What is the Best Setup for My Hard Drives?
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Author:  JSG1967 [ Thu May 16, 2013 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  What is the Best Setup for My Hard Drives?

I successfully installed WSE 2012 on my HP EX 495 relying heavily on info from this site (thanks!). The OS is installed on a single drive. I have not added any other drives into the EX 495 yet. I have numerous hard drives (5 including a few blank WD reds) and I have an IcyDock with 4 bays. Considering that I have suffered numerous HD failures over the years, I really want to set things up right with max recoverability. Should I put 4 drives in the IcyDock to hold all the network folders and data, etc., and just leave the 3 bays open in the EX 495? Or should I have the data resident on the 3 drive on the EX 495 and have that backup to the IcyDock? I am wondering whether my EX 495 is the cause of my drive failures over the years so I am wondering if I should try to avoid using it for data altogether...

Also, I am very interested in going with something like Stablebit. But I have not used it before so I would welcome suggestions on how to integrate that in (and the sequence, i.e., (1) mount the drives, (2) install Stablebit, and (3) migrate the data, or some other order)


Author:  Comp1962 [ Thu May 16, 2013 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What is the Best Setup for My Hard Drives?

That's a hard question to answer because you have a comfort issue with installing drives in your EX495. I guess you have to chose the location of your storage pool drives based on where your most comfortable running them.

I have used Stablebit Drive Pool in WHS2011 and found it to be a very nice DE Replacement Solution that's actually way better and more friendly then DE. The thing you need to know right now is that Stablebit for WS2012E is currently in Beta and as it is with all Beta's there is risk in using it in a production machine. This is the choice you have to come to terms with.

For myself I am running Stablebit Drive Pool on my WS2012E server which and the storage pool consists of 21 drives. Of those drives I have been running 4 2TB Reds without issue and 2 4TB Hitachi Drives. These drives were also used in the server when it was running WHS2011. The very nice part about Stablebit Drive Pool is that you can move the Pooled Drives from one Server or Computer to another and the pool will be recognized making Data Migration very easy.

I would recommend you visit the Stablebit Drive Pool Forums to read up on as much as you can and perform a site search hear for those of use who have written about Stablebit Drive Pool to find out how its working out. With WS2012E you have many choices to chose from and some use Storage Spaces and that maybe of interest to you. In the end you have to chose the solution which works best for you and what works for others may not be suitable for you just like what you chose may not be suitable for others. In these matters only you can determine the best solution to manage and protect your data.

I would encourage you to install a drive to backup your OS Drive this way if you should have to ever perform a recovery the backup drive will come in handy to properly restore you OS Drive. Some use a RAID Solution to mirror the System Drive and that too maybe of interest to you.

I encourage you to carefully weigh in on all your options before choosing a solution which works best for you. I do recommend you install HomeServerSmart and the Health Alert ADD-INs as they will help keep an eye on things. The Health Alert ADD-IN can be configured to send you daily reports on your server. There is also an email alert configuration where WS2012E will send you email notifications when alerts occur on the server. If you tie that in with the VPN option then if you have a notebook you carry with you then the server connection will be there for you to service the Server much like being at home but also if you travel your daily backups will take place offsite if the VPN Connection is active on the client.

Not really sure if this helps point you in one direction or the other but hopefully it causes you to take a conservative approach as you explore all your options.

Good Luck with your new server solution!

Author:  Gardian [ Fri May 17, 2013 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What is the Best Setup for My Hard Drives?

Sounds like your at the crossroads as many of us are with the home server. At this crossroad we have choices on hardware and the OS.
[Hardware considerations] The EX490/5 hardware wise is showing it age and has been discontinued by HP, so replacement parts are going to be used.
I do not believe the server hardware caused your hard drive failures per say, any more then any other hardware could cause a drive to fail. Heat, these servers are densely packed on the drives and are designed to filter dust/lint/dirt which could case heat (if not kept serviced) which could cause hard drive failure because of that heat. All hard drives will fail at some point, price can effect how soon they will fail but not solely, heat and the environment can effect the life as well.
Using these servers you don't have an option for hardware raid for the OS.
So using these servers going forward is going to be a personal choice, you are going to want to invest in spare parts if you do and you are going to have to understand that you don't have raid for the OS.
Also, as far as having drives inside the server or out in the external. You need to think about that connection. I have seen problems with drive access from external drives and that is a whole other topic, bottom line I would try to keep the main drives in the server and use the external for backups as the backups can handle intermittent connections better then the main drives.

[OS considerations] You have chosen 2012E and by making that choice you have lost DE and all the recover-ability that came with it, so now we need to think about how we will setup to regain that back, because at the end of the day it's all about the data and uptime and when something fails how easy and fast can we get that system back up.

I hope this helps and not confused you more.

What I do on servers and PC's is focus on protecting the data, I don't worry about protecting the OS. For me, I don't install a lot of stuff on the OS so it is disposable to me. I am willing to rebuild the OS when needed and not worry about raiding it. I focus on keeping the data backed up.

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