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Windows Server, which one to install and data protection question


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Having a Microserver Gen8 is one thing, but it needs some server software to use it. Windows Server 2011, 2012, 2012 R2 or maybe Windows Home Server V1?


Do all these offer data protection and the ability to rebuild failed disks? How does it work? Is one disk lost for parity or redundancy?


Is it easy to setup and manage?


What are current costs of these packages?



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WHSv1 is out of support, but is still getting updates to the underlying OS (Server 2003), but only until July. After then .... I wouldn't recommend it. 

That is if you can even find a copy.


WHS2011 is going to be out of support in April of next year (2016), but the underlying OS will continue to receive securty updates until 2020.

IF you can find it. Newegg had it yesterday, but it's out of stock now. And when it is in stock, it's $99

Amazon may have it, but for over-inflated prices.

Ebay will have it, but it's a gamble if it's legit.


Windows Server Essentials is a good choice, but go for 2012R2 (newer, more features, longer support). But it's more expensive. Like 4x as expensive (~$400). But there is a 180 day eval for it...



If you like domains, it's a great option. If you don't ... you can eschew that and use it pretty much just like you would with WHS2011




As for data protection, WHSv1 has Drive Extender. Server Essentials has .... Storage Spaces, but I'd really recommend against it (due to various issues such as performance, poor disaster recovery, etc).

There is StableBit DrivePool and Driver Bender, which are "Drive Extender Replacements", and do a better job, IMO.

They are both ... file based JBOD's, with option 1:1 mirror (no parity). With "duplication" enabled, the duplicated files are protected from a drive failure.  

StableBit DrivePool is $19.95 (plus an additional $15, for a total of $34.95 if you get StableBit Scanner as well), and Drive Bender is on perpetual sale of $24.95 ("$29.95 normally). Both products come with a fully featured trial period, so you can see if you like them.

And both are relatively easy to setup.


Caveat: as my signature implies, I work for Covecube, the company that produces StableBit DrivePool, so I do have a bias (but I did, long before I started working for the company as well).

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Although from what I've read drive pool doesn't have any features for data integrity.


I'm testing FreeNAS at the moment, I plan to use two mirrors for long term storage.


I'm not *too* worried about bit rot, however I have been testing my data recently and have had a couple of failures. I have 1TB or so of flac files, which are long term archival for physicals CDs (ripped carefully, and checked against online sources where possible).



As flac contains a checksum for the data, I am able to test the files to see if any have changed. They have! One failed verification on both primary and backup locations, and another failed in the backup location.



You can use ReFS with a mirror in storage spaces, and turn on file integrity to do the same as ZFS, however the speed will be a lot lower than ZFS, along with unhelpful things like being unable to use integrity with vhdx and vhd files, so no integrity for VMs!

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If you're talking about StableBit DrivePool, it certainly has data integrity features, depending on what you mean. It can mirror folders on different drives. Not sure if that's what you mean.


Also, if you combine StableBit Scanner with DrivePool, Scanner will scan the drives sector by sector, testing to see if the data is OK. I believe Alex is supposed to be working on some more SpinRite-like features, such as the ability to 'scrub' sectors.

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