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So if storage is a pool, what if I remove an external drive? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm downloading the image, but am now setting up my server hardware configuration. I have an external USB drive that i'd like to use for my 160GB drive so that on a rare occasion when I need it on my laptop for video editing, I can simply unplug it and move it over.

     

    My two question are:

    1. When I unplug it, will WHS still work? what if I install a program that copies it's system files onto the external drive? then when I unplug it, it'd not work. Can i select which pooled drive to install it on?

    2. What if I have backups that are set to copy to that external drive and it's gone, will the system crash, will the backups just make an endless network hogging loop?

    Do I need to either put the 160 INSIDE my WHS or leave it plugged in at ALL times?

    Perhaps I'm not understanding pooled storage.

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 1:07 AM

Answers

  • Yes, to use a drive for Media Connect (for what it's worth, see elsewhere in the forums for what others think of it) and automatic backups, it has to be in the pool. If it's not in the pool, then it's going to be a standard old drive. And I'd bet it's going to be an unsupported configuration. It's pretty clear that Microsoft wants WHS to be easy to use, and drive letters and traditional sharing isn't that easy for the average person to use effectively and securely.

    For your last question, I'm going to shrug. Microsoft says now that there will be an upgrade path then, but if they find a serious bug in Drive Extender that could go away. This is beta software. Don't use it for production purposes; keep a backup of any data on WHS on another physical machine or (better) off-site.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:39 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • You should read through all the documentation before you install. There's a lot of good information in there, and some interesting hints as to things that WHS might be able to do.

    As for your questions: The controlling "intelligence" for what goes on which drive attached to WHS is Drive Extender. You don't make any decisions about where shares are allocated, or where backups go. You attach a drive, tell WHS (through the console) that it should use this drive in it's storage pool, and you're good to go.

    Advantage: As far as the average user is concerned, there are no drive letters to obsess about. Drive Extender does that for you.

    Advantage: You add a drive, and all your users have almost immediate access to the storage.

    Advantage: If you have shares set for duplication, then the loss of a drive will not result in the loss of data.

    Disadvantage: You have no control over where things go, so you can't just unplug a drive at will. Before you unplug the drive, you have to tell WHS (through the console) to remove that drive from the pool, then wait until WHS tells you it's safe to disconnect.

    Disadvantage: In order to add the drive to the storage pool, WHS must format it. There is no choice here. You can't add the drive to the pool, and therefore can't make the storage available to your users, without this.

    Disadvantage: In the beta, if you have a drive that contains data that isn't duplicated, then you may lose that data if you remove the disk, even through the appropriate interface.

    So effecttively, you shouldn't unplug the drive from WHS once it's in the pool, and you won't be able to use it with your laptop once you add the drive to the WHS storage pool.

    I hope this helps!
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 1:48 AM
    Moderator
  • OK, then my next question is this:

     

    Is it possible to use an external drive WITHOUT adding it to the 'pool' and HAVING a seperate drive letter for it?

    Neat that WinFX is finally here, I had no idea it had these advantages as well as disadvantages.

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 2:28 AM
  • Yes,you can add a drive, but not add it to the pool. If you do so, you should be able to use normal disk management tools. You won't be able to manage the storage using the WHS tools, which means no Drive Extender, no folder duplication, sharing only if you configure it manually, etc.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:14 AM
    Moderator
  • So basically if I want to use the media extender features and automatic backups, I have no choice but convert it into the pool?

    If I don't, it'll be like a standard old drive with basic folder sharing?

    My only other question is, I know i'll have to format it to start out, but once it's in the WinFX filesystem, when I REINSTALL when RC1 comes out, will I have to again format the 160 to be compatible, and have to reformat it for all future windows reinstallations?

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:23 AM
  • Yes, to use a drive for Media Connect (for what it's worth, see elsewhere in the forums for what others think of it) and automatic backups, it has to be in the pool. If it's not in the pool, then it's going to be a standard old drive. And I'd bet it's going to be an unsupported configuration. It's pretty clear that Microsoft wants WHS to be easy to use, and drive letters and traditional sharing isn't that easy for the average person to use effectively and securely.

    For your last question, I'm going to shrug. Microsoft says now that there will be an upgrade path then, but if they find a serious bug in Drive Extender that could go away. This is beta software. Don't use it for production purposes; keep a backup of any data on WHS on another physical machine or (better) off-site.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:39 AM
    Moderator