Good or bad idea? - Running WHS 2011 as Virtual Machine inside Virtual Box on Solaris Express 11 in order to use ZFS RAID? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am currently running WHS2011 using RAID 5 (RocketRAID 2720) with 5 Samsung (204s) 2TB drives without issues for the past 3 months. I am backing up WHS shares to another PC running Solaris Express 11 with 6 disks in RAIDZ2 (2 disks can fail without loosing any data) mode using the ZFS file system with encryption on.

    I like my current setup and I learned a lot building it since I was totally new to UNIX & WHS, although since I am the only SE11 user UNIX setup it not as complicated.

    The SE11 box is fairly powerfull as it uses the SuperMicro Micro-ATX X9SCM-F with 16 GB of ECC memory which is overkill as a backup solution (although I also use the box to get ot know various LINUX distros) while the WHS2011 box is an Intel mini-itx DH57JG with 8GB of memory (also overkill but doesn't hurt).

    To make a long strory short. I am very impressed with the ZFZ filesystem & its snapshot capabilities which is far more robust than the windows NTFS files, e.g. no chkdsk needed & encryption built in, for example. Whether that really matters in the real works for a home system I am not sure but that is not that important right now.

    What I am interested in is combing the best of both worlds. WHS2011 is hard to beat to backup WIN PCs while ZFS seems to be the most advanced and robust file system.

    So what I like to do is to combine WHS2011 with SE11 into a single server. I would use the SuperMicro box with 16 GB memory to run SE11 with WHS2011 as VM. WHS would use two separates ZFS pools. One to back up WHS2011 to pool1 the other pool2 would contain all the WHS shares.

    Q 1: Is this a good idea and if so what got-chas are there to think about?

    Q 2: Are there better solutions? I suppose one could run SE 11 as a VM on top of WHS2011...

    I am not looking for details on how to accomplish this task as this will probably be another 4-6 month project for me. Just want to have others, how are probably ore knowledgable set me straight & clear my mind.



    Friday, October 14, 2011 9:21 PM

All replies

  • I would stick with what you have rather than putting all your eggs in a single server basket. If the motherboard (or other single point failure hardware) fails you are screwed!


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Friday, October 14, 2011 10:40 PM
  • Well, I would still backup the ZFS pool used by WHS to the Intel mini-itx box in this case as the SuperMicro then becomes the actual WHS2011 server.

    You are probably right in keeping things simple with WHS2011 might be the best/safest solution. I may just swap the roles of two boxes with WHS2011 running in RAID5 on the SuperMicro box while the mini-itx box know backups the WHS2011 instead running SE11. This way I can utilize the DH57JG also as a HTPC (WIN 7) as the SuperMicro mobo has no sound and only X8 slots. This then involves also swapping the HBA PCIe cards which should not be an issue - I hope.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011 9:39 PM
  • "Good or bad idea?"

    Bad idea. At home you don't have the infrastructure to consolidate servers safely and reliably. In the enterprise, if one physical platform fails, you spin the VMs it was supporting up on other servers and just move on. At home, if your virtualization server fails, because you probably have no redundant hardware you lose everything on it, certainly until you can get it running again and possibly permanently (if you aren't backing things up).

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, October 16, 2011 12:19 AM