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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:02 am 
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Sure you can, I did... for evaluation purposes.

Quite similar to a WHS2011 installation, but the MSS has to meet Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials requirements.

Steps to follow:
1. Upgrade your MSS to minimal requirements
2. Create your USB Flash install drive
3. Prepare your MSS for an attended (or unattended) installation
4. Proceed with installation normally
5. Verify your installation

Step 1: Upgrade your MSS to minimum requirements (memory 2G, processor X64). There are good tutorials for this in the EX470/475 threads, hereand here.
For the installation process, you probably could create a config file for unattended installation (see Step 2), but I prefered an attended one (needs VGA cable, hope they are still available here; monitor; USB keyboard).

Step 2: Get an 8 GB USB Flash Drive (the install files are around 4.15 GB). Download WS2012E Beta here. For copying the ISO file you can download the W7 tool here. Create your bootable flash drive and WS2012E install using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (or other means you prefer). For unattended installation, I suggest you read a walkthrough here and download the autounattend.xml for ws2012e; you may have to edit the file a bit depending on your own parameters.

I encountered several problems with my first installation trials. The process would stop after asking for "type of installation" and show an "install drivers" window. My searches failed to find a solution, so I decided to install WSH2011 to check if it would present such an error, and voilà, I was stuck with "error 31" which was a known error, and found solutions in this same site. I applied the boot order solution, and everything worked flawlessly up to the end. Step 3 summarizes these solutions and recommendations.

Step 3: Insert only one drive (160 GB or more, unpartitioned) in the MSS (lowest slot); insert flash drive in lowest USB port at the back of the EX470; start MSS; press F12 repeatedly; choose to boot from USB-CDROM; here you go!

Step 4: Follow installation steps at TechNet, or pay yourself a nap if you have gone the "unattended" route. Early on in the process, after choosing the installation type ("Custom install Windows only advanced"), you will be asked to choose the install drive (there is only one, if you followed my suggestion), this is the last chance you have to partition your drive to your liking (at least 60 GB for the system partition), if you don't your whole drive will be alloted to the system drive (this is what happened to me). Then the process should go to the end of the installation without any problems. :cheers:

Step 5: After installation you can add other drives (but this time you should partition them first and format if you want them to be visible in Windows Explorer, I couldn't find a way to do it inside the server, yet). Also check the Device manager to see if all drivers were found. In fact, in my case, the eSata controller driver was not installed. Here is the Marvell MV-61xx version 1.2.0.8400 for Windows 7 (32 & 64 bits), which I could test with a eSata single disk enclosure.

First impressions: most notable benefit is Spaces (kind of an evolved Drive Extender with different implementation choices). Also the server can be backed up (like in WHS2011). The computers are backed up in a similar way as to WHS2011. Oh, and it works on the MSS.
But there are some showstoppers: supports only Win 7, Win 8, and Mac OS.X 10.5 to 10.7 (I should experiment with a Mac in the near future to see if it will backup a OS.X Lion!), I also upgraded a laptop to Win 8 Release Preview for testing purposes; the price (425$) but you own a business server that does "home" things; a domain instead of a workgroup (I read somewhere you can disconnect from the domain and step-back in a workgoup, but I have not tested this).
VJ

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Last edited by VieuxJules on Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:00 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:45 pm 
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OK, so I was naive to think the Mac OS.X Lion backup issue could be resolved with Server 2012 Essentials, but it is not. It behaves the same as in WHS2011, click on "Backup" (LaunchPad) and "Time capsule" appears with no way to connect to the server. Hope they'll find a workaroud.
VJ

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Continuing my evaluation of ws2012e Beta, I just installed a 3 TB disk in the MSS, the server indicates 2.72 TB. No more 2.1 TB limitations.

So I included it in the Storage Pool and added it to the Storage Space. Talking about Storage Pools and Spaces, there is a very good article on Storage Spaces over at WeGotServed.

Since many users here seemed to appreciate Drive Extender in WHS v.1 and v.3, and since many have expressed their deep deception (to say the less) when MS decided to abandon DE in WHS2011, I’d like to assess this new Storage Spaces in comparison with DE. But first, some numbers, before and after I add a 3TB disk in my system.

Configuration #1: 2 X 500 GB disks in the Pool
Storage Spaces options;
Option 1: Simple (no resilience, like a JBOD) = 930 GB, available
Option 2: Two-way mirror (two copies of each file, over 2 disks) = 465 GB
Option 3: Three-way mirror (three copies over 3 disks, for the very anally oriented) = (not possible with 2 disks)
Option 4: Parity (information stored with file over 3 disks, in order to recover it) = (not possible with 2 disks)

Configuration #2: 2 X 500 GB + 1 X 3 TB in the Pool
Simple = 3.63 TB
Two-way mirror = 1.81 TB
Three-way mirror = 1.21 TB
Parity = 2.42 TB (my actual configuration)

Drive Extender created, at least, two copies over two or more disks of chosen shares. For example, if you had 3 shares (1, 2 and 3) on your server you could decide to mirror shares 1 and 2, but not share 3. In Storage Spaces, to do the same, you would have to create two Spaces in the Pool: Space 1 (simple) and Space 2 (two-way mirror). You would then put shares 1 and 2 into Space 2 and share 3 into Space 1. It is another mindset.

I suppose (but have not tested it) that, since the disks in the Storage Pool are formatted in NTFS, you could recover files by attaching your server disks to a computer, in case of a server crash. That doesn’t seem as obvious if you configure your Space with the Parity method; I would like to understand how the information with the file are spread over 3 disks, could you recover the file without Server 2012?

Anyway, it looks like we have more flexibility with Storage Spaces than with DE, but need a much greater planning before creating our Spaces. I’m not saying though that this sole implementation justifies the high price of ws2012e for home users, we will need more goods to be convinced. And Windows 8 also has Storage Spaces implemented, for a mere 40$ (as an upgrade, sometime this fall).
VJ

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Another report on installing ws2012e beta on the MSS.

Looking through Device manager, the Marvell eSata controller was missing. To experiment I inserted my 3T disk in an eSata enclosure, and could not see the drive in Windows explorer. Looked for a driver and finally found the Marvell MV-61xx version 1.2.0.8400 for Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits), installed it and verified in Windows exporer, the disk was now there (but it had to be previously formatted to be visible.) I updated the first message to reflect this.

With lots of trials and errors I was finally able to remove a disk from the pool and repair the Space (two-way mirror) I had created. But for this, you need another disk to throw in. So lets say you have two 500 GB disks (1 and 2) in the pool and created a two-way mirror space. You want to replace disk 1 with a bigger 3T disk. Shut down the machine, remove the disk you want to replace, insert the 3T disk (in my experiment the 3T was in the eSata enclosure). Start the MSS, RDP; in the Pool manager, add your 3T to the pool, then erase the "defective" 500GB drive from the pool (do this only after having added the other disk to the pool, or the "erase" function won't work.) Automatically, you will then monitor the progress of Space repairing itself. And that's it.

I'd say it is not a task as straitforward as it was with DE. I had to struggle with Windows PowerShell to learn the hard way what could be done in the Dashboard. The process is not very intuitive.

Other things I wanted to test but could not:
-Restore a computer from a backup: the ISO file provided by Microsoft was reported "invalid" by the Windows 7 USB/DVD Dowload Tool. So I could not test it.
-Media streaming: Through my PS3, I can see the new server, but even if I copy a movie file (which was sucessfully streaming with my other WHS2011 server), the file name doesn't even appear on the PS3 screen. For the moment, I blame me, probably a configuration issue.

So that's it for my testing of the ws2012e beta!
VJ

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:12 am 
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great posts man, thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:36 am 
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WHS 2011 was a let down in many ways...I'm hoping this will restore my faith in what I consider to be my number DYI project in the past 4,5 years. The amount of time and effort that I have put into WHS V1 and WHS 2011 turned out to be much more than anticipated, but I love the community here, and heck, WHS is a solid product, hopefully with 2012 Essentials it will become what we all always wanted to be, excluding the insane price of course.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:50 am 
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This is great news. Any chance for screen shots? I heard UI has changed dramatically.

What types of things dont work? I assume the health lights no longer work\, does the driver for 2011 work with 2012?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:30 pm 
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T-Bone wrote:
This is great news. Any chance for screen shots? I heard UI has changed dramatically.

What types of things dont work? I assume the health lights no longer work\, does the driver for 2011 work with 2012?

I will upload some shots as soon as I get some of my files worked out...but it pretty much looks like Windows 8...which is nice...I personally like Metro err...I mean Modern UI!

The lights are a no go, everything aside from the eSata driver is fine, and the eSata drivers that were posted on this thread worked perfectly.

Surprisingly, my UPS driver is showing to have a problem...when I want to update it, it says the best driver is already installed...since I have bigger fishes to fry, I haven't had the chance to get into it yet.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:30 am 
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Thanks for the esata driver link. I'm still running WHSv1 on my EX470 but with a lot of bell and whistles. The driver ( I used the XP version) enabled me to add 3TB drives to my SansDigital and format them GPT so I could use the entire drive. Now I can use the 3TB as a Shares Backup Drive and then turn off the enclosure when the backup is done. :sanjuan:

I was able to add 3TB drives to my EX49x pool when I added the Intel Storage Driver and did the 3TB hack http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/16580-guide-how-to-make-gpt-4k-sector-drives-and-3tb-drives-work-as-storage-pool-drives-in-whs-pp3/ but I can't do the same with the EX470, I believe it's because it uses a AMD CPU instead. :encore:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:24 pm 
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T-Bone, here are some screenshots of 2012 Essentials; yes, yes my version is in French, but I'm sure you can work it out. :D


Attachments:
MetroPage.png
MetroPage.png [ 92.53 KiB | Viewed 24708 times ]
Dashboard.png
Dashboard.png [ 224.22 KiB | Viewed 24708 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:31 pm 
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T-Bone wrote:
This is great news. Any chance for screen shots? I heard UI has changed dramatically.

What types of things dont work? I assume the health lights no longer work\, does the driver for 2011 work with 2012?


I don't know for sure, but I do remember reading that the driver the for the case lights won't work on the EX47x series because it has something to do with them being AMD models. I would expect that if you installed WSE2012 on a EX48x/EX49x or EX510, they would work.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:08 pm 
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This is a GREAT thread and very timely too. Thank you for sharing your experience, VJ. Just recently suffered ANOTHER drive failure (damn you WDC!) and have a line on a gaggle of lightly used 4TB drives. Am thinking my pimped 490 would handle 2012 swimmingly so I'll likely be heading down this path as soon as I get my hands on the RTM.

Please continue to share any/all thoughts/experiences you have time to post about...I'm not the early-adopter type, but your success combined with what I've heard about Win8/2012 and the EOL-edness of whs v1 have me jonesin to push the envelope a little! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:22 pm 
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Outstanding post. thanks a lot for it!

One point though, is that it seems to me that there is no way to install Windows Server 2012 in the EX47x without the VGA connector. Am I correct?

I was wondering if it would be possible for someone with the cable to provide us (the community) with some sort of unattended setup file (an INF file?) to help with the install?

Regards,
P


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Diehard wrote:
I don't know for sure, but I do remember reading that the driver the for the case lights won't work on the EX47x series because it has something to do with them being AMD models. I would expect that if you installed WSE2012 on a EX48x/EX49x or EX510, they would work.


That is correct. The author of the driver told me that was the case.

I plan to stop using WHS for storage (will replace it with a NAS device) and use it only as a Windows Server (this is why I want to install WS 2012 in it). So the LEDs might not be an issue for me, if I can at least prevent them from flashing or blinking due to a lack of drivers.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:44 am 
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pmdci wrote:
Outstanding post. thanks a lot for it!

One point though, is that it seems to me that there is no way to install Windows Server 2012 in the EX47x without the VGA connector. Am I correct?

I was wondering if it would be possible for someone with the cable to provide us (the community) with some sort of unattended setup file (an INF file?) to help with the install?

Regards,
P


+1 to this request.

I know having the cable is useful but I'd rather just do an unattended install.

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