First server build... Would love suggestions!
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Author:  jaydash [ Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Excellent advise... and I definitely hadn't thought to gather the appropriate drivers before hand... Thanks!

Author:  jaydash [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

So the build is coming together sloooooooooowly. I'm only able to find a several minutes at a time (literally!) here and there between trying to catch sleep (baby...) and work.

Should finish up this weekend, and install the OS (got a second SSD drive to RAID for the OS -cool). But I've got a quick question...

Before installing all the storage drives I've read a lot that they should be tested before being added to the pool -for potential faulty drives (you see a lot of complaints in the comments on Newegg, etc). For now, I've got 5 WD NAS 4TB drives that I'd like to test before adding, but what's the best way to test the HDD? Just running chkdsk? Use the WD diagnostic tool? Something else? Do y'all have any suggestions -what do you do before adding a drive? Or do you just add it without testing and if it fails soon after, just deal with it then?

Author:  jaydash [ Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Yeah, so they're Seagate 4 TB NAS drives, if it makes a difference... not WD.
Sleep deprivation.

Author:  Gardian [ Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

I can't speak for others, but in the past with the 1-2 tb drives, I put them in my usb dock, make sure they spinup and don't make any funny noises. Then I will quick format and name them. Check them with smart to make sure all is go and that's it.
The problem is the 3-4 and soon to be 5-6 tb drives would take forever to checkdisk, I don't want to take that life off unless the drive gives me a reason to.
I had a 2 tb red drive that wanted to be repaired twice WHS v1 and Comp1962 suggested to pull it and run a full format and the checkdisk.
I did and have had no more problems with it, I figured it would fix it or kill it.

With duplication and/or raid I think its less critical to run the drives through the torture tests but as I said, I do want to know they spin up ok and pass smart.

Just me 2 cents.
Good Luck with the rest of the build and that baby, my baby just took off in the truck to high school, Where did the time go?? :-k

Author:  jaydash [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Alright... SO, build's mostly complete. I'm plugging in the hard drives. And one day I'll eventually start migrating data! But first...

WHS 2011/explorer doesn't see the new drive(s), but the HighPoint Web RAID Management GUI does... So I guess since I'm planning to use Stablebit Drivepool I'm not sure what to do next?

I've initialized the drives in the HighPoint GUI... I figure I create an array of some sort through HighPoint's GUI in order for Windows to recognize it as a hard disk.

But, do I use HighPoint's GUI to create a separate "array" for each hard drive, then use Drivepool to lump them together as JBOD?

OR, do I use HighPoint's GUI to create one large JBOD array and then there's no real need for Drivepool to lump any drives together, right?

Aaaaaand, of course, there's the very real possibility that I'm missing something!

Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

You need to find out if your HighPoint Card supports JBOD and also check the drivers to make sure your using the proper drivers to make sure the OS can see them.

If you do not mind, what model HighPoint Card are you using?

Author:  jaydash [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Hi... I don't mind at all! I went with a HighPoint RocketRAID 2720 that Damian noted he used two of in a post back on the first page... definitely supports JBOD (you pointed out earlier that my mobo choice didn't, so I got pretty aware of that little detail!).

I'm pretty sure the drivers are up to date, downloaded the latest online, along with the up-to-date web interface...

And okay... I went into Disk Management, I did something and the 4TB drives were initially split up, then I converted to GPT, and now they're there, showing the right size (3725 GB), but showing "unallocated"... They're still not showing in explorer.

If I right click on a drive in Disk Management it gives me the following options, not sure which is right to allow me to jump into Drivepool...
-New Simple Volume
-New Spanned Volume
-New Striped Volume
-New Mirrored Volume
-New RAID-5 Volume

I appreciate your [continued!] help!

Author:  jaydash [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Okay... still messing with this a little more before crashing...

I'm thinking "New Simple Volume" is the way to go? And it starts a wizard and asks a few questions...

I imagine I leave the Simple Volume Size in MB the default -the whole drive.
I imagine I can assign whichever drive letter I want.
Looks like I have to leave the format as NTFS, no other options, but I'm not sure about the Allocation Unit Size -leave default? Does it make much difference? From what I see, it doesn't make tooooo much difference.

These are the drives I went with:
Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive

I apologize for "noobish" questions, I'm just so eager to get this right that I think I'm over thinking things and should probably just dive in! But I really appreciate all the help I've received here!!!

Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

If your using Stablebit Drive pool you will want NTFS so you can read the drives in other computers and leave Allocation Unit Size as Default

Damian as I recall did have some initial issues with his drives showing up so his posts may provide the key to the solution you seek as he was able to get the drives to show up. The only difference is he setup WS2012E and you WHS2011 but the solution should work in either OS.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Looks like Damian set the drives up in the card for use: viewtopic.php?p=95831&sid=5f7588021c9d0974c9799e4581a16dca#p95831

My mention that the drives did not show up was correct but not because of the card but because of his motherboard not supporting JBOD.

Author:  jaydash [ Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Thanks Comp! Appreciate your help!

Progress! Got all the drives (attached to the controller) formatted and showing in Explorer. Got Stablebit Drivepool and Scanner up and running. Working on WHS 2011 updates now. But had a SCARY (for me!) issue I was able to fix, and wanted to share in case anyone else comes across it...

After a reboot my server I got some mobo BIOS info, then the RocketRaid BIOS would start, then NOTHING... a blank screen with a blinking cursor. After trying a couple of things I walked away in frustration, but after Googling I found that it's not necessasrily uncommon! I basically had to flash the controller card BIOS, and disable a couple of settings in the controller card BIOS, then all was good -booting normally once again. Here's the info:

From: ... ng-cursor/
Some motherboards may be unable to load the card’s BIOS into memory, especially if other devices (such as onboard RAID or SCSI controllers) are active. This could prevent the card, or other device, from booting the system
If these additional controllers are not needed, try disabling them using the motherboard’s BIOS menu.
If this is not an option, press the “End” key when the host adapter’s BIOS is first displayed – this will cancel the card’s BIOS load.
This should prompt the motherboard to skip the host adapter card, and proceed to the next device.Arrays and disks attached to the card will still be accessible through the operating system.
To avoid pressing the “End” during every boot session, try disabling some of the card’s BIOS features. To do so, flash (upgrade) the card’s BIOS, and access the BIOS sub-menu.
If you intend to boot from the host adapter card, disable the option listed as “Reallocate EBDA”. If you do not need to boot from the host adapter card, disable both the “Reallocate EBDA” and “INT13″ options.

The END key fix works, but probably annoying to do every time the server gets rebooted! So you'll wanna go with the controller BIOS flash...

If it's not clear, I'm not terribly sophisticated when it comes to all this, and had heck figuring out that the place you find and disable those BIOS options, is through the program used to update/flash the controller BIOS -the settings are NOT in the regular controller BIOS itself! When using the flash software there's a button for "configuration" or something like that. The settings you need to disable are in there. Here are instructions on flashing the controller BIOS -be sure you get the BIOS for the right Highpoint card -probably not the RocketRaid 2300 that's referenced...

Author:  jaydash [ Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

But questions still abound!

Noticed that the SMART data for the storage drives attached to the HighPoint Rocket Raid 2720sgl does not appear to be readable by StableBit Scanner. Would reeeeeeeally love to have that available... I found a possible solution on the StableBit site, but I'm unsure -the very name of the setting to be altered has me nervous!

It's a setting in a StableBit config file...
From: ... d_Settings
UnsafeDirectIo - The Scanner supports different methods of communicating with the disk directly, it needs to do this to obtain SMART data and identification data and to issue commands to it that provide additional functionality. The access methods are grouped into 4 groups, Internal and External, and for each, Safe and Unsafe. Methods that have been known to cause a system crash on a small percentage of machines are categorized as Unsafe and are disabled by default. If the Scanner is having trouble talking to your disk directly, you can enable Unsafe mode to see if you get better results.

Some additional info on the setting and what it potentially can accomplish... ... ller-chip/

Does anyone with more knowledge of these things than me have an opinion as to whether or not I should even try this?!

Or does anyone know of a different way to pass the SMART data through?

Author:  Comp1962 [ Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

Personally I have tried the Stablebit Scanner and well best to leave it at that. Basically they want you to open an XML file with something like notepad and edit a few items then save the changes. I can tell you the people over at CoveCube are pretty good at addressing issues people encounter with their software so see what they have to say if the info in their WiKi is not for you.

I use HSS2013 on my WHS2011 and WS2012E Servers and on my clients I use WindowSMART2013 to keep an eye on my drives.

Author:  jaydash [ Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

THANKS... I've seen a handful of folks using that switch (and advocating its use to others) on other forums, but I'll definitely look into those options before flipping a switch labeled "unsafe"!

Author:  Vo_Dich [ Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First server build... Would love suggestions!

jaydash wrote:
If anyone's interested I can post the parts I settled on and pics of the build as I get around to doing it over the next couple of weeks...

Please post your list of parts with links if you can. Would love to see interior of your finished assembly. Thanks.

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