bunch of old sub 1TB. Two options here:
     
    I only have 1 sub 1TB drive in my WHS V1.
     
    >2) use Windows disk explorer, and create a large JBOD disk set.
     
    JBOD, or spanned volumes in Windows, needs full backups, you lose one
    drive, you lose it all.  If ever I move up to Vail (I don't know if I
    will yet), that's exactly what I'll do, but I'll have to buy more
    disks and it'll be a pita to admin compared to WHSV1.
     
    I could go with another backup product that would solve most of the
    issues, but they are mondo expensive for server level OS's. (but that
    kind of negates the need for WHS as I could use it to backup the
    client PC's.)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine

    BullDawg
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 3:29 AM
  • As everyone else, I'm SUPER disappointed that DE is not part of WHS 2011. I have several 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB drives I would have added to the DE, The beauty of DE is that any drive size could be added, this of course is not true with RAID. I currently have a hardware RAID-6 with six 2TB drives in it (I can add two more). Now that 3TB drives are available I'm about to fall back to using software RAID-1 under Win7. On my previous system I used five 2TB RAID-1 software arrays (Win7) and for the most part I was VERY pleased with it. The problem you start to run into is when whatever you are storing (music for example) exceeds the size of the RAID you are forced to spill into a second RAID now you got a data management problem of trying to determine what music is in which RAID. I was looking forward to using DE to help reduce the data management as to where stuff is stored and to provide better safety for hard drive failure. For me DE was the main advantage of WHS. I may consider Greyhole and just forget WHS all together.
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 7:12 AM
  • Not sure I get your arguments Bob.

    >I wouldn't trust that type of RAID controller for anything other than RAID0 and RAID1.

    But trusting DEv2 software RAID0 is somehow preferable? ICH10R is a perfectly acceptable solution, thats been around for a while, and at LEAST as good as OS software RAID. Want more protection? get a full hardware RAID controller.

    > Since Vail's backup can only back up 2TB, that limits just how much you can keep on a disk array that you'd have to back up.

    Don't you have this problem with DEv1/DEv2 anyways? Its a limit based on GPT disk and VHD filesize. Plenty of options here. First, most people DON'T back up their entire server. I am currently using about 14TB total. I backup the critical files (photos, documents), but I certainly don't backup my video library. Thats why I keep the original Blu-ray and dvd disks in the garage :-). A single 2TB USB drive does the trick for external backup.

    As for backup, check out Crashplan. Works fine on server.

    Bottom line is, I'm not sure how any of the issues you mention were any better with DE? And I for one will always trust hardware and firmware RAID over software

     

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 4:53 PM
  • >But trusting DEv2 software RAID0 is somehow preferable? ICH10R is a perfectly acceptable solution, thats been around for a while, and at LEAST as good as OS software RAID. Want more protection? get a full hardware RAID controller.
     
    That was a general comment on the state of chipset RAID, they've
    proven unreliable for RAID 5 and pretty slow / resource intensive
    compared to a dedicated controller.
     
    I would *not* trust RAID0 on my WHS server, not spanned disks either
    unless I had double the storage for backups.
     
    >Don't you have this problem with DEv1/DEv2 anyways?
     
    yes, it's a problem with DEv1. but with DEv1 I rely on folder
    duplication for the shares, and that means I can always recover those,
    no matter what happens, and for the client backups, while it's the
    most important function of my server, I don't back it up like you say.
    I have a current backup of the PC on the PC, the only thing I lose is
    history, and I could do the same on WHSV2, but not with the shared
    folders.
     
    Currently, my PC backups are greater than 3T, so that would require at
    the very least spanned disks in WHSV2 where it require no such thing
    before, and with spanned disks comes the higher failure risk, and
    since you can't recover data from part of a spanned disk, that means I
    could keep none of my shared folders on it, so that requires more
    disks to store the shared folders.  (I know, run on sentence, sorry)
     
    Yes, I could do it all with WHSV2, but it would take more disks and
    more of a pain to set up.  I've maybe spent 5 minutes of my time on my
    WHSv1 server since I set it up years ago and 3 added disks, WHSv2, is
    not going to be like that, and one has to balance that against what
    WHSv2 gives me.  I haven't found that reason to go to v2 yet, but I'm
    looking...
     
    >As for backup, check out Crashplan. Works fine on server.
     
    Never heard of it, what's good about it?
     
    >Bottom line is, I'm not sure how any of the issues you mention were any better with DE?
     
    That's very easy to say, the ease and cheapness of adding storage and
    being able to always recover my shared folders. 
     
    >And I for one will always trust hardware and firmware RAID over software
     
    I wouldn't say always, as there is a cost for RAID.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 5:25 PM
  • Per MS "In Windows Server 2008 R2, if you are not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB, provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB. If you are creating a full volume backup, the maximum source volume size limit continues to be 2088958 MB."

    I have a 4-2TB RAID 0 Array,( I know RAID 0 is NOT the way to go but this would apply to RAID 5 also if it's larger than 2 TB) When I try to select folders on the raid array for back-up I get "The selected drive is larger than 2 TB and cannot be included in the server back-up. Consider dividing the Hard Drives into blah blah blah" So I cannot even select folders on the RAID array to backup that are smaller than 2 TB! There is no option I see that allows you to not select a full volume. So this statment is untrue "If you are not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB, provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB"
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 7:41 PM
  • On Sun, 6 Feb 2011 19:41:16 +0000, LarryB4 wrote:

    I have a 4-2TB RAID 0 Array,( I know RAID 0 is NOT the way to go but this would apply to RAID 5 also if it's larger than 2 TB) When I try to select folders on the raid array for back-up I get "The selected drive is larger than 2 TB and cannot be included in the server back-up. Consider dividing the Hard Drives into blah blah blah" So I cannot even select folders on the RAID array to backup that are smaller than 2 TB! There is no option I see that allows you to not select a full volume. So this statment is untrue?/"If you are not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB, provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB"/

    The statement is in fact true. It was made in reference to Windows Server
    2008 R2, not in reference to WHS 2011. If you use the Server Backup Wizard
    in WHS 2011 it is hard coded to back up at the volume level, not at the
    file and folder level.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Compatible:  Gracefully accepts erroneous data from any source.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 7:50 PM
  • Thanks for clearing that up Paul. Looks like I may try the SBS 2011 essentials, will that allow back-up at the file and folder level?
    Sunday, February 6, 2011 8:14 PM
  • Seems somewhat absured that Microsoft would pull DE, suggest RAID as a solution, then not allow, not sure if that's the right word but, file and folder level backup on a RAID Array over 2TB when it is a feature on Windows Server 2008 R2. So what is the thought process here?

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 9:22 PM
  • On Sun, 6 Feb 2011 20:14:17 +0000, LarryB4 wrote:

    Thanks for clearing that up Paul. Looks like I may try the SBS 2011 essentials, will that allow back-up at the file and folder level?

    Not sure about Essentials but the other option is to skip the Server Backup
    wizard in WHS and use the underlying Windows Server Backup instead. Click
    start, then type Backup in the Search box to get where you need to be.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Every program is a part of some other program, and rarely fits.

    Monday, February 7, 2011 7:02 AM
  • I have for a while been testing using two spanned volumes that are mirrored daily using Synctoy. This setup works but I am not convinced yet that its trustworthy.

    I'm considering using Dynamic Disk to set up a RAID5 storage volume. I see a few advantages over using a RAID card - no need for matched drives, compatibility with any hardware that runs Windows. Write performance might not be optimal but in my view for a storage NAS that's acceptable - read speeds will be quite good.

    Right now I have 3 x 1.5TB + 1 x 1.0TB drives. This would use 1TB on each drive to give a 3TB RAID5 volume, plus 3x0.5TB leftover that can be used to create another 1TB RAID5 volume.

    While not simple, at least it's possible with this config to upgrade drive sizes without rebuilding the entire array from backups.

    Monday, February 7, 2011 9:09 AM
  • I have been playing with using FlexRAID and FlexRAID Views on top of WHS 2011 RC as they talked about in this article:

    http://www.mswhs.com/2010/12/flexraid-the-vail-de-alternative/comment-page-1/#comment-14030

     

    My Test VM has a single 160GB drive for the OS (c:) and initial Data partition (d:). I created a new folder on the d: drive called Pool. Then I created 3 subfolders: Drive1, Drive2, Drive3. Then I added 3 500GB vhds and mounted each of them to the corrisponding empty NTFS folder (Disk1 mounted to the Drive1 folder, etc...) and formatted them as NTFS with all the defaults except for the volume label.

    I installed FlexRAID and FlexRAID View, configured a single storage pool as drive e:, and was starting to get very hopeful when a 1.5 TB e: drive showed up in my computer. I could copy files to it and FlexRAID view would just put it on one of the drives for me.

    The problem came when I tried to open the dashboard and move my shares to the new pool I'd created. The Pool drive is not listed in the dashboard, even though the individual drives that make up the pool are. I tried to create a New "folder" with the wizard, and I was able to select a subfolder on the Pool through the browse tool, but when I tried to click OK it gave me the following error:

    -----

    The Folder Location is not valid

    A server folder cannot be added to a hard drive that is not formatted with the NTFS file system. Select a different folder location and try again.

    -----

    I'm not sure why WHS has a problem with it since the drives are formatted as NTFS, but unless this issue can be resolved, i'd say the chances of using FlexRAID as DE in WHS 2011 aren't looking good. Of course I could use it as a DE alternative on another platform like W7 or Server 2008 R2, but the whole point of this experiment for me was a way to salvage the new features of WHS 2011. If i'm going to live with out them, I might as well just keep using v1 (which it looks like i'm going to). At lest this way I still get to keep client backup and remote access.

     

    Edit: I should note that I haven't tried to setup parity with FlexRAID yet, I know other people have been using that with WHS v1 instead of DE's duplication features. I just wanted to see if I could create a Pool that could be used by WHS.


    Daniel Roushey
    Monday, February 7, 2011 9:48 PM
  • I second the recommendation for using crashplan for backing up the server.

    I'm actually using it right now on my WHS v1 box instead of the built in server backup. Here is what I like:

    • You can setup multiple backup locations such as external storage, or over the internet to a friend that also has crashplan installed and some free space to kill. 
    • You can also sign up for their plus account for $50 a year (gives you unlimited data for 1 computer) and backup to their online storage.
    • Your files are encrypted on your end before they are sent out (over SSL of course) so you don't have to worry about the privacy of your data.
    • They have a family plan that gives you unlimited online backup for up to 10 computers for something like $100 a year.
    I'm currently just using the free version to back up my stuff to a friend's server and it is working well so far. I might consider getting the plus license for WHS in the future.


    Daniel Roushey
    Monday, February 7, 2011 10:54 PM
  • I'm not likely to want anything that can go over the internet..
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 1:37 AM
  • On Mon, 7 Feb 2011 21:48:05 +0000, Daniel Roushey wrote:

    I have been playing with using FlexRAID and FlexRAID Views on top of WHS 2011 RC as they talked about in this article:

    You should probably post these issues to the FlexRAID forums:

    http://www.openegg.org/forums/forums/list.page


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Those who can't write, write help files.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 5:46 AM
  • Another possible substitute for DE is this companies solution that is discussed  in the forum thread at Hard Forum at the second link below.  Seems promising if a bit thin on details so far.  Worth a look though.

    Link to DE replacement vendor :

    http://www.datacore.com/Solutions/storage-virtualization-and-virtual-server-desktop/Microsoft/homeserver.aspx

    Link to Hard Forum thread about DE replacement offering :

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1583216&highlight=whs

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 2:05 AM
  • > I'm not likely to want anything that can go over the internet..

     

    Its not for everyone I guess, but I needed a way to do offsite backups and it was better than the others I looked into (mozy won't install on a server OS, carbonite is picky about file types, KeepVault was more expensive). Personally, I'm horrible with the whole take the external drive to work every month routine. If it's not automatic, I forget to do it.


    Daniel Roushey
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:47 PM
  • >Its not for everyone I guess, but I needed a way to do offsite backups

    I just have way too much disk space used and a limited internet
    connection.  It's hard to fit 9T of stuff down a 250G a month internet
    connection, which is being used for other stuff too.


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 3:45 PM
  • Limited internet, ouch. You win by default. All of my arguments are invalid. :-)


    Daniel Roushey
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 3:59 PM
  • >Limited internet, ouch. You win by default. All of my arguments are invalid. :-)

    <g>

    I really don't have any better choices either, which really is bad.


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 4:32 PM
  • Another possible substitute for DE is this companies solution that is discussed  in the forum thread at Hard Forum at the second link below.  Seems promising if a bit thin on details so far.  Worth a look though.

    Link to DE replacement vendor :

    http://www.datacore.com/Solutions/storage-virtualization-and-virtual-server-desktop/Microsoft/homeserver.aspx

    Link to Hard Forum thread about DE replacement offering :

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1583216&highlight=whs

    Yeah, information is pretty limiting on the DataCore website.  I'm guessing storage virtualization would be best fit.  The website is too much marketing and not enough specifics on how it all will be set up and how much it'll cost.
    Thursday, February 10, 2011 4:31 PM
  • Unfortunately I can't do any tests with dynamic disks and spanning using the Disk Management extension until I finish moving.  One item I'd like to find out is if you can do spanning across physical disks without striping the data.  If so, is the data legible on the other disks if one disk fails?  Spanning appears to allow expansion across dissimilar disks, which would elude to non striping (unless the storage not used for spanning becomes another volume).

    The WHS blog mentions using Previous Versions using Shadow Copies as a replacement for duplication.  Given that communication with the server is expected to go through the WHS Console, I'm anticipating a WHS plug-in to provide access to Shadow Copies.

    In the early days of WHS v1 I did some tests with RAID.  In particular with the ICH10R chipset.  Performance was better than expected with RAID5 (if you enable write back caching).  However my conclusion was that it was prone to user errors (my own) and it was generally safer to stick with a non RAID setup and let DE handle server expansion.  This of course provides the freedom of using any sized disk, and allows your server to expand using the latest, greatest & largest hard drives available.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011 4:56 PM
  • One item I'd like to find out is if you can do spanning across physical disks without striping the data.  If so, is the data legible on the other disks if one disk fails?  Spanning appears to allow expansion across dissimilar disks, which would elude to non striping (unless the storage not used for spanning becomes another volume).

    With Windows based spanning, it's unrecoverable if you lose a disk in
    the set, and it's not stripping that's the cause, it's the way Windows
    writes to any "partition" (it doesn't write everything contiguously,
    it puts it all over the partition,) and the fact that a spanned disk
    without the spanned set is basically undefined.  (It shows as no
    partitions at all if you lose one in the set.)

    The WHS blog mentions using Previous Versions using Shadow Copies as a replacement for duplication.  Given that communication with the server is expected to go through the WHS Console, I'm anticipating a WHS plug-in to provide access to Shadow Copies.

    Shadow copies will get you absolutely zero if a disk goes bad.


    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Thursday, February 10, 2011 5:12 PM
  • Unfortunately I can't do any tests with dynamic disks and spanning using the Disk Management extension until I finish moving.  One item I'd like to find out is if you can do spanning across physical disks without striping the data.  If so, is the data legible on the other disks if one disk fails?  Spanning appears to allow expansion across dissimilar disks, which would elude to non striping (unless the storage not used for spanning becomes another volume).

    The WHS blog mentions using Previous Versions using Shadow Copies as a replacement for duplication.  Given that communication with the server is expected to go through the WHS Console, I'm anticipating a WHS plug-in to provide access to Shadow Copies.

    In the early days of WHS v1 I did some tests with RAID.  In particular with the ICH10R chipset.  Performance was better than expected with RAID5 (if you enable write back caching).  However my conclusion was that it was prone to user errors (my own) and it was generally safer to stick with a non RAID setup and let DE handle server expansion.  This of course provides the freedom of using any sized disk, and allows your server to expand using the latest, greatest & largest hard drives available.

    Spanning really requires mirroring as well. I am testing a 2 + 2 drives setup here - two spanned volumes of two disks each. For mirroring I have Synctoy running daily to propagate all changes to the mirror (could be hourly I guess). It's worth noting that Synctoy means I lose shadow copies, so it's by no means an ideal solution for mirroring.

    As Bob Comer points out, if a drive fails then the spanned volume is unusable and needs to be re-mirrored from the copy. I think this is acceptable in a 2+2 disk setup, however with many disks you will have failures more frequently so the frequency and rebuild time might be unacceptable. I'm leaning towards testing Disk Manager RAID5, but a RAID5 array is not flexible in size.

     

    Friday, February 11, 2011 8:34 AM
  • My WHS V1 Server had 8TB of storage.  About half the data had duplication set to on and the server was full.  With the Demise of DE I purchased a DroboPro and spend about a week migrating the data and drives from the server to the DroboPro and now, I have all my data on the Drobo.  On the plus side, the Drobopro is fast and I feel my data is safe.  The Drobo is connected to tWHS through the iscsi interface and performance seems good.  Drobo tech support has also been good.   I had an old 1TB Green drive that the Drobo was not registering as failing but it was cauing the entire sytem to run very slow.  The drobo genarates diagnostic logs very easily and Drobo tech support identified the bad drive in2-days.   I also have a seamless upgrade path to veil.  The biggest issue with the DroboPro is price.  at $1,400 for an 8-bay unit with no drives, that expensive.   A firmware update is due this month to allow it to support the new 3TB Drives but overall I am please.  Below is the process I used to migrate the data.

    1) Install DroboShare on WHS and the add in Disk Management
    2) Shut server down,  install an Intel 10/100/1000 network card and bring up server
    3) Install NIC drivers and reboot
    4) Install new Hitachi 2TB Drive in DroboPro and connect to Server via USB - Drobo works
    5) Shut down DroboPro and Server, remove USB and connect DroboPro to Server via iSCSI ( connected to new Intel NIC), and bring Server up
    6) Copy 800GB of date from Server to Drobo
    7) Delete files copied to Drobo from Servr and turn off duplication
    8) Using Disk Management add-in, identify which 2TB Drive has least about of data on it and use Hard Drive removal Wizard to remove it
    9) Shut Server down, remote 2TB Drive from Server, bring Server up and with server status Green, insert 2TB Drive in Drobo
    10) repeat steps 6-9 for each drive in the server


    WHS_retail version
    Friday, February 11, 2011 9:50 PM
  • Interesting articles at WeGotServed.com  :

     

    http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/02/12/de-replacement-drive-bender
    
    http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/17628-introducing-stablebit-drivepool-for-the-windows-home-server-2011/page__pid__102513#entry102513

     

    • Edited by dslabby Tuesday, February 15, 2011 2:34 AM
    Monday, February 14, 2011 3:32 AM
  • My WHS V1 Server had 8TB of storage.  About half the data had duplication set to on and the server was full.  With the Demise of DE I purchased a DroboPro and spend about a week migrating the data and drives from the server to the DroboPro and now, I have all my data on the Drobo.  On the plus side, the Drobopro is fast and I feel my data is safe.  The Drobo is connected to tWHS through the iscsi interface and performance seems good.  Drobo tech support has also been good.   I had an old 1TB Green drive that the Drobo was not registering as failing but it was cauing the entire sytem to run very slow.  The drobo genarates diagnostic logs very easily and Drobo tech support identified the bad drive in2-days.   I also have a seamless upgrade path to veil.  The biggest issue with the DroboPro is price.  at $1,400 for an 8-bay unit with no drives, that expensive.   A firmware update is due this month to allow it to support the new 3TB Drives but overall I am please.  Below is the process I used to migrate the data.

    1) Install DroboShare on WHS and the add in Disk Management
    2) Shut server down,  install an Intel 10/100/1000 network card and bring up server
    3) Install NIC drivers and reboot
    4) Install new Hitachi 2TB Drive in DroboPro and connect to Server via USB - Drobo works
    5) Shut down DroboPro and Server, remove USB and connect DroboPro to Server via iSCSI ( connected to new Intel NIC), and bring Server up
    6) Copy 800GB of date from Server to Drobo
    7) Delete files copied to Drobo from Servr and turn off duplication
    8) Using Disk Management add-in, identify which 2TB Drive has least about of data on it and use Hard Drive removal Wizard to remove it
    9) Shut Server down, remote 2TB Drive from Server, bring Server up and with server status Green, insert 2TB Drive in Drobo
    10) repeat steps 6-9 for each drive in the server


    WHS_retail version


    Interesting.
    But way too expensive solution for me.
    I'll launch the test server with WHS v2 RC and try the forthcoming DE alternatives, then - maybe - convert (with a fresh install) my current v1-machine (11 drives, about 9 TB of storage) to a functional WHS v2 with the OEM release.


    One WHS v1 machine in the basement with a mixed setup of harddrives in and outside the storage pool.
    Monday, February 14, 2011 9:30 AM
  • Like the last poster, ChristianJohansson, I appreciate the post and it may be an option for some.  The DroboPro solution is much too expensive ($1000 plus) for myself and those folks who have come to rely on the DE features of WHS1 for storage  of videos, photographs, etc.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:08 PM
  • Like the last poster, ChristianJohansson, I appreciate the post and it may be an option for some. The DroboPro solution is much too expensive ($1000 plus) for myself and those folks who have come to rely on the DE features of WHS1 for storage of videos, photographs, etc.

    Whether I rely on WHS v1 or not, $1000 plus is much, much, much too rich for my retired blood! Have I mentioned that "fixed income" sucks!?


    Nancy Ward
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:41 PM
  • Quite frankly, I have touted Microsoft WHS 1.0 and how I love the ability to extend data storage and create soft RAID.  Though there is  limited 64bit Client Restoration support (requiring you to use 32-bit drivers to restore a 64-bit machine) and not having an easy replication of the system drive, this is a GREAT product and I have recommended it to many of my colleagues and friends.  So...the elimination of the Driver Extender feature is LUDICROUS!!!!  You are forcing me to stay on the current release and possibly purchase an additional license to build a new server on.  The MS Marketing Team is really being ridiculous.  If you are afraid that MS WHS is cutting into the Small Business 2008 business, then work to drive a balance for those "under 10 user" companies.  I vote that the MS Team rethink this decision.

     

    Thanks for Listening.

     

    Perry


    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 3:49 PM
  • Quite frankly, I have touted Microsoft WHS 1.0 and how I love the ability to extend data storage and create soft RAID.  Though there is  limited 64bit Client Restoration support (requiring you to use 32-bit drivers to restore a 64-bit machine) and not having an easy replication of the system drive, this is a GREAT product and I have recommended it to many of my colleagues and friends.  So...the elimination of the Driver Extender feature is LUDICROUS!!!!  You are forcing me to stay on the current release and possibly purchase an additional license to build a new server on.  The MS Marketing Team is really being ridiculous.  If you are afraid that MS WHS is cutting into the Small Business 2008 business, then work to drive a balance for those "under 10 user" companies.  I vote that the MS Team rethink this decision.

     

    Thanks for Listening.

     

    Perry



    In all fairness, one of the reasons MS canned DE is because it had issues they tried to fix in v1 that didn't fix everything to begin with. And in an attempt to recode and push out a new one for 2011, didn't have time to finish it. Personally, I like the new format and the speed in 2011. Yes, it sucks not having DE but at least two add-ins are being worked on for 2011 to create a DE-like ability. I'm willing to hold out as I do not have that much data on my 2011 box at the moment.
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 4:11 PM
  • In all fairness, one of the reasons MS canned DE is because it had issues they tried to fix in v1 that didn't fix everything to begin with. And in an attempt to recode and push out a new one for 2011, didn't have time to finish it. Personally, I like the new format and the speed in 2011. Yes, it sucks not having DE but at least two add-ins are being worked on for 2011 to create a DE-like ability. I'm willing to hold out as I do not have that much data on my 2011 box at the moment.


    My WHS 2011 RTM is ticking along quite nicely, response times are much better with serveral operations going on at the same time (copying files, backups running).
    WHS v.1 would just die when you did something like that. And then DE balancing kicked in...

    All backup duties are on the WHS 2011, other files are being moved from the v.1 rig as we speak.

    DE is (was) nice, but it's not that great some ppl seem to imply.


    WHS 2011 RTM coming alive, taking over WHS v.1 duties.
    Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:59 AM
  • How many drives and how large is your setup?  Purchasing an 8 port or greater RAID controller gets pricey.  I am mostly 2TB drives so I don't have much I can replace for additional space at the moment.

    Friday, May 6, 2011 5:10 PM
  • I agree with ChristianJohansson's comments above.  DE had some real issues relative to data reliability.  Remember the early bugs.  These guys are not dumb and have to make tough choices.  I do think it would be helpful to have a piece written on optimal ways to configure the disks, and some explanation of the best ways to use the server backup drives.  It was kind of fun building immitation storage arrays, but there must have been a licensing issue or a performance issue that killed DE.  I have moved on.  I definitely like the improved performance.  I can't wait to dig into the web components and start extending this server to other functions.  There are probably other issues we should discuss, like how come I can't tie this to my AD.  You could do that in V1.  When I use the WHS V2 storage and AD-based storage, how come they crash security and act like an attempted hack is underway? 

    It looks like it is very .NET friendly.  Let's take a serious look at the other aspects of this product in relation to how our homes could be.  Can it be made to work with the iPad? I want to hookup my weather station and build my digital library, and build out the search engine.  V1 was so limited in so many ways.  Just my thought.

    Friday, May 6, 2011 9:24 PM
  • I'm thinking RAID 1 may be the way to go.  Drives really are cheap these days.  Has anyone tried configuring the drives through the Disk Management utility and running the raid through Windows?  I know...not ideal, but if you are on a UPS?  It woud be nice to have some people report on some performance comparisons.

    Friday, May 6, 2011 9:34 PM