The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Morning everyone;

    The Good:

    I have been working with WHS now for almost two years, many of you have helped me through some tough times with earlier versions of WHS and quite frankly I can say that I like the product pretty well for what it does, there are some things I wish it did better and I will discuss those later.  First, the product is affordable - $99 for the 32 bit version and for those of us with hardware lying around it was fairly affordable to use some of that "old" stuff since WHS was intended mostly to be a back-up storage and streaming media center.  Hp jumped into the market early with a complete solution in the $700 range for those who didn't have "extra" stuff.  My system has been operational for a couple of years and is able to share music and video and backs up my systems each night - even this new Windows 7 system.  In short it seems to work pretty well.

    The Bad:

    I never fully understood the reasoning for designing an OS that didn't protect itself!  By installing itself on a 20Gb partition on the "C:" drive and then concatenating several drives )including the "empty" portion of the "C:" drive) into the storage pool always scared me.  While it gave you a large storage pool, the drive containing the OS was at risk if that drive failed.  I read through the descriptions of how to recover from such a failure several times and it always sounded fishy - in short I always felt that all data (including backups) stored in such a maner was at risk - if anyone has had to recover from such a failure I would love to hear about the experience.  In my case I built an old Dell 4700 into a server equipped with a RAID 5 and an extra "hot-swap" drive attached to the RAID controller card - I used the two available SATA connectors on the MB as locations to attach my storage pool.  It works fine and the worst problem I have had has been with conflicting files - I think I'm over that one now thanks to help from the community.  I would suggest that anyone wanting to configure something like this skip the Hp solution (no RAID support) and buy something like a Dell 840 configured with RAID 5 as it has 4 available SATA connectors on the MB for your storage pool.  If you don't intend to store lots of media (or if you do), I suggest you check into the "DROBO" (www.drobo.com) - basically a USB connected device that you can fill with cheap SATA drives and then use the backup utility available in Windows.  I may be off the mark here, but I simply feel better knowing that a single HD failure won't (shouldn't) take out the whole enchalada.  Why WHS chose to ignore RAID is the single biggest issue I have with WHS.

    The Ugly:

    If you run WHS on a simple "WORKGROUP" based home network and want to stream media to home displays and stereo it will work great, buy a cheap computer on eBay (Dell GX280 SFF) and attach it to a Projector and/or Receiver (has anyone found a Receiver that connects to a LAN?) you will be able to watch and listed to media through out the house.  But if you have built a Domain within your home it may simply be easier to forget about using WHS.  While the connector software will install and configure properly on your Domain PCs - it does my Windows 7 backups nightly - WHS will loose its ability to share media to Domain resources.  Now, one might think that having a Domain Controller using Active Directory in a home environment is overkill (and it might be - Server 2008 software is around $900 and you can only connect 5 PCs), but security is becoming a big issue for everyone and the more you are able to employ this technology at home the better off you might be, not to mention the fact that a properly equipped home network will provide an ability to telecommute in a secrue environment.  This is where WHS becomes important because it does have the ability to concatenate those drives into a large storage pool - Server 2003/2008 don't do that so you need to buy another server to use as NAS.  I guess we can go back to using a DROBO for backups and storage and simply do away with WHS, unless WHS is re-written so it can be joined to a Domain. 

    My perspective only....

    Good luck;



    Sunday, November 1, 2009 3:07 PM