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Help me find the best solution RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • OK, this is going to be a long post. I thank you in advance for reading all of it. And please, if your response is going to be along the lines of "this is not supported in WHS," don't post that. I have been doing a lot of reading and investigation and I think I have a fairly good grasp of the concept that almost nothing outside the MS vision is supported for WHS. However, some things should be do-able for someone that has a modicum of tech knowledge and using some common sense.

    I need to be able to backup the files that is on the WHS shares to an online backup source. No other form of backup is acceptable to me. Not as long as it is either manual or to the same site as where the WHS is located.

    Right now I am in the process of moving all my photos off WHS back to a client computer where the backup process includes online backup. My photos will have to stay there until such a time as I can resolve this issue.

    What I am looking at is one of the following solutions, ad I'm looking for advice on the pros and cons of each solution.

    Solution1:   (Most preferred solution)

    Put another hard drive into WHS and exclude it from the WHS storage pool.  Use some form of file synchronization to synch the share (as it appears on the Admin desktop) of the Photos folder to a folder on the dedicated hard drive.  Then use Carbonite online backup to backup that folder online.  This seems to be the most elegant, since everything is on the server, and the duplication and backups can proceed at any time the server is connected to the Internet.  I know that the Carbonite software will work on the server (already tested) and since I will only use Carbonite to back up a folder that is not in the Drive Extender hierarchy, I should not be messing with WHS.  It seems Synctoy won't work as the synchronization tool, so I'm looking at a synchronization tool from Heatsoft  that is compatible with WIndows 2000, so it should run under Windows Server 2003 and WHS.

    Solution 2:   (probably better from a support standpoint)

    Put the extra harddrive into my Windows 7 desktop.  Use Synctoy to sync the Photos share to this drive on the desktop. Don't tell anyone that the photos are mirrored on that desktop so they always open the share to work with Photos. Apart from the fact that it means that I cannot simplify the number of Carbonite subscriptions to one for the server only  and that the desktop has to be online for backup (which it should be anyway) I don't see a problem with this.  Perhaps if anything I'm not sure whether Synctoy will sync the folder if the share is updated on the same computer, but I imagine that it will and I can easily test that.

    Does anyone have any observations or advice?

    Thanks for reading.
    • Edited by MikeB75077 Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:18 PM
    • Changed type kariya21Moderator Wednesday, January 27, 2010 11:32 PM not a technical question
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 4:44 PM

All replies

  • "Unsupported" doesn't necessarily mean "doesn't work", Mike. It does mean that there are additional risks involved, and it means that potentially those risks will not come to light until long after you've put data at risk. In the end, though, it's always your choice.

    My preference would be for your "solution 1". I would use robocopy (or richcopy, but I've used robocopy for a long time and trust it) to mirror changes to your share(s) to the additional drive, rather than spending money for additional tools.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken, you have been around WHS a lot longer than me, so I value your input. I have been reading and from my understanding, the critical break points in WHS is the Drive Extender software and the way users are defined and permissions assigned. These things have been drastically altered from the "vanilla" Windows Server 2003, hence the caveat about breaking things if one uses the normal WS2003 tools and utilities.

    I have looked at RoboCopy and the successor RichCopy. It seems both of them lack scheduling capabilities, so one might have to use native WS2003 scheduling (Schtasks.exe) to make sure they run as required. OTOH, the copy tool I references in my first post (and the link which I cannot get to open in a new tab/window, despite the apparent ability to set it to do so) does have the capability for scheduling, very much along the lines of SyncToy. 

    The files I intend to put on WHS are worth far more than the $40 for that tool, and I will have to buy an additional hard drive which I imagine will set me back another $60-90, depending on the capacity.

    What pleases me to some extent is that you seem to concur that the option placing this activity on the server is the more appropriate solution.  I truly wish I could understand exactly how I might be putting my data at risk. It will be highly ironic if the very actions I take to preserve my data ultimately served to put my data at greater risk.
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:30 PM
  • The risk in using your server in ways not envisioned by Microsoft is what I usually term "diffuse". It's not well defined because we can't get at all of the internals of Windows Home Server (well, we can if we want to, all it takes is a disassembler and a few weeks :) ) so we can't identify the points where we are likely to break something. Lack of knowledge = undefined risk.

    In this particular case I think it's better to keep everything together, even if it means you're in "unsupported" territory.

    Robocopy: Here's one of the better command line references available on line (IMO). For near real time synchronization, you will want to use the /MON: or /MOT: parameter. And yes, you will want to schedule a task to run at system startup. I would recommend shutting the task down for a while every night, as well, so just scheduling it to start at, say, 6:00 AM every day and stop at 4:00 AM would probably be better.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 4:23 AM
    Moderator