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What is optimum way to setup WHS based on my hardware? RRS feed

  • Question



  • This seems like a simple question, but I haven’t really been able to find a suitable answer, so I thought I’d ask here regarding the optimum way to setup WHS based on my hardware setup:

    I have a Dell Dimension 4500 Pentium 4 2.4ghz with 1GB of RAM configured with the following drives:

    • 1 Maxtor 6 LS200 ULTRA-ATA 200 GB connected via onboard ULTRA-ATA connector
    • 2 Seagate ST3500 SATA 500 GB (16MB cache) hooked up via an installed SATA controller.

     

    I will be attaching 3 external computers to the WHS for backups:

    • 2 laptops running WINXP, both with 120GB drives that are at about 50% capacity (e.g., 60GB a piece, so 120 GB)
    • 1 desktop running WINXP with a 40GB drive at about 25% capacity (about 10 GB).

    Additionally, the WHS will be used for:

    • Shared files
    • Music files
    • Video Files
    • Photo Files

    Total required data capacity for the shared files today is about 120GB, but with the addition of more music, video and photos later, that could conceivably double.

     

    Based on what I have for hardware, I see three ways I could setup the WHS.

    1. Attach the 200 GB drive first (leave the two 500GB disconnected).  Install WHS and then add the two 500GB drives as additional drives and turn on folder replication.  The WHS backup (full machine backup for worst case scenarios such as fire, etc.) will be done using online backup services such as KeepVault
    2. Same scenario as above, but use a 500GB drive first for the install, then attach and add in the 200GB and 500GB drives, turn on folder replication.  The WHS backup (full machine backup for worst case scenarios such as fire, etc.) will be done using online backup services such as KeepVault.
    3.  Attach the 200 GB drive first (leave the two 500GB disconnected).  Install WHS and then add one 500GB as an additional drive and turn on folder replication.  Then add the 2nd 500GB drive and designate it as a backup drive for the WHS only.  My guess is I’ll still want to use an online backup service such as KeepVault for the worst case scenario of a total loss of the server (fire, etc.).

     

    Any thoughts on which would be the best setup based on my hardware and storage requirements?  If I’m going to use offsite storage for WHS backups, does it make any sense to designate a 500GB drive for onsite WHS server backups?


    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 2:01 PM

Answers

  • Yes, with the following caveats:
    • You either had duplication turned on for all shares, or had enough free space in the storage pool that Windows Home Server was never forced to store anything on the system drive. Note that losing your system drive can result in the loss of your backup database, which is not configured to participate in Drive Extender duplication. If your server is ever forced to place components of the backup database on the system drive, they will be lost with the drive because WHS typically won't move them back off in normal operation.
    • You (re)supply the drivers for your SATA controller at the appropriate point in the installation process.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 6:14 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Connect all the drives and install Windows Home Server. Most likely it will use the 200 GB drive as the system disk. Make sure you supply drivers for your SATA controller at the appropriate point in setup, and Windows Home Server will automatically include the two SATA drives in the storage pool. 

    Then for backups, get an external 500 GB drive to back up to. Take it off-site when not backing up your server, and you'll have an additional level of protection against a disaster such as a fire or flood. Or get two drives; you can keep one at home, and rotate it off-site with the other drive on a regular basis.

    One thing to be aware of: older hardware may be subject to issues that new hardware isn't. Electronics can wear out over time (capacitors on the motherboard can leak, dry out, or even burst, for example, and repeated power fluctuations can stress other components as well) and mechanical components such as hard drives and fans are guaranteed to fail given enough time (usually several years, but a P4 system is several years old). You may want to consider using the system you describe as a test platform, then buying new hardware, possibly even an OEM unit like the HP MediaSmart Server, as your primary production server.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 3:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the quick response Ken!

    Quick follow-up question.  In this setup, if I lose the primary drive (say the 200gb system disk if that's where the o/s gets installed), then I should just be able to put in a new disk, and select the re-installation option and have my data still be fine on the other drives.  Is that correct?

    Thanks!
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:56 PM
  • Yes, with the following caveats:
    • You either had duplication turned on for all shares, or had enough free space in the storage pool that Windows Home Server was never forced to store anything on the system drive. Note that losing your system drive can result in the loss of your backup database, which is not configured to participate in Drive Extender duplication. If your server is ever forced to place components of the backup database on the system drive, they will be lost with the drive because WHS typically won't move them back off in normal operation.
    • You (re)supply the drivers for your SATA controller at the appropriate point in the installation process.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 6:14 PM
    Moderator