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Is WS2012Er2 the next WHS?


Pete
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Good day all. Big fan of the podcast, YouTube channel and forums.

 

Question: is Window Server 2012 Essentials R2 the next step in WHS evolution?

 

I have a HP Mediasmart server 485 that I bought back in 2009 and it is working fine (3x 1.5TB data drives), 1 data drive died, replaced it, no problems. System drive crashed some time ago, replaced it, reloaded with the version 3 update and ever since I've not had any problems in past 2 years.

 

I bought WHS2011 from newegg a wile back when it was on sale ($30 bucks I think), but haven't installed it on bare metal HW yet. I have a MS Technet subscription and have downloaded a ton of software, as I'm sure a lot of you all have. My main computer has Asus P8P67 WS with 2600K CPU, 16 GB RAM, 1.5TB data drive, and 500GB system HDD. I used to have 2x 64GB SSD in raid0 for system and that rocked for boot up times, but it crashed so I went with old fashioned mechanical boot HDD.

 

Anyways. My computer is set for dual boot, Win7 Ultimate and Windows Server 2008r2 Enterprise. On my server I loaded Hyper-V and played with VMs. I've created some Win7 enterprise clients, WHS2011, and WS2012Er2. I really haven't dabbled with Essentials all that much so that's why I'm here in the forums.

 

My HP485 is working fine, but I want to upgrade to current times, ya know? So I'm looking at hardware and and choosing which OS to use. I've looked at the discussion on the HP N54L with WHS2011, and your current discussions on 2012 Essentials R2.

 

I have 3 desktops and 4 laptops. Even though the HP485 has shared folders and such, I'm the only one who uses it. That means that all other computers have music, pictures and what not on them, and even though they are all backed up and easily recovered, I want to centrally locate all our data.

 

My thought is to build a dedicated SERVER with Hyper-V and 2 VMs: Windows Server (2008 or 2012) with AD, and WHS2011 or Essentials, with the WHS having access to physical HDD for shared folders and backups. My reason for having Active Directory services is that no matter what computer we log into we have access to our files. In user policies I was going to re-map the 'My Documents' folder to the server's user folders. That way if someone downloads pics or whatever and save them in their My Documents folder, they are really saved on the server.

 

I'm thinking of going with Sandy Bridge CPU, 32GB RAM to cover host OS and 2 VMs, 2x 128GB SSD HDD (mirrored) for the OS and VMs, 64GB SSD for page files, and 3 or 4 x 2TB data drives in raid with raid card. Do you think this will work?

 

Should I go with WHS2011 or Essentials for my shared folders and backups?

 

Thanks all for your comments.

 

Peter

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I tried the "all on 1 server" route a while back. It was fine until the first time I had to take the server down for more than a day for some reason and realized I had no access to my documents. That was a big enough lesson for me. I now keep my data on my local hard drive and use RoboCopy to keep a copy of all local data on the server. This way I can access my data from either source. And if things really go sideways, I can access the data from my nearline and offsite backups.

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If you are set on the active directory route, I recommend 2012R2 with essentials as service. If you choose the "standard" 2012R2E it will have to be the FSMO role AD server.

 

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 4

 

 

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I'd recommend WHS 2011. You seem like an advanced user so if you want active directory like timekiils said go with his recommendation. I prefer consumer software rather than business grade. I have WHS 2011 running as a VM on Windows 8 Pro. It works great and I'm very pleased with the performance. It enabled me to move my old bare metal WHS 2011 to my parents house. Their WHS V1 became unreliable.

Edited by Technogod
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Since you have less that 10 PC's I would stick with WHS2011.

 

When 2012 Essentials came to the masses, it looked like Microsoft wanted to reduce the number of available OS's. WHS2011, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials & Storage Server 2008R2 Essentials all became Server 2012 Essentials.

 

However, now that Server 2012 Essentials RTM  and the Server 2012 with the Essentials Role are available. There is a lot of issues with licencing the version with the Role and they have also pulled the limited Media stuff from the build. That and the closure of TechNet does not make it a viable replacement for WHS2011 and the home user.

 

I redirect my Users files to my WHSv1 and set duplication on. This has always worked for me. You can also turn on Sync Center if you want a local copy.

 

You can also go with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials if you want the domain stuff. You get 25 PC's but loose the Media stuff.

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I tried the "all on 1 server" route a while back. It was fine until the first time I had to take the server down for more than a day for some reason and realized I had no access to my documents. That was a big enough lesson for me. I now keep my data on my local hard drive and use RoboCopy to keep a copy of all local data on the server. This way I can access my data from either source. And if things really go sideways, I can access the data from my nearline and offsite backups.

Which is why I like Server 2012 Essentials, and the "Folder Redirection" option. It caches the user folders, so if the server is off, you still have access to them. It will sync the changes back to the server when it's back up.

 

Since you have less that 10 PC's I would stick with WHS2011.

 

When 2012 Essentials came to the masses, it looked like Microsoft wanted to reduce the number of available OS's. WHS2011, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials & Storage Server 2008R2 Essentials all became Server 2012 Essentials.

 

However, now that Server 2012 Essentials RTM  and the Server 2012 with the Essentials Role are available. There is a lot of issues with licencing the version with the Role and they have also pulled the limited Media stuff from the build. That and the closure of TechNet does not make it a viable replacement for WHS2011 and the home user.

 

I redirect my Users files to my WHSv1 and set duplication on. This has always worked for me. You can also turn on Sync Center if you want a local copy.

 

You can also go with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials if you want the domain stuff. You get 25 PC's but loose the Media stuff.

 

Jon sums this up pretty well.

 

One other thing to note here.... licensing. For personal/private use, you can get away with doing whatever you want. But it's not a good practice.

For example, Technet is NOT for use in production. It's meant for guys like me who need it for testing out issue, or for preparing for deployment for software/configurations on a production network.  Using it "in production" on your network is technically a violation of the TOS. 

 

Also, Essentails doesn't use CALs, but if you use Standard, or Datacenter SKUs of 2012 or 2012R2, you are supposed to have them. And HyperV on 2012R2 Essentials? Only usable for a "full" 2012R2 Essentials VM and nothing else.

 

Just things you should definitely keep in mind.

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Which is why I like Server 2012 Essentials, and the "Folder Redirection" option. It caches the user folders, so if the server is off, you still have access to them. It will sync the changes back to the server when it's back up.

 

Wait a sec; I thought Offline Files/Client Side Caching has been in Windows since XP? Are you talking about something different?

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Yes, it has been. And that's what the "Folder Redirection" feature uses (automatically).

Specifically, it allows you to set the user folders to be on the network, and the sets it up to be synced via Offline Files.

It just sets that stuff up for you automatically. And for every machine you log into with your domain account.

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