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A Converted User - and some experiences.... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • WOW - its like being an evangelist - Im converted.

     

    I in the past have been heavily critical about WHS... Nothing in it for me, why would I want this - I can set up my own shares on XP, have Raid setup, write some automated scripts to do backups, etc etc... There is nothing new in this stuff, its just for those inexperieced users who don't know how to tweak things.... Nope - MS have missed the boat... Its Junk!

     

    Well, while WHS is not full featured from my point of view - ie. better integration with Media Center etc.... I always knew that it could develop into something with some good add-ins developed, so I'll just sit and wait for 12 months and see what happens...

     

    But, as I was publically damning WHS in other forums, I suffered an outage on my file server... I had 4 *750Gb drives setup in a Raid 5 configuration on Windows XP. All was fine, until I ran low on space. Trying to expand this Raid 5 configuration on the Highpoint Rocketraid 2320 controller was nothing but a bother... I could add 2 more 750gb drives - but the 2gb limit on XP was a problem. Over several weeks I had backed up my 2tb of data to other drives, and eventually was able to create a raid 5 of greater than 2tb - and moved (I SAID MOVED) all my data back.

    Within 2 hours, the raid 5 setup died, and I lost all my data.

     

    Highpoint was next to useless in support of the problem, let alone less than helpful in recovery. After a couple of weeks though, I found that I could use ntfs undelete utilities and eventually was able to recover 99.9% of my data !

     

    With this bad experience, and the announcement of RC1 of WHS - I thought should I give it a go? I did. And I am converted. Well more than converted - now I am evangilistic about it.

     

     

    Its only been a week, but I have 3TB of storage at present (still have 4 more 750gb to include) - and although it was not smooth sailing, it was fairly simple....

     

    Some things that I found have been mentioned before, and a couple of other notables - such as....

    - I did not get any warning in setup/installation that my NIC did not have drivers, so I was wondering why I could not connect for awhile. Turned out that my motherboard NIC does not support Windows 2003 - and I did find it a little troublesome finding a new 1Gb NIC that had windows 2003 drivers - I ended up purchasing an Intel Pro XT 10/100/1000 - Drivers installed, worked perfectly.

    - Setup was still problematic, as I was not asked during install about the name of the Workgroup - it just assumes that you have a default setup. I would like to see in the installation process the usual networking prompt, so this can be changed. Once I got in and changed it, rebooted, my machine was visible as it should be !!!

     

    - So I was able to create folders like TV Recordings and the like, with ease... All worked well. And I soon ran out of space. Adding additional drives was simple and easy - and fast !!! Here I was expecting long format times on adding 750gb - but it took less than a minute ! Fantastic. But as I added more and more drives of the same type, I find it unworkable to know which one is which - they are displayed all the same, it would be great to right click on each to show properties - ie. Channel 1 etc... Because at some time in the future - one of these drives will likely fail, and I can easily remove it from the console, but when I open up the case and find 10 drives of the same type - which one do I physically remove, unplug and replace !!! Got to see more information on the drive guys !!!!!!

     

    - Then I ran out of drive ports... oh well not to worry - I have that raid 5 controller - a highpoint rocketraid 2320 - its a good card - its expensive - its got Windows 2003 drivers - I should be able to use it, just as JBOD, I dont want to use the raid functionality - but at least it will give me 8 more sata ports...  Installed it. Drivers Ok. Raid Console see's the drives, configure them... Drats - WHS would not recognise the drives, cant see them... Oh well... I might be able to use that card somewhere else. Off I go and buy a promise s300 tx4 - Its supposed to be Windows 2003 compatible, it has no raid - just gives 4 Sata 300 ports. Plug it in, load drivers - ta da... WHS see's the new drives.... Beautiful !

     

    - I went to configure my external livenode setup, I have that working, but it also was not as easy... My Netcom ADSL2 modem initially had UPnp turned off, so from the console it could not configure it for me. Turning on UPnP still did not allow me to configure it properly... which appeared to bring about another bug.. The Console client gave a health report in the red, saying there was a problem and it could not configure my Ports (true) - so I told it to ignore that error message. It ignored it initially, but it did not stick - every time I would re-enter / reboot the client I would still get a red status and that error would be shown again, and again, and again - very annoying.

    - I configured my ports manually through the adsl modem, turned off the modem setup in the whs console, and all is working fine now!!!

     

     

    So thats some of my experiences, I am playing with WOL plugin - cant get it to work at present (firewall error? Even though the userid /passwords are the same etc...) I want to play with the other plugins / photos etc... I think there is a lot of promise in this technology... It looks great.

    - Unfortunately, I cant remote access my machines from work because of security restrictions - I can run and install the active x, but windows explorer is tightly cut down, that I can not add my website to trusted sites (no option), and hence I can not connect - bit of a shame.... I will find out a way around this eventually, in the meantime I am still copying 2TB of data across to my new beast.... Slow, slow, slow and wonder if I will ever see the message of balancing data disappear (LOL !)

     

    Good stuff all round overall despite the issues / problems / comments....

     

    Sunday, July 8, 2007 8:30 AM