Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

  1. #1
    If it isn't stock, it's modded! slaveofconvention's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, UK
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    A new story entry has been added:

    [drupal=424]Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...[/drupal]


    Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    Microsoft's Windows Home Server (WHS) is, unsurprisingly, an operating system from Microsoft specifically designed for use with Windows PC's in the home. WHS has very reasonable hardware requirements, and will fully automate the backup of all of your PC's, help keep your defensive software in check. It will also provide additional easily expandable shared storage space and provide local/remote access to all of your files/folders, and without breaking the bank...
    Last edited by Oneslowz28; 11-04-2009 at 09:52 AM.

  2. #2
    ATX Mental Case Killdrath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Renton, WA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    I've been running WHS for about a year now. The pool of available third party "plug-ins" is intense. I use mine as a media server for my media pc and desktops using a plugin that allows the Windows Media Center app to stream content from the server.

    My server is running on an OLD AMD athlon (no, not dual core or even 64 bit) with 4gb ram and a wild mix of hdd's totalling 2tb. I also run the plugin that enables IIS (I currently host my family web site) as well as runnign a Ventrilo server.

    Quite the amazing little program. I heavily reccommend WHS to anyone who needs lots of storage.

    Oh, also, we tested this. If you go through the remote desktop and into add/remove windows components, it will allow you to add most components from server 2003 small business edition, but they files are not on the WHS disk. If you have access to a SBS disk, you can enable those features.

    Good article, looking forward to part 2.

  3. #3
    Will YOU be ready when the zombies rise? x88x's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    MD, USA
    Posts
    6,229

    Default Re: Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    Good review. It's great to see the perspective of someone who's actually been using it daily for a long time. I did have a couple questions though (idk, might be covered in pt2); first, you mentioned that it splits your first drive into two partitions and uses the second partition to cache data before moving it elsewhere. Now, personally, I always try and use as small a drive as possible for the OS drive, and only run the OS off it. Do you know if it lets you delegate what would be the second partition to a second drive instead? For example, on my current fileserver, I'm using a 4GB CF card for the OS; do you know if WHS would detect that there's nowhere near enough space to do what it wants with the data caching, and just ask me for another drive instead?

    Second, from your description of the 'drive pool' feature, it sounds like it just uses a JBOD concatenated disc scheme by default. Do you know if there's a way through the WHS Console to change to another storage scheme (ex, RAID-1, RAID-5, etc)? I know it's there somewhere, deep down, but is it available in the console?


    Quote Originally Posted by Killdrath View Post
    If you go through the remote desktop and into add/remove windows components, it will allow you to add most components from server 2003 small business edition.
    You bring up a good point. This is part of what makes WHS actually a great deal; it's actually full-blown Server 2003 with a pretty overlay (and, I think, some parts out by default). The weird part about this is that a Server 2003 license costs at least twice what a WHS license does (more if you compare retail with an approximation of what WHS retail would be).

  4. #4
    If it isn't stock, it's modded! slaveofconvention's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, UK
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Re: Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    These questions are partially answered in part II which is about 90% written right now, but to save the wait and cover your questions specifically, here goes....
    Quote Originally Posted by x88x View Post
    I did have a couple questions though (idk, might be covered in pt2); first, you mentioned that it splits your first drive into two partitions and uses the second partition to cache data before moving it elsewhere. Now, personally, I always try and use as small a drive as possible for the OS drive, and only run the OS off it. Do you know if it lets you delegate what would be the second partition to a second drive instead?
    WHS is really aimed at the non-technical home user - it gives you literally ZERO hard drive configuration options. Anything attached is repartitioned and formatted during the setup - there's no way around this.
    It'll set a 40GB C drive partition for the O/S which is about 20-30% if I remember correctly (writing this at work - I can access my main home server but thats been used for a couple years now, I'm building a second home server just for this series so will have an accurate answer soon). This leave plenty of space for future updates and optional add-ins etc. In short, the answer is "No".

    Quote Originally Posted by x88x View Post
    For example, on my current fileserver, I'm using a 4GB CF card for the OS; do you know if WHS would detect that there's nowhere near enough space to do what it wants with the data caching, and just ask me for another drive instead??
    Again with the non-technical home user thing here - it'll just point-blank refuse to install if there isn't enough hard disk space on the primary drive (same with system RAM and a couple other items - you really need to nail all of the minimum specs to get it to even install). Personally I recommend a relatively small, new hard drive for the primary - 320GB for example is MORE than enough, 200/160 would be fine too - anything smaller than that I wouldn't personally recommend but it WILL install.

    Quote Originally Posted by x88x View Post
    Second, from your description of the 'drive pool' feature, it sounds like it just uses a JBOD concatenated disc scheme by default. Do you know if there's a way through the WHS Console to change to another storage scheme (ex, RAID-1, RAID-5, etc)? I know it's there somewhere, deep down, but is it available in the console?
    You're basically right here - it is JBOD. You set in the software which folders you want duplicated and which you're willing to "risk". Anything you elect to duplicate will simply be written to two different drives so if you lose ANY drive, you won't lose ANY duplicated data. You can do hardware RAID however (altho MS recommends that you don't) - after all the mobo or Raid card BIOS presents a single drive to the O/S so WHS would just add the array(s) as another JBOD drive.

    There are no RAID options at all in the console, and if they're hidden deeper down, I don't know about them. Even if they ARE there, I'd strongly suggest you NOT use them - WHS has the disk expander software to make multiple drives of any connection and size combination appear as a single seamless volume. Eg, you put in a 320GB Primary drive, drop in a pair of 1TB's and later add a 500GB USB drive, the server will present to the user a C: of 40GB and a D: of 2780GB (ok a little less than this - it loses a load in the formatting like all hard disks do....)

    Note: I'm not 100% sure if the C is 20 or 40 gb but it's one of the two - irrespective, hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Will YOU be ready when the zombies rise? x88x's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    MD, USA
    Posts
    6,229

    Default Re: Windows Home Server: Part I - What it is, and why you should have one...

    Hmm, interesting. Good to know. The reason I assume there's a software RAID option somewhere down there is because it is Server 2003 at it's core, and I know Server 2003 has lots of software RAID options; maybe that was one of the features they didn't include in the regular install.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •