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Need a Single large HD or several small ones? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Does anyone know if WHS will work fine with several small Hard drives instead of one large one?  I have a 60, 40, 40 and 30 to use.  I know it will work better with a new drive larger drive.  But I would like to try it with the 4 small ones.

    thanks

    Friday, March 16, 2007 1:36 AM

Answers

  • Ignoring the requirement that WHS requires the primary HD to be at least 80gig.

    I do not think that running WHS on such small hard drives really will give you quite the test bed that you would like. Given that most home pc hard drives are 100+gigs these days, you may have a hard time using such a system for backups. On the other hand if you want to simply test the duplication features of WHS, that might offer a cheap test bed.

    Generally when thinking about a suitable WHS setup, you would like at least two similarly sized large hard drives. You cannot duplicate data when using only one hard drive.

    Hope that helps.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 6:05 AM

All replies

  • There shouldn't be any problem getting WHS up and running with those drives.  You just won't have much room to work with, like backups and file duplication which are WHS' main functions.
    Friday, March 16, 2007 6:05 AM
  • Ignoring the requirement that WHS requires the primary HD to be at least 80gig.

    I do not think that running WHS on such small hard drives really will give you quite the test bed that you would like. Given that most home pc hard drives are 100+gigs these days, you may have a hard time using such a system for backups. On the other hand if you want to simply test the duplication features of WHS, that might offer a cheap test bed.

    Generally when thinking about a suitable WHS setup, you would like at least two similarly sized large hard drives. You cannot duplicate data when using only one hard drive.

    Hope that helps.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 6:05 AM
  •  tarkwolf wrote:
    Does anyone know if WHS will work fine with several small Hard drives instead of one large one?  I have a 60, 40, 40 and 30 to use.  I know it will work better with a new drive larger drive.  But I would like to try it with the 4 small ones.

    thanks

    WHS can work with several small hard drives; however, starting off with a small primary hard drive is not recommended and it can impose
    limitations that may be undesired.

    It is best to start off with as large a primary drive as possible and add drives that are of equal size, or slightly smaller.  The reason for this is that
    the largest file that you will be able to move to your WHS will be less than, or equal to the remaining free space on the primary drive of the WHS.

    For example, if you have a 300 GB primary WHS drive to start off with and 10 GB are used in the systems partition and you backup PC's in your
    home for a week, or so and use up 150 GB of space on the primary drive [assuming you only have one drive to start off with], then the largest
    file you could move would be 140 GB, or the remaining free space on the primary drive.

    Using an initial small drive will limit what you can move around on the WHS.  So, ideally, it is best to start off with a large primary drive and add
    additional drives as soon as possible to make sure you have both enough space and that you can also continue to move large files.
    While 80 GB is the recommended minimum for the BETA, it is pretty small as comapred to inexpensive drives shipping in or fitted to most
    computers in use in a home.  I strongly recommend using a large drive to start off with.

    ***For my BETA, I took an older system [P4 3.2 GHz w/2GB RAM and one large PATA 300 GB drive I placed into a hot-swap cage.
    I bought the PATA drive [Seagate 7200 RPM with 16MB Cache], for 80 bucks from Directron.  I also bought a couple of extra hot swap
    cages so I could easily add more drives and quickly replicate how WHS will work for people in the real-world when units ship.
    The cages were 18 bucks each and the host PC was an older one - certainly no Core 2, etc...  As it stands, I ended up with a great
    deal of space and enough room to expand as I need to.

    Good Luck,

    Lloyd

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:35 AM
  • I'm new to WHS and what is the best way to determin how large you need your server to complete the backups properly?  I have several computers that need to be backuped and I'm just starting to experiment with it.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007 10:24 PM
  • Many factors will determine how much disk space will be needed on a WHS in order to back connected systems up over a reasonable period of time and still provide a desired amount of room for shared files, and media.

    The first consideration would be how one intends to use the WHS - as a backup and continuity system only, ar as a file and media server, or some combination of the two.

    Some considerations are obvious, and others are less so - more obvious considerations would be the number of systems and their aggregate disk drive potential.

    Other considerations are less obvious - where very large hard drives in a system will use larger cluster sizes to store the same information - this is a function of the NTFS file system itself.

    Other considerations have to do with backup retention policies - how long one will retain backups and according to what schedule new backups will overwrite existing backups.

    Yet more considerations have to do with how many files and of what type one wishes to make duplicates of - protecting files stored from a drive failure on the WHS server itself.

    Fortunately, WHS makes managing available space very easy - reducing one of the most complex and frustrating sets of challenges facing enterprises to a few easy steps - namely storage space, retention and recovery planning.

    WHS also has a couple of tricks up its sleeves... first, it uses a database that reduces stored items to a hash that it uses to determine if any files have been added or changed in any way and it stores only that which is new.  Similarly, identical files on a network - say on separate systems - are only stored once.  This saves an enormous amount of space an djust as importantly, time - called "Dwell Time" in the context of backup and recovery, or restoration jobs.

    I would start by adding up all the systems in your network and their total drive capacity.  I would compare that total potential to the amount of data that you have in actual use, or total used drive space.

    Take that total used drive space and make sure your inital WHS hard drive is as large as possible and as quickly as possible, add a second hard drive to the WHS server so that the initial total available on the WHS server is equal to about one half [1/2] of the total used [not free] drive space in use on your network.

    So let's assume you are protecting two worktsations and two laptops in your home and one workstation has 300 GB of drive space with 200 GB in use and another workstation has 160 GB of drive space with 100 GB in use and you have two laptops with a total of 70 GB in use - total used, 370 GB.  An initial WHS drive of 250 GB would do nicely as a start and adding an addtional 250 GB in a second drive would give you a good amount of room to house WHS's default retained backups and leave about 300 GB to be used for files and media [these are based upon my own informal tests where we are testing five (5) connected systems which have various sized drives and types of files].

    As WHS performs its magic, you'll be amazed at how little actual space it needs to retain three weeks of backups for five systems - it is very efficient.  WHS will also manage and retire older backups, and allow you to mark backups for deletion, or permanent [locked] retention.  WHS will also allow "Brick Level" restorations.  Brick Level restorations involve the restoration of a single file, or select files from a backup without disturbing the backup or the machine they are being restored to - this is one of the most powerful capabilities in WHS.

    Hope this helps - good luck

    Lloyd

    Monday, March 19, 2007 5:43 AM
  • Lloyd - i reas with interest your effective responses to problems - you seem to know your stuff

     

    I have a small issue with WHS, and identical external USB drives - we can't ID each one, which we think will make 'repair/removal' quite difficult in the future.

     

    we hope that WHS will 'add' a new feature of 'naming' the HDDs as they are added at the initial setup, but failing that - do you know of any utility to ensure that we know which drive is which (where there are multiple USB HDDs from the same vendor) ?

     

     

    thanks

     

     

    Saturday, July 14, 2007 3:37 PM
  •  Tranquil PC wrote:

     

    we hope that WHS will 'add' a new feature of 'naming' the HDDs as they are added at the initial setup, but failing that - do you know of any utility to ensure that we know which drive is which (where there are multiple USB HDDs from the same vendor) ? 

    Add your vote here to encourage a change in v2: https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=260904

     

    Gordon

    Saturday, July 14, 2007 9:51 PM
  • Lloyd makes some really good points and some well thought out methods for configuring WHS. Good advice.

    Personally, I use WHS as the main file storage device.  WHS houses all pictures, movies, music, email archives, browser favs, Word docs, PowerPoints etc. My main PC and laptop do not hold any of those types of data for the most part. So my pc backups are mostly OS, programs, and any misc files that may be on each machine.  That means that my backups are relatively small and have fewer changed files. I designed my network to resemble the layout I have at my office. Everything lives on the server and is backed up each night.

    I too started out with a 200gb primary then added another 80 gb.  But soon realized that I did not have sufficient space. So I bought identical 500 gb WD 16mb cache 7200 IDE drives from Newegg for about $100 each on an older machine (see my signature below). That gave me the breathing room for backups and duplication. Not to mention WHS does not constantly Balance anymore like it use too. Use the biggest you can afford for the primary and work from there....

    Lastly, I too feel that they need to ID the drives better. Both my 500's are labeled the same in console, except the primary's icon is different. I'm looking at getting a third one and it too will have the same id. So it will be impossible to tell which one is which.... Good catch.

     
    Saturday, July 14, 2007 10:36 PM