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428 posts

Ultimate Geek

# 67918 10-Sep-2010 18:19
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I've been running WHS for over 2 years on a Dell PowerEdge server without any problems, apart from an unfortunate experience with the WHS version of Avast.  The server runs 2 mirrored drives off a Dell RAID card, and 3 months out of warranty, this card has died.  It will of course take a few days to sort out a replacement, so no WHS.  And please no lectures about this not being the correct way to run WHS - I happened to have the Dell server spare, which had been intended to run MS Server 2003.

I store all of my business data on the server and have been regularly backing up to a couple of external USB drives - one connected to the server which alternates with another drive that is kept offsite.  So, not knowing quite how the backup works, I plug this drive into my desktop PC.

And voila, everything is accessible through a series of folders which are named with the backup date.  So not only do I have the most recent backup, I can also access older stuff that's since been deleted or changed.

So a big tick to Microsoft - thanks for such a simple but effective backup solution.  If only I could schedule the backups automatically...

I was a geek before the word was invented!

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428 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 387270 3-Oct-2010 04:25
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Wow, this is a pretty quiet forum, although I see 170 of you have at least read my post!

An update on the repairs to my WHS:  Dell were unable to supply a replacement RAID card for 4-6 weeks.  For a server that is 3 months out of warranty!!!

So after a little research on WHS disk setups, I bought the latest Samsung single platter 500 GB drive ($60!) as the system drive and installed it in the bay for a 3.5" floppy.  (the Dell SC440 case is designed for a maximum of 2 hard disks.)  The temp seems OK, but if necessary I'll buy a fan cooled enclosure for it.  So there is now a total of 3 disks.

I then plugged two drives into the SATA ports on the motherboard, reformatted them and reinstalled WHS with PP3 on the new drive.  While copying my data back from an external USB drive, I tried loading the server by backing up a PC and also copying data from the server over Gigabit Ethernet at the same time.  And I have to say that the server is way quicker than before - none of the tasks seemed to slow down and CPU useage peaked at 30%.

Of course, I no longer have the mirrored drives, but as I've learnt, RAID arrays can fail completely if the controller card dies.  I've kept one of the old RAID drives so that I still have my PC backups.  A downside is that I no longer have any redundancy for PC backups, but it appears that there are ways to back up this data.  Or I can just wait for Vail next year.



I was a geek before the word was invented!

8034 posts

Uber Geek


  # 387420 3-Oct-2010 16:42
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Vail is going to have a different file system format/structure so the old take a drive out plug it in somewhere else and access the files like any normal drive won't work.

Hardware failure of the raid controller card or onboard chip is a big issue this is why software raid has gained so much traction in linux and bsd.

Sometimes it's worth having a backup of your backup.. ie: PC's to WHS then certain most important stuff on your WHS backed up to an online backup service (mozy, backblaze, carbonite etc).

However data caps/data usage charges still make this prohibitively expensive in NZ. 


428 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 387554 4-Oct-2010 09:17
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I'm planning to have a look at the Vail beta when I have time. As I had backups, I could have restored the Shared Folders without using the disks from the server. But WHS does the job - the only real concerns for me are not being able to back up the server and the 10 PC limit for backups. I wanted to use it for archiving old PCs, but hit the limit in about a year.

I had to deal with 2 RAID 1 hardware failures last month, and it's a real pain if you can't replace the controller with something identical. And it takes ages to remirror the drives, so I have really gone off the whole idea. If I do hardware RAID again, it will be with a Brand A controller card and RAID 5.

I was a geek before the word was invented!

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