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craigblues

Microserver N40L - New Setup & Advice

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craigblues

Morning/Evening All.

 

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

 

Well first time poster but have watched and listened to podcasts numerous times. Thought it was about time to show my face. :rolleyes:

 

Right I plan on setting up a HP Microserver N40L in the next few days. I currently use a Netgear ReadyNAS, it works perfectly for my needs but felt I needed a little more...

 

So the plan is to use the spec out of the box to begin with. I plan on using the 250GB HDD which comes with the Microserver for the OS and place it in the DVD Drive area. Any additional cables needed for that?

 

Then I have not yet purchased the HDDs, I am undecided which to go for at the current moment. 2TBs or 3TBs. I think I will only purchase 2 Drives to begin with which will be plenty to start with.

 

I don't really have much knowledge of WHS 2011 as a mac user in main if I am honest.

 

Uses for the Microserver to begin with will just be backup (timeshare possibly) and then file storage to free up computer, media server also connecting music to all devices and lastly possibly films on the PS3 / Apple TV.

 

I've read about larger drives working, 16GB working, changing the bios and lots more but unsure if any will be relavent to myself.

 

All advice and information will be welcomed. Thank you in advance.

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Joe_Miner

Hi Craigblues and welcome to the Forums.

 

Here are a few things to consider (Please note these are only suggestions of things you “could” look at – my focus here is a minimal budget build that can also be used as a learning tool and is expandable in the future – I’m sure others will have different ideas that will be very good and worth thinking about.)

 

Get a copy of MicroSoft Windows Home Server 2011 Unleashed – it’s a great reference on what you can do – sure you should go through and read the threads in the forums and check out the blog posts and Podcasts but nothing can beat having this source handy when setting up your system. And of course study the posts and links in the MicroServer Forums.

 

So the plan is to use the spec out of the box to begin with. I plan on using the 250GB HDD which comes with the Microserver for the OS and place it in the DVD Drive area. Any additional cables needed for that?

 

There’s no problem staying with the factory BIOS and using the 250GB HDD in the ODD bay area for your OS drive. You can always upgrade later.

 

You will need:

 

Some way to mount the 3.5” drive in the 5.25” ODD space – such as this Adapter.

 

SATA cable to attach the 3.5” drive to the Motherboard. – 18” SATA cable

 

SATA Power cable adapter for the 3.5” drive that can attach to the Molex connector in the ODD

 

Check some of my pictures in the forums and on the blog posts for Pic’s of the above in the MicroServer

 

Then I have not yet purchased the HDDs, I am undecided which to go for at the current moment. 2TBs or 3TBs. I think I will only purchase 2 Drives to begin with which will be plenty to start with.

 

For a starter build of WHS-2011 I’d suggest two 2TB drives for your data either in a mirror created in disk management or in a Stablebit drivePool – 2 of the Western Digital WD Green WD20EARX 2TB 64MB Cache drives. I have 4 of these drives in my EX-487 and they have been running flawlessly for over a years. With the Price difference (about $40 /drive today) between the WD20EARX and the WD20EFRX drives you could pay for Stablebit DrivePool and a 1 year subscription to Crashplan with some left over towards Stablebit’s Scanner.

 

As your needs grow you can add more hard drives to DrivePool in the two remaining slots in the MediaSmart main drive cage AND by later flashing the MOD-BIOS you can enable the Port Multiplier on the eSATA port and add even more drives to an external box.

 

I don't really have much knowledge of WHS 2011 as a mac user in main if I am honest.

Uses for the Microserver to begin with will just be backup (timeshare possibly) and then file storage to free up computer, media server also connecting music to all devices and lastly possibly films on the PS3 / Apple TV.

 

That’s partly why I recommend the WHS-2011 UnLeashed book – you can ease into the more advanced stuff. The important thing is to get the basics first. You’ll want a 3-2-1 backup. You can Mirror your 2 2TB drives but I think using DrivePool gives you more flexibility to expand in the future and provides you “resiliency” for 1 of your copies of your data. Next you could add an external USB 2.0 2TB drive that will be your “Server Backup” – i.e your second copy of your data. For your 3rd copy of your data you could go with CrashPlan for your critical data which also gives you an off-site copy.

 

Remember – these are all only SUGGESTIONS – look at what you feel is best for you but IMHO a 3-2-1 plan is the Minimum. Too many backups is never enough if you have a major system failure/crash/disaster.

 

One thing I would recommend that you didn’t ask about is to go at least 4GB RAM on the MicroServer for WHS-2011-- but for future-proofing I would suggest going ahead with 8GB RAM.

 

Good luck -- I think you'll have fun!

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ikon

Welcome craigblues. Don't worry, we'll get you weaned off that Mac stuff soon enough :D <j/k>.

 

My only differences from what Joe_Miner recommends are to get 3TB drives, to build for the future, and to get WD Red drives instead of Green. The Reds are only about 10% more than the Greens and are built for NAS/Server use.

 

I wouldn't worry about 16GB of RAM unless you're planning on running VMs on the server; 8GB will be plenty for almost anything else you need.

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craigblues

Thank you both for your comments, especially Joe you really went the extra mile. I appreciate that.

 

I'm afriad ikon you won't ever wean me off Mac I love it! Just ordered myself a new 27" iMac 2012 with all the woofers and tweaters. ha!

 

Right well my N40L arrived this morning, I am yet to open it. I need to get the cashback form sent off to get my £100 back, such a bargain.

 

Well I best start searching for the HDDs, I think I will look for 3TBs as I'm a photographer and run an internet business so have alot of images and files saved.

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craigblues

Well I have priced up the HDDs reccomended.

 

2TB - WD Green WD20EARX - £65.99 ($106.32)

 

2TB - WD Caviar Red WD20EFRX - £84.90 ($136.79)

 

3TB - WD Green WD30EZRX - £94.04 ($151.51)

 

3TB - WD Caviar Red WD30EFRX - £114.99 ish ($185.33)

 

Well I think 3TBs are the way to go as think twice, buy once in my opinion is always best. So I suppose its the 3TB WD Caviar Reds as they also benefit from the 3yr warranty I believe instead of the standard WD 2yr.

 

(Currency £ = $ converted @ 16:30GMT 27th Dec 12)

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ikon

Personally, I would go for the 3TB Reds.

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Joe_Miner

WD’s 3TB Green and Red drives are both good. I have 2 WD30EZRX’s and 1 WD30EFRX and they have been trouble free. The prices you’re looking at seem high to me though – and you need to look at external back-up drive costs.

 

My logic behind suggesting starting out with 2 WD20EARX’s was to be able to utilize the server backup feature of WHS-2011 which works with 2TB drives but not 3TB drives. You’ll still want to set-up a viable 3-2-1 system from the start, IMHO – so with 2 2TB drives (either mirrored or with folder duplication) you need an external 2TB for the server to back-up to – with 2 3TB drives (either mirrored or with folder duplication you will be looking at a 3TB external drive and you will need a 3rd party back-up software package. Of course that’s doable with 3TB drives – just more things to mess with from day-one. It's your decision on how deep you want to get how fast.

 

With 2 external drives you could rotate one drive off-site for your 3-2-1 solution and forego backing up to the cloud – but with business critical data on your server you really should look at Crashplan, Carbonite, or something similar.

 

So, in essence you’re looking at not just 2 data drives at start-up but 2 data internal data drive and 1 or 2 external back-up drives.

 

I would also suggest that when you first set-up WHS-2011 on you MicroServer that you don’t activate your OS right away and just “play” with the features of WHS-2011 for a couple of weeks to get some ideas on how you really want to set things up and test things out (back up a client then restore it, back up the server OS and do a restore, try things out you wouldn’t try if you had critical data on the Server, this is the time to TRY to break things & kick the tires) – THEN do a fresh install of WHS-2011 and set it up the way that’s best for you.

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craigblues

Oh yes! I forgot that the machine is meant for 2TBs so its more complicated with the 3TB drives. The 3TB drives would be nicer I think though.

 

The prices I stated above are the cheapest in the UK. Some items are normally slightly higher here in price than yourselves unfortuately due to VAT.

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ikon

@Joe_Miner, I've found British prices tend to run higher than North American.

 

3 TB drives can be used for your Data Pool but, Joe is right, you cannot back them up using Windows Server Backup. That's just one reason I don't use Windows Server Backup, or any backup program, to back up my data.

 

I back up my server OS drive using Windows Server Backup to an external 250GB drive. My data is backed up using a Scheduled Task that runs RoboCopy commands to copy the data to external drive enclosures.

 

Here's a link to a post I made about my backup strategy and equipment: http://homeserversho...y/page__st__140 (it's the 18th post).

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craigblues

Here's a link to a post I made about my backup strategy and equipment: http://homeserversho...y/page__st__140 (it's the 18th post).

 

I took a look seems like a nice setup, taking HDDs out every morning and taking them offsite and bringing other HDDs back is quite extreme / dedicated...

 

So RoboCopy works best for yourself then, I think its going to be a trial and error thing for me a little.

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