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Old 17th Nov 2011, 17:25   #1
neocleous
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Transferring from WHS 2003 to 2011

Hi all,

I currently have a computer set up with WHS 2003 and I want to upgrade to WHS 2011. I know you can't upgrade in place because of going from 32bit to 64bit OS which is giving me a little trouble as I have allot of data on different size discs.

I have 7Tb of data in total spanned over the following hard disks; three 2Tb drives, one 1Tb drive, one 1.5Tb drive and a 200Gb IDE disk that the OS is installed onto (I plan to do away with this).

I purchased a HP micro server and I have installed WHS 2011 and three 2Tb drives in it which I removed from another computer. I have a couple of external drives which covers the data I have. I don't want to use the Micro server as my new WHS as its a little underpowered and it is going to be used else where so its just temporary as a place to transfer the data to then off of.

My problem is that on my "new" WHS running WHS 2011 I want to use all 6 of my 2Tb drives and put them into a software Raid 5 via Windows to give me some redundancy and compensate for the lack of drive extender.

Can you add hard drives to the software RAID 5 array at a later date and do they have to be installed in sets of three? Also with six 2Tb hard disks how much storage space will that give me I'm assuming I'll lose two drives to the parity check?

Thanks
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 19:55   #2
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RAID 5 needs a minimum of 3 drives. If you install 3 you lose the capacity of one giving you 3.62TB usable (based on a 2 drive actually being 1.81TB).
If you install 6 in a single array (at the same time as you can't expand the array) you still only lose 1 drive. This would give you 9.05TB usable.

If you have enough external drives available I'd back up your data to those then put all the 2TB drives in one array.

Now here's the catch (well catches).

You can't use the Windows software RAID to RAID the drive the OS is on.
So you'll need another disk (or ideally 2 mirrored outside Windows) to install the OS on.
WHS 2011 also wipes the disk you want to install the OS on so make sure there's nothing on that drive before you start (& it's not one of your data drives).

Hope this helps
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 20:14   #3
neocleous
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I didn't realise that about RAID 5 I thought for every two drives you lost one so that's a bonus.

As for the problem with the OS can't you just delete the partition that WHS creates and add that to the array? I can just keep the IDE drive in and use that.

The real killer though is the fact you can't expand the array after its been created as the home server is an ever expanding beast. and I need at least two of the 2Tb drives to temporarily hold the data

Hmm not so sure what to do now....
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 20:54   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neocleous View Post

The real killer though is the fact you can't expand the array after its been created as the home server is an ever expanding beast. and I need at least two of the 2Tb drives to temporarily hold the data

Hmm not so sure what to do now....
You can always add more arrays if needed then split media across arrays (i.e. array 1 music, array 2 photos etc)

If you want to be able to expand arrays you could put esxi on the box.
Then install a virtual guest with freenas on it.
Create the array in there then also virtualise WHS.
You can connect vhd's to the WHS box via iSCSI (which are hosted on the freenas box) then use extents on the freenas box to expand the size of the LUNs.

A tad complicated but works well
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 21:01   #5
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Is there any 3rd party software applications that will allow you to create an expandable RAID 5 array?

I'm trying to avoid a hardware solution as I really don't want to spend 100ish on a RAID card as I'll end up with the same problem with all the SATA ports are taken up and its a point of failure.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 21:12   #6
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Drivebender does the same as WHS's drive expander did.

I much prefer a proper RAID solution for my home server.
My current RAID card should allow me to downsize from the current Phenom X4 that's in the box to a little Atom machine.

Any reason why multiple arrays isn't an option?
I'm currently running 3 arrays in mine.
2x 2.5" 500GB in RAID 1
5x 3.5" 2TB in RAID 5
5x 3.5" 1.5TB in RAID 5

I just split my media over the 2 RAID 5 arrays.

If you really want to keep it all in one place you could put the "Server Folders" folder in to DFS and have folders on each drive with media on them.
DFS would make the media appear as it's in the same folder but in reality it'd be split over multiple drives.
You'd not be able to mirror folders but it's allow you to expand.
Depending on your experience with Server 2008R2 this may be tricky to implement
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 21:25   #7
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I've seen drivebender and a couple of others I'm just not 100% happy trusting all my data to any of them.

There is no reason why multiple arrays are a problem as such its just that I was adding one hard drive at a time which isn't an option if using windows because it will format the drives when I try to create the array so really I would have to add at least 3 drives at a time and I would lose the storage space on one drive each time.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 21:52   #8
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In that case you could go the DFS route.

You could simply add drives with no RAID needed and tell DFS to add folders you create to the "pool".
This would essentially give you a similar thing to Drive Extender.

If you had folders you wanted to mirror for safety then you could use something like synctoy or allwaysync to sync 2 folders on different drives.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 23:16   #9
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What's DFS?
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 13:25   #10
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Quote:
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What's DFS?
Distributed File System.

A way of having files in various locations & even independent sites but presenting them to the end user like they're all in one folder on one server
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 13:27   #11
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Distributed File System.

A way of having files in various locations & even independent sites but presenting them to the end user like they're all in one folder on one server
Ah I see thanks for that. Is this something windows can do or do I need a 3rd party piece of software?
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 13:37   #12
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Just had a look its a windows thing. DFS doesn't give me any sort of redundancy like RAID does though does it?
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 12:25   #13
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Ah I see thanks for that. Is this something windows can do or do I need a 3rd party piece of software?
Built in to Server 2008


There's no redundancy with DFS so you'd need to configure folder mirroring or still use RAID but it will make using multiple arrays more transparent
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Old 22nd Nov 2011, 14:53   #14
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I managed to back up all my data onto external drives, I even had to brake out some old IDE drives and wow are they slow compared to SATA! And I filled every laptop hard drive and PC hard disk in the house so I have been able to include all six 2TB drives in a RAID 5 array giving me 9.1TB in total which is plenty to be getting on with for now.

Thanks for your help it was much apreciated
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Old 22nd Nov 2011, 15:32   #15
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Glad it's all working

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