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Ideas for setting up new server at home for work and play


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Need help setting up my new Lenovo TS140 server.  A little background.  I work for myself and provide computer and tech services to very small businesses and residential customers.  I’ve been using the HP Microserver N40L running Windows Home Server 2011 for the last couple of years.  


Here’s how I currently use it:

  • backup customer hard drives to it via direct connect with USB to SATA (or IDE) adapter.  Run a robocopy script to copy entire hard drives

  • backup customers hard drives with Macrium Reflect server edition.  Same bare metal connection with USB to SATA (or IDE) adapter.

  • restore data files from server to re-imaged customer PCs, this is done across network


Those first three items represent about 80% of what I do with the server.  When I backup and reformat and reinstall a customer computer I’ll keep their entire backups for 30 or more days in case I get a frantic call back because something wasn’t on their repaired PC.  It gets pretty full.


Other uses include:

  • very light file sharing locally

  • run WD tools to test a drive or two

  • run Recover Keys to dig out product keys from customer backups for reinstall.

  • ran a Minecraft server for a while when my son was into that.

  • experimented with a ScreenConnect server

  • and client computer backup for one or two of my Windows PCs.


Just recently I installed Plex on it.  I think I like that and may continue to build on that and use it more.


So I could just install the same setup on my new hardware but I’d like to do more.  I’d like to be able to run multiple OSs so I can have a little lab for learning and experimentation.  I’d like to have the following OSs running or available:

  • Windows Home Server 2011

  • Windows Server 2011 Essentials

  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2


Maybe there could be another one or two if resources permit.  Maybe some desktop OSs too.  I realize I may not have all of them active at once since the “bigger” OSs want to be domain controllers.


Software-wise it looks like I’d use the free VMware server product and put in as much RAM as I can reasonably justify, even max it out if appropriate.  The biggest question is storage.  How much and how to configure it.


WHS 2011 only deals with 2TB drives for the most part.  That will be my go to OS for day to day stuff as described.  I can keep 2TB pretty full with customer computer backups and drive image storage.  I’d like for those volumes to be on redundant storage if possible like a RAID 1 or RAID 5.  


So I guess my biggest question is what drives to buy and how to configure them.  I think I’ll stop writing here and see if anyone has any ideas or questions before I bore you to death :D

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With the UEFI patch, WHS2011 can see GPT drives, ie, larger than 2TB. If if were me, I'd gdt another box and keep it all separated.


If not look at the RocketRaid 2720 controller for a RAID5 setup for data, with WD Red drives. You could then put an SSD drive in the OD slot for the base OS and possibly another to hold VMs if you wznt to bo down that patb. Either way max out the RAM.

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It's probably a typo but, in case it isn't, I don't think there is a Windows Server 2011 Essentials. I suspect you mean Windows Server 2012 Essentials.


I agree with jmwills about the UEFI patch - I would install it. With it, you should be able to install 4, 5, and even 6 TB drives, which should go a long way to alleviating your disk space issues.

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That looks like the one. Remember, it's only for WHS2011, not WSE2012 or WSE2012r2. The last 2 don't have any 2TB limit.


Are you sure?  Here's the title of the KB: A hotfix is available to add backup support for UEFI-based computers to back up to servers that are running Windows Home Server 2011


Symptoms:Windows Home Server 2011 does not support client backup on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)-based computers that contain a GUID partition table (GPT)-formatted disk.

This hotfix package adds backup support for UEFI-based computers that contain a GPT-formatted disk.
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OK.  I install that software on the server not the client (although it upgrades the Connector on the clients).  The server is accessing the GPT disks on the clients.  Which also means it can access it's own GPT disks.  Correct?

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