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2 Home Servers vs Adding another External enclosure?


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Not sure if this is the correct forum to post this in - please move if there's a better home.

 

I currently have an HP N40L with WHS 2011, BIOS hacked to allow port multiplier capability with a 4 Bay external drive enclosure connected to the native eSATA port - with 8 x 2TB drives.  I'm using DrivePool also and half data duplication turned on for most of my data.

 

I need more storage space so I'm looking at 2 options:

 

1) add another external (4 drive) enclosure to the N40L - using an add-in port multiplier card in one of the available slots

 

2) Adding an ACER REVO RC111 to my home network with WHS 2011 and 4 drives installed.  This additional server would have it's own name of course and would be for additional data storage (likely keep all the computer backups on Server #1).  I would just move some shares over to the new server and re-map the client PC's accordingly. The Connector software would only use Server #1

 

I realize that option #2 is a bit of overkill - but I just happen to have the extra server picked up recently on ebay for dirt cheap.  Either way I'm adding the same amount of storage.

 

My  real question I guess is whether it's better to have 2 servers covering all the data sharing vs all going through one - will this help alleviate overloading one server with requests to share media?  Ever since switching to WHS 2011 (from v1) and using DrivePool - I've experienced situations where a video will suddenly pause for several seconds than resume.  Not sure what the root cause is - I'm guessing it may be a DrivePool performance issue - but don't know how to troubleshoot that...but was thinking 2 servers may be better than one in serving up media (no streaming, just file sharing.

 

Appreciate the feedback on the options and if anyone has any feedback on my sporadic pausing - that would be great also.

 

 

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I would install the OS on a 2.5" hard drive or SSD and start replacing the 2TB drives with 3 or 4TB drives.

 

There is supposed to be an option in DrivePool that allows you to set a share for streaming to improve performance.

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I did a quick search and didn't locate anything on DFS with WHS 2011. Somebody on this board would know I presume?

 

I will likely go with the SSD and larger drives option at some point - when I have time to rebuild the server. I may use the ACER as the interim server in the meantime - but need to see if the eSATA port on the Acer has the port multiplier capability /. Or if the BIOS can be modified like the N40L. If anybody has experience with the Acer RC-111 - please feel free to chime in. It's a decent box for a home server from what I've seen.

 

I'm bit actually streaming my video - just using the server as a vanilla file server - XBMC does all the work in the client end. Seem when I copy to/from the DrivePool though - speeds can be abysmally slow (3.5-6.0 MB/s) when I should be getting at least 35 or so. I used to get 65-70 on the old WHS. Need more time to research and play with it - too busy with my job though.

 

Anybody know if any Utils to check for bottlenecks and slowdowns on a home network?

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Drashna Jaelre

Well for DrivePool, are the files duplicated? If so, are you using Read Striping?

 

Also, *how* are you streaming the videos? SMB (aka Windows File Sharing)? DLNA? Etc?

 

Additionally, as for network bottlenecks:

http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/8335-before-you-post-media-stuttering-playback-issues-performance-irregularities/

This thread was original written for WHSv1, but most of the information still applies to .... well, any version of Windows.

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Your throughput issue could be as simple as a bad cable. Is the server coonected directly to the router or a dedicated switch?

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Well for DrivePool, are the files duplicated? If so, are you using Read Striping?

 

Also, *how* are you streaming the videos? SMB (aka Windows File Sharing)? DLNA? Etc?

 

Additionally, as for network bottlenecks:

http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/8335-before-you-post-media-stuttering-playback-issues-performance-irregularities/

This thread was original written for WHSv1, but most of the information still applies to .... well, any version of Windows.

 

I looked at the DrivePool website re: Read Striping - I don't have a "PERFORMANCE" option on the Settings tab?  I have version 1.2.4.7226 - so not sure if the DrivePool webpage is out of date or my version is?  I'd have to do some reading - any ideas which is the case?

 

Yes - file sharing via SMB - Server IP address added to XBMC - do I have another option with WHS?

 

I'll check out the link re: bottlenecks - thanks

Edited by Puulima
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Your throughput issue could be as simple as a bad cable. Is the server coonected directly to the router or a dedicated switch?

 

Server connects direct to the router (WD N750) which connects direct to a 16 port switch - all other connections are to the same switch also.  Would it be better to have ALL connections in the switch itself - with only the internet connection running back to the router?  I can try swapping out cables...but I have every port used - so how does one test a cable?

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Drashna Jaelre

You're version of DrivePool is definitely out of date. The current is 1.3.5.7572.  You should have gotten a notification about it, actually. And I believe the performance stuff was added in the 1.3 version.

 

As for the shared folder, the above tweaks should definitely help with performance. And you ... could use DLNA with XBMC I think. Or NFS for sure.... but SMB should work fine.

 

 

And jmwillis is right about that.  As for the layout, personally, I prefer to connect everything to one device if I can. The more switches you add, the higher the chances of issues.

As for testing the speed: http://www.ehow.com/how_8147135_test-speed-between-two-computers.html (basically, what you're doing already, that or spend $$$$ on a testing device)

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You're version of DrivePool is definitely out of date. The current is 1.3.5.7572.  You should have gotten a notification about it, actually. And I believe the performance stuff was added in the 1.3 version.

 

As for the shared folder, the above tweaks should definitely help with performance. And you ... could use DLNA with XBMC I think. Or NFS for sure.... but SMB should work fine.

 

I found this blog posting describing how to (manually) setup NFS with DrivePool...it's for 1.3.3 but assuming still valid for 1.3.5

 

http://blog.covecube.com/2013/07/stablebit-drivepool-1-3-3-release-final/

 

I'm going to try it out for XBMC. But question: if I setup my WHS 2011 with NFS shares - how does that affect accessing the WHS shares say from another PC using Windows Explorer - to copy files to/from the server? Is that still accessing the shares using the "norm" windows SMB protocol? Or am I missing something?

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