WHS Alternative? Please help :)

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
Hey guys I need some help brainstorming this.
In a nutshell my WHS has been running flawlessly .. until (queue music dadadaa)... one of the four HDDs died, no biggie I replaced it and I *thought* all was well until I tried to access a file..I got Unexpected Handle or some such, a brief google search revealed that file is toast but it was not just one file but literally thousands of files, photos, movies, documents etc! There are hundred of Gigabytes of files that no matter what cannot be accessed or deleted through DOS, Windows, and other utilities.
I had the majority of it backed up, I do mean ONLY the majority so I am out some photos, papers, PDFs, my homework etc that I cannot replace.

Soooo..I do not ever want to go through that again and I am looking for another SIMPLE solution. I was thinking some sort of Windows Storage Server with RAID 5.

I really like that I can mix and match whatever drives I want so I would like to keep that idea.
I am not afraid to build a box if that needs to happen. I do have an old Core 2 Dou rig (Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 LGA 775, Gigabyte S-Series G41M-ES2L) sitting around that should be able to handle it if need be.

Let me know what your ideas are and what you guys Bank your data on!!

Thanks!
;)
 
Last edited:

runt

2[H]4U
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Messages
2,438
One choice is Amahi, it uses Greyhole so its like the original WHS DE. Also allows you to use Crashplan as a secondary backup. I'm not currently using it because of the performance of Ubuntu on my home server (HP MicroServer N40L) but I will look at it again once Amahi 7 comes out (Fedora 18 based).
 

lilfiend

Supreme [H]ardness
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Nov 28, 2008
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I use Drive Bender without issue still, I'm up to 4x 2tb's and 1x 3tb hdd's on it, if any one of them fail then its still just ntfs underneath the hood so i don't even have to go through drive bender to get my data back. It allows for file/folder specific raid 1 also, i've got a small thread on it over in general software that you may want to check out.

You can try drive bender 30 days free, I highly recommend giving it a try.
 

Poplap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Messages
186
Another vote for Amahi, great peace of software. Used it on a server for a while till i move to IO+napp-it, does a lot more then WHS and have great addons, may not be as plug and play as WHS but its not hard to use at all.
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
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If you're just going for a whole new system give a synology a look, they have a lot of NAS "apps" not only for backup and file sharing but remote access/personal cloud stuff
 

PsycoGeek

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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I too have had trouble with an older WHS. Every time it rebooted I was expecting to loose all my data as the primary drive was throwing up SMART errors.

My vote would be for a Synology DS412+, but it will cost you a pretty chunk of change for it and all the drives (if you do RAID 5 and populate all of the bays). The setup I was looking at would have cost me upwards of $900 (for the unit and good drives), and a FreeNAS box with enough horsepower for the OS wasn't far behind (FreeNAS requires 6Gb of RAM, and works better the more you have, and I have seen it suggested that if you build one to use the fastest 4-core processor you could afford). I instead opted for a Seagate BlackArmor 440 NAS... got it from the Egg for $479 with the $60 instant off and $60 off promo code. It came with 4 drives @ 1Tb each, and already configured in RAID 5 for a total of 2.68Tb of usable space (so no long RAID volume build time).

It doesn't have the best reviews, but for that price I was willing to take a chance. So far it has been working pretty good, with one minor hiccup... I have to always put in a password to reconnect to it when I either cold boot or restart my Macbook Pro. All the Win systems in the house have no problems.

From what I have gathered from reading reviews and responses from Seagate, your networking will impact your experience with the unit. Crappy networking hardware, especially wireless, will make access slow and sporadic. I have an older Netgear WNDR3700 v.1 router and have no problems with wireless access. As a matter of fact, it's pretty darn good. Access to the old Windows Home Server it replaced was at half the speed or less. The WHS was on power line networking @ 100Mb, also Netgear. Copying data to it from the WHS was painfully slow because of the power line networking. If I could have gotten away with running a patch cable to the WHS from the router the transfer would have been much faster.

Hope this helped.
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
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A DS413j would probably suffice for the OPs needs and they're just under $400, drive price is going to be the same no matter what solution he goes with so that doesn't really matter. SHR is about as close as you can get to WHS drive pooling, and has all the DSM apps that the Seagate doesn't.
 

runt

2[H]4U
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Mar 16, 2000
Messages
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Although I am currently using WHS again, I am considering going back to NAS4Free on my MicroServer. Only thing I don't like about it is the fact that in order to make a new share I have to create the directory for it first. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Plus there is no way to share my printer from it.....guess I can get a cheap 10/100 USB print server on eBay.
 

PsycoGeek

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Let me know what your ideas are and what you guys Bank your data on!!

Thanks!
;)

No one should bank their data on any one solution, especially if it is drive spanning or pooling on a WHS. As you have found out, if a single drive goes you will loose data.

A RAID 5 system is the minimum I will ever go with again. And even with that I plan on using an external drive to back up THAT data (then disconnect it for safer keeping). I may even go so far as to use two external drives for NAS backup. Mirrored drives (RAID 1) are OK, but you have to remember that they are both mechanical, both powered on for the same amount of time, both being written to or read from at the same time, and when one fails the other may not be far behind.

Don't let the lack of features of any one solution deter you from purchasing or using it. If you don't need all the extra stuff it's just a waste of money.

Dragon... I agree with you that a Synology would be best (as they do have a lot of features), as per the second paragraph, first sentence of my first post. Maybe he doesn't have that kind of money... $400 for the bare unit, and $400 more for drives. The OP asked for opinions and I simply presented one. And one that comes ready, out of the box, to be connected to your network... no drives to buy, no raid setup... just connect, create shares and accounts, grant access to shares, and copy data to it.

No need to try and make me look foolish or lacking in knowledge for my suggestion. It's a valid one. Besides, to recommend drive pooling or spanning to someone who has already lost data is, well... rather foolish.
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
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I just meant that SHR doesn't require identical drive sizes so he could augment with existing drives. Also you said you used a promo code to get that price, since I don't know what code I can't tell if it's still active but if not the real price of that unit is $530, and there's nothing to say OP has to fill the unit up with drives to start with, he could do SHR with 1 drive redundancy on 2 3TB drives and still have the same storage as the seagate unit but with the option to add 2 more drives and have SHR convert to parity from mirroring. 3TB Seagate Barracudas seem to be the cheapest option for 3TB now and they're 7200RPM vs what's most likely 5400RPM in that seagate NAS unit, which would lower the access time which still matters over the network.

So if the promo code no longer works and he's paying full price vs the 413j @ $380 + 2x 3TB seagates @ $130 each for a total of $640 total, the price difference is only $110 there. Considering the extra functions the synology offers whether he thinks needs them or not the ability to upgrade to another 6TB of storage space by dropping in 2 more drives in the future is probably worth the price of admission. The prefilled Seagate NAS would be too much of a "dead end" solution.

I guess you could go with the empty seagate NAS and add your own drives, but since it doesn't have anything like SHR if you wanted to expand a RAID in the future you'd have to start out with at least 3 drives, so the initial cost would be slightly higher but you'd get more storage space out of it.

Finally the Synology supports SHR-2 and RAID-6 for 2 drive redundancy which the seagate doesn't and again considering the OPs history this might be of value to him. It WOULD necessitate the initial 4 drive purchase driving the price up to ~$900 initial cost with no upgradability but would provide double the storage and double the redundancy vs the $470-530 unit.

Not trying to make you look foolish just disagreeing with your opinion that the seagate unit would be that much better a "value".
 

benogil

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
143
You might want to look at OpenMediaVault, but WHS2 + Flexraid is about the best, until nzfs is available.
 

PsycoGeek

[H]ard|Gawd
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Dragon... I never stated it would be a better value. Nor am I assuming anything about the OP and their finances. Hell, If I had the money I would have one of Synology's 8+ bay units and WD RE4 drives. But I can't do that... it would take 3+ months of my disability checks. Sometimes that $110 can be enough to sway a person, especially in this economy.

Yes, the promo code I used is no longer valid, so the price would be $530 with the $60 off. The unit comes with Seagate Barracuda ST331000524AS 7200rpm 32mb cache 6gb/sec. drives.

Disagree wit me all you want, but it has no place in this thread. He asked for options. State your opinion without knocking others and leave it at that. If he wanted an argument, he would have asked us to argue the fine points in his opening post. Just state your opinion and allow other people to do so as well. Let the OP decide what is best for them.



 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
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These are discussion forums, we discuss primarily opinions, and I was expressing to the OP the reasons I think that the synology solution and expressing the specific reasons I felt it was worth the extra money since my original response was a bit terse.


Tho to be fair I didn't really properly answer his final question:
Let me know what your ideas are and what you guys Bank your data on!!
I've been through numerous itteritions of storage solutions starting ages ago with a single WHSv1 setup -> VM host in large case w/ RAID controller and lots of drives -> multiple VM hosts with 1 large "file server" and the others providing redundancy and non-local backup for the other servers + off site backup, and while I haven't had any massive data losses my new obsession is availability, and it annoyed me that to do any sort of maintenance on the file server it necessitated shutting down other servers and VMs since it was supplying vital iSCSI resources. I had been avoiding NAS devices because at first they appeared to be a bit redundant with what I already had and also a bit expensive for what they provided, but it did seem they had better availability and if I moved my iSCSI resources to a NAS I'd have more flexibility with my file server. After hearing some testimonials in other threads in this and the Network & Security forum I decided on the Synology DS1512+ and was surprised with how pleased I was with all the extra features/"apps" that were available for it. I started reading about the next DSM version and how they were extending high availability support for all Atom based systems with 2 NICs so I bit the bullet and bought a second DS1512+ and matching drives.

So currently have 2x DS1512+ with 4x 3TB Seagate's each in RAID-6 for 24TB raw storage space and a whopping 6TB total usable space for just under $2700.

You may be thinking that 6TB of HD space for $2700 is a bit excessive, and you're right. But right now I'd have to have at least 6 drives fail in a small enough window that the RAIDs haven't had time to rebuild from the first failure, or a whole unit to fail and then at the same time 3 drives in the other unit (though in this case if the failed unit didn't destroy the drives then the data up to when the unit failed should still be safe). Hopefully will be able to do firmware upgrades without any downtime too but will have to see how they handle that...

HA + Time Backup App should pretty much give full data protection for anything short of an "Act of God", but that's what Crash Plan is for.

6TB of RAID-6 for ~$900 would probably give you great peace of mind and suit your current needs more than adequately though.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
Excellent stuff here guys!!

I am looking at Synology as suggested.
I dont want to spend a whole lot so I am looking at the
Synology DS413j and Synology DS413
However Amazon has better prices then the Newegg links $379 and $499.

I briefly played with the Synology DMS on thier site, kinda clunky but looks like it will get the job done.

Can I mix and match drives with these units? Or do I need to configure them as a RAID only with same size and same disks?
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
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They have another tool here that lets you play around with different amounts of HDs of different sizes and different redundancy methods. Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) works similar to the drive expander on WHS in some regards as it can use different size drives, but if the drives are too different in size any data that couldn't be made redundant becomes unusable. If your two largest drives are different sizes the amount of capacity you'll lose will be the difference between them. For example if you have a 3TB, 2TB, 1TB and 500GB drive you'll end up with 3.5TB usable space and 1TB wasted, where if you have 2x 3TB, 1TB, and 500GB you'll have 4.5TB total space with none wasted. SHR-2 for 2 drive redundancy requires the four largest drives to be the same space so in both the previous examples you'd only have 1TB usable space because of that 500GB drive, so if you want SHR-2 in a 4 drive unit you need them all to be the same size or be willing to give up that space.

Also local DSM is far less clunky than that example they have, makes more sense when you're dealing with your own stuff.
 

Philmatic

Weaksauce
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116
I'm currently running WHS 2011 with DrivePool and I am very happy. Running duplication with a double backup to an external drive and Amazon S3. Pricey, but gives me piece of mind.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
Well dang, I just found out that Synology cant support my Logitech Surveillance Cameras! :(
I was seconds from clicking the 'Buy' button glad I read that.

Kind of bummed as I was starting to like Synology.

So back to square one.

I really thought about just keeping the WHS but when that drive died and replacing it caused me to have thousands of corrupt files without my knowledge until I clicked on one...man that is just scarey! If it cant keep file redunancy then really its not worth anything to me.

Looks like Server 2008 is getting cheap, I just downloaded and installed Windows Server 2012 on that old system, however 2012 doesnt let you join a workgroup and seems to run in Domain only :confused:

So I may try running 2008 Demo as a RAID 5 file server to see if that will work.
 

Cloud 69

Gawd
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Jan 10, 2002
Messages
759
I'm currently running WHS 2011 with DrivePool and I am very happy. Running duplication with a double backup to an external drive and Amazon S3. Pricey, but gives me piece of mind.
How are you doing your backups to the external? Unlike WHS v1, WHS 2011 has this stupid image based backup for the internal drives.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
So I test out Windows Server 2012 Essentials Demo and so far I am impressed (though I despise clicking/hovering on the very corners of the screen to access menus)...it is very close to WHS but way more robust.I would say this is almost a WHS spiritual successor
It will auto-magically connect your client PC through a connector when you try to access the server from the client...If you test this I would advise you set a restore point first as it changes your local profile.
So joining onto the domain is also a snap, it also includes a launchpad (with access to the Server Dashboard) which is cool if the GUI and Tiles can be edited/modded.

So far I test mix and match drives and it seems to work. However I may just end up doing a RAID 5 anyway in case the main HDD does fail. (Why set it all up just to have the main drive fail and have to redo it all or re-image it)

Very.. very easy to install and setup users, shares, folders, backups etc! :D
TigerDirect has Windows Server 2012 Essentials OEM for like $380.

So now I want to try using Win 8 (since it cost way less than Server 2012) as it may have alot of the same features.
I checked Logitech's site and Win 8 is supported.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
Just an update, seems Win8 is working out pretty well (Logitech Cameras work flawlessly, Storage Pools, Shared and Secured Folders, AV scanner friendly, etc) but I am kind of hooked on Server 2012 because it offers so much. :eek:

Did I mention I really dislike the whole hover/click on the corners of windows 8 and server 2012 to access the damn menus?! :p
Why oh Why did they think this was a marvelous idea for a PC version?

Odd my NAS is leading me to a RAID 5 Win 8 box haha.
My old mobo does not support RAID so I may have to build a new box or just use the Drive Pooling I guess.
 

dalekphalm

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2012
Messages
195
Just an update, seems Win8 is working out pretty well (Logitech Cameras work flawlessly, Storage Pools, Shared and Secured Folders, AV scanner friendly, etc) but I am kind of hooked on Server 2012 because it offers so much. :eek:

Did I mention I really dislike the whole hover/click on the corners of windows 8 and server 2012 to access the damn menus?! :p
Why oh Why did they think this was a marvelous idea for a PC version?

...

Wolveen, you should check out www.classicshell.net. I know for certain it works with Windows 8, and should work with Win Server 2012 as well. Also, another tip to quickly access something, is simply hit the "Windows" key, and start typing the name of what you are looking for. It's intelligent search and very quick. It can find programs, documents, control panels, etc.

I believe that if you want to replicate the WHS feel, then Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 is your best bet, for simplicity and ease of expansion.

Both support Storage Pool, which is a Drive Extender replacement/evolution. It's a special form of Software RAID, but it's more flexible. You pick the type of redundancy (None, 2-way mirror, 3-way mirror, parity), then choose your "Maximum Storage Capacity - which is the target size you think you'll end up at eventually - this can be changed at any time also, then you start adding drives. You can mix and match, just like DE from WHS, and it intelligently moves parity around to still get maximum storage space without wasted HDD space.

The DOWNSIDE to Storage Pool, is that when using parity mode, the writes can be pretty slow, as it's all CPU dependent.

The Read speeds are still pretty good on all modes though. And another upside is that as long as you can install Win8/S2012 on your machine with drivers, then it'll work. Eg: No RAID support required by the motherboard, as the OS handles it all.

Metro/Modern UI is a lot different, but you'll get used to it. Most "Techie" people seem to hate the UI, but once you learn the particulars of it, you'll realize it's actually pretty decent, and if you use the Classic Shell Start Menu app, you don't even need to be in Modern UI hardly ever.

Hope this helps!
 

Toconator

Gawd
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Messages
754
Did I mention I really dislike the whole hover/click on the corners of windows 8 and server 2012

My old mobo does not support RAID so I may have to build a new box or just use the Drive Pooling I guess.

WHS 2011 is based upon Server 2008 (no hover corners) and supports Workgroups. If you setup a Domain then clients have to be Pro versions of Windows, Home Premium are not allowed to join a Domain. Media handling and streaming is better than WHSv1 without a bunch of add-ins. There's 3rd party apps to restore DE functionality and there's better RAID support which was not recommended for WHSv1. As for a new build with onboard RAID, the downside: it's software based so if you ever have trouble with the motherboard you need another mobo with a similiar RAID chipset otherwise the data is not easily accessible except through recovery programs. A hardware RAID card can be a bit pricey but you can simply swap it into any new replacement mobo and have instant access to your data (or add it to your current one now). Less hit on the CPU too.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
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223
Good stuff to think about thanks guys!

If I go RAID 5 with Win 8 then I would be dependant on the mobo.
If I go Win 8 Drive Pool then I am dependant to make sure Win 8's HDD does not fail.

I think I will (or at least want to) build up a new rig...that damn build a new rig bug keeps biting my arse!

Dont know to post this here or not but this is kind of what I am thinking:

Lian Li PCQ-25B Built in Hot swap :D $120
Seasonic 400W, which should be more than enough..imperative that I have 3 Molex connectors for the SATA Hot Swap board in the Lian Li $80.00
Asus P8H77 Mini ITX has RAID 5 $110
Intel i-3 2100 - $120
G-Skill 8GB DDR 1600 - $53
Windows 8 Pro - $140

$623 If everything bought as is from New Egg.
I have 3 Red WD 2 TB HDDs
 

PsycoGeek

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
1,226
I have one thing to say about that build... consider a Corsair power supply. The one in my WHS re-purposed as a media PC is 6 years old and still going strong.
 

Britgeezer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
244
I'm currently running WHS 2011 with DrivePool and I am very happy. Running duplication with a double backup to an external drive and Amazon S3. Pricey, but gives me piece of mind.

I'm also using WHS2011 with Drivepool duplication on anything I care about . Easy and not so expensive
 

Unknown-One

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
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If you setup a Domain then clients have to be Pro versions of Windows, Home Premium are not allowed to join a Domain.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials actually has a way around that. The connector app shipped as part of the server OS will still join home-edition machines using alternative means, even though its' primarily domain-based.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
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If I go RAID 5 with Win 8 then I would be dependant on the mobo.
If you do go the RAID 5 route, make sure that you install the OS on a seperate drive to ensure that if the RAID array gets corrupted, it won't affect the OS and vice versa. In addition, if you want to make full use of the seven drive capability of that case and the max number of drives in an Intel ICH10R RAID (which is six), think about getting a seperate storage controller just for the OS drive. That way you can have six hard drives using the motherboard's onboard RAID controller in the same RAID array while the OS drive is seperate.
If I go Win 8 Drive Pool then I am dependant to make sure Win 8's HDD does not fail.
Just to be clear, are you talking about the 3rd party Drive Pool application or the built-in Storage Spaces? If the latter, I highly recommend reading this article on Storage Spaces so that you fully know what you're getting yourself into:
http://arstechnica.com/information-...aces-explained-a-great-feature-when-it-works/
Seasonic 400W, which should be more than enough..imperative that I have 3 Molex connectors for the SATA Hot Swap board in the Lian Li $80.00
It doesn't have free shipping so its actual price is $89. At that price point, it's overpriced considering that its larger brother costs $1 more:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151119

A tad overpriced considering that 3 to 5% faster and lower power Core i3 3220 costs $4 more:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0093H8HXS/?tag=extension-kb-20
A tad overpriced for that what it is. You can save $4 by going with this RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233309

Should you ever go the ZFS route or decide to do virtual machines, the ability to go to 16GB of RAM without having to replace any RAM would be pretty useful. In addition, the Corsair set has lower RAM heatsinks which means better compaibility with 3rd party HSF should you decide that the stock HSF isn't good or quiet enough.
 

facke02

n00b
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facke02

n00b
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Messages
8
Yep that works so far!
No Domain and was able to access my test shares

I also enabled the "Computer Browser" service.

From the metro screen go to Administrative Tools
Click on Services
Scroll to "Computer Browser"
Enable the service to run automatically,
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
OK I am ditching the Lian Li, you guys had me thinking about Disk failures, I think by eliminating the backplane from the Lian Li that will be one less failure point.

So I got a Bitfenix Prodigy White, which was a real pain to find anywhere!
Found it over at NCIX.com for $80.

I think I will decommission the old PC for now see if that Corsair 420W will fit. Hopefully I still have that Corsair bag of Sata power connectors somewhere...lol

So that is one component that I have locked in and purchased! :D
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
I think I will decommission the old PC for now see if that Corsair 420W will fit. Hopefully I still have that Corsair bag of Sata power connectors somewhere...lol
420W? Did you mean 430W? And by bag of SATA power connectors, did you mean the modular SATA power cables or the molex to SATA adapters?
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
420W? Did you mean 430W? And by bag of SATA power connectors, did you mean the modular SATA power cables or the molex to SATA adapters?

crap its the 450W non modular...I think now I remember giving away the modular one to my buddy.
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
I hope I am not kicking myself in the Budget ass later for this but....since I have had a wonderful time playing with Windows Server 2012 Essentials I went ahead and placed the order for that.
Thanks facke02! :)
 

wolveen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
223
A tad overpriced for that what it is. You can save $4 by going with this RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233309

Should you ever go the ZFS route or decide to do virtual machines, the ability to go to 16GB of RAM without having to replace any RAM would be pretty useful. In addition, the Corsair set has lower RAM heatsinks which means better compaibility with 3rd party HSF should you decide that the stock HSF isn't good or quiet enough.

Done and purchased through Amazon, free 2 day shipping :)

Lookin at NCIX.Com to fullfill the CPU and Mobo now
 
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