Server backup suggestions please RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I built a new WHS'11 using four 2tb drives. WHS used 100mb, I think, of one drive for itself and left the remainder for data.

    My original plan was to implement something like a mirror on a 2nd drive by creating a 100mb partition on it and let WHS backup to the partition... but WHS wants the whole 2tb drive for its backup.

    So my current options are, as I see them.

    Install a small dedicated backup drive, install a pair of small drives for the OS, or skip the server backup entirely.

    I'm leaning towards installing a pair of small drives since I have two 160gb samsungs sitting here and have some questions.

    1 - I prefering a syncing type backup done occasionally rather than mirror but would there be any advantage with a mirrored pair beyond the slightly shortened seek time?

    2 - Can the OS be moved from the 100mb partition on the 2tb drive with the standard cloning tools like what you get from a retail Western Digital Drive?

    3 - Can WHS backup only itself?  (ie - the OS drive) and not things like my wifes 1tb worth of soaps she has yet to watch.

    4 - I'm assuming that a reinstall of WHS11 would not have an issue with existing data on the four 2tb non-OS drives; is this correct or are there other files that need to be backed up as well to get a reinstall to work with them?

    On a side note, in case its relevant, I currently have a little over a Tb of pictures, home video's, and documents which thanks to 6 grandkids is constantly growning. The 150% rule puts me out of the 2tb limit if I consider my wifes 1Tb of soaps I wish to keep move to the server also (so she can watch them in the living room or the bedroom - ain't love grand...err.. Tb)

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 1:22 AM

All replies

    1. No tape, server backup doesn't support it. As for mirroring, I see no real advantage over server backup.
    2. Yes, though doing so is unsupported.
    3. Yes, backup is configurable. Read the online help to learn more.
    4. If you use server backup, and accept the default, it will back up everything needed to perform a bare metal restore of your server. This is the preferred recovery mechanism for Windows Home Server 2011, as opposed to reinstallation.

    Regarding server backup, I think the limit is 2 TB per backed up volume, though I don't have the data volume to test this. If you pick and choose files and folders, it's likely to be 2 TB in toto.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 1:29 AM
  • Thanks for your input Ken. I'll post how the cloning goes tomorrow.


    Regarding the 2Tb limit, does it matter if its by volume since WHS'11 is limited to a 2Tb partition size. LoL. It does make we wonder what sever backup would do when presented a 3tb drive since when i presented it with a 100mb partition on a 2Tb drive it still wanted the whole 2Tb's


    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 11:37 PM
  • It does make we wonder what sever backup would do when presented a 3tb drive since when i presented it with a 100mb partition on a 2Tb drive it still wanted the whole 2Tb's


    Server backup in its current form cannot be used to backup more than 2Tb of data *in aggregate* that is stored on your server.  You do get to choose what you want to back up (either entire volumes, or specific folders on a volume).  But if you have more than this, you will simply have to be selective. 

    I don't bother "backing up the backups", i.e., the client backup database--this data is already redundantly stored on my client PCs.  Because I have no requirement to back up this information, I can safely store my client backup database on two 2Tb disks that have been spanned into one 4Tb volume using Disk Manager in Windows Server 2008. Since I do a lot of work with media content authoring, I have one client PC that has nearly 3Tb of locally attached data just on its own.

    That leaves my shared server folders, which have yet to cross the 2TB threshold.  Server backup (plus shadow copies) works perfectly well for this, and in my view is a big improvement over the old model in WHS v1.  Having versioning for files and folders on the server is fantastic; I've already used Windows' 'Previous Versions' feature to restore files that were inadvertently deleted on the server, something that was impossible to do in WHS v1.

    I do feel the current 2Tb volume limits and the lack of support for dynamic disks and gpt disks on the client is a limitation that Microsoft must address at some point (hopefully soon).

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:57 PM
  • Server backup, in Windows Server 2008 R2, is limited by the .vhd format for the backup file. That limits you to slightly less than 2 TB of data in a single backup. In the base OS, you can configure multiple backup disks, each of which automatically backs up <2 TB from your server, and if you have enough backup disks you can back up an arbitrarily large volume of data. Obviously, this is a royal pain in the butt.

    For Windows Home Server 2011, the same tools are used. Since the default granularity for a backup is a partition, I would expect that you could back up any number of partitions that are each < 2 TB as long as (again) you have that cumbersome pallet-load of backup disks. I don't have the data volume to test this, unfortunately (pr perhaps fortunately).

    When you talk about very large volumes of data, you can choose a different pain point by choosing a different backup strategy, but getting 50 TB of data backed up is going to involve a truck-load of some sort of storage devices. People with this volume of data just have to get used to the fact that there is no really good way to back it up to preserve it from a major disaster, that every available method sucks in some fashion.

    Now, as to the point about GPT disks on the client: they're supported, as are dynamic disks. What's not supported is EFI boot clients; you can't restore them at present.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:13 PM
  • I could not find cloning software that would work for me so I reinstalled using a 160Gb drive for the OS and another (internal) for the backup leaving the four 2Tb drive for data.

    In regards to the cloning software, I only tried free ones which either would not work with or would not move both the system and the 100mb partition.

    Oddly, adding in new drives renumbered my existing drives though I did nothing in the Bios. It seems that on my motherboard if you put drives into sata ports 5 & 6 they become sata ports 1 & 2 automatically and ports labeled 1,2,3,4 became 5,3,4,6 repectively. Very odd and I verified by adding drives in one at a time to be certain.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011 10:17 PM