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Finally leaving WHS V1 behind


TimothyWMurray
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I bought my EX485 in Feb 2009 it is still running on the original 750gb system disk, but the 3x2gb storage drives have all been replaced at least once.

 

This has been a good solution and the backup and remote access have saved me several times.

 

But I recently decided to install an FTP server so some IP cameras could dump files on it.  That is when I realized I had to find an old version of filezilla because the newer ones were not compatible.

 

I use filezilla everyday for work and the updates are pretty important for security so this finally triggered me to say the server needs replacing.

 

(Actually I plan to keep the server running as log as the xxx.homeserver.com keeps working if for no other purpose than to have this domain.)

 

I read a book about using windows 8.1 as a server over at We Got Served.  That would not meet my needs at all.

 

So I guess I am going with Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2.  I plan to build a custom box with all new parts, and probably use a rack mounted case with room for at least 6 drives.  ( I don't actually have any old parts to use.)

 

But where do I start?

 

I guess I get a mother board with on-board graphics and skip the graphics card to save some money?  

 

Can I do it with no optical drive? (again to save some money)

 

Is there any point in trying to migrate the backup database?

 

What do I do about the fact there there is no drive extender?

 

Has anyone posted the story of how they migrated from WHS V1 to Essentials? I've got to be one of the last people who still has WHS V1 in production.

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IF you really want to build yourself, I don't think you can go far wrong with something like this:

 

MSI B85M Eco microATX board,

Pentium G3420 CPU (all CPUs have built in graphics now, pretty much),

2x4GB DDR3-12800 RAM (whatever brand you prefer, I like Kingston ValueRAM)

Fractal Design Define Mini

Corsair CX450M or similar PSU

120GB SSD for boot drive (again Kingston has been good for me, as well as system pulled Intel drives off eBay)

Whatever storage drives you prefer, but I'd stick with WD Reds.

 

For OS, go for 2012R2 Essentials and the add Stablebit Drivepool.  Drivepool is really the successor to Drive Extender.

 

You'll get a very capable machine that'll sip power and be very quiet.

Edited by HellDiverUK
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I would recommend getting a case that can take full-height cards. I've been burned a few times by not being able to install some card I wanted, all because I bought a too-short chassis.

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My only comment is that you may want to try using Hyper-V in which case you may want more RAM. You could put 1X8GB in now which allows you to upgrade to 2X8GB later. (I know 1X8GB is not quite as fast as 2X4GB). Just a thought.  As for the case well the downside of a1U is the smaller fans are very noisy.

 

EDIT:

 Just noticed there is a recent thread about the RAM thing.

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/8529-how-much-does-dual-channel-memory-matter/#entry91464

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I am still on V1 as well. At this time it is still working great so I have no plans to move to something else. But who knows, I may get the bug some day.

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I guess I get a mother board with on-board graphics and skip the graphics card to save some money?

Most CPUs support this now. Intel Haswell chips do, and I would recommend this.

If you want a good CPU, get a Xeon E3-1246 v3. It has on-chip graphics, and it's very close to a core i7. Would be great for a server.

But even the Core i3 and pentiums (and AMD APU chips) all have gfx chipsets on chip, so the power savings is nice. As is not having to buy an additional piece of hardware

Can I do it with no optical drive? (again to save some money)

Absolutely. I install windows from a USB stick. Get teh "Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool" and use that. USB3 installs in less than a minute, to a SSD. (which is also worth using)

Is there any point in trying to migrate the backup database?

Yes and no. It's not compatible at all with the new version. :(

However, there is a good reason to keep it until you finish the migration.

Alex Piskarev (the Covecube/StableBit guy) wrote a utility for dumping the database to VHD files. This doesn't require the service, so you can make use of the files. But it has to be ALL of the files.

http://dl.covecube.com/WhsDbDataDump/BETA/WhsDbDataDump-1_0_0_6-BETA.zip

 

So it makes sense to keep the files until you have successful backups of all of your systems.

What do I do about the fact there there is no drive extender?

StableBit DrivePool (or drive bender). Yes, it's additional software, but for $20, it's a steal.

And it's worth grabbing StableBit Scanner, as well ($25 normally, but you can get both products for $35 total).

And yes, I do work for the company, so I'm biased here.

 

Has anyone posted the story of how they migrated from WHS V1 to Essentials? I've got to be one of the last people who still has WHS V1 in production.

We (Covecube/stablebit) do have a guild on how to migrate from WHSv1's Drive Extender to our product:

http://wiki.covecube.com/StableBit_DrivePool_Q5463715

The guide is for WHS2011, but it applies equally to any OS with the Essentials Experience installed.

And if you need/want help with the migration, contact us (https://stablebit.com/Contact) and we'll do what we can to help.

 

 

And no, you're definitely not the last. We still have a number of people that are using WHSv1 still. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Right.

 

 

My only comment is that you may want to try using Hyper-V in which case you may want more RAM. You could put 1X8GB in now which allows you to upgrade to 2X8GB later. (I know 1X8GB is not quite as fast as 2X4GB). Just a thought.  As for the case well the downside of a1U is the smaller fans are very noisy.

I would recommend 16GBs of RAM for Server 2012R2 Essentials. While you can get away with 8GBs... if you're planning on doing a good amount, 16GB will make a difference.

Also, note that the max it supports is 64GBs. And that it recommends at least 8GBs (you should always add more than Microsoft recommends as the minimum).

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I'm running Server 2012 Essentials on my Lenovo Thinkserver TS140.  It's got a Xeon E3-1230V3 CPU (with P4600 graphics which is seriously overkill), 16GB ECC RAM, it's booting off a 180GB Intel SSD Pro 1500 SSD, and a pair of 5TB WD Red running StableBit DrivePool.

 

It runs very well, and it's using around 30W idle with the Reds spinning.  It was cheap, too, and came with a free copy of Server 2012R2 Essentials.

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Can I do it with no optical drive? (again to save some money)

Absolutely. I install windows from a USB stick. Get teh "Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool" and use that. USB3 installs in less than a minute, to a SSD. (which is also worth using)

 

You could also use one of these: http://www.zalman.com/global/product/Product_Read.php?Idx=674. Drashna and I both have one and I find them fantastic for storing drivers, utilities, and ISOs of installation disks.

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You could also use one of these: http://www.zalman.com/global/product/Product_Read.php?Idx=674. Drashna and I both have one and I find them fantastic for storing drivers, utilities, and ISOs of installation disks.

 

That's pretty cool.  I spend half my life making new boot USBs (takes ages).  One of these would mean not having to bother, just dump all my ISOs on the drive, job jobbed. :)

 

I use Rufus for making boot USBs, it works with everytihng from Linux to DOS to Windows for noth BIOS and UEFI machines.  Far better than MS' USB making program.

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