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Storage Server R2 or should I say WHS2011?


ttheierl
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I just installed WSSR2 as a vm on my esxi box and I cannot believe what I am seeing. I am pissed in fact. WSSR2 is almost exactly the same as WHS2011. I shouldn't even say "almost". It's just that close.

 

For the last few weeks I've been testing WHS2011 and trying to figure out a simple way to emulate DE and today I came across WSSR2. How disappointing. So now, I'm down to two options. I'm either going to chuck the whole setup out of sheer frustration and go with an Ubuntu server for hosting my shares and virtualbox running my media center PC or just use the new version and do some creative scripting with robocopy to replicate my drives. But the more things I see missing from WHS2011 compared to WHSv1 the more this whole thing tastes like a sh*t sandwich. They have taken the "Home" out of Windows Home Server and replaced it with Windows Server. Nothing about it is friendly or intuitive. It is the same thing, interface-wise, that I have to deal with day after day when I'm at work. When I come home I don't want to have to babysit this thing and tweak it to make sure my data is replicated and secure. I just want it to work like it always has.

 

With all the new "features", or lack thereof, it has become very apparent that MS, well maybe not MS but the SBS group, never intended to include DE at all in WHS. They just didn't get it! And as a group of FAIL programmers who couldn't get the simple concept of DE, which is basically DFS and SiS rolled into one, I have to question the competency of these people altogether. I'm convinced of that now after seeing WSSR2. WHS2011 is literally nothing more than WSSR2 or vice-versa, a re-branded bare server and both with the same pretty little website. What a complete disappointment!

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I just installed WSSR2 as a vm on my esxi box and I cannot believe what I am seeing. I am pissed in fact. WSSR2 is almost exactly the same as WHS2011. I shouldn't even say "almost". It's just that close.

 

For the last few weeks I've been testing WHS2011 and trying to figure out a simple way to emulate DE and today I came across WSSR2. How disappointing. So now, I'm down to two options. I'm either going to chuck the whole setup out of sheer frustration and go with an Ubuntu server for hosting my shares and virtualbox running my media center PC or just use the new version and do some creative scripting with robocopy to replicate my drives. But the more things I see missing from WHS2011 compared to WHSv1 the more this whole thing tastes like a sh*t sandwich. They have taken the "Home" out of Windows Home Server and replaced it with Windows Server. Nothing about it is friendly or intuitive. It is the same thing, interface-wise, that I have to deal with day after day when I'm at work. When I come home I don't want to have to babysit this thing and tweak it to make sure my data is replicated and secure. I just want it to work like it always has.

 

With all the new "features", or lack thereof, it has become very apparent that MS, well maybe not MS but the SBS group, never intended to include DE at all in WHS. They just didn't get it! And as a group of FAIL programmers who couldn't get the simple concept of DE, which is basically DFS and SiS rolled into one, I have to question the competency of these people altogether. I'm convinced of that now after seeing WSSR2. WHS2011 is literally nothing more than WSSR2 or vice-versa, a re-branded bare server and both with the same pretty little website. What a complete disappointment!

 

 

Realizing that we all periodically like to share out thoughts, it would help if we better understand what features you are missing and would like. Granted it is missing DE but I believe most have begun to realize that may have not been a bad thing. If you could tell specifically what you are missing maybe we can help with alternatives. If you are just sharing your thoughts, then welcome to the BYOB section of the Homesershow forum. We always like to hear what people are thinking.

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Sorry about that. After coming to the realization that WHS is effectively a dead product I think I was just mourning the loss. I didn't intend to go off on a rant but thats how it ended up.

 

As far as missing features there are quiet a few. Obviously DE is a huge loss but its also the little things that I noticed right away. For example, the new console is bare. Gone are the customization options like: Backup Time Settings, Media Sharing and Media Center sharing options. However I guess the HomeGroup integration takes care of that. But there's also no Home Server Connector for Media Center either, MS announced that already, so no Rec TV archiving. Having a user profile folder created and assigned rights when an account was created was nice. I am one of those people that actually used those folders and liked that feature. Yes, I can create those manually but why take it away? Again, all of the things that made this a Home Server and not a 'Windows (Corp/Enterprise/SMB) Server' are gone. They've completely stripped the convenience out of WHS. Now it looks like something I'm going to have to babysit.

 

On the plus side, being 64bit and the new web interface with streaming options is nice but it still doesn't make up for DE and all of the things they took away. It seems most of the community is going the RAID route but I dont have #300 or even a slot on my mini-ITX board to handle a decent RAID controller. I have a fakeRAID controller built-in but those are pointless when the CPU does all the work? May as well go with software RAID.

 

There I go ranting again... anyway there's some of the points you asked about.

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Guest no-control

First off it sounds like WHS2011 isn't for you. That's been well established. What I don't hear is why not keep using WHSv1? It seems to have all the features you want, and requires less "babysitting". Personally I don't think it requires "babysitting", just a different type of management. I also don't agree with they stripped it of convenience aside from the fact that its different. But then again I'm quite familiar with enterprise servers so that may have sway over my opinion.

Outside of DE and the WMC integration, I think it does the same things as v1, just how you do it has changed. No different from when Office moved to the ribbon. I find it to be more efficient personally, it feels more like a windows operating system and less like a NAS device. The TV recording is an issue I've run across, but here are a few suggestions to help you out hardest to easiest.

  1. Edit the registry so that your HTPC will record to a mapped drive.
  2. Schedule a task that moves all files in the local drive to the network share daily
  3. Post an add-in feature request in our developers forum. I'm sure this functionality would be popular enough that a dev would be willing to take on this task.
  4. Buy a larger local drive and share that on the network or use homegroups
  5. Keep using WHSv1

On the plus side, being 64bit and the new web interface with streaming options is nice but it still doesn't make up for DE and all of the things they took away. It seems most of the community is going the RAID route but I dont have #300 or even a slot on my mini-ITX board to handle a decent RAID controller. I have a fakeRAID controller built-in but those are pointless when the CPU does all the work? May as well go with software RAID.

 

While this is mostly personal issues, sprinkled with a bit of misinformation. I'll try to keep it informative and correct what you may have heard from other forums or sites with less experience and less opinion interjected. When migrating to a new operating system hardware doesn't always transfer well, especially for specialized builds.Having to upgrade hardware is symbiotic when upgrading software. Just ask any Systems Admin. For most of us here "The Build" is the fun. It's also part of the challenge and requires well thought out plans and execution. That is what BYOB is all about. We share our experiences with our audience, to not only inform and teach, but to help avoid the expense of going it alone. We post our builds in the blog so that people can glean insight, knowledge and ideas from them. Or you can just flat out copy the builds and know that someone has done 90% of the hard work for you if you prefer. We don't mind! I prefer making the hardware do what I want rather than just buying whole new systems. We encourage people to use the forums to ask questions so we can assist them in their builds.

 

That being said on to your particular hardware dilemma.There are controllers out there for considerably less than $300. Griping about a mITX not having enough slots for it, is about the same as noting that you lack the slots to run 4 sticks of RAM or enough SATA ports for the amount of drives you require. You simply have the wrong hardware for what you want to do. Most file servers sit idle therefore CPU use is usually pretty low. Parity calcs for a RAID5 (be it software or firmware) only occur when writing, hardly a strain for a home file server on current hardware (within the last 3 generations). Stripes and mirrors incur no additional CPU cost.

A "fakeRAID" better known as a drive controller, still offloads RAID management from the CPU where as software RAID does not. An enterprise class XOR controller isn't required for low transfer rate home servers. If you're that hardcore that you need one then you probably wouldn't have a server based off a mITX either.

 

Todays processors are quite powerful both generations of the Core i3 CPUs can handle 99% of home server use. Even a decent C2Q or AM2 can handle it. In your case( without knowing your hardware setup) I would try the Highpoint 2680 card and see how that works with your current setup. Honestly though it looks like you should stick with WHSv1 as it seems to have the features you want in a GUI that you're already familiar with. If it ain't broke why fix it?

Edited by no-control
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My comment about fakeRAID was more so about it not being a flexible, and in some cases, a reliable alternative. Desktop board RAID controllers by Intel, Nvidia, etc. do not have a battery-backed cache, dedicated RAM, or a dedicated XOR processor. It DOES NOT offload RAID management from the CPU. These controllers only present the array to the OS at boot time at which point the driver and software take over exclusively. The performance gain, if any, is negligible compared to OS software RAID. To me these controllers only tend to add a layer of unnecessary complexity to everything. For example, what happens to the array and data if the motherboard dies? You would need a replacement board with the same or compatible chipset to hopefully recover. With software RAID the array can be mounted on another system.

 

Here's my setup and maybe you'll understand why fakeRAID wont work for me, no griping intended.

 

 

ESXi 4.1 - Intel DQ45EK, ICH10R, with E8400 CPU, 8GB RAM, 2x2TB and 2x1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 and 1 eSATA for future expansion, Chenbro ES34069 w/ 180W PS

 

Live 24x7 VMs:

MEDIAPCvm - Win7 - 500GB for LiveTV/DVR using two HDHomerun network tuners and two Xbox360 extenders.

HOMESVRvm - WHSv1 - 2x2TB mapped as RDMs to safegaurd data outside of VMFS. Backing up all Windows VMs, 3 laptops and a Win7 desktop.

HOMESRVtst - WHS2011 - 160GB system drive and 3x100GB vmdisks for testing.

 

Non-live VMs:

UBUNTUvm - Ubuntu Server 10.04 - 8GB sys and 3x100GB data. Testing Greyhole, Linux version of DE.

OPENFILER - Open Source NAS distro - 3x100GB data for testing.

NEXENTA - OpenSolaris based NAS distro - 3x100GB data for testing.

Win7PRO - Win7 - 40GB for testing.

 

Obviously I believe in doing more with less and the hardware is completely fine for what it is purposed for. I don't need a huge tower with the latest CPU to get what I need done (or compensate for the lack of something else LOL!). This box is only slightly larger than my original MediaSmart server and can do 3-4 times as much, if not more.

 

The main problem though is that this system was geared for the WHS2011 release with DE. My plan was to run it with either Hyper-V or VirtualBox to host the MCE permanently and WHSv1 VM while everything was migrated. I think I will just stick with WHSv1 as a VM for now and see how the new DE add-ins pan out.

 

Cheers!

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