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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:57 am 
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Hi everyone,

I just built a custom WHS. Before I start using it, I have several questions. Any help with the items below would be greatly appreciated.

  1. If a storage drive fails, and I don't have folder duplication enabled for everything, is there any way to tell what data was lost when the drive died?
  2. When using the BDBB add-in ... what all does that backup? From my understanding of the backup process, there's the actual "clusters" of data, and a database with a "list" of the clusters that have been backed up. Does the tool get one or both (or is my understanding completely wrong?)
  3. How big is the backup created by BDBB?
  4. I installed my OS on an older 160GB IDE drive (I'm using new SATA drives for my storage drives). Is it possible in the future to upgrade the OS drive without losing anything? I've seen some articles/posts that suggest it can be depending on the configuration, but is there a definitive answer?
  5. Along the same lines, since this is a DIY server, what's the recovery process if my OS drive fails?

Thanks for all the help!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Hello. I will do my best to answer:

1. I am not positive but I don't think so, you would need to figure out manually what you lost
2. I believe it serves as a way to backup your PC backups (if you are doing). The theory being only one copy of your PC backups is kept, so if a drive dies that has a PC backup you would lose that backup.
3. I assume it would be the size of the backup database that it is backing up. For 2-3 maybe Yak can chime in since BDBB is his baby
4. You can upgrade the OS but you would lose any software you have installed (i.e. add ins) and your user settings
5. Simply take out the bad O/S drive, put in a new one, and do a server recovery

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:33 am 
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I'm somewhat of a newbie (to building) and have just gone through some of your issues, either with my existing EX470 or my new build, so I'll try to expand on some of what Damian stated.

1. I lost a drive in my EX470 and did not have duplication turned on. It is absolute HELL trying to figure out what I lost. I'm still going through all of my files using file lists and folder lists to identify bad/lost files that need to be replaced somehow. How you ask? Well, I take my printout of files (or movie folders), go to the shared drive, and open the file. If it works, it's there. Well, to be specific, for dvd's and bd's, if it launches and I can play through all the chapters, it works. If not, it's a lost file/movie that I mark on the list. VERY TIME CONSUMING! There are several reasons for this. Firstly, my directories didn't initially "clean up". That is, for example, in my Music folder, I still had listings for files (generated from the "tombstones" I believe) that no longer exist on the server (were lost on the bad drive). I also had been ripping my dvd's and bd's to folders, which creates multiple files for a single movie. WHS is "folder agnostic" when it comes to drive balancing, so each movie may have had at least one file spread across that dead drive (this is why I specified that I was checking these files by playing through the entire movie - I found out the hard way when I went to play one and got to a chapter and it crashed - that's when I realized that chapter file was on the dead drive). I'm now changing my ripping to either ISO or MKV to have a single file/container to avoid losing more than a single disc's worth at a time. With my new build, I will have about 60tb of space eventually, so I will turn on duplication and have about 30tb of usable storage. You know, I'm not a programmer, but this actually just gave me a great idea for an add-in: a built-in file/folder listing program. Of course, there's another add-in that I think you can use to launch these Windows applications, so maybe that's not necessary.

2 & 3. Hopefully Yakuza will chime in as he developed this tool.

4. No idea. Like you I've read the articles, but have no definitive answer for you.

5. Is your DIY server "in production" yet? That is, are you fully using and relying on it? If not, do what I'm doing (I just finished building mine last weekend). I've got some test files on the storage pool (data that is elsewhere and can be lost with no consequences). I'm going to "break WHS" (before I've activated WHS with Microsoft), then work through the server reinstall procedure to verify that (a) I can do this successfully and (b) I haven't lost any data. A couple of folks replied to my question re: recovery a few weeks ago. There is some disagreement over how reliable a server reinstall process is with respect to keeping data intact. Some believe it is fail-safe, others point to threads here and elsewhere where users lost data. I suspect that the latter may be a combination of factors, not the least of which includes user error. However, I want to thoroughly test this before I go "into production" and risk my data. Each DIY server is different, and so each user will have specific circumstances to the reinstall procedure different from others. You should practice this to know what you will need to do when the time comes (because I believe it's when, not if). I also chose to build my server using 2 drives in a RAID1 array for the OS. This is further protection against a drive going bad.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:24 pm 
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danrfxz wrote:
[*] When using the BDBB add-in ... what all does that backup? From my understanding of the backup process, there's the actual "clusters" of data, and a database with a "list" of the clusters that have been backed up. Does the tool get one or both (or is my understanding completely wrong?)

Definitely read the Wiki if you've not yet done so. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/wiki/index.php/WHS_BDBB

BDBB backs up the Client PC backup database, simply copying the database files to your chosen destination. The clusters and list of clusters that you describe are both included in the database files.

danrfxz wrote:
[*]How big is the backup created by BDBB?

As big as your backup database, BDBB reports this when you do a backup, and you can see the size ahead of time by looking at the PC Backups slice of the pie chart in the Server Storage tab.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Thanks everyone for all the help and information.

I guess in this instance I'm just going to end up enabling duplication on everything, since there are a lot of folder/VOB files. Speaking of which, is there a way to convert a folder/VOB style rip to an ISO? I like your idea about doing it that way, so you can tell if the files are intact or not.

Thanks!!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:52 pm 
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Yes, I use ImgBurn to take full folder rips I've already done and convert them to ISO's. Easy to do.

I assume your viewing device (Dune, PCH, HTPC, whatever) is capable of ISO playback? Just be sure of that before you convert everything!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:36 am 
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Is there a tutorial or example I could use on that process? I'm using My Movies and a HTPC to watch my movies.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:51 am 
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danrfxz wrote:
Is there a tutorial or example I could use on that process? I'm using My Movies and a HTPC to watch my movies.

Thanks!


I don't use ISOs but you are going to want to have your ISOs mounted (a great free program is Virtual Clone-Drive)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:01 am 
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It's pretty straightforward. Just download and install ImgBurn. Once you launch the program, a screen will come up with a number of choices. Pick "Create Image File from Files/Folders", select the folder containing your dvd or bd rip, and then follow the prompts, including selecting which directory you will want it stored in.

Now, you say you are using an HTPC. I don't use one, but I'm not aware of pc playback software that supports auto-mounting of ISO's. That is, once you create an ISO, media streamers (Dune, PCH, etc) can read these with no user intervention. With a PC/HTPC, I believe you have to "mount" the image as a virtual drive (slysoft.com has a free virtual clone drive software) before your playback software will recognize it and play it. You may want to hunt around this and other forums for "HTPC ISO playback" and see what you find. I'm just not an expert in that and don't want to give you bad information.

Another option MAY be to create a MKV file of your folder, though I haven't done that (only made MKV files from disc) and I'm not sure it's possible. MKV is simply a container, it preserves original audio and video, and I believe that HTPC's may be able to playback these files with fewer steps/user intervention than ISOs.

Since you are turning on duplication, there's really no need to go the ISO or MKV route, unless you just want to have a double layer of protection. It is a low probability that 2 drives containing your original and duplicate would fail at the same time, so with duplication on, when a drive fails, you just replace it and let WHS do its thing with respect to replacing the lost files.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:09 am 
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mike1812 wrote:

Another option MAY be to create a MKV file of your folder, though I haven't done that (only made MKV files from disc) and I'm not sure it's possible. MKV is simply a container, it preserves original audio and video, and I believe that HTPC's may be able to playback these files with fewer steps/user intervention than ISOs.


You can easily put a folder into an mkv. However, the question is does the OP what the full disc/main menu? if so then an mkv will not work as you will only get the main menu. Honestly if you want the full disc I would recommend just keeping as a folder rip and not putting into an ISO. From an HTPC standpoint an ISO just adds an extra unnecessary step, and with HTPCs I prefer to go with keeping things as simple as possible.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:23 pm 
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I currently use My Movies and Virtual Clone Drive to play back Blu-Rays on my HTPC, so I'm familiar with the process of using ISOs. My Movies makes the whole process almost painless. I was referring to the process of creating the ISO from the folders ... I hadn't done that before. I assume you want to set the file system to the same that DVDs use (UDF version whatever)?

I was hoping to save space by not having folder duplication turned on for all my movies, since I can get the data back off the disc if a drive fails. But I'm afraid that if a drive does fail, I won't be able to tell what files are missing. So I either:
  • Duplicate all my data
  • Convert everything to ISOs
  • Take my chances

Am I missing any options?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:33 pm 
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danrfxz wrote:
I currently use My Movies and Virtual Clone Drive to play back Blu-Rays on my HTPC, so I'm familiar with the process of using ISOs. My Movies makes the whole process almost painless. I was referring to the process of creating the ISO from the folders ... I hadn't done that before. I assume you want to set the file system to the same that DVDs use (UDF version whatever)?

I was hoping to save space by not having folder duplication turned on for all my movies, since I can get the data back off the disc if a drive fails. But I'm afraid that if a drive does fail, I won't be able to tell what files are missing. So I either:
  • Duplicate all my data
  • Convert everything to ISOs
  • Take my chances

Am I missing any options?

Thanks!


If you are using MyMovies you technically would be able to tell what movies you lost if a drive failed and you didn't have duplication enabled (I believe there is an option to show next to each movie if they are online or offline, so obviously the offline movies would be the ones you lost).

I personally prefer just to use duplication. If a drive fails I pop it out, install another drive, and am back up and running without the worry or extra time needed to sort out what was lost

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