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Upgrading EX-485 with Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2


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Here's my situation: 


I have a Media Smart Server EX-485, 2GB RAM, running WHS V1,  two 1.5 TB drives, one 2TB drive and a 300gb drive (also system drive).This machine is currently just hosting/serving data, no major applications are installed. Duplication is turned on, this is one feature that I really like. 

I do have two external hard drives with full server backups. I like duplication. 

My plan is to install Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2, which I already have a copy. 

I did buy a VGA cable I found on this post: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8066 

I think I'm pretty good to go, but I do have a few questions as I want to minimize the number of "surprises" during this upgrade. 

My ideal scenario is to have, in some aspects, a machine with some similar features of WHS V1, such as storage pool, folder duplication and daily client backups. But I also would like to have a machine that I can run SQL Server and SharePoint Foundation 2010 for development and testing. I had SQL Server running on this machine before, but I always ran into space issues in the system 20GB partition, and I just couldn’t get around these issues and ended up uninstalling SQL Server. 


In no particular order, here are the goals and related questions: 

  1. Storage pool, it would be nice to have something similar to drive extender, where if a drive fails, I can just put a new one in and continue on. 
    a. Is it possible without creating an array? 
    b. Does Storage Space do what I'm trying to accomplish? 

  1. Folder duplication 
    a. How to accomplish this in 2012 Essentials? Is it even possible? 

  1. Active Directory. I don't plan on running a domain controller or active directory at home, since my work laptop is already part of a domain. 
    a. Is it possible to just ignore this whole thing? 

  1. DHCP, I don't want the server to handle it. 
    a. Can it be just disabled on the server? I just think that for a home environment the router should handle it. 

  1. Media Smart Server EX-485 
    a. Can it run Essentials R2 without any issues?  
    b. Will the drive bays cause any issues with the OS? 


I'm planning on doing this in the next few days, if anything here doesn't make sense, please let me know and I'll try to clarify. 

Thank you for all of your help in advance. 




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Well, first, upgrade the RAM. The max that system can support is 4GB... and it will need it to run Server 2012R2 Essentials. 


  1. Storage Spaces will definitely accomplish that. But I'd recommend StableBit DrivePool or Drive Bender instead. Basically a "JBOD" everything is stored on normal NTFS volumes. Easy to restore or even move to another system.
  2. Depends on the storage solution you pick. Storage Spaces can do this with a mirrored array. The other two have a "Duplication" option for the folders. 
  3. http://www.tinkertry.com/how-to-make-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials-client-connector-install-behave-just-like-windows-home-server/
    However, you may have issues with the work laptop.... :(
  4. Umm, it's not installed on the server unless you do so manually.
    However, speaking of DHCP..... set your server up with a static IP address, and add that IP address to the primary DNS server entry on your router's DHCP Server.
  5. It will be a tight fit, resource wise. You may be much better off getting a Gen8 Microserver, actually.
    As for the drive bays.... one will be used by the OS disk. Aside from that, no, no issues at all.
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Very nice punch list Drashna!  I would add Stablebit Scanner paired with DrivePool in #1.  Scanner has saved my bacon many times now by alerting me to pending failures of ST3000DM001's (6 failures so far! but that's another story -- 1 drive Seagate replaced but Seagate refused to replace the other 5 because it claims they are out of warranty even though they are only ~1.5 yrs old #@(#*$&^!@ ) in WHS2011 giving me time to switch out the drives before I lost anything.

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Oh god, I totally skimmed over the SQL bit.... Yeah, if you're running any sort of database server..... the MINIMUM RAM you want to have is 4GBs. And that is if it's a small database. 

However, if SharePoint is going on there too, and will be used a lot.... it sounds like a HP Microserver Gen8 may be in your future.



And yes, StableBit Scannner as well. Definitely.

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys, this is really good stuff!


I guess I’m going back to the drawing board and I will be upgrading the RAM to 4GB to begin with.


Drashna, so your suggestion is to pretty much leave Storage Spaces completely out of the picture and just use StableBit DrivePool? I’ve been reading about Storage Spaces and it looks pretty good to me, but everyone here seems to favor StableBit DrivePool.


I’m not quite ready to purchase another server, I want to see how much more I can get out of this one, but the G8 MicroServer is a pretty nice machine.


As I mentioned before, I used to have SQL Server on this machine, and it ran reasonably okay, aside from running into problems with space on the system 20BG partition.  I even had a webservice exposing data from SQL Server.


I can see that SharePoint Foundation might be too much, but it won't be used a lot, just for learning purposes.


Talking about SharePoint, does anyone have experience with it? I’m just getting to play with it for work and finding out how powerful it is. That’s why I want to have it at home so I can learn more and do some real stuff for work.



Thanks for now guys!

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SharePoint here.


You will not run SharePoint, SQL, and the base OS with only 4 gigs.  Which version of SP were you looking at?  2010 or 2013?

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I did enjoy running SharePoint 2007 the 32 bit version on my MediaSmart Server with WHSv1. That was fun. Now the newer versions of SharePoint are 64 bit.


I believe that you can't install SharePoint on a AD server.


Anyway, jmwills is the EXPERT on SharePoint.

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Jmwills, the plan is SharePoint 2010.


Diehard, by AD you mean Active Directory? If so, my server at work is running Active Directory and SharePoint 2010.

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