A First Time Build with Windows Home Server 2011 and HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – Part II

• June 23, 2013

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By: John Stutsman

 

This is Part II of the posting A First Time Build with Windows Home Server 2011 and HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer – Part I.

In Part I, we saw how to take a Stock MicroServer (Stock Factory BIOS, Stock VB0250EAVER HP HDD, and Stock 2GB RAM) and added Windows Home Server 2011 (“WHS2011”) and two large HDD’s that we Mirrored in Disk Management of WHS2011 to create a Home Server that would do bare metal backups of our home PC’s and provide robust NAS performance.

In this paper I wanted to take that basic build with a Stock MicroServer in Part I, move the OS Drive to the ODD bay, add another Mirror using WD Green Drives, and then measure its performance with NASPT at different RAM levels (2, 4, & 8GB).

Note: the NASPT Benchmarks discussed in individual Postings are useful for Comparisons with the specific testing setup, network, and Client Workstation implementation in THAT Posting and should not be considered absolute benchmarks for comparison against results in another Posting.

Starting with the final configuration in Part I, I shut down the MicroServer and moved the VB0250EAVER to the ODD bay area on top of the MicroServer. I used a StarTech BRACKET Metal 3.5” to 5.25” Drive Adapter Bracket a StarTech 6” 4 Pin Molex to SATA Power Cable Adapter and an 18’ SATA cable (any 18” SATA II or III straight connector cable should work). Using the 18” SATA cable I attached the VB0250EAVER to the ODD SATA port (Port 5) located on the MicroServer System Board. I then started up the MicroServer and hit F10 to go into the “ROM-BASED SETUP UTILITY” and went to BOOT submenu and changed the Boot order so that the VB0250EAVER would again be the 1st HDD in the Boot order.

 

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Figure 1 — After changing the Boot order in the stock BIOS the VB0250EAVER performed well attached to the ODD SATA Port on the System Board with Stock BIOS

 

Next I installed two WD30EZRX (WD Green 3TB HDD’s) in Slots 1 & 2 (Ports 0 & 1) of the MicroServer and using the Disk Management Application in the Server Manager of WHS2011 I initialized the two WD30EZRX’s and Mirrored them (creating Drive F) – this would be a software RAID1. I labeled this GreenMirror1 and in the Dashboard for WHS2011 I moved one Server Folder from Drive E to Drive F and I created a new Server Folder on Drive F to be a Target directory on GreenMirror1 for NASPT. Now I had NASPT Targets on Drives E & F (Mirror1 and GreenMirror1).

 

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Figure 2 — Stock MicroServer with VB0250EAVER loaded in ODD Bay and 2 Mirrored Pairs of 3TB HDD’s in Main 4 Bay Drive Cage

 

Performance of Mirrors

 

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Figure 3 — Drive E — WHS2011 Data Mirror1 2xST3000DM001’s

 

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Figure 4 — Drive F — WHS2011 Data GreenMirror1 2xWD30EZRX

 

Performance NASPT

During Home Server Show #225 Chris Kenney had told us that his testing showed that by increasing the amount of RAM in the MicroServer improved the NASPT test scores. This performance improvement can be seen in the following two figures for the Mirror of St3000DM001 drives and the Mirror of the WD30EZRX drives.

 

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Figure 5 — NASPT Performance of Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) on WHS2011 with 2, 4, & 8GB RAM

 

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Figure 6 — NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) on WHS2011 with 2, 4, & 8GB RAM

 

By comparing the performance of the two Mirrors at the discrete RAM levels (2, 4, & 8GB) I found an interesting piece of information.

First, when I compared the NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) to Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) with 2GB RAM on WHS2011 there is a distinct difference between the WD30EZRX Mirror and the ST3000DM001 Mirror. I was expecting this when I saw the Mirror performances in Figures 3 & 4.

 

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Figure 7 — NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) versus Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) on WHS2011 with 2GB RAM

 

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Figure 8 — NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) versus Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) on WHS2011 with 2GB RAM

 

At 4GB RAM the NASPT scores were generally higher with a distinct difference between the GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) and Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001). Later, when I compared the NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) to Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) with 8GB RAM on WHS2011 the scores for both were higher but there was virtually NO difference between the WD30EZRX Mirror and the ST3000DM001 Mirror. I was NOT expecting this. Clearly, one of the best things one can do for NASPT performance improvement in WHS2011 is to Max out the RAM to 8GB which appears to negate the differences (seen in Figures 3 & 4) in HDD performance in the different Mirrors.

 

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Figure 9 — NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) versus Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) on WHS2011 with 8GB RAM

 

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Figure 10 — NASPT Performance of GreenMirror1 (2xWD30EZRX) versus Mirror1 (2xST3000DM001) on WHS2011 with 8GB RAM

 

Conclusion

 

As stated earlier: Clearly, one of the best things one can do for NASPT performance improvement in WHS2011 is to Max out the RAM to 8GB which appears to negate the differences (seen in Figures 3 & 4) in HDD performance in the different Mirrors.

 

References

First Timer MicroServer With WHS Build

Useful MicroServer Links & References

MicroServer Hardware Links

MicroServer Blog Postings

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Category: Hard Drives, HP Microserver, Review, Windows Home Server, Windows Home Server 2011

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