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Topic # 230475 25-Feb-2018 19:51
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I have a small HP microserver I use to backup the other computers in the house as well as providing some shared directories.

 

My WHS 2011 install is now proving buggy and I propose getting a copy of Windows Server 2016 Essentials and installing that.

 

Questions:

 

1. I see cheap licences on Ebay, are they legit?

 

2. My needs are simple. The best feature of WHS 2011 is the ability to restore a PC / laptop if the harddrive dies. It has saved me several times. A bit worried the Windows Server 2016 Essentials may be too difficult to install / manage. 

 

Thoughts?


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19 posts

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  Reply # 1988178 4-Apr-2018 13:12
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Hi There,

 

I'm curious if you've gone any further with this. I am in exactly the same boat - it seems that 2016 Essentials is the way to go now that WHS has reached end of life.  I've done some research, and decided that Essentials should be acceptable/similar to WHS to set up and manage, the migration of the data being the trickiest bit (as long as I can sort out preventing the client PCs from joining the domain). I will also lose all of the existing backups, along with all shares etc., and have to start afresh. I also found the cheap licences (on Reddit), but the consensus seems to be that they are dodgy, and should be avoided (although the worst that will likely happen is that Microsoft will invalidate the licence). Right now I am planning to download a 180-day evaluation copy which I will run in a VM on my Windows 10 machine to check it out. 

 

David

 

 


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  Reply # 1988186 4-Apr-2018 13:21
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If you're really wedded to using Server then ok go for it.  But I've found (with 2012) that you're then up for server versions of software.  Ie Acronis Server (as opposed to home - price difference of about $500).  Can't use blackblaze personal at $50 a month and need to use s2 storage etc (as I was using crashplan on a single machine, and with their exit moved to business).

 

Verify what functionality you actually use, you might be able to get away with Windows 10.....





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Meow
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  Reply # 1988201 4-Apr-2018 13:29
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I'd actually recommend going towards another method (which is also far cheaper). I wouldn't ever buy a Windows License from anyone apart from Microsoft or a reputable IT supplier due to how piracy is so rampant. If it is almost too cheap then don't do it.

 

Instead - look at UnRaid (https://lime-technology.com/) - it is Linux based, very easy to set up and use and has the ability to run many apps and addons:

 

Click to see full size Click to see full size Click to see full size

 

The main thing I like is it is installed on a flash drive (and there is a USB port on the motherboard of the Microserver). It is also a very lightweight distro so very fast on the Microserver. You'll however need to have ideally matching drives (I run 3x 3tb and 1x 4tb for Parity and a SSD for cache in mine). Updates are free and the initial license is very cheap. It is all controlled by a web interface.

 

Edit: Just thought I'd mention @mdf who I believe uses it also on his Microserver.





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  Reply # 1988209 4-Apr-2018 13:58
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Or potentially consider a hardware solution like Synology NAS. 

 

 


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  Reply # 1988288 4-Apr-2018 16:38
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Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I can't speak for the OP, but I have looked at various options like a standalone NAS, NAS software on the existing hardware, or Windows 10, but whichever way I slice it, none of them can match the backup utility of WHS or Server Essentials. In particular, the central management of the backups, data deduplication, as well as the combination of file history and full system image backup are hard to beat - I certainly haven't found a viable alternative, but I'm definitely open to suggestions! Acronis looks like it will work, but at a cost higher than Essentials itself. 


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  Reply # 1988290 4-Apr-2018 16:41
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Curious what benefits of buying a new NAS would bring over updating the existing hardware to Server Essentials 2016? Looks to be a similar or higher cost for a Synology NAS (DS218+).


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  Reply # 1988304 4-Apr-2018 17:03
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Twincamr2:

 

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I can't speak for the OP, but I have looked at various options like a standalone NAS, NAS software on the existing hardware, or Windows 10, but whichever way I slice it, none of them can match the backup utility of WHS or Server Essentials. In particular, the central management of the backups, data deduplication, as well as the combination of file history and full system image backup are hard to beat - I certainly haven't found a viable alternative, but I'm definitely open to suggestions! Acronis looks like it will work, but at a cost higher than Essentials itself. 

 

 

I have been round and round this mulberry bush many times, and I always come back to the same conclusion as you. WHS2011 is the best client backup and restore program for the money, ie free, as you already own it. I have just last week used it to restore a Win10 client that pooped itself in the latest round of updates. Win10's own system restore options failed and I didn't want to reset or reinstall from scratch.

 

I have been looking into UnRAID like michaelmurfy suggested, but only with a view to virtualising WHS2011 so it can be hardware independent. I haven't made much progress due to financial restraints.

 

I have moved all other (non backup/restore) functions to a NAS box, but remain tied to WHS for backups and restores.





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  Reply # 1988313 4-Apr-2018 17:14
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One should check FreeNAS as well ... http://www.freenas.org/





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  Reply # 1988317 4-Apr-2018 17:29
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Twincamr2:

 

Curious what benefits of buying a new NAS would bring over updating the existing hardware to Server Essentials 2016? Looks to be a similar or higher cost for a Synology NAS (DS218+).

 

 

You can't compare. The HPe microserver has ECC RAM you won't find in the synology product range below 1500 US$. Beside that, if you like to use virtual machines, the CPUs of the lower/middle synology DS range are not powerful enough. That's the reason I built my own tailored server during the last two weeks.

 

 





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  Reply # 1988358 4-Apr-2018 20:20
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As kiwifidget suggested, you could unraid the box and then run WHS2011 as a VM.  You will get parity protected pooled storage on hardware with the ability to backup and restore using WHS2011; has the benefit of keeping the WHS data intact should you suffer a drive failure due to the parity.  I personally have an Xpenology box with 5TB and then Windows Server 2016 essentials running in a VM, similar as the unraid option except as my drives are striped I get a higher speed/IOPS for the VMs.


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  Reply # 1988372 4-Apr-2018 20:53
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Something to mention also is disk IO is incredibly quick on UnRaid under the VM's themselves - I've got 3x Debian VM's and a few Docker containers running and also have the flexibility to mount a share inside a VM. There are also many other backup solutions out there so it is worth investigating.

 

If you add a SSD as a cache drive you get incredibly quick writes also.





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  Reply # 1988460 4-Apr-2018 22:40
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michaelmurfy:

 

I've got 3x Debian VM's and a few Docker containers running and also have the flexibility to mount a share inside a VM.

 

 

I do this with the virtualbox and the Docker plugins under OMV4.

 

BTW: It should be mentioned NEVER to implement Linux VMs with shares under a WinServer with RAID environment. This could go terribly wrong. Doing vice versa is a much better way.





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mdf

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  Reply # 1988664 5-Apr-2018 10:47
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As @michaelmurfy said, I started using unraid on a microserver at the start of this year and super happy with it. Does everything I need it to, and really well.

 

I don't bother with Windows backups/snapshots. I am happy reinstalling everything cleanly if and when I need it. Files / documents are hosted on the microserver and automatically backed up offsite. 


IcI

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  Reply # 1988730 5-Apr-2018 12:27
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mdf: ... I don't bother with Windows backups/snapshots. I am happy reinstalling everything cleanly if and when I need it. ...  
I've always found Windows backups to be larger than expected when compared to other solutions. I also believe a regular re-install keeps things nice & fresh. This admittedly delays return to full operation and others like their set up 'just so' and changes are not tolerated well.

 

mdf: ... Files / documents are hosted on the microserver and automatically backed up offsite. 
Good thinking.


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  Reply # 1989241 6-Apr-2018 09:35
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Very interesting, thanks. I must admit that virtualisation is pretty new to me, and OS's other than Windows are similarly foreign. The UnRaid option sounds interesting. Are there any benefits of virtualising my WHS2011 server other than hardware independence? One of the features of WHS2011 that I do use regularly is remote web access -  will I still be able to use this feature if I run from within a VM?

 

Stepping back a bit, how great do you think the risks are of continuing to run Home Server 2011 past its End of Life/Support date? Am I asking for security problems (obviously I've been running for a year now without support)?  If I understand correctly, virtualising the server won't necessarily insulate me from these security risks, as long as the Server has a connection to the web.

 

So with unraid, the drive pooling is handled by unraid itself? My server is backed up to one on-site, and one off-site USB HDD, so would there be any benefit to the UnRaid parity array other than the length time to restore the data?

 

It's only a home server, so it's no big deal to lose access to data for a while, as long as it can eventually be restored.  If it was just me, relying on backing up the server data alone might work, but in reality I have three other users (wife and kids), and getting them to store their important data solely on the server shared folders just isn't going to happen! 

 

BTW, for testing, I'm now running Essentials 2016 and Win10 LTSB on two Hyper-V machines on my W10 box. I have run out of memory (8GB)! tongue-out One annoying thing that I didn't count on was the lack of built-in media streaming support in 2016. 

 

 

 

 


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