What about WHS hardware redundancy and backup? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have been reading the threads on RAID for redundancy and understand that it is not supported.  I come from a technical background, have built my share of fault tolerant RAID servers, and while not supported, hardware level RAID 1 seems like the perfect solution.  I'm wanting to put a WHS in as a SOHO server, primarly to centralize storage, share files and serve as a disaster recovery backup for a couple of workstations. 


    However, it seems that if I do not account for any redundancy in the hardware, then I am back to square one - with a single point of failure.  So do I backup my WHS to a DVD or tape drive (supported?), then if (when) it fails, rebuild the server and restore the backup of the system I bought to backup my files in the first place?


    I think WHS is a GREAT idea, but without accounting for fault tolerance, it seems that you are consolidating all your data and putting everything at even greater risk.  So, is the only supported answer 'Disk Extender' and letting WHS copy your data from one drive to another at some time to serve as a backup?


    Sorry to belabor this point - but I'm having trouble getting past the lack of fault tolerance - especially when I think about 1TB of data sitting out there.  I know it was never intended as a business level system, but I would not want to be the tech answering the phone when some of these big, single drive systems start failing and you have to tell the person on the other end why they have just lost all their child's photos for the past 5 years.


    Thoughts? How does Microsoft recommend you account for fault tolerance?  Thank you in advance for your feedback.

    Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:37 AM

All replies

  •  AnnasGourmetGoodies wrote:
    How does Microsoft recommend you account for fault tolerance?  Thank you in advance for your feedback.
    Install several smaller drives. Instead of building a Windows Home Server PC with a single huge drive, you build one with two or three smaller drives. Then you turn on share duplication, which protects your files. It doesn't protect backups of other PCs on your network, but those are protected by the other PCs themselves.

    Windows Home Server isn't designed to be an enterprise-class anything, much less backup solution, so if your house burns down you lose everything. However, if your house burns down without Windows Home Server, you lose everything anyway. And if just one PC goes belly up (with a hard drive failure, in all probability) you don't lose anything, because you have a backup of every file on it.
    Thursday, December 27, 2007 2:02 AM
  • The whole point of Home Server's Drive Extender is that it provides its own form of software RAID by way of redundancy that doen't require the average end user to have knowledge required to configure and maintain an array. If you read through the technical brief, it describes in detail how Drive Extender works and even has a brief disclaimer on page 9 that merely states that using RAID complicates things. Although it explicitly suggests that you do not use RAID, nowhere does it state that WHS won't work with an array:

    It is highly recommended that you not use hardware RAID technologies for your home server. Recovering from hard-drive failures becomes increasingly complex when hardware RAID systems are used.

    Assuming you have drivers for your controller, it is possible to install WHS on an array with enough persistence. I can't vouch for this personally (please see other threads in the fora for success stories) but I have been pondering the same prospect as I have concerns similar to that of the original poster. I have an older PATA 3ware card at home that's collecting dust and is ripe for experimenting with. If anyone is curious, I'll post my results as 3ware make some of the best RAID cards on the market. Also, here's someone's blog entry describing the steps they took to get their array working under WHS.

    Thursday, December 27, 2007 6:38 PM