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Archive 2012 · Windows Home Server
  
 
Bill Weaver
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p.1 #1 · Windows Home Server


Is anyone here using either version of WHS for storage or backup?
What kind of experience have you had with it?



Apr 12, 2012 at 07:02 AM
JoelWilcox
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p.1 #2 · Windows Home Server


I had both the 470 and 490 series of HP MediaSmart Servers until both failed over time. WHS was convenient for backing up the various computers in the house, but it's not necessary and slow -- unless you're using an ethernet connection -- for major photo backup, as there are faster and cheaper solutions.

Now I simply maintain multiple HD copies of my photo hard disk, keeping one off-site at all times. Incremental backups, such as done by WHS (copying only new or changed files) are a snap using Second Copy. These backups can be scheduled, just like WHS, although I run mine manually.

I would use WHS for its server aspects: sharing photos, playing with your TIVO -- not as a single backup solution.




Apr 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Jack Heckaman
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p.1 #3 · Windows Home Server


WHS 2011 is a great product. 64 bit and can utilize any desktop configuration. I have used the original WHS and now the latest version. I built mine inexpensively as speed is not an issue with a storage server. The nice part is you can back up all of your computers automatically, keep shared folders with music, video, pictures and keep all your software downloads in a folder to use by any one as well. You can access your home server from anywhere with the internet connection so retrieving a file in a pinch is easy. I have a raid 1 set up so I have redundancy on the shared folders. I have the computer back ups on their own drive in the server (don't need redundancy for that).
Is this the only back up solution? no it is a great automated solution for the home based network. Can you use other software to accomplish this backing up of computers? yes but I do not think you will find one that will let you back up and restore up to 10 computers for $129 and allow all the other features I have listed.
Every hard drive fails. It is not an if but a when. All good back up solutions have a primary onsite and secondary off site. Use the cloud or back up to a disk and remove but always do something. I utilize blu ray disks for offsite as they are easier to do and less likely to fail then removing a hard drive.



Apr 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Kittyk
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p.1 #4 · Windows Home Server


i can say only good things about it. great server system, excellent price.
we also used it for self built systems.



Apr 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Bill Weaver
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p.1 #5 · Windows Home Server


Thanks everyone, I'm still thinking about it, but your answers are very helpful.


Apr 13, 2012 at 05:27 AM
aubsxc
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p.1 #6 · Windows Home Server


The original Windows Home Server (based on Server 2003) is a near perfect solution for the typical home user who needs something that works out of the box, and is not interested in fiddling with the OS to do much more than backup and sharing data. It backs up up to 10 Windows PCs and offers drive pooling where the user can assign redundancy to selected folders (multiple copies on separate drives to protect against hardware failure). I haven't used the new WHS11 yet, but I've heard good things about it, but it doesn't natively provide drive pooling.

If you are a bit more tech savvy and don't mind doing your homework, there are better options out there. FreeNAS is a user friendly server OS that allows you to use the Oracle ZFS file system. ZFS essentially allows you to move away from expensive hardware based raid solutions to an incredibly powerful and flexible software based raid system that is miles above anything else available on the market today. And its free. If you know Unix, you can also use ZFS on a data server running BSD or OpenSolaris/OpenIndiana to exploit everything ZFS has to offer, but this is NOT recommended (or needed) for the casual user.

Whatever solution you choose, make sure you educate yourself on the protocols you will need to use to recover data in the event of drive failures. This is critical! As your server grows, so does your risk. For critical data, you also need to plan on redundancy where you store backups offsite, either using an online backup service, or on external hard drives that you rotate on a periodic basis. Invest some time in planning to figure out your immediate and future needs, and this will make the upgrade path easier and less expensive.

In my home I'm running a WHS box with about 24TB of unformatted storage. This is a my primary data server. I'm also running OpenSolaris as a VM on a separate ESXi box as a second data server to keep a second backup of all my critical work stuff. Over time I plan to migrate all my data storage to a ZFS based system.



Apr 13, 2012 at 01:11 PM
 

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garyroach
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p.1 #7 · Windows Home Server


I've used my HP MediaSmart Server running WHS software for years with no problems. (Uh oh, shouldn't have said that! Now I'm sure to have problems. ) I use it to backup two desktops and two laptops. I've upgraded the hard drives a couple times. Piece of cake. Won't replace until it dies a horrible death.


Apr 17, 2012 at 08:32 PM
slrl0ver
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p.1 #8 · Windows Home Server


ZFS Guru is another option if you want a NAS that's backed by ZFS. ZFSGuru is based on FreeBSD like FreeNAS but it's tailored just towards ZFS/NAS/SMB/NFS, not much more.

Performance for me has been great.

- slrl0ver



Apr 18, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Bill Weaver
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p.1 #9 · Windows Home Server


I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. My goal was to find the most versatile, expandable, reliable and inexpensive way I could to both store, and backup my images while maintaining quick and easy access.

I've built the server, running the WHS 2011 OS and have been playing with it for about 2 weeks now. I'm just starting to move some image files onto it.

The only real problem I've had is keeping myself focused on my original plan, and adding it to my workflow, and not getting sidetracked by all the other things it can do.
It's a very versatile system.

Thanks again!



Apr 18, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #10 · Windows Home Server


Kittyk wrote:
i can say only good things about it. great server system, excellent price.
we also used it for self built systems.


+1



Apr 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM
DJP55
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p.1 #11 · Windows Home Server


I agree with slrl0ver. I'm a computer guy, I know Windows Server Operating Systems, and I know all the flaws they have. NTFS (their file system) is not very resilient, and it can fail very easily and lose data. I personally run a FreeNAS setup and it is phenomenal. It is more stable, you can have more space freed up on drives, since I run that whole operating system off a 1GB flash drive. More space = . It isn't a bad system, but I personally feel that you can do better with FreeNAS. Just my .02


Apr 19, 2012 at 04:53 AM





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