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Hawk521

N54L convert RAID 1 to Drivepool (four 2TB WD Red drives)

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Hawk521

Hi Hawk521!  Welcome to the board.

 

A couple of questions first:

  • Are your RAID1's set up via the hardware in the N54L System Board and not via Disk Manager in WHS-2011
  • Your system has two Raid1 arrarys (2TB each) the 1st is partitioned into a C & D and the 2nd is E
  • How much Data do you have in all your shares that you want to preserver -- how is your data distributed across your C D E drives
  • what kind of backup system do you have -- i.e. 3-2-1
  • do you have the 250GB drive that came with the N54L
  • How much RAM do you have in your N54L
  • any other PCIe cards, SW, external HD's installed or attached
  • Do you have a DVD drive installed

If you don't have a backup system in place -- before you do anything else backup or copy your data twice -- take your time and do it right

  1.  My RAID1's are setup via the hardware in the N54L.

  2.  Drive configuration you stated is correct.

  3.  Currently:   C: ~25GB,  D: ~450GB, E: ~500GB of data on each.

  4.  Just setting up backups.  Notebook backs up to D: on the server.  The N54L WHS 2011 backs itself (C: and D:) up to E:   I plan to eventually setup a cloud backup solution to run in the background  but haven't got that far yet.  Seems some of the more affordable cloud solutions won't work with WHS (they appear to require a workstation OS).

  5. 250GB drive was given away to a friend after I bought four 2TB drives.  I could probably get it back, but the SSD option is calling to me!  lol

  6.  I have 8GB RAM installed and it seems fine.

  7. No PCIe cards installed yet.  No special software although I plan to use Stablebit Drivepool. 

  8. Yes, I have a DVD drive currently installed.

 

At one time I considered installing ESXi - but I really can't think of any reason I would need multiple VMs at home.  Mostly this WHS will be master of backups and perhaps some media streaming.

 

  UPDATE:  I just ordered a nice Corsair Neutron 120GB SSD along with a PCIe SATA III card and necessary cables.   Plan to install the entire SSD as C: (OS) and then use Drivepool on all four 2TB drives.   Within the Drivepool I will initially duplicate all folders - at least until I get a good feel for my options.

 

I really appreciate the feedback.  As my op said, I'm at the experimenting and learning stage of WHS 2011.

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Joe_Miner

  1.  My RAID1's are setup via the hardware in the N54L.

  2.  Drive configuration you stated is correct.

  3.  Currently:   C: ~25GB,  D: ~450GB, E: ~500GB of data on each.

  4.  Just setting up backups.  Notebook backs up to D: on the server.  The N54L WHS 2011 backs itself (C: and D:) up to E:   I plan to eventually setup a cloud backup solution to run in the background  but haven't got that far yet.  Seems some of the more affordable cloud solutions won't work with WHS (they appear to require a workstation OS).

  5. 250GB drive was given away to a friend after I bought four 2TB drives.  I could probably get it back, but the SSD option is calling to me!  lol

  6.  I have 8GB RAM installed and it seems fine.

  7. No PCIe cards installed yet.  No special software although I plan to use Stablebit Drivepool. 

  8. Yes, I have a DVD drive currently installed.

 

At one time I considered installing ESXi - but I really can't think of any reason I would need multiple VMs at home.  Mostly this WHS will be master of backups and perhaps some media streaming.

 

  UPDATE:  I just ordered a nice Corsair Neutron 120GB SSD along with a PCIe SATA III card and necessary cables.   Plan to install the entire SSD as C: (OS) and then use Drivepool on all four 2TB drives.   Within the Drivepool I will initially duplicate all folders - at least until I get a good feel for my options.

 

I really appreciate the feedback.  As my op said, I'm at the experimenting and learning stage of WHS 2011.

 

In many ways your configuration parallel’s one of the suggested setup’s in the book “MicroSoft Windows Home Server 2011” where you use a 2 TB drive partitioned into your C & D drives and then mirror that to a second 2TB drive but using the Software mirror in the Disk Manager in WHS2011.  (using the Disk Manager SW Mirror makes your system agnostic to the HW on the MB)  The other two 2tb drives you’d attach externally via an external “toaster” or USB 2.0 external box using WHS2011 Server Backup – keeping one of the 2TB drives off site at all times.

 

In your current setup your backup mirror (E) is subject to a single contingency failure that would also take out your primary system – i.e. a System Board failure => so you want to protect yourself from that at all costs.   Before you do anything else you really need to backup your D drive that has your data.

 

Always assume Murphy’s Law – if anything can go wrong it will – I haven’t worked with the MicroServer HW Raid’s so I have no firsthand knowledge what will happen when you break those MIRRORS or RAID1’s you have but I would make sure I had at least two copies of my critical Data before doing anything (in this case your Drive E doesn't count as a backup).

 

So - I'm planning to re-work the installation to be four individual (no RAID)  2TB drives controlled via Stablebit Drivepool.   WHS 2011 will reside on a 60GB partition of the first 2TB drive, leaving a tad less than 2TB of free space.   Unsure whether I should include the balance of this first drive as part of the Drivepool.  Might experiment with it some.  Initially I might leave it out of the Drivepool.

 

This would work well as long as you realize that you cannot back up to the DrivePool – that’s where your external USB drives will come in -- backup to those.  Back up to your externals and keep one rotated offsite.  If you have time – play with different configs over the next few weeks to see how they work for you.

 

It doesn’t look like you have that much data you really need to restore, if you have too, on drive D which is a good thing.

 

Before you flash your BIOS go ahead and try the above configuration and/or the model configuration from the book above. 

 

Check other configurations that people have and check the material in Hardware Links and More Useful Links as well as Comments in First Timer MicroServer With WHS Build

 

(BTW, the Original 250GB drive might come in handy in the future (if you have access to it) as a spare drive you could restore your OS to if your original OS drive should fail)

 

Good luck and let us know what you've tried and how it's working out!

Edited by Joe_Miner

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Hawk521

Just a quick follow-up on how my efforts went.

 

Undoing a RAID 1 is not hard.  I just removed the 2nd drive from each RAID 1 pair and rebooted.  Of course the RAID controller went "CRITICAL" but all the data was intact.  I wanted to switch the drives over to AHCI in order to eliminate the RAID level of logic.  This seemed to be necessary if I wanted to use the S.M.A.R.T. capabilities of the individual drives.  I had to make a couple of changes to the registry to force the AHCI drivers to be invoked upon boot.   Once done this allowed me to boot with just the two drives and no RAID logic involved anymore.  Alternatively I could have formatted these drives and  installed WHS from scratch with these drives to enable AHCI automatically.

 

Next I added an SSD drive along with a Rocket 620 PCIe SATA card to become the C: boot drive.  Got that working - but learned that you apparently cannot install WHS 2011 directly to a drive of less than 160GB.  My SSD was a Corsair Neutron 120GB.  At any rate, I swapped this SSD with a Corsair Force GT from my notebook that is 180GB and solved that problem.   Acronis backup/restore is my best friend!  :)

 

I formatted the remaining pair of 2TB drives to become the initial DrivePool.  Eventually I added a third 2TB drive to the pool.   The remaining 2TB drive remains under the jurisdiction of the server backup process.  Drivepool says I should not try to include it in the drivepool.   At the rate this 2TB server backup drive is being consumed, it should last for at least 100 years of two backups per day!  LOL

 

Anyway, as of now there are 6TB of space in my drivepool (drive P:), 60GB of SSD as my drive C:, and about 120GB of space on drive D:   I'm making a point not to write directly to E:, F:, or G: as they are members of the drivepool.  But it IS nice to have the option on the drivepool to designate whether I want any particular folder "duplicated" or not.

 

Latest update was to add one of the HP Remote Access Cards to the N54L.  Works spendidly - and I can access the card remotely for administration.  For unknown reasons I cannot successfully run the vKVM feature except when I'm logged in to the RA card locally at home.  I suspect this may be due to our SonicWall firewall at work blocking traffic on port 2068.  That's a project for another time.

 

Now that I've got all this space and a nice little server tucked away at home I suppose I need to figure out just what the heck I will be doing with it other than backing it and my notebook up way too often!  If it is true that one can have too many backups, then I am that one.   I've placed all my pictures and mp3 files in duplicated drivepool folders.  It feels like I've got a garage amount of 'stuff' in a huge airplane hanger!   I need more 'stuff' to start utilizing this massive storage!

 

What are most folks doing with your WH Servers?

 

Hawk

Edited by Hawk521

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ikon

Hey man, thanks for posting back. It's good to hear success stories, especially ones that come about in part because of advice found in the HSS Forums.

 

Regarding your RAID-1 arrays, I suspect you could have broken the mirrors in the RAID controller GUI, but your way of removing the drives will certainly work.

 

Regarding vKVM, have you checked the WAN router at home, to be sure it's forwarding port 2068? Most routers allow any port if its outgoing; it's normally incoming that's blocked. I'm not saying the SonicWall isn't blocking port 2068 outbound, but it would be somewhat unusual. That said, many businesses do lock down as many outgoing ports as possible, so that may be what's going on.

 

I think the most common uses for WHS are backup, and music and video sharing. Some people have their WHS configured to stream music & video over the internet. Others, like me, don't. A few, like me, have an email server on their WHS. There are certainly other uses, but I think those are the most common.

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KydDynoMyte

...

Next I added an SSD drive along with a Rocket 620 PCIe SATA card to become the C: boot drive.  Got that working - but learned that you apparently cannot install WHS 2011 directly to a drive of less than 160GB.  My SSD was a Corsair Neutron 120GB.  At any rate, I swapped this SSD with a Corsair Force GT from my notebook that is 180GB and solved that problem.   Acronis backup/restore is my best friend!  :)

...

 

When I get around to putting a smaller than 160GB SSD in mine Joe_Miner is going to be my best friend:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4259-installing-whs2011-on-a-small-ssd-in-a-microserver/

 

Great job. I love my N54L. I hope I never need to add a PCIe SATA III card. I have enough trouble with the cables in there now. I partitioned up a couple of 3TB drives to put off needing more drives in there.

 

I have one in a production environment with 9 users *cross-fingers*. So far so good moving everyone off SBS 2003 Domain.

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jmwills

You left SBS for WHS?  I'm just curious as to why you did go up to SBS 2008 or WS2012E

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KydDynoMyte

You left SBS for WHS?  I'm just curious as to why you did go up to SBS 2008 or WS2012E

 

Mainly cost and ease of use. We weren't using any of the extra features in SBS that WHS11 can't do, now we get nice client backups and if I get hit by a truck tomorrow someone else here could actually admin the server without breaking it. The old server hardware was struggling with sbs2003. The N54L and WHS11 runs a lot smoother. As long as they don't hire more than one more person around here (that they want client backups of) we'll be good. Now just have to transition from in house Exchange to an offsite service and I won't have to wear the IT hat as often as I do now. I wear too many hats here. We probably could of just replaced the server with a NAS (as some professional consultants suggested) and got by but we do have one piece of multiuser software that makes sense to run on a dedicated windows server. I hope DrivePool duplication handles the multiuser database files without any trouble. I also hope I don't later regret using 3TB Red Drives instead of 2TB. But so far partioning them from 3TB into 1TB & 2TB seem to be fine. I made a SharedData Pool with the 1TB Partitions and a ClientBackup Pool with the 2TB partitions. So far I couldn't be happier with the results.

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Drashna Jaelre

Why not SBS2011E? (Same code base and features as WHS2011, but with domain stuff)

Edited by Drashna (WGS)

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jmwills

^^ What he said.

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