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Backing up WHS 2011 to a Drobo


eagle63

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Hey guys, I've been running WHS v1 for a while now (in a VM) and am contemplating switching to WHS 2011. I happen

to have a Drobo (2nd generation) laying around am trying to find a logical and efficient way to integrate this

into WHS 2011, particularly since 2011 no longer has drive extender. I was re-reading an article by Jim Collison

here: http://homeservershow.com/using-the-drobo-s-with-whs-2011-rc-connected-via-usb-3-and-3tb-drives.html

which got me excited. If you look towards the end of the article, under the section titled, "Server Backup

and Issues with Drobo" he talks about the 2 TB limit. However, he states that one option is to use the

Drobo exclusively as a backup destination (option 1 of 3):

 

"Build the WHS with your data on internal or external drives (2TB or smaller) and use the Drobo as the Server

backup drive. This would give the best of all words in guaranteeing that access to your music and videos would be

at the best possible speeds while having max protection of your data. The major drawback of course would be

in cost. You would have the cost of the WHS with drives as well as the Drobo and it’s drives.

Cloud based backup would provide extra off site protection."

 

So if I've got a WHS 2011 box with 3 data drives that are 2TB each in size, I could attach my Drobo - which has

8TB of storage - and have WHS backup to the Drobo every night. This would be fantastic, but after reading other articles

around the 'net it sounds like the 2TB limit applies not only to the data drives, but also to the backup drive.

 

Is Jim's article wrong in that regard? Could I not use the Drobo as a big backup destination for a WHS 2011 machine?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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if it was my Drobo, I would use RoboCopy to copy my data to the Drobo. This isn't affected by the 2TB limit, and, it has the advantage that all the files are readily available without having to be extracted from a backup file.

 

I would put the RoboCopy statements I need into a batch file that I would have run using a Scheduled Task. I do this now to an external eSATA multi-drive box on my WHSv1 and it works like a charm.

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Thanks ikon. So I'm assuming by your answer that I cannot, in fact, use the Drobo as a backup destination? I appreciate your idea, but at this point I'd really like to avoid batch scripts or other workarounds.

 

Since I'm going to be running this as a VM, maybe it would make sense to virtualize my storage drives and have those backed up using Windows Server 2008's (my host system) automated backup utility?

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I assume you could use it as a destination, but I also assume it would be limited to 2TB, but I could be totally wrong.

 

You're coming from a different angle than I am. I consider using a backup program/utility to be a workaround. For me, copying the data to a backup device is actually the preferred option, for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that files from backup programs require you to have the program in order to open and read the files. If the company goes away, you could be out of luck. Files copies to another medium have a much greater likelihood of still being readable in the future, IMHO.

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I assume you could use it as a destination, but I also assume it would be limited to 2TB, but I could be totally wrong.

That's what I assumed too, it's just that the article I quoted pretty clearly states the opposite - unless Jim was just mistaken.

 

I hear what you're saying about the advantage of copying files outside of the backup program, but I'm looking for as simple a solution as is reasonable. (for example, what happens when the backup drive is full - does your script handle that case?)

 

I could use the Drobo for data storage rather than backups, but I'm leaning away from that option for 2 reasons:

 

1. Performance. The older Drobo's like mine are pretty slow.

2. WHS doesn't really know how much storage is on the Drobo, requiring you to use both the WHS console and the Drobo dashboard.

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Hey guys, I've been running WHS v1 for a while now (in a VM) and am contemplating switching to WHS 2011. I happen

to have a Drobo (2nd generation) laying around am trying to find a logical and efficient way to integrate this

into WHS 2011, particularly since 2011 no longer has drive extender. I was re-reading an article by Jim Collison

here: http://homeserversho...3tb-drives.html

which got me excited. If you look towards the end of the article, under the section titled, "Server Backup

and Issues with Drobo" he talks about the 2 TB limit. However, he states that one option is to use the

Drobo exclusively as a backup destination (option 1 of 3):

 

 

 

So if I've got a WHS 2011 box with 3 data drives that are 2TB each in size, I could attach my Drobo - which has

8TB of storage - and have WHS backup to the Drobo every night. This would be fantastic, but after reading other articles

around the 'net it sounds like the 2TB limit applies not only to the data drives, but also to the backup drive.

 

Is Jim's article wrong in that regard? Could I not use the Drobo as a big backup destination for a WHS 2011 machine?

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

I agree with ikon, and would use some sort of sync program. I use alwaysyn in auto mode and mine backs up my RAID 5 3 times a week. Check out the demo video I did as a suggestion. There are other programs like this if you prefer something else but it is the concept.

 

 

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Thanks pc-doc, that looks like a nice tool. After doing some more thinking about this, maybe

using a sync tool like this (or robocopy as Ikon suggested) is a good way to go. It just

seems crazy to me that WHS 2011 can't backup to a disk that's larger than 2TB. But I won't

rant about that because I think everyone's tired of hearing it. :)

 

Since I'm going to be running this as a VM in Hyper-V, an alternative backup solution

would be to run Windows Server Backup on the host machine. This will backup everything: the

virtualized data disks, the VM itself, even the host. I could send all that to the Drobo

and have it done on a nightly schedule.

 

Still, I like your point about how doing a straight copy/sync (outside of any backup program)

means I can more easily get back my data. Hmmm, decisions.

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Mr_Smartepants

I've been meaning to try Allway sync but I've been putting it off. After watching the video I'm encouraged to try it. If it works out for my scenario I'll eventually replace the SyncBack software I'm currently using.

Thanks.

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Thanks for the video, pcdoc. I've been running SyncToy on a manual basis, but I can see from the video how easy it would be to set up Allway sync to do automatic synchronisation of my movie/music/photo shares whenever I connect my USB backup drives to my WHS 2011 server. Food for thought.

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