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Backup/Shared Folder file sharing, or drive "shadowing"/duplication RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just installed WHS late last night with a couple 500GB SATA drives to try it out.

    I have two PCs at home with media distributed between the two, and I wanted to back them up as well as use the WHS as a central media repository that would distribute to the other two machines.

    So far, I have only started the initial backup of my first computer (~50% this morning, backing up 257GB of data), so I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet, but as far as I can tell, what I want it to do isn't happening automatically.

    Basically, this is my expected/desired behavior:
    • Desktop machine has a 320GB drive that contains ~200GB of music.
      • This drive is (backed up to the WHS nightly such that it is) "mirrored" -- changes to the file system/organization/metadata on the desktop will be reflected on the WHS
      • These music files are available via share (or whatever other method) back to the desktop machine and my HTPC in the living room
    • HTPC in living room has a 320GB drive that contains ~200GB of mixed media
      • This drive is backed up to the WHS and behaves similar to the above example
    • Desktop machine contains my "My Pictures" folder that contains...uh...all of my pictures, duh
      • This folder behaves as above, such that it is backed up nightly, reflects any changes on the desktop (new files, rearranged files, etc.), and is available to the other machines in the network.
    Is this possible with WHS?  From what I've read around here, the backups and shared folders are entirely different beasts.  Is there a way to "mirror" the drives/folders to a shared folder on the WHS?  Or any other way to accomplish what I'm trying to do above without having to backup AND copy the data over manually to the shared folders?

    From what I read about WHS before I set it up, this is what it was supposed to do (from my understanding).. I can easily copy over the folders I need in their entirety to the WHS shared folders, but then any changes that occur on my desktop (ie: tagging, reorganizing, additions, etc.) will not be reflected and I'll have to manually make these updates on the WHS or re-copy the stuff over.

    It would be nice if I could just backup the drives/folders using the nightly backup, and then the shared folders would automatically reflect any media that was contained in these backups.. or if I could somehow map folders contained in the backup to the shared folders so they're available across the network, while still keeping "one" copy of the file on the WHS (disregarding duplication within the WHS).

    Eventually, once WHS is out of beta and a bit more stable, I will be using it as my central repository for all of my data, long and short, and I will not need to "mirror" the drives from my desktop to the WHS.. but until then, I want to maintain two distinct copies in different machines for safety.  So is what I described above possible?

    Any input welcome.. TIA!!
    Friday, April 6, 2007 6:32 PM

Answers

All replies

  • I use Foldershare to do pretty much exactly what you're talking about here.  I didn't want to totally trust WHS with all my media files just yet (especially since I'm running a single drive in the server), so I use Foldershare (running on both the server and on one of my client machines) to keep the folders in sync.
    Friday, April 6, 2007 6:59 PM
  •  Gonzo wrote:

    From what I read about WHS before I set it up, this is what it was supposed to do (from my understanding).. I can easily copy over the folders I need in their entirety to the WHS shared folders, but then any changes that occur on my desktop (ie: tagging, reorganizing, additions, etc.) will not be reflected and I'll have to manually make these updates on the WHS or re-copy the stuff over.
    IMHO, the shared folder features of WHS are not refined enough for use by the average user.   Theoretically, what you are supposed to do is move all your files to the server (which is painfully cumbersome), flag the folders for duplication,  then use the server folder for all your operations .   I don't think it's well enough integrated to operate that way.
    Friday, April 6, 2007 7:14 PM
  • Gonzo,

    I have my music/photos/docs setup pretty much how you desire and shared between my desktop, laptop and Media Center

    First you must move your music/photos/videos into the relevant folders on your WHS. This is then your centralized "one copy" and is both backed up and duplicated.

    You then have three options.

    1) Map the share to a drive on your PCs and use that.

    2) If you're running Vista, use mklink to create a symbolic link from the server to a folder on the local machine. e.g. "mklink /D c:\media\music \\server\music"

    3) If you're running XP, download "junction" and use it to do the same. (Junction doesn't support UNC paths so you must first map the network share to a drive).

    You can optionally mark the share to be "Always Available Offline", which allows Windows to cache the contents should your server become unavailable.

    So on my Media Center I have:

    c:\media\music -> \\server\music
    c:\media\tv-> \\server\video\tv
    c:\media\movies-> \\server\video\movies
    c:\media\photos -> \\server\photos

    On my office machine I have:

    c:\users\andrew\music -> \\server\music
    c:\users\andrew\pictures\photos -> \\server\photos.

    Obviously both my Media Center and office PC are backed up, but because these folders are linked they are not (from what I can see!)  included in the backup.

    At somepoint I'm going to map my user directory to my documents folder, but I haven't gotten to that yet Smile

    A.



    Friday, April 6, 2007 7:49 PM
  • Ideally, you would want to copy over the files over to one of the shared folders and would make modifications there. You may not want to keep two copies(one locally and one on the shared folders). Especially for huge filesets (like music collection or video collection), you would put them in Shared folders (and duplication ON/OFF depending on how important those files are). The only problem is when you want to work off the documents while away from home and without internet connectivity. I am not sure whether FolderSync or other plug-ins could help here.

    There is no automatic synchronization as of now between client PCs and WHS or between backup and Shared folders.

    Friday, April 6, 2007 7:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Foldershare doesn't work for me because it only allows syncing of up to 10,000 files.  This is 200GB of mp3's we're talking about, more like 50,000 files.

     

    I thought about SyncToy, although it is a manual process.. problem here is it has a limitation on filename limit INCLUDING the path, so some path/filename combos are way too long and SyncToy quits during sync, or won't sync those files.

     

    As I mentioned, I want to avoid having my only storage for my music collection (years and years of work) on a BETA WHS.. especially after reading some of the problems other people have had.

     

    There has to be some solution to keep these two folders synced automatically.. anyone?

    Saturday, April 7, 2007 2:13 AM
  • I've found AllwaySync to be a lot better than SyncToy. Like SyncToy it's "manual", but can be run as a scheduled task.


    Saturday, April 7, 2007 9:01 AM
  • In the past, I've used Syncback to do what you are describing. Very good program, and free.

     

    http://www.snapfiles.com/get/syncback.html

    Saturday, April 7, 2007 6:56 PM
  •  Gonzo wrote:

    Foldershare doesn't work for me because it only allows syncing of up to 10,000 files.  This is 200GB of mp3's we're talking about, more like 50,000 files.

     

    I thought about SyncToy, although it is a manual process.. problem here is it has a limitation on filename limit INCLUDING the path, so some path/filename combos are way too long and SyncToy quits during sync, or won't sync those files.

     

    As I mentioned, I want to avoid having my only storage for my music collection (years and years of work) on a BETA WHS.. especially after reading some of the problems other people have had.

     

    There has to be some solution to keep these two folders synced automatically.. anyone?

     

     

    Gonzo, Synctoy Can run automatically...

     

    What you do is schedule a task (controlpanel/scheduled tasks) to run sync toy, and add the attribute -r. This triggers synctoy to run on start, Voilá!

     

    The best part is that if you run vista you can schedule synctoy to run on logon, but only when you are connected to a specific network, for example your homenetwork.

    This is VERY usefull on laptops that are used outside of home since synchronizing will only start when you´re connected to the correct network. 

     

    There are also a bunch of different usefull options to customize your sync, have a look, XP is a bit more limited than vista but still pretty good.

     

    Regarding the filenameproblem, there is a syntoy beta for vista that might solve your problem, not shure though.

     

    Best of luck!

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 11:12 AM
  • I agree with Gonzo that what he's describing should be an option and, is actually, what I expected to the situation when I installed WHS this evening.  There should be a simple way to link the folders being backed up to the shared folders.  Without this option it leads to the situation where you will often have different versions of files being backed up to the server and will constantly have to maintain the shared folders to reflect the latest documents even though they reside on the same system.  This makes no sense to me at all... If I want multiple revisions of a file on a server I'll give them unique names.

     

    I like the idea of keeping the files I'm working with on the local machine and having them backed up to the server each night, as this can add a layer of redundancy to those of us running one-disk servers (who cannot duplicate over other physical disks).  It goes without saying that working with large/many files on the local system will also significantly improve performance over accessing them through the network. 

     

    Thanks!

    Saturday, June 16, 2007 6:38 AM