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Can I install the OLD WHS client connector onto a new WHS 2011 server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have an older mediasmart windows home server that I'm very likely going to replace with a new WHS 2011 server that I'll build myself. 

    I currently backup some of my families home computers to my mediasmart over the internet using a hamachi vpn network - works great! As far as my WHS mediasmart is concerned those computers are local even though they are in other cities and states. 

    I want to do the SAME THING with the new server.

    The idea is this...I don't currently have an offsite backup, but my family who's computers I backup to my mediasmart do because they backup to my location. What I want to do is setup a new WHS 2011 server, use it just as I have my mediasmart (local file server, backup families computers etc) then use the OLD mediasmart at my mothers house about 20 minutes away to backup my new WHS 2011 server.

    The only way I know that this will work is if I can install the client connector software from the OLD mediasmart server onto the new WHS 2011 one...If WHS 2011 won't allow that install, then I'd have to resort to scripting or something (which I can do, but I would prefer not to). I MUCH PREFER the graphical "Backed Up" interface to SEE at a quick glance that it's working and completely backed up...so I'm REALLY HOPING this will work?

    Anyone done this, can try it and see if it works - something? 

    Any / all help would be GREATLY appreciated!

    • Edited by mcdonsco Friday, July 13, 2012 12:15 AM
    Friday, July 13, 2012 12:10 AM

Answers

  • No, you can't. To back up your server, invest in a couple of external drives and use the server backup feature.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Friday, July 13, 2012 12:35 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • No, you can't. To back up your server, invest in a couple of external drives and use the server backup feature.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Friday, July 13, 2012 12:35 AM
    Moderator
  • I just can't believe microsoft never thinks it's important to address offsite backups...it's amazing to me. Why not? A backup server does absolutely NO GOOD if you're house burns to the ground. 

    I've done the external drive thing with my current server for a while and in theory, decent idea...in practice it just doesn't work well. Where do you put the drive (outside of your house?), how often, backups take a long time, error out, whatever - drive ends up just sitting next to the server for a few days (house burns down then, your screwed) 

    Just seems STUPID that microsoft never thinks about "offsite" backups when designing these products...just really lame. 

    Sorry, just venting...

    So, you are absolutely 100% sure if I went to install that connector software on 2011 it wouldn't let me?

    Friday, July 13, 2012 12:54 AM
  • ... So, you are absolutely 100% sure if I went to install that connector software on 2011 it wouldn't let me?

    Yes. And if you can find some way to force the issue, I will say flat out that you would be a fool to trust the result.

    As for where to put an external drive:

    • Safe deposit box
    • family you visit regularly
    • work
    • friend

    The external drives you rotate offsite *are* off-site backup, done almost exactly the way large enterprises do it (by physically shifting backup media on a regular basis). Backing up to the cloud sounds great, until you have to restore your data. At that point, you're looking at weeks to restore over your internet connection, if you can even do it in the first place (the bandwidth caps most ISPs have instituted mean that you will never be able to restore more than a couple of hundred GB).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Friday, July 13, 2012 1:52 AM
    Moderator
  • I fully understand offsite backups in the enterprise, I was a sys admin for a number of years...daily walks to the local bank safe deposit box...until, we got large fiber arrays with 100mb connections between sites; at that point data would just be replicated (changes) overnight. 

    That's essentially what I'm trying to achieve. 

    I have no family or friends that I "regularly" visit enough to use their home for storage and I work from home, so no work to go to to take them to...hence a pain in the butt. 

    Anyway, just wish it were possible...guess I'll have to script it via mapped drives...not the end of the world, just not a preferred solution. 

    Thanks!

    Friday, July 13, 2012 4:27 AM
  • FYI for anyone else wanting to do this, seems (sorry Ken) Ken is wrong. This works PERFECTLY.

    I built a new WHS 2011 server yesterday...System OS drive is a 160GB SSD (used all the drive space using a cfg.ini file "how-to" I found online to force it to use the entire drive and not partition it), setup a RAID 5 array using 4 x 2TB drives as the data drive (just shy of 6TB available).

    Put some test data on the array and connected and backed up my laptop to the new server - no problems.

    I then installed the client connector software from my OLD mediasmart WHS server (original WHS version) onto the new WHS 2011 server the same way you would install it to a regular computer (\\servername\software and run the connector install)...Install went through with zero problems, WHS 2011 was perfectly happy to install it. Once installed I checked the old WHS dashboard and it showed the WHS 2011 client as connected and backups configured and even showed the correct OS; I double checked the backup config to ensure it was picking up both system drive and the array and it was. 

    Did a full backup of WHS 2011 to the old mediasmart, completed without any issues. Opened up the backup to verify the data, all there and able to copy it/use it however I wanted...no problems.

    Then I installed hamachi on WHS 2011 and connected it to my VPN network, worked flawlessly...

    Now I have a pretty bad ass WHS 2011 server at my house backing up all of my systems and friends and families systems (over the internet via hamachi) and my old mediasmart is at my moms house 20 minutes away backing up my WHS 2011 server.

    AWESOME! Automated daily offsite backups! SWEET!

    And if the mediasmart finally dies (the thing is 6+ years old I think) I can just build a new cheapy WHS 2011 and do the same - Of course, assuming WHS 2011 will install it's own client software...figure if it will install the old version it will likely also install the new one...may never have to test that though if the old mediasmart continues chugging along). 

    Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:14 PM
  • I double checked the backup config to ensure it was picking up both system drive and the array and it was. 

    Did a full backup of WHS 2011 to the old mediasmart, completed without any issues. Opened up the backup to verify the data, all there and able to copy it/use it however I wanted...no problems.

    It's clear you're able to get to your data, but did you actually try a full server restore of your WHS 2011?
    Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:31 PM
  • Interesting. The last time I tried, neither the V1 connector nor the 2011 connector would install on any server operating system I tried without unsupported trickery. I no longer recall which server operating systems I attempted to install on, I'm afraid, so it's likely I didn't attempt the specific configuration you're interested in, but I'm extremely certain that the Windows Home Server 2011 connector won't install on Windows Home Server 2011, because I specifically have tried that one...

    And while it may have installed, it's still completely unsupported, and I still think you're foolish to trust your data to an unsupported configuration. And remember, Windows Home Server V1 reaches it's mainstream support end date in 6 months, with no extended support. What that means is that there will be no further functionality updates to the product, and any security related updates it may receive will be a result of it being based on Windows Server 2003 R2 (which is already in extended support, i.e. security patches only).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Friday, July 20, 2012 1:23 AM
    Moderator
  • It's clear you're able to get to your data, but did you actually try a full server restore of your WHS 2011?

    No, as I honestly don't care about that...only the data is what I care about (for this purpose). If the server itself dies, the drive it's on dies or get's corrupted some how etc I would just reinstall and re-configure it manually. The data is all on a separate raid 5 array so shouldn't be effected (in terms of data) if something happens to the WHS 2011 OS install itself. 

    The other WHS has been running for years with zero issues, I have no reason to expect this one to be any different except in being the "newer version" could be just as or(?) more reliable. 

    Friday, July 20, 2012 7:02 PM
  • And while it may have installed, it's still completely unsupported, and I still think you're foolish to trust your data to an unsupported configuration. And remember, Windows Home Server V1 reaches it's mainstream support end date in 6 months, with no extended support. What that means is that there will be no further functionality updates to the product, and any security related updates it may receive will be a result of it being based on Windows Server 2003 R2 (which is already in extended support, i.e. security patches only).

    I'm sorry, but that's a bit much to call someone foolish for utilizing a backup system that works PERFECTLY for their needs just because it's not "supported" by the original developer...If it works, I'll use it. Now, if it was an unsupported config that i had no way to verify was working properly (like a backup that was an all or nothing restore and thus difficult to test/verify) then I would agree with you. Being however that I am FULLY able to verify it's working EXACTLY as desired, the data is there, is easily retrievable, I can see every day that it's working etc - sorry, not foolish...creative maybe?

    I suppose maybe you're considering the need to contact Microsoft if something breaks? If so, why would I? I wouldn't even call Microsoft if I had an issue on Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7...why? Because generally they are useless when it comes to support for someone like myself...They're great for assisting someone like my mother; but not me. I have the experience, knowledge (which includes knowing resources to access online) to do just about everything I need to do with computers without assistance from "tech support" at Microsoft. I utilize the net and forums like this (which was by the way, not real useful in this endeavour; everywhere I looked online the answer was no, but only from those who never tried it...I tried it anyway, mainly because no one had said "yes, I tried that, didn't work and here's why", and discovered the answer was actually "yes" it does work, and works fine - apparently just no ones bothered to try it).

    Anyway, if I were still in the tech field and free lancing I would be buying up WHS licenses (and mediasmarts) everywhere I could find them and selling this setup to small businesses in need of a solid backup system for their workstations onsite and offsite. Hardware, software and my time would cost a small business around $2,500 to have a 2-3TB fault tolerant backup system automatically backup their workstations to a local server which would in turn be automatically backed up offsite by a 2nd server both of which would be easy for them to manage on their own for data recovery if a system was lost, replaced or a file accidentally deleted (whatever) as well as for them to verify/test frequently to ensure it's working. It would cost that much (or more) to get an LTO tape drive and media to support an offsite rotation of 2-3TB's and that wouldn't provide ANY of the easy of use, ease of restore functionality of the WHS systems or the file server capability for sharing office files in an otherwise server-less environment, plus it would still require someone to rotate the tapes daily (tapes that you HOPE have a good re-storable copy of the data on).

    Short and sweet version: Just because something isn't officially "supported", doesn't mean it doesn't work. This works, and it works great. 

    Friday, July 20, 2012 8:06 PM
  • It's clear you're able to get to your data, but did you actually try a full server restore of your WHS 2011?

    Your post got me thinking though...would be nice for an "easy return" if something happened to the server itself...so I hooked up a spare usb drive I had laying around and it's now backing up the server install directly to that, so if that OS drive does fail, or server gets F'd up somehow, I can now use that to restore it.

    :-)

    Friday, July 20, 2012 10:37 PM
  • ... works PERFECTLY for their needs ...
    You can claim it works perfectly when you've actually successfully restored your server, something I'm not at all certain you will ever achieve. But at the end of the day it's your data; if you choose to use untested and unsupported methods to protect it, I wish you the best of luck.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:33 AM
    Moderator
  • Let me chime in for a moment with my experience.  I did test this right after RTM.  My test box WHS 2011 only had a few gigabytes of test data, but it did have some in all the default shared folders.  The bare metal restore of WHS 2011 from WHS v1 initially appeared to go well, however, it did require resetting a number of things from the Dashboard.  After a few days, I started having problems with a number of things, permissions, file cannot be found, etc.  I abandoned the restored WHS 2011 before the week was over and did a clean install on the test box.
     
    I tried again 6 or 7 months later.  This time, I couldn't get the v1 Connector to install on WHS 2011.  I can't remember the number, but there was a KB update that blocked it.  I uninstalled the KB, but my results were no different than the first time months earlier.  There has to be a reason Microsoft blocked this, they just don't arbitrarily block something for no good reason.
     
    File restores from the WHS v1 to WHS 2011 go well, but as everyone knows, individual files take much longer.   I finally crossed this off my test list and do not plan to revisit.
     
    Now for some advice.  If this were my sever and my data that I know I have safely backed up elsewhere, I wouldn't be too concerned.  However, if it was a solution I was offering to others...no way would I risk it.  Just my 2¢ worth.

    --
    ______________
     
    BullDawg
    In God We Trust
    ______________
    ... works PERFECTLY for their needs ...
    You can claim it works perfectly when you've actually successfully restored your server, something I'm not at all certain you will ever achieve. But at the end of the day it's your data; if you choose to use untested and unsupported methods to protect it, I wish you the best of luck.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)


    BullDawg
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 1:50 AM
  • You can claim it works perfectly when you've actually successfully restored your server, something I'm not at all certain you will ever achieve. But at the end of the day it's your data

    Again, this is for complete loss of systems/data (house burns to the ground etc).

    Through the process, I've been making tweaks here and there (trying to think around the problem of "insurance" in a disaster situation).

    Here's the routine:

    • Local WHS 2011 server shares (music, photos, apps etc on the "shares") gets backed up twice daily. Once to a local USB drive (connected to my system, not the server) via syntoy (echo) to be used for restore in the event of a local failure and once to the WHS 1 server at the remote location using the WHS 1 client connector backup method in case of a complete disaster scenario.
    • The desktop backups on the local WHS 2011 server also get copied via synctoy to the local USB drive (to keep retention) and to the remote WHS 1 system (simply because I would need another disk or partition on the array to "unselect" it from the WHS 1 backups - I'll add another USB drive to it later and move the PC backups to that so I can exclude them from going remote because I'm ok with losing retention in that unlikely event of a complete disaster (and I dont want to partition the array for my own reasons)...This will keep me from having to add storage to the WHS 1 server in the future.
    • The local WHS 2011 server also has a USB drive attached to it that backs up the OS (C:) twice daily
    • My main system (laptop) backs up to the WHS 2011 server via the client connector method for local/quick recovery of a failure/accidental deletion on my system AND it backs up via synctoy (using contribution method for retention) to a mapped drive share on the WHS 1 server at the remote location.
    • The only other local systems that get backed up are a Mac (GF's, I hate macs) that uses Carbon Copy Cloner (a lot like synctoy) to backup to a shared folder on the local WHS 2011 server and that folder is included in the offsite backups to the remote WHS 1 server (time machine worked fine with WHS 1, but seems to hate WHS 2011 on her mac). I also have a theater pc which doesn't have any data on it (uses server for it's libraries) but I back it up just for quick easy recovery/rebuild if something screws up on it.

    I used to run a server farm and handled all of the helpdesk support for a large advertising company...I reported directly to the CEO and didn't really have anyone working "with" me except the linux web guys which would pitch in from time to time if it was in their interest, or the database programmer, again, if it was in his interest. When I was hired they had a single mom and pop built (albeit pretty bad ass) server doing file, print, DC & SQL that had a dead drive in the RAID 5 array...They were using a mom and pop built cheap linux desktop for their POP email. The only "real" servers they had were in their web dev department at a co-lo (which weren't exactly well off themselves) and a single 2U old Dell running exchange 5.5 that was just about exclusively being used by hackers as a relay at that time. Nothing was being backed up and since they were using pop mail, if a workstation died, that users mailbox would have been gone including the CEO's.

    When I quit and decided to change careers they had expanded into several locations throughout the US, multiple offices/branches etc just about quadrupling their staff. The server room then? Clustered Exchange servers, clustered SQL servers, multiple dedicated DC's, EMC Fibre SAN, Terminal server pools, VPN, Intranet servers and sites all SSL encytped and (getting to my point) an LTO robotic library backing everything up.

    I took those tapes to the safe deposit box for daily rotations for quite a long time, thankfully only having to retrieve them when a user would delete something on accident. When I would go through those tapes to get that deleted data back I can't tell you how many times I came across tapes that had "completed backup without errors" only to find the data on them was not recoverable. Given, it wasn't a lot of them, fairly rare, but frequent enough that by the time I left we had just gotten 100mb site to site fiber and were looking into data replication options across sites instead (I think they ended up doing that and ditched the tapes).

    Point is...I don't TRUST tapes *unless* you are doing daily copies/or incrementals and daily rotations in which case you are likely to have a good recoverable copy that's at least fairly recent. To do that however, you would need several LTO tapes and a drive costing around 3 times as much as what my setup cost (Around $800 for a 6TB RAID 5 WHS 2011 server) AND I would have to rotate them out daily. Even if I went with USB hard drives instead, we're still talking about significant costs for the external drives/capacity to handle a 6TB array (partitioned or not) and the daily time and inconveinence of rotating them offsite.

    So...with that said, I ask you...What is a better solution that cost the same or less? What EXACTLY is wrong with this setup aside from "it's not supported" (I got that).

    I'm listening...................................................

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:02 PM
  • "Now for some advice.  If this were my sever and my data that I know I have safely backed up elsewhere, I wouldn't be too concerned.  However, if it was a solution I was offering to others...no way would I risk it.  Just my 2¢ worth."

    BullDawg, for the desktop backups portion, that I could agree with (in terms of "offsite", local would be fine) but for the shares, from what I've seen and been using now, I don't see a problem trusting the shares to it AS LONG AS there is someone checking in on it regularly. If I were to do this for someone for a fee I would very strongly stress to them the importance of logging into both dashboards regularly to ensure everything was ok and to randomly test file recovery regularly as well. I would also let them know if they don't do this, then they may as well not setup the backup in the first place because something could fail a few days later and they would never know it without checking in on it. As a safety net for myself as well, I'd look into an email notification for failed backups on either server to be sent to me so I could call them up and say "hey, you know you've got a failed backup right?" (customer service and more business :)).

    As for the offsite desktop backups, I've tweaked my setup a bit to synctoy my own workstation directly to a share on the offsite WHS 1 system. If I were setting this up for someone else, I'd do the same just to be sure.

    Also, this setup could be done without using the WHS computer backup features...just use shared folders/permissions/user accounts and synctoy...wouldn't be as pretty, but would work.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:11 PM
  • I'm sorry, but that's a bit much to call someone foolish for utilizing a backup system that works PERFECTLY for their needs just because it's not "supported" by the original developer...If it works, I'll use it.

    Short and sweet version: Just because something isn't officially "supported", doesn't mean it doesn't work. This works, and it works great. 

    Backup has to be one of the most mis-named products in all of IT.  Because the backup isn't what's important.  What's important is when the rubber hits the road and you have to restore.  I found that out the hard way.  I had a new machine set up with Windows 8.  I was playing around with the RAID array on it and did a total system restore several times with no issue.  I decided I really didn't care for it and bought Windows 7.  Formatted the box, set up Windows 7, and then found out I had messed up the RAID array - performance wasn't as good as it could be.  "No Problem" I though, I'll just use the WHS restore.

    Bzzt!  Apparently 2011 has a memory issue. I 'm not sure why it's only affecting my Win 7 restore and not the Windows 8 incarnation of this machine, but there it is.  Thankfully the drive that won't restore is the one with a bunch of games that can pretty easily be re-downloaded and re-installed, but it's annoying none the less!


    He who assumes is sure to be burned.  And for really critical stuff, I have at least two if not three different ways I create backup copies - preferably one being a total image of the system.  For individual files and awesome off-site backups/private cloud, I managed to get a copy of Crash Plan Pro before they re-named it CrashPlan Enterprise and jacked the price WAY up....

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 1:20 AM