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  • How to make use of the Server Storage tab in Windows Home Server


    a guest post from “The Guy”




    How To make use of the SERVER STORAGE tab on the Windows Home Server (WHS) console. Many have experienced the joy of the very first time we all connected to our WHS console and started to look around. Today we look at the SERVER STORAGE tab and find out about some of its secrets.


    The What, Where, When, How,


    What is the SERVER STORAGE function?


    This function allows you to easily add or subtract disk drives to your WHS, in essence to add storage space to your WHS. It allows you to use those disk drives in specific ways of either, adding to your disk drive storage pool or adding a disk drive as another backup drive. (More on this later) It also allows you to see related information for each specific drive.


    Where do you find the SERVER STORAGE tab?


    When you first log-into the console of WHS version 1, you will see the SERVER STORAGE tab as part of a series of tabs on the top row; it’s the one highlight below.




    When should you use this WHS SERVER STORAGE function?


    The SERVER STORAGE tab makes up the initial functions provided by the WHS user interface (UI) as part of the initial function of the WHS console. It actually will list out all of the disk drives that are attached in some form or another to your WHS system. It provides basic disk drive information as well as basic disk drive capabilities such as adding or subtracting drives from your WHS environment. This function should be used when:


    1. You wish to add or remove disk drives.


    2. Modify disk configuration


    3. Get more information about each of your disk drives


    4. Provide specific task for your disk drives


    5. Repair disk drives affected by errors. (health alert)


    How To section


    How can you use this WHS SERVER STORAGE function?


    Let’s run through each sub-function of the SERVER STORAGE function. Well one of the very first thing that you can do is easily add or subtract disk drives to your WHS. It also allows you to see related information on each specific drive.


    Let’s take a quick look:




    The picture above provides you with a view of a WHS system with five (5) disk drives. The area just above the disk drive listing provides the basic information and configuration of each of your disk drives.




    In this example we get the name of each disk drive “WDC WD1.5TB disk in this case”. The usable capacity of this disk drive is 1.36TB.(tera-bytes) Remember if you place a 1.5TB drive WHS needs to make use of some portion of the drive for keeping track of all those files it will store, etc. Its normal to have less than the original 1.5TB drive in this case 1.36TB will be made available; the rest is for administrative purposes. Next we see the location which indicates the type of link to the disk drive. In most cases you will see a SCSI or ATA connection. Don’t worry about having your SATA drives show up as SCSI drives, that part is for the advanced class. Finally the status of the drive, which should always be a green dot and a healthy condition associated with it or the percentage of disk space available; depending on the drives purpose in your WHS configuration.


    Should you ever have a bad drive the status will show the different conditions of the disk drive.


    In the following picture (below); we can see the first drive listed as not being attached into the WHS disk drive pool. The following four (4) drives show disk drives associated to the WHS disk drive pool which will provide the file space for WHS. The last drive called (Backup Drive #3) is a drive that has been added to the WHS environment but that we have configured in a special way and not attached to the WHS pool space, but rather it acts as an independent disk drive where you can store other things. In this case it is used as a separate file system or backup system which you can store files to that will not be directly managed by WHS.




    Let’s look at adding this drive at the very top into the WHS drive pool. If you select it you will notice that the “+ADD” area of the screen lights up.




    If you click on the “+Add” you will get the WHS wizard that will walk you through the process of adding this drive. You can also right-click on the drive icon to get to the WHS drive Wizard.




    You can now add this disk drive as either:


    a) As additional server storage. This increases you total WHS storage pool.


    B) As a backup file storage area. This allows you to use this drive as a special backup area, normally related to storage you wish to keep separate or removable from the normal WHS storage pool.




    You will at this point be provided with options depending on your previous choice. Be Careful, if you have data on this drive you wish to keep, then read the transactions option as the wizard presents them to you, you may format the drive, which erases everything on the added disk drive. Be Careful.




    ALL done, you now have added a new drive to your drive pool. Yes it’s that simple.


    In case of trouble:


    If a disk drive error or problem occurs you will probably see your WHS console health indicator turns RED.




    If you click on this icon above, then the WHS will provide you with a list of errors which you should consider. Your SERVER STORAGE function may show you additional information similar to the picture below:




    The Repair option is used in conjunction with a Network critical notice which will provide you with multiple options to repair your problem. Again follow the wizard instructions provided; it will guide you through the process and normally fix the problem.


    The final option available is to be able to remove a disk, to do so simply select the disk by clicking on the disk icon to be removed and then selecting the remove option, or right-click on the selected disk drive.




    You will then be again presented with a wizard providing you with a number of options. Once the process completed, the drive has been removed from use. As seen below.






    The last piece to this SERVER STORAGE tab. The right hand area of the window provides a summary of the disk space and how it is used. In this example the four disk drives add up to and total of 4.55 TB with remaining space of 1016.77 GB.


    The distributions of files are separated between shared files, duplication files, PC backup files (from the extra fifth drive (Backup drive #3), systems files and free or remaining space.


    And if all of these drive work as WHS expect, your data will be automatically backup up every day.




    And that is the magic of what you will find on the WHS SERVER STORAGE tab.


    Rules to remember:


    1.) Read the dialogue boxes that come up


    2.) Trust the Wizard


    3.) It’s easy to add a disk drive to your WHS disk pool.


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