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Booting WHS 2011 Off RAID5


coxhaus
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I am new to WHS 2011 but have loaded other servers before. I have retired from work and feel like I don’t need all the complexity of running server 2008 r2 with hyper V. I just need to store family pictures, music and documents now. I have a server already built with 2008 r2 hyper V which I was thinking of changing over to WHS 2011. The box is home built with an Intel Entry level server motherboard and an Intel RAID5 scrsas18e card with 6 drives in Raid5. The drives are setup with a SuperMicro rack case with hot swap.

Is there any reason why WHS 2011 would not run on this hardware since server 2008 r2 is already running? I ask this question because looking over this site it looks like everybody uses a separate physical system drive for WHS 2011 OS. I am not sure why as the OS doesn’t benefit from the RAID5. All that would be required to use the OS on the RAID5 would be to create a 2 terabyte or less partition so you could boot with the RAID5. I assume when you install WHS 2011 you are able to use the F6 key the same as server 2008 r2, to load the RAID drives to install the OS on the RAID5. I think it would be beneficial to pool all the drives in the RAID5 for through put and less wasted drive space providing you have not exceed the capacity of your Raid card. Can someone comment on this?

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A lot of the crowd here seems to be migrating over to smaller SSD drives for the OS. For your question, I want my OS separated from the data so I would not use one large RAID 5 partition for the server OS and data.

 

You might also think about using a pair of 2.5" laptop SATA drives with onboard RAID1 and then use a controller card for the data.

 

Just my 02.

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On my WHS box I'm running a couple of 250GB Maxtor enterprise drives in RAID 1 on the mobo for my WHS OS, and 4 WD RE4 drives in RAID5 on a 3ware card for data storage. One advantage to this arrangement is that I can have problems with the OS, even reinstall it, and not affect the data.

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Having a system partition on a large RAID logicaly separates the OS from the data but the OS benefits from the faster RAID5. If you decide to install a new OS just format the system partition and the data partition or partitions are not effected. This is just like having separate drives with better benefits of a large RAID.

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I am new to WHS 2011 but have loaded other servers before. I have retired from work and feel like I don’t need all the complexity of running server 2008 r2 with hyper V. I just need to store family pictures, music and documents now. I have a server already built with 2008 r2 hyper V which I was thinking of changing over to WHS 2011. The box is home built with an Intel Entry level server motherboard and an Intel RAID5 scrsas18e card with 6 drives in Raid5. The drives are setup with a SuperMicro rack case with hot swap.

Is there any reason why WHS 2011 would not run on this hardware since server 2008 r2 is already running? I ask this question because looking over this site it looks like everybody uses a separate physical system drive for WHS 2011 OS. I am not sure why as the OS doesn’t benefit from the RAID5. All that would be required to use the OS on the RAID5 would be to create a 2 terabyte or less partition so you could boot with the RAID5. I assume when you install WHS 2011 you are able to use the F6 key the same as server 2008 r2, to load the RAID drives to install the OS on the RAID5. I think it would be beneficial to pool all the drives in the RAID5 for through put and less wasted drive space providing you have not exceed the capacity of your Raid card. Can someone comment on this?

 

The short answer is that WHS creams the install drive and creates two partitions during the install by default. It would be far safer and easier to use a separate drive or drives for the install. It will minimize the install complications and make it easier to recover. Remember that you can not restore a raid partition of that size even with server 2008 using the built in backup. If you try and run the native backup and ever need to restore you will be in serious trouble. I would rethink your strategy and go with a separate OS drive, the RAID 5 partition, and a backup solution for the critical data. I included my setup but it is a bit extreme.

 

 

http://thedocsworld.net/backup-strategy/

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So if I get what you are saying I will need to delete the system partition so WHS 2011 can create 2 partitions instead of the one. Will the other partitons on the same physical RAID5 remain intact?

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WHS will blow away the partitions on the drive all by itself. Your data partitions will be gone, since the installer will treat the RAID array as a single drive (if you create 2 separate RAID volumes then the installer will see them as 2 drives and will only use 1 for WHS). You do not need to delete the system partition; WHS will do that.

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ikon is correct.

So if I get what you are saying I will need to delete the system partition so WHS 2011 can create 2 partitions instead of the one. Will the other partitons on the same physical RAID5 remain intact?

 

No. Ikon is correct, you will loose everything. Not only will it blow it away for two drives, it turn you large array into a 2T partition. Do not go down this road. If you want a large array as I do, but the OS on a separate drive.

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ikon is correct.

 

No. Ikon is correct, you will loose everything. Not only will it blow it away for two drives, it turn you large array into a 2T partition. Do not go down this road. If you want a large array as I do, but the OS on a separate drive.

 

Thanks for the confirmation pcdoc.

 

Coxhaus, I recommend using 2 mirrored drives for the OS. I feel it is more reliable than a RAID5. As I mentioned above, I used two 250GB Maxtor's for my OS. I think it was a great way to recycle 2 drives that otherwise would not be terribly useful anymore.

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