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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Recently with MS removing DE from vail quickly followed by HP halting production of the MSS.
Both these product while being awsome do not define the market.

When designing and building "The Beast" I pondered long and hard on what would be best.
An MSS was out of the question as it did not offer the expandablilty needed, though HP makes many entry level servers that do the ML series comes to mind.
So i'm not worried about HP not build MSS anymore they have many other platforms that will work even better.
It's their branded interface I will miss but not excessively.

Now as far as DE again while figuring out if I was even going to use WHS or not I tested a few other things
STD windows server 2008 for instance.
DE is actually one of the things I dislike and also like about WHS so I'm not surprised it's getting chopped.
What caused me to settle with WHS was the integrated management, which Vail will have.

Now what am I planning on doing for massive volume sizes that are expandable.
Of course I need to test this idea but I plan to.
Format my drives using GPT make them Dynamic then span the volume accross multiple drives.
You can even use software raid for the same or better redundancy of DE.
No it's not as easy but I figure if your running in excess of 10TB of storage your a bit more knowledgable than plugNplay.

Not to mention we can now use real raid controllers with cache to help with some speed issues, and also std file management tools.

I am sorry DE wasn't left as an option, but I think it's far from a death nail.
Has anyone tried this GPT approach on Vail yet just curious?
What are your post vail plans?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Interesting: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT-on-x64.mspx

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:22 pm 
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To a Network Tech or someone with high IT skills, there are other options/workarounds.

The idea behind the MSS and WHS combo was small, low power and quiet with zero to little administration that can sit on the corner of your desk. All of this while being reliable, providing a comfort in knowing your data is duplicated (or triplicated on your PC) and expandable by a person with no tech skills. This is ideal for your average PC illiterate person. The average person that shops in the "big box stores" for PC's and laptops (and now servers with the MMS).

I built a WHS for my dad 2 years ago. Other then the occasional log into it to check the backups and patches are all good, it goes untouched and unnoticed in the corner under a desk doing what it was intended. backing up his PC and hosting his music collection. He is completely computer illiterate when it comes to networking or building a system. I would hate to see him even attempting to build a raid or even getting server 2008r2 installed...

Myself, like many of us here, I am a network admin by day. I honestly don't want to be one on the weekends at home if i can avoid it. I run WHS as it was meant to be; I have a small 2 drive WHS backing up 7 PCs/Laptops , as remote access and hosting my documents / photos running DE instead of raided drives. Behind that, I have 3 Windows 2008r2 servers and 2 WSS2008 (Windows Storage Server 2008) Nas boxes for a combined storage of 42TB.

Like you, I am not an ideal candidate for WHSv2. But, personally, I feel there is a marketplace for WHSv2 with DE on it.


A small after thought, while i feel that DE for something crazy like a 40 drive blue ray host that uses DE eating up 50% of the drives for redundancy is a bit crazy and a waste of drives. It dose have some serious advantages;

The biggest being mix and match drives (size and brand). the ability to use cheap, large low power consumer grade drives. This brings up the second point....

The second being Power Saving. With DE you only need the drive that is hosting the movie/song you are streaming to be powered up, the rest can park and sleep. In a large RAID or GPT cluster, all the drives are spinning to stream that one movie or MP3.
Unless you are encoding on the fly, you can also get away with an Atom CPU for even greater power savings in a 24x7 box (and yes an atom can serve data at on a gig Nic at 100% network utilization and stay under 20% CPU utilization). Personally, I have a mammoth power bill... I am really starting to love my Low Power Servers at home...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:45 pm 
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Exactly, and the idea was for a home system that didn't require any particular computer skills. Anybody should be able to plug it in and immediately use it. That was *almost* the case with the HP MediaServer... most of the problems there centered around DE, anti-virus (another DE problem), and lack of documentation (you had to have this forum to guide you thru any kind of major recovery).

And nothing has changed from the loss of DE... in fact it might be even better for the average home user because the file system oddities of DE won't have to be dealt with anymore. That means anybody can understand the file system, corruption isn't an issue, and off-the-shelf anti-virus works (unless MS pulls another boner and prohibits Essentials from working again).

If RAID is used, it will require some documentation to explain a file system recovery process.

So while I think DE may be a non-issue... the loss of HP will be a much bigger issue to many people. No other vendors built as nice a server. As for me, like most of the people on this site I took the use of WHS literally and have multiple terabytes of files. I'll need something bigger for my next server than what HP offered, so I'll be building one myself. I need 8 TB and I want it to last for three years. And it's got to be dead quiet. Technically it's no challenge... the biggest issue is how to move the data off my existing 475 to the new server. It'll probably take weeks as a filecopy.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:06 am 
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I agree 100% with the ease of use idea and low power/quiet aspects of this.
But I want to point out.
The new line of HP micro servers are ideal replacement for the MSS hardware and actually a bit cheaper.
I think that combined with the new WHSv2 will shine as an entry level box.
As for the raid complexity issue, I will be testing a multi vendor multi size setup under 2008 STD in the next week.
I'm assuming the disk management to be very similar to Vails next update.
I will not be using any raid trying to stay true to the simple WHS idea.
So I will simply plop the drives in and partition them as normal, convert to Dynamic/GPT place data on the first drive.
Then add dis-similar drives speed,make,size and attempt to extend the volume without disturbing the data.
Everything I've read says this is doable and easy, but no it's not simply plugNplay but I would bet either Vail will have an auto extend setup for new drives or someone will make one very shortly.
Of course this will only build a very large simple volume with zero redundancy, of course again either vail or a third party will come up with folder replication, which can be done fairly easily without raid.
And as admins we all know once you get a file server working usually it doesn't need pampering, aside from the occasional expansion just like the MSS.
Now where the MSS realy shines for me is the simple folder/remote access/sharing user interface and the nifty add-ins.
And thats why I run a two headed setup.
A file server and the MSS front end handling all the pretty stuff.
Bit I can't agree with you more about DE I wish it was left as an option in Vail, but I don't think HP's orphaning the MSS or DE's departure will significantly effect this genre of Home Servers in the end I think it will be much like the Y2K event or NonEvent.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:15 am 
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OH, BTW
Since Vail will be satying with a standard drive format.
I do believe it will be possible to take a WHSv1 drive pop it into vail and do a simple file copy.
This will be part of my upcoming test.
Then wipe the drive reformat convert /GPT/Dynamic extend existing volume to re-use the former WHSv1 drive.

As all the file moving will occur within the same machine.
This should actually make for a fairly quick V1 > V2 migration.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:47 am 
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Good news - I'm sure all of us will want to see the results of your upcoming tests!

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Last edited by jwfisher on Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:58 am 
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I think ultimately WHS was/is targeted at the home consumer, not necessarily the power user. This is the reason why the removal of DE is important and why Vail may be in trouble. How many people who use WHS v1 now will be using Vail with the removal of DE? WHS v1 is already a niche product, if the removal of DE leads to a large majority of WHS users ditching Vail then is there any legitimate reason for MS to continue supporting a niche product that just became even more niche? This is the key issue and why many folks are concerned about the demise of Vail. Unless an OEM comes up with a solution that easily integrates Vail with some sort of RAID functionality, I see no reason why the average consumer who WHS v1 is targeted to should even consider. I know I wouldn't recommend Vail to anyone who I have currently recommended WHS v1 to.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:27 pm 
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Non issue for me. One big drive (DE) or raid or whatever, I just need a dependable way to backup data, and avoid any data corruption issues. Sure DE is easy, but it cant be the end of the world for Home server. I recommend home servers to friends all the time, and NEVER mention DE. Once a server is configured, it is almost a self sustaining system. Maybe cost a bit more on initial setup to buy more hard drives upfront (For Raid). Vail is a hugh plus for me just because of 64 bit, SATA AHCI drives, 2008 server baseline, etc. If it just has multiple hard drives with different letters other than just one big HD is no big deal. With 2-3 TB drives now so cheap, why would someone want to string together a bunch of small hard drives that they have laying around. Last month at NEWEGG I bought 2 2TB drives for $69 each, free shipping, no tax!!!!! I TRUST the decisions of the boys at REDMOND, that this is the best direction for VAIL. HP bailing is most likely pure economics...they probably never made ANY money of the HP MSS, to few buyers. IMO.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:36 pm 
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I believe Vail to be a very important product, as you pointed out not everyone will want to run two systems to achieve results like mine.
So Vail will roll all those features into one device.
I am only doing a double headed monster because the Beast consumes in excess of 500W and doesn't really sleep well.
So I have it shutdown when idle after a 1/2 hour while my MSS happily sleeps while not used.
And I feel this testing im doing isn't costing me much so why not have the answers prior to vails release.
Besides I got my Legit copy of Server 2008 STD for $50 off ebay.
At first I was concerned it was bootleg, but I just installed and activated/ confirmed authenticity.
It only has 5 Cals (Client access lic) but if your like me all of my systems auto logon with the same account so 5 is plenty for me.
I believe each lic can log on to 10 devices simultaniously making for ultimately 50 logons.
I could be wrong about this but I only have 3 users anyway and additional licenses arent terribly expensive.
But I am curious what the ultimate release price will be for Vail I sort of feel somewhere in the $500-$800 range SBS versions usually fall in there when first released and now that that group owns WHS I think we will see a vertical movement in pricing.
Pair that with it being based on foundation (One CPU support) anyone with multi CPU DiY's will need to step up to 2008 STD anyway.
i.e. Comp1962 and anyone else using re-purposed DL series HP's

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:19 am 
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Ok, so I ran my GPT test this weekend.
And indeed you can extend a GPT volume without effecting the existing data.
There is however a gotcha.
The GPT volume is not redundant at all, should you lose a single member of the GPT volume the entire volume is unusable.
If you don't have a backup, que the crying now.
However there is an option use raid sets to build your GPT volume i.e. buy three or more 1TB drives create the raid set, present the volume to the OS Bodabing initialize as a GPT volume now you have redundancy as long as you always add capacity in the form of a raid set.
The drawback is this is very expensive and you loose 30% of your raw capacity so three 1TB. drive will net you approx 1.9TB usable space. 3x2TB = ~3.7TB
For those using Norco's 4x1tb =~2.9TB or 4x2TB = ~5.4TB usable for a total 27TB in a single case using 2TB drives.

Of course the more drives in your raid set the more efficient the space utilization and you can now use 3TB drives so this in no way is a hard cieling.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Just an update.
I do believe I have found a reasonable solution for a DE work around without doing exotic unknown stuff.
I have posted my path in The Beast line. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6996&p=76314#p76314

If I have it right using Vail or Win2008 we should be able to come very close to DE's functionality, though not as simple or eligant.
But just as redundant certainly more compatible with other apps.
And I dare say probably a lot better performance.
What are the cons?
You will need to monitor capacity of each volume and add to it by extending the volume or creating a new volume and adding it as a mountpoint.
Free space is not aggregated as it is with DE.
But if you have a poor performing drive it will be easier to isolate and ultimately remove.

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