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edamiga1

Microsoft will soon supports drive extender on WHS 2011

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edamiga1

I wanted to share some thinking I had on how I can get drive extender back for my WHS 2011, using Microsoft technology. First let me give some background. I have been using WHS since version 1 and currently have 2011 with around 9TB of available storage. This is broken down with 3 2GB drives for movies, 1.5TB Mirrored RAID, and 1.0TB Mirrored RAID. This WHS 2011 is actually running as a virtual machine on a WS 2008 R2 Core and all 7 drives are passed directly through. This has been working flawlessly for the last 14 months and no performance issues.

 

With the release of Windows Server 2012, they will still have the core release available for free. This is basically a hypervisor, with only a dos shell available. This is not an issue, since you can connect remotely and administer from my Windows 7 client using a GUI interface. I have 5 VMs running on this one of which is my WHS 2011 Server. It works great and is free.

 

One of the big features of WS 2012 is the new drive pooling capability, which is basically drive externder V2.0 and done right. All of the issues that existed in WHS V1, do not exist and storeage capabilities are basically beyond anything that could be realized today. If you are not aware of this technology just search and see all of the capabilites that exist, including every possible RAID concept and others.

 

My plan is to convert to WS 2012 and then build out drive pools on the hypervisor, which I will then pass through to WHS2011. In WHS 2011, it will look and act like one big drive. I can add and remove drives on the hypervisor, without any impact to the WHS. This basically gives me back everything that I had with drive extender, but in a much more advanced and superior solution. I do lose some visibility on what is happening on the pool within WHS 2011, but not a big issue.

 

I fully expect Microsoft to release a WHS 2012, since they should basically be able to copy the software over from WHS2011 and update it with some wizards around the pooling technology. Once they do this we will have the drive extender technlogy back in WHS, but done right and without the issues that V1 had with stuttering and other issues.

 

I know hindsite is 20/20, but seeing what Microsoft has done with drive pool, I understand the decision process they had with pulling it from 2011. WHS 2011 is basically WS 2008 R2 with the software running on it, there is no other core technology in it, unlike WHS V1. My guess is that they had planned on having some basic version of drive pool in 2008 R2 and it was pulled from the release and the WHS group was left in the lurch.

 

Interested if others would try this or any issues with my thinking. Will wait for the RTM version, so still about 4 months away from making the move. I will first move my VMs over as they are today and then convert the drives to a pool.

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ikon

I hope you're right about a WHS2012. It is the one concern a lot of people in these forums have expressed. I, for one, do not want to lose the client-backup-with-bare-metal-restore capability. MS seems to have done this better than just about anyone else.

 

I think I will play with Server 2012 when it comes out, but not to host a WHS2011, at least not until it's clear that there actually won't be a WHS2012 (and by that I mean a version specifically with client backup/restore). In that case, I hope I will be able to set up a WHS2011 VM for only client backup/restore and will be able to use the native Server 2012 for media serving.

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SikSlayer

Your theory sounds quite logical. Let's hope it turns out this way.

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pcdoc

Your theory sounds good but they will have to improve the speed and flexibility of the storage spaces before this will become a viable option. If you have tried either Win8 or Server 8 (2012) you will see that you will not want to be the first kid on the block to go with that technology. It was too easy to break, slow, and inflexible in converting volumes. It is nothing like DE in terms of flexibility and nothing like hardware for speed. Great thoughts but we may have to wait for 2012 SP1 or later.

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