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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:46 pm 
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Hello, all. Frequent lurker, infrequent poster, about to embark on my first "from scratch" DIY build. My current DIY WHS is a serious frankenmachine, an old Dell P4 box cobbled together with a piggy back processor upgrade (long time ago, not for the WHS), 768 mb ram, a PCI 4-port SATA adapter, and about 3TB of disk (3 x 750GB and 1 x 1TB). I just hit the wall on storage space :shock: (mostly movie rips, plus backups for 3 household PCs, family pictures, etc.) and had to turn off the folder duplication on my Video share. Instead of trying to stack more disk drives in this ancient box, or hanging an e-SATA enclosure off the back, I figure it's time to build a proper DIY WHS machine. So here's what I have figured so far:

Chieftec Bravo full tower case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811160008
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128359
Intel Pentium E5200 CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819116072
2 GB RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231144
2 x Western Digital 2TB Green drives: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822136344

I like the case because it will hold 8 3.5" drives internally, and it also has 6 5.25" slots, which could be configured for another 6 or 8 3.5" drives down the road. The Gigabyte mobo has 8 SATA ports. The E5200 is a relatively low wattage device, and that's what's in the new HP 495, so what the hey?

Anyone see any obvious flaws in this setup, or have any other suggestions? Also, in terms of moving my current stuff over, what's the current "state of the art?" I've read through the other posts on this subject, but they all seem to get pretty situation-specific. Also, I'm not moving from HP to DIY, but from DIY to DIY, so I don't know if that makes things easier or harder. I don't want to have to buy another WHS license, since that would be useless to me once I'm done moving everything off the old machine (it will be decomissioned). So how do I set up the new one and make sure it works before diving in? If it helps, I also have a 2TB Western Digital MyBook that I currently use for a server backup. I do not have the well-known BDBB add-in installed, so my household PC backups are not backed up to the MyBook. I'm not too concerned about losing the backup history for those, since all of our critical data resides on the server.

So, that's what I'm thinking. All suggestions appreciated in advance.

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Last edited by mgannon on Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:36 pm 
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Mr MG,

Build looks good, you should be plenty fine with the E5200. I don't know much about the mobo as far as the 8 sata ports (pretty common seems to be 6) but based on the reviews from Newegg I don't see any problems. I went the AMD route with my WHS build, and your intel version would seem to be the same equivalent. You didn't mention a PSU, what did you have in mind? Also, I would suggest you go with a 7200RPM driive for your O/S drive (Caviar Black or Seagate Barraccuda, others have used an SSD drive) and leave the green drives for your pooled data.

As far as moving over, it should just be a matter of building the DIY WHS, moving your pooled drives over from your current WHS build to the new one, and the running the server recovery. It doesn't sound like you will be using any Controller cards so you shouldn't have to worry about loading drivers during the recover like I had to. One thing though, if you want your WHS to be hot swappable you will need to change your mobo SATA ports over to AHCI which can get tricky (I only use one of my mobo sata ports and just for the O/S drive so never ran into this issue). Maybe Cavediver or Erail can provide some input on this as I believe they use AHCI.

Once you build your WHS, I would let it run just with the O/S drive maybe for a day or two to make sure everything is in working condition. If everything looks good and you are ready to do the server recovery make sure you wipe the O/S drive clean before you proceed (this caused issues for me until Alex pointed this out).

Hopefully this gets you in the right direction. Shawshank has been running well (knock on wood), only weird thing I had happen was about a week ago one of my drives went missing from WHS, I ended up just pulling out the drive and reinserting, everything is back to normal.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Damian - thanks much for your response.

I was planning a relatively conservtive 500W power supply from Thermaltake:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817153052

This thing is a real steal from Newegg with the rebate right now. Thanks for the tips on how to move everything over. When you say to just move the "pooled" drives over to the new machine, does that assume that I will already have the machine up and running with a new system drive? This is the part that has always confused the heck out of me ](*,) reading all the other posts. Aren't all four drives in my current machine "pooled" (i.e., they all contain data) even though one of them is also designated the "system" drive? Help me out here. Assuming the existing configuration I have, and the new hardware I'm going to order (maybe plus another quicker drive for the system drive, as you suggested - if I went that route, should I go with a smaller drive for that purpose?), what's the "migrating your DIY WHS for Dummies" step-by-step routine?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:33 pm 
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The PSU should be fine, just keep in mind, I think your case has the potential for 15-20+ drives, so if so you may need a PSU closer to 750. Granted, down the road if you get to that point you can always just buy another PSU and replace.

The way I look at it, the O/S drive does not get used for storage data unless all pooled drives are full. Yes, the O/S drive does show as part of the pool total, but that is why I differentiate. You can move your old O/S drive from your current WHS to your new one, put once again I would recommend you reformat the drive first. You can see my guide to doing a Server recovery here (http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2009/09 ... me-server/).

With my WHS Build I went with a 500GB Western Digital Caviar black as the O/S drive. My storage drives are made up of a combination 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB green drives

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:39 pm 
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I don't use AHCI on the motherboard but use MV8SAT Supermicro card on the data drives which gives me hotswap capabilities. I went with an all Supermicro solution - case, motherboard and addon cards - gives me a proven 24/7 solution above the retail parts. A little more expensive but I bought everything except the case used on Ebay so it was actually cheaper. I did use a fan controller to slow down and quiet the case and it runs very cool and quiet. I also went with the Q6600 quad 2.4 ghz processor. I have found, after a year of running it, that the machine gives me no problems at all and actually runs alot more than just WHS as an all purpose home server. Electric usage is also reasonable with approximately 125 watts with 9 drives and the quad core. The case had the 550 watt Supermicro power supply.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:21 am 
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I just installed WHS on a GA-MA785G-UD3H mobo and in order to enable AHCI I had to install the driver on install with the AHCI swithched on in the BIOS as the onchip sata host type during the install. You will need to grab the appropiate driver from the mobo DVD and create a floppy disk with the driver on it and install (temorarily at least) a 3 1/4" floppy drive to load the driver on the F6 install prompt or if you can't get your hands on one or don't want to install a floppy drive, you can slipstream the driver into an install disk which is what I did. After install you can switch from AHCI to IDE mode or what ever but there is no real way to install the AHCI driver after the fact (some have claimed to manage it with some reg hacks to get the driver acknowledged on reboot) without BSODing upon reboot. Looks like a sweet deal on that case.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:15 pm 
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dbone1026 wrote:
The way I look at it, the O/S drive does not get used for storage data unless all pooled drives are full. Yes, the O/S drive does show as part of the pool total...

How can I be certain that there is no storage data on my system drive? Once I disabled the folder duplication for my Video Share, I went down to about 2TB total of used disk (out of a total of 3TB). The disk that is marked "system drive" currently shows about 189GB out of 750GB used. Is this a pretty normal amount of used space for just "system" stuff, such that if I just move the other three drives over to the new server and follow the process that you've outlined, I'll capture all of my old data?

Am I safer (or is it more straightfoward) just restoring all of the data from my 2TB external backup drive to my new setup, after which I could just format my current four drives and install them as fresh blank drives?

Thanks for all of your guidance.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:03 pm 
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mgannon wrote:
How can I be certain that there is no storage data on my system drive? Once I disabled the folder duplication for my Video Share, I went down to about 2TB total of used disk (out of a total of 3TB). The disk that is marked "system drive" currently shows about 189GB out of 750GB used. Is this a pretty normal amount of used space for just "system" stuff, such that if I just move the other three drives over to the new server and follow the process that you've outlined, I'll capture all of my old data?

Am I safer (or is it more straightfoward) just restoring all of the data from my 2TB external backup drive to my new setup, after which I could just format my current four drives and install them as fresh blank drives?

Thanks for all of your guidance.


The way WHS works now is non system data only gets stored to your O/S drive once all pooled drives are full. Even if you have some non O/S data on your O/S drive as long as you have duplication enabled when you do a recovery WHS will build off the duplicated data on the pooled drives. So really the key is to keep duplication enabled to make sure you don't lose any data that may be on the O/S drive

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:29 pm 
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OK, I think I'm getting it. Thanks again for the help.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:40 am 
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Allright - all my new gear showed up yesterday, and the new machine is pretty much fully assembled. Most of the setup is unchanged from my original post above, except that I switched from the WD Green 2TB drives to the WD Green 1.5 TB drives (given the much better $$/TB ratio). On Damian's suggestion, I also added a WD Black 1TB drive to the configuration that I'll use for the system drive. I also went with a 700W modular power supply from Coolmax (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817159089) which should leave me with plenty of power overhead to spare, even once I load this baby up with drives.

So after thoroughly reviewing the server recovery migration topics posted by Alex and Damian, I startred preparing my existing FrankenWHS for migration. A few weeks ago I hit the wall on storage, and had to disable folder duplication on my Videos share (about 1.6TB of DVD & Bluray rips and DV and AVCHD home movie footage). Since the Damian version of the server recover migration method (oriented to a DIY build) only moves the pooled drives over to the new machine, with a clean new drive for the system drive, his method depends on folder duplication being used on all pooled data. This presented a problem, since, as mentioned above, I had hit the wall on disk space, and had to shut down duplication on my Videos share. Also, it is important to note that I couldn't just add in one of my new 1.5TB drives, since my FrankenWHS only has a 4 port SATA controller, which is fully utilized with the existing 3x750GB and 1x1TB drives. So, what to do? To solve this problem, with folder duplication still disabled on my Videos share, and about 950MB or so of "free" space on the FrankenWHS, I told FrankenWHS to "remove" one of the 750GB pool drives, with plans to swap it out with one of the new 1.5TB drives. The removal process succeeded, but it took about 5 or 6 hours. I then physically removed the now unmanaged 750GB drive, replaced it with one of my new 1.5TB drives, restarted the server and the console, "added" the new 1.5TB drive to the pool, and re-enabled folder duplication on my Videos share. That's when I went to bed.

When I got up this morning, the 1.5TB drive was getting filled up, but it didn't look like things were completely balanced out yet (there was still a fair amount of disk activity on the new drive, and sporadic activity on the others - presumably drive balancing and duplication activity).

So that's where things sit right now. Hopefully when I get home from work tonight things will be all balanced out. If I've read Damian's elaborate post about his DIY Server Recovery migration correctly, I guess the next step will be to move the 3 FrankenWHS pool drives over to the new machine, with the new clean 1TB WD Black drive as the system drive. BUT - I'm not entirely clear on how to make the new machine know that the I want the new 1TB Black drive to be the system drive, as opposed to one of the other three drives that will be moved over from FrankenWHS - is this something that the server recovery routine will recognize automatically, or is there something special I need to do in the MOBO setup? Damian - your guidance here would be most appreciated. FYI, to the extent it makes a difference, my MOBO has 8 on board SATA ports - 6 are on an Intel SATA controller on the South Bridge, and 2 are on a separate Gigabyte SATA controller. I have made up separate floppy disks with the drivers for each of these in the event that they are needed, but is there anything I should be doing in the BIOS setup before starting the server recovery process to designate which of these drives is which? Also, are there any advantages to putting the system drive on one or the other of the SATA controllers, given that they are both native on the MOBO (i.e., is there a performance advantage to having the system drive on the Intel controller since that controller is on the South Bridge)? I'll also have a SATA optical drive installed, so that will use one of the SATA ports.

Lot's of questions, I know, but I'm feeling like I'm in pretty deep water here :shock: and need guidance from the "pros." After all, MSS.NET got me into this mess (I would not have set up a WHS in the first place without this site), so MSS.NET needs to get me out of it! :mss:

Thanks in advance for any help.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:08 am 
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So FrankenWHS might be coming alive soon!!! Regarding duplication, the reason why it was necessary is because you said you had hit a wall with your data storage, which most likely meant your O/S drive was being used to hold your "pooled" data as well. Without duplication when you moved your pooled drives over to the new WHS you would lose any data on the O/S drive. With duplication enabled any pooled data stored on your O/S drive would also be present on your other drives, so you would be fine.

As far as the O/S drive, make sure it is connected to SATA Port 0. When you start the server recovery it will ask you what disk to install the O/S on, and hopefully the Caviar Black drive should be the one to show. You shouldn't need to load drivers for the 6 ports (unless you plan on running in AHCI mode). As far as the other two ports, honestly I am not sure. When you first do the migration to FrankenWHS you won't be using these last two ports, correct? If not then if for whatever reason you need to load the drivers you can do after everything is set up.

You shouldn't need to make any changes in your BIOS unless as mentioned before you go with AHCI.

Let me know if i missed anything

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:31 am 
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dbone1026 wrote:
So FrankenWHS might be coming alive soon!!! ... Let me know if i missed anything

Actually, FrankenWHS (my current cobbled together Dell Dimension with the piggy-back P4) is the one that will be decommissioned. I'll have to come up with a snazzy (and less pejorative) name for the new rig (ala Shawshank and Andomeda). I was planning to use AHCI, so I guess I'll need to be prepared to load drivers. Maybe I'll try parking the system drive on SATA2_0 (port 0 on the Intel controller), the 3 pool drives from FrankenWHS on SATA2_1, SATA2_2, and SATA2_3, and the optical drive on GSATA2_0 (port 0 on the Gigabyte controller).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:38 am 
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mgannon wrote:
dbone1026 wrote:
So FrankenWHS might be coming alive soon!!! ... Let me know if i missed anything

Actually, FrankenWHS (my current cobbled together Dell Dimension with the piggy-back P4) is the one that will be decommissioned. I'll have to come up with a snazzy (and less pejorative) name for the new rig (ala Shawshank and Andomeda). I was planning to use AHCI, so I guess I'll need to be prepared to load drivers. Maybe I'll try parking the system drive on SATA2_0 (port 0 on the Intel controller), the 3 pool drives from FrankenWHS on SATA2_1, SATA2_2, and SATA2_3, and the optical drive on GSATA2_0 (port 0 on the Gigabyte controller).


Yeah, the name is the most important thing!!! If you do AHCI I think it gets tricky setting everything up. I never set up AHCI so can't be of much help, but I think Cavediver has experience with.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:50 am 
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AHCI is a lot easier to set up on an Intel system after the fact. There are a lot of guides out there on how to do it. If you want to set up AHCI from the beginning, you need to go into the MOBO bios and set the SATA ports to AHCI before you start installing WHS. Then have the drivers ready on a floppy to re-install twice during the WHS install. Some people have been able to do it from a USB thumb drive, but it's hit or miss and always works from a floppy (USB attached floppy drive).

For the amount of data you have on FrankenWHS, you can probably save yourself a lot of trouble and just do a fresh install of WHS on the new OS drive and add the AHCI drivers during the install. Then add new or freshly formatted drives to the storage pool on NEWMachine and copy the date over from FrankenWHS to NEWMachine. It'll take some time to copy the data over, but you'll have a lot more hair left when you're done. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:08 am 
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cavediver wrote:
For the amount of data you have on FrankenWHS, you can probably save yourself a lot of trouble and just do a fresh install of WHS on the new OS drive and add the AHCI drivers during the install. Then add new or freshly formatted drives to the storage pool on NEWMachine and copy the date over from FrankenWHS to NEWMachine. It'll take some time to copy the data over, but you'll have a lot more hair left when you're done. :D

Cavediver - thanks for the tips. I've thought about going this route, but the main stumbling block has been my assumption (wrong perhaps) that I would need to buy another WHS license to have the machines running side by side during the transfer. Given that FrankenWHS will be decommissioned after the new one is up and running, it just seemed like a waste of money. In the event of a complete blow-up during the server recovery migration method, I also have a full back-up of the whole rig on an external drive.

Am I right about the WHS license issue, or would I be able to run them side by side for a day to accomplish the transfer?

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