pcdoc

WHS 2011 Storage Strategy

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There has been a lot of discussion surrounding storage in WHS 2011. The image below is my plan on dealing with the loss of DE and how I have configured my test server to maximize the new approach in WHS 2011. Ultimately this will become my production server when WHS 2011 goes RTM. I posted this to illustrate that there are many different ways to configure WHS 2011 and that you are not forced into raid or any other technology. In my case I have used a bit of everything but it is your choice.

 

I have used mirroring of the OS for maximum up time and hopefully pain free operation. I have used straight drive storage for critical data that is on a daily backup, and of course a couple of huge arrays for endless amounts of media. The point is that you do not have to do it all but it is nice to know that you can. Yes DE is gone but in return, we gain some flexibility, security, and speed. It will be up to you how you configure it and what you want it to do, but I can tell you that after using for a while now I really like the flexibility and options for configuring. Granted it is a "bit" more complicated to setup folders but at the end of the day it works just as it did before only faster.

 

If you have a different strategy, a different approach, or a question, please post it here so we can all learn as we get comfortable with this new version.

 

 

 

whs2011serverstorage.jpg

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Interesting. Why are you going to put music, software, etc, stuff that is no where near 2 TB's, on a raid array? Seems like anything that would be less than 2 TB's in total would be much better off as part of the pool?

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Pool? The strategy looks solid to me.

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Interesting. Why are you going to put music, software, etc, stuff that is no where near 2 TB's, on a raid array? Seems like anything that would be less than 2 TB's in total would be much better off as part of the pool?

 

 

Actually, when you add it all up, it is very close to 2T as it stands today. I have about 200G of software alone, plus videos I have created, plus music etc. The music is the smallest part and I could have easily moved it to the main storage. The main distinction for me is whether or not I wanted to to backup. Anything I put on the 2T storage will get backup along with the clients so I moved all the stuff I did not need to backup to RAID as that is safe enough. All this is sort of a series of choices but so far this is working well for me but who knows, I may change in a week (or less). Thanks for the comment.

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Actually, when you add it all up, it is very close to 2T as it stands today. I have about 200G of software alone, plus videos I have created, plus music etc. The music is the smallest part and I could have easily moved it to the main storage. The main distinction for me is whether or not I wanted to to backup. Anything I put on the 2T storage will get backup along with the clients so I moved all the stuff I did not need to backup to RAID as that is safe enough. All this is sort of a series of choices but so far this is working well for me but who knows, I may change in a week (or less). Thanks for the comment.

 

 

Makes sense. I could go your route then except for I want my music backed up.

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My approach is a little simpler, granted, I'm dealing with an HP Microserver, so I only have 4 drive bays available to use. I also have SBS-E (Aurora) on the server, so it's more for data than for media. My HTPC box gets to host the media (Movies and such) and share it to the network. I don't have enough upstream bandwidth to make use of WHS's media streaming functions, so it seemed a reasonable to trade to gain the control over my computers that a domain can provide. Anyways, here's my setup:

 

160GB HDD - came with the server, so may as well use it

- 60GB - OS, Programs

- 100GB - Some data, mostly used for non-file server functions (Source Control Repos)

2x1TB Mirrored HDD - WD Green Drives, 1 EARS, 1 EADS (this is why you don't buy retail drives)

- 1TB - Software, Documents, Pictures, etc...

2TB External HDD

- 2TB - Backups for all drives.

 

I still have a spare bay, so I'm thinking about getting a 3rd drive and turning the mirror into a RAID-5. One thought I had that I have tried out is that in using RAID, I may be able to enable a functionality similar to drive extender. It would take some time to finish the process, but I think I should be able to remove one drive, replace it with a larger one, rebuild the array, then remove the other drive, replace it, and rebuild again to get a larger array. One last note, I'm using the RAID functionality in disk management to control the mirror. I think I could control it through the BIOS, but I have better visibility to it from the OS, and it seems like performance of a OS-level vs. motherboard-level solution is going to be pretty similar.

 

Sorry I don't have a fancy picture like pcdoc does.

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After posting a few questions in the forums and getting a lot of great feedback from everyone, I think I have my plan now.

 

In my Lian Li PC-Q08 with six 3.5" bays and one 5.25":

 

1. Use two 2.5" drives in the Icy Dock RAID case for OS and mount that in the 5.25 bay.

2. Then have two 1 TB WD drives in mirror for my music, pictures, and documents. (controlled by OS)

3. Then use four 2T WD drives in a RAID5 (with a hardware card) for my ripped movies and home videos.

 

Not very different from pcdoc. A little expensive for start up, but that will do me for several years. I'll start saving now until new Sandy Bridge mobos and WHS2011 RTM are available, then get the drives, card, and Icy Dock case.

Edited by Neophyte

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After posting a few questions in the forums and getting a lot of great feedback from everyone, I think I have my plan now.

 

In my Lian Li PC-Q08 with six 3.5" bays and one 5.25":

 

1. Use two 2.5" drives in the Icy Dock RAID case for OS and mount that in the 5.25 bay.

2. Then have two 1 TB WD drives in mirror for my music, pictures, and documents. (controlled by OS)

3. Then use four 2T WD drives in a RAID5 (with a hardware card) for my ripped movies and home videos.

 

Not very different from pcdoc. A little expensive for start up, but that will do me for several years. I'll start saving now until new Sandy Bridge mobos and WHS2011 RTM are available, then get the drives, card, and Icy Dock case.

 

That will make a great power packed small server. Nice

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Anyone thought much about how they will manage add-ins. I never liked putting add-ins on my OS. Various reasons, bugs, heavy, etc. So I am thinking of running a hosted version of v2 on top of v2. The hosted vm will be just for add-ins.

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Interesting approach. Let me know how that goes. I do not like addins either. I only want 2. Keepvault, and some AV program that does not crash my system. Simple needs... I will then settle for speed and storage...

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I don't want to switch gears too much but I'm starting to think about my strategy a little bit more. In this thread we were talking about how much data we use today. I was going to allot a 1TB drive in the server for TV.

I also have a media center "server." I'm starting to think about serving the Recorded TV straight from this box. As it stands today, it records and then copies it over to WHS. There is no redundancy on the WHS and I can easily serve the shows from the media center box. The media center also serves EPG and does a lot of other transcoding.

 

Until something major changes with WHS and Media Center I don't have any real reason to store recorded TV on WHS.

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Until something major changes with WHS and Media Center I don't have any real reason to store recorded TV on WHS.

Yeah, without duplication, the only reason to move the content to WHS is to avoid having as many drives in the HTPC.

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I don't want to switch gears too much but I'm starting to think about my strategy a little bit more. In this thread we were talking about how much data we use today. I was going to allot a 1TB drive in the server for TV.

I also have a media center "server." I'm starting to think about serving the Recorded TV straight from this box. As it stands today, it records and then copies it over to WHS. There is no redundancy on the WHS and I can easily serve the shows from the media center box. The media center also serves EPG and does a lot of other transcoding.

 

Until something major changes with WHS and Media Center I don't have any real reason to store recorded TV on WHS.

 

 

Do you share the media to other devices using homegroup? Or do you have another approach or no other devices?

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I have a homegroup for Recorded TV. Two HTPC's, xbox360. I don't think I'll experience much of a difference. Perhaps even a performance gain.

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I use WMC on the clients and the Shared Folders from the server as a Library location. I have no access to record live TV so this approach works for me.

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Anyone thought much about how they will manage add-ins. I never liked putting add-ins on my OS. Various reasons, bugs, heavy, etc. So I am thinking of running a hosted version of v2 on top of v2. The hosted vm will be just for add-ins.

 

 

 

I rarely if ever run addins. The shade-tree stuff is just way to sketchy for me to want to use, much less pay for. Since this will be shared with Business servers theres a chance there could be some worthwhile addins with business grade support/programming. There isn't much I could think of that I would want WHS to do that it already doesn't do. Applications are another story though I can see myself installing some applications and tools built for server on this platform.

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For me, WHS is just for PC backups (which it is excellent at), and remote access to some select files. Therefore, I don't need much (say 3-4TB) storage for it and also only plan to run it as a VM since there really is no need for a stand alone server.

 

My primary storage solution is unRAID which is now fully moved into my Norco 4020 case. The process of moving the system out of it's box and related hardware and into the Norco case with a different MB, CPU, ram and nic card was simply amazing. All it entailed was physically moving the drives, plugging in the USB stick (unRAID runs from a USB stick) and plugging it into the Norco case. Booted right up, I assigned the drives and she was up and running. I should also mention that I put the USB stick in my Win7 machine and upgraded the unRAID software from v4.5 to v4.7 as part of the process. So software upgrade and totally new hardware, except drives, and it was no problem.

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For me, WHS is just for PC backups (which it is excellent at), and remote access to some select files. Therefore, I don't need much (say 3-4TB) storage for it and also only plan to run it as a VM since there really is no need for a stand alone server.

 

My primary storage solution is unRAID which is now fully moved into my Norco 4020 case. The process of moving the system out of it's box and related hardware and into the Norco case with a different MB, CPU, ram and nic card was simply amazing. All it entailed was physically moving the drives, plugging in the USB stick (unRAID runs from a USB stick) and plugging it into the Norco case. Booted right up, I assigned the drives and she was up and running. I should also mention that I put the USB stick in my Win7 machine and upgraded the unRAID software from v4.5 to v4.7 as part of the process. So software upgrade and totally new hardware, except drives, and it was no problem.

 

 

So why unRAID versus RAID 5?

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That will make a great power packed small server. Nice

Yes, and post a few pictures of it when you're finished. Also, stick it on a scale. I want to know what it weighs. :rolleyes:

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3. Then use four 2T WD drives in a RAID5 (with a hardware card) for my ripped movies and home videos.

 

Can you run raid five with 4 drives? I thought you would need 5 for a parity. I am sure i have this wrong (getting old =)

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So why unRAID versus RAID 5?

 

 

 

For me, speed is not a major concern. Yea I need enough to stream movies around the network, sometimes more than 1 at a time, but for me getting every last bit of speed possible is not a real issue and not something that is going to make a real difference day in and day out. Sure large file transfers may take a bit longer, but how often am I sitting there waiting for the transfer to complete with noting else to do?

 

So the real issue for me was efficient protection (ie, parity drive), ability to use varying sized drives, easy expansion, ability to remove drive and read data from another system if ever needed, array not destroyed by multiple drive failures. Does this feature set sound familiar?

 

RAID 5 meets some of these but fails on others. unRAID meets all of these. So it was an easy decision and actually one I made prior to learning about DE being removed from WHS.

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For me, speed is not a major concern. Yea I need enough to stream movies around the network, sometimes more than 1 at a time, but for me getting every last bit of speed possible is not a real issue and not something that is going to make a real difference day in and day out. Sure large file transfers may take a bit longer, but how often am I sitting there waiting for the transfer to complete with noting else to do?

 

So the real issue for me was efficient protection (ie, parity drive), ability to use varying sized drives, easy expansion, ability to remove drive and read data from another system if ever needed, array not destroyed by multiple drive failures. Does this feature set sound familiar?

 

RAID 5 meets some of these but fails on others. unRAID meets all of these. So it was an easy decision and actually one I made prior to learning about DE being removed from WHS.

 

 

I will have to do some more research on this. Sounds very interesting.

 

Have you ran any tests on read/write speeds?

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Can you run raid five with 4 drives? I thought you would need 5 for a parity. I am sure i have this wrong (getting old =)

 

 

You can run RAID 5 with 3 drives of you want. I have a three drive RAID 5 setup running right now in my Hyper-V server. I think it just has to be more than two.

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I will have to do some more research on this. Sounds very interesting.

 

Have you ran any tests on read/write speeds?

 

 

Very limited. One thing I just added was a cache drive. Which means all data, unless you tell it not to, is written to the cache drive and then latter added to the protected array and an off time. What this means is you get the full speed of that one drive, but it also means the data is not protected while sitting on the cache drive. For this reason, I have my Photos folder set to not use the cache drive.

 

Without a cache drive, the data is written to the array based on the slowest drive, either the parity or the drive being written too. Because of this, I want to slowly work out my 5400 & 5900 drives with the parity being first. Right now, my parity drive is a 5400rpm drive. Yea, I know I didn't plan this out very well.

 

I plan to do some speed testing at some point and will report back then.

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My strategy is pretty simple... no raid here. I'll be relying on the sever backup function for my duplication. I'll set it at 2 times per day.

 

For my data drives, I'll be running 2 1TB Western Digital 2.5" (WD10TPVT) drives.

 

The OS will reside on a 320 GB Western Digital (WD3200BEKT) 2.5" drive.

 

I'll then plug in a hard drive dock to my Server via USB like this one and always have a 2 TB 3.5" drive in the dock. I'll have an additional 2 TB 3.5" drive at work to act as my co-location strategy. Then VIA sneaker-net I'll switch the drives out ever other week or so.

 

jvk

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