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Failed Sytem HDD - and keeping the data RRS feed

  • Question

  • here is a problem / worry I have ...

     

    I have 2x WHS appliances built - and running.

     

    A.  Unit with 1x large SATA drive (OS + DATA) + 2x USB HDDs

    B.  Unit with 1x large SATA drive (OS + DATA) - no addtional HDDs used (yet)

     

    Unit B. could be considered as NEW (never used).

     

     

    Let's for now create an example (real world).

     

     

    One of the USB HDDs on Unit A. has multiple files / folders (folder duplications and backup duplications from the internal SATA drive).

     

    Lets assume for now, Unit A dies (internal HDD failure, it happens) - so I remove the USB HDD - plug it into a regular PC, and Smile smiling - I see all of my files (shared).  Also there are folders indicating the back up files are there too - good news so far.  I can at least get my DATA.

     

    Now - if I plugged this USB HDD into Unit B (the NEW server unit, let's say) - and under console control - the ONLY option there appears to me, is to 'format' the drive - oh dear - I've just lost all the DATA (expect I would have copied it first to the desktop PC) - but then I'll loose the BACKUPs too.

     

    This seems wrong - can't WHS see the disk has 'WHS style' files and folder on it - and offer me an option to 'integrate' and then 'duplicate' back from the USB > internal HDD - RATHER than just 'format' and add to the pool ?

     

     

    If there is a feature in WHS to do this, I can't see it - if there is an 'add-in' it's very useful - it neither - what is the solution.

     

    WHS remember, is for 'Mom' at home...... not geeks Smile

     

     

    All responses are most welcome.

     

     

    Friday, August 17, 2007 12:15 PM

Answers

  • WHS writes a "signature" to the root folder of every disk in the pool, so in theory it could recognize that the external drive is a member of a storage pool. The problem you will run into with unit B is that it's fully functional, but it has no tombstones for the files on that external drive. "Integrating" that drive would require rebuilding the tombstones. I think you would have to connect it to another PC in your home and copy the files to the new WHS, then add it to the pool as normal. That's a sequence that Mom should be able to understand, assuming it's adequately laid out in the manuals you ship with your products, and it's the one that I believe Microsoft recommends.
    Friday, August 17, 2007 12:25 PM
    Moderator
  • There are several ways to approach this. Hardware that's purpose built for WHS is supposed to have a "recovery" button which will put it in the proper state for an unattended recovery. I believe that could be a network-based recovery, or a recovery using local resources like a USB flash drive.

    For enthusiasts installing the software themselves, for their own use, recovery will probably consist of a manual reinstallation, though.
    Friday, August 17, 2007 8:19 PM
    Moderator
  • What you should do when the user boots with the recovery button depressed (I assume that's how it will work) is institute a boot from (in this order):
    1. A bootable USB flash device,
    2. A bootable USB CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, or
    3. The hard drive.
    (This is stated in the OEM documentation that you should already have.)

    My assumption is that the bootable USB flash device or USB CD-ROM would trigger a silent reinstallation of the OS; the server recovery version that preserves data. You would obviously have to slipstream any drivers required into the installation media, so the silent install could proceed, umm, silently. Smile

    Your customer's USB drives would preserve their data, backups, etc. Your customer would lose users and OS customizations like add-ins, installed programs, etc. It would be the same as if you inserted the DVD into your current WHS testbed and chose the server recovery option at the beginning of installation. BTW, if you haven't done that, I strongly encourage you to do so. The manufacturer should understand processes like that extremely well, so their customers don't have to. Smile

    Does that help?
    Friday, August 24, 2007 5:02 AM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    What you should do when the user boots with the recovery button depressed (I assume that's how it will work) is institute a boot from (in this order):
    1. A bootable USB flash device,
    2. A bootable USB CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, or
    3. The hard drive.

    (This is stated in the OEM documentation that you should already have.)

    My assumption is that the bootable USB flash device or USB CD-ROM would trigger a silent reinstallation of the OS; the server recovery version that preserves data. You would obviously have to slipstream any drivers required into the installation media, so the silent install could proceed, umm, silently.

    Your customer's USB drives would preserve their data, backups, etc. Your customer would lose users and OS customizations like add-ins, installed programs, etc. It would be the same as if you inserted the DVD into your current WHS testbed and chose the server recovery option at the beginning of installation. BTW, if you haven't done that, I strongly encourage you to do so. The manufacturer should understand processes like that extremely well, so their customers don't have to.

    Does that help?

     

    But this senario isn't actually a reinstallation. Lets assume a user comes home and finds smoke coming out of his WHS but his external drives are intact. The best solution in this case is to replace the entire server and rebuild the primary data partition on the new server. Forcing the user to reinstall just to rebuild the data partition doesn't make sence.

     

    The normal OEM recovery solution will reimage the drive and then invoke a rebuild. (I'm just not sure yet how to invoke a rebuild because MS didn't give me access to the OPK.)

    Friday, August 24, 2007 8:22 PM

All replies

  • WHS writes a "signature" to the root folder of every disk in the pool, so in theory it could recognize that the external drive is a member of a storage pool. The problem you will run into with unit B is that it's fully functional, but it has no tombstones for the files on that external drive. "Integrating" that drive would require rebuilding the tombstones. I think you would have to connect it to another PC in your home and copy the files to the new WHS, then add it to the pool as normal. That's a sequence that Mom should be able to understand, assuming it's adequately laid out in the manuals you ship with your products, and it's the one that I believe Microsoft recommends.
    Friday, August 17, 2007 12:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

     

    It's always good to see your prompt and effective replies.

     

    I suppose we are looking ahead, and asking 'what happens' IF the HDD with the OS was to fail ?

     

    We want to ensure that our WHS units work effectively - for at least 5 yrs (possibly 7-10yrs) - the MTBF rating indicates that is 'real' - but concept of WHS is to 'protect' your data (family pictures etc) - and 5yrs may just not be good enough, and the 'OS disk' may fail at some time - even in our reliable platform ....

     

    So we have to consider 'what if' - and your reply, although very helpful, is not really ideal for the long term

     

    Let's hope an 'Add-in' surfaces, which will provide 'Disk Management' services, to allow removalable (ie USB / eSATA disks) - to be 'moved' from one WHS to another (in the event they need to be).

     

     

    Thank you again.

     

    green-pcs.co.uk

     

     

     

    Any 'Disk Management' service Add-Ins on the way - any one ?

     

     

    Friday, August 17, 2007 12:33 PM
  •  

    I  dont really see this being a problem at the Mum and Dad type homes that have limited computer knowledge.

     

    The biggest issue being that anyone who is lilkely to have a second Server at home is likely to be able to copy the data off manually.

    Those homes that dont know how to do this are very unlikely to have a second server available.

     

    I believe there is a known procedure to follow in the case of a system drive failure. IE reinstall system drive etc.

     

    Having said that it would be great to see some disk tools that would allow the ability to add a disk with data on it to the system.

     

    Also i do like the idea of selling a USB stick with the System reinstall software with the server to allow a rebuild in the event of a failure without having to have a dvd drive installed on the server. Im not sure how to do this yet but im pretty sure that it wouldnt be hard.

     

    Thanks

     

    Peter

     

    Friday, August 17, 2007 1:03 PM
  • There are several ways to approach this. Hardware that's purpose built for WHS is supposed to have a "recovery" button which will put it in the proper state for an unattended recovery. I believe that could be a network-based recovery, or a recovery using local resources like a USB flash drive.

    For enthusiasts installing the software themselves, for their own use, recovery will probably consist of a manual reinstallation, though.
    Friday, August 17, 2007 8:19 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken

     

    I welcome your feedback on the follwoing model :

     

    Unit ships from factory - with 'OS image' on the HDD (like Acronis - but not Acronis).

     

    Clients add HDDs etc - as they want

     

    For some reason there is an OS fault.

     

     

    We provide a 'suitable' method to recover the HDD OS partition - to the factory settings.

    (ie USB boot / script)

     

     

    What happens on 1st re-boot after the recovery - ie to database of the 'new' HDDs that just happen to hold back up data ... 


    The alternative is that rather than a total HDD (image) recovery we execute a 'system re-install' - but again, what will that do to the precious USB HDD data ?

     

     

    I'm sure there's a simple way to fix this - not a problem today - but we're looking at tomorrow too !!

     

     

    Your knowledge is always appreciated (or contact me directly oem @ tranquilpc.co.uk) thanks

     

     

     

     

    Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:12 PM
  • What you need to do is rebuild the primary data partition. You can do this by running install.cmd but there is probably a more direct method. (I guess I'll have to check the setup log to see when the rebuild happens and what commandline is invoked, or wait until I can get a copy of the OPK.)

    Friday, August 24, 2007 1:36 AM
  • What you should do when the user boots with the recovery button depressed (I assume that's how it will work) is institute a boot from (in this order):
    1. A bootable USB flash device,
    2. A bootable USB CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, or
    3. The hard drive.
    (This is stated in the OEM documentation that you should already have.)

    My assumption is that the bootable USB flash device or USB CD-ROM would trigger a silent reinstallation of the OS; the server recovery version that preserves data. You would obviously have to slipstream any drivers required into the installation media, so the silent install could proceed, umm, silently. Smile

    Your customer's USB drives would preserve their data, backups, etc. Your customer would lose users and OS customizations like add-ins, installed programs, etc. It would be the same as if you inserted the DVD into your current WHS testbed and chose the server recovery option at the beginning of installation. BTW, if you haven't done that, I strongly encourage you to do so. The manufacturer should understand processes like that extremely well, so their customers don't have to. Smile

    Does that help?
    Friday, August 24, 2007 5:02 AM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    What you should do when the user boots with the recovery button depressed (I assume that's how it will work) is institute a boot from (in this order):
    1. A bootable USB flash device,
    2. A bootable USB CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, or
    3. The hard drive.

    (This is stated in the OEM documentation that you should already have.)

    My assumption is that the bootable USB flash device or USB CD-ROM would trigger a silent reinstallation of the OS; the server recovery version that preserves data. You would obviously have to slipstream any drivers required into the installation media, so the silent install could proceed, umm, silently.

    Your customer's USB drives would preserve their data, backups, etc. Your customer would lose users and OS customizations like add-ins, installed programs, etc. It would be the same as if you inserted the DVD into your current WHS testbed and chose the server recovery option at the beginning of installation. BTW, if you haven't done that, I strongly encourage you to do so. The manufacturer should understand processes like that extremely well, so their customers don't have to.

    Does that help?

     

    But this senario isn't actually a reinstallation. Lets assume a user comes home and finds smoke coming out of his WHS but his external drives are intact. The best solution in this case is to replace the entire server and rebuild the primary data partition on the new server. Forcing the user to reinstall just to rebuild the data partition doesn't make sence.

     

    The normal OEM recovery solution will reimage the drive and then invoke a rebuild. (I'm just not sure yet how to invoke a rebuild because MS didn't give me access to the OPK.)

    Friday, August 24, 2007 8:22 PM
  • True, it's not a reinstallation, but a reinstallation invokes a rebuild. Since I suspect that a rebuild will take way longer than the installation for the average household, it's a cheap way out. Smile
    Friday, August 24, 2007 9:52 PM
    Moderator