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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Hey everyone,

At the mo I'm using an EX490 with an upgraded CPU. I have a Sans Digital 4 Bay E-Sata enclosure and have just bought a 4 Bay USB enclosure but im thinking about sending that back and building a new machine with a newer OS on it.

Firstly i'm thinking about using WHS 2011 as it seems fair more reasonable price wise compared with windows server 2012 essentials (problem is it's hard to find a good comparison of the both)

All i really want is something similar to v1 but takes 2+ TB hard drives and isn't as clunky and slow as the EX490 is.

I think i've found the case I want, its a LianLi PC-D8000 (Expensive I know but very much future proof as it takes 20 HDDs)

I need some guidance and assistance on hardware for the build. CPU/RAM I'm fine with its sata cards ect I'm unsure on as I dont know whether to use RAID (never used it before) or some kind of software based system similar to what v1 has where it duplicates specific folders (if this is possible?)

PSU wise, what PSU's have 20+ sata connectors on them? Motherboard wise anyone have any good suggestions?

I have around £250 pounds after I've bought the case (Hard drives i'm fine for)

Anyone got any ideas or some advice?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:29 pm 
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Now that's one heck of a loaded question and much of what myself and others may recommend will be predicated on personal preference. If you look below this message you will see my basic WHS2011 Server Configuration which has been working well for me since July 7, 2011.

That's a very nice case you chose and worth every penny you spent on it. Damian has one and is currently installing WS2012E in his enclosure and I am waiting to see how well it keeps his drives cool and which fans he stays with. I got addicted to drive trays so I am leaning towards another Norco 4U Enclosure but its a noise maker which is not acceptable for most home users. For me the important think is to keep my components cool and so I am willing to put up with the noise but I have no significant other here to annoy me about the fan noise and if I had to chose between a significant other and my servers the servers would win every time and I know I am not the easiest person to live.

As you can see I am using 3 Supermicro MV8's and depending on the motherboard you chose if you use these you may only get 2 of them to function. I can see 2 of them initialize but not the 3rd but the 3rd does work. Currently I have 23 Drives and an optical drive in my server. I am also running updated drivers which I had to request from Supermicro. I am not sure why I requested the updated drivers but it may of been for performance enhancements or some other minor reason for which I have forgotten about but I do recall the cards worked without the update.

I am using Stablebit Drive Pool which is more robust and friendlier than the DE in WHS v1. Running a Hardware RAID Configuration would be faster and a lot more expensive. Stablebit Drive Pool is an affordable easy to use solution without the complexity and cost of RAID. I have also added 4 TB Drives without issue but my motherboard has support for the larger drives.

I am currently running Windows Server 2012 Essentials in a test server and its night and day compared to WHS2011 and yet there are quite a bit of similarities but the Server Desktop looks like Windows 8. One of the big differences is that WS2012E only supports Win7 and Win 8 clients for backups and for those clients to join WS2012E they will need to be configured to run in a domain environment so that means you will need Business, Pro or Ultimate versions of the respective Windows OS. In WHS2011 you can back up a wider range of clients running Windows including the newer Windows 8 which is the same for your current server running WHS v1. In all fairness to WS2012E you get around the domain requirement but if you do so you will lose the ability to use its built in VPN feature.

I like WS2012E very much and the more I play with it the more I learn about it and the more impressed I become. I started playing with the VPN setup and its a really nice feature to have. With VPN I am able to backup my client offsite and have confirmed that the backups are automated the same as if I were at home.

Recommendation:

Since you own a copy of WHS2011 you can install that and set it up then play with it to see what its like. Then I would remove the WHS2011 Drives and install another set and install WS2012E which you can download and play with for free for a period of time to see what its like. Then you can best determine which Server OS works best for you and to form your own opinions on both Operating Systems.

Others may respond and offer their opinions and the more the better because it will help you to determine which direction to go. There are many posts on DIY Builds by others which I think you may find useful to help you chose which components to purchase.

My current WHS2011 configuration works but it may not be the best configuration for your needs I only point it out because its a fully functional server. The only thing not listed is that I have a 180GB Intel SSD for the OS and use a 320 GB Drive to backup the OS Drive both are 2.5" drives because that's what fits in the top of the Norco Enclosure. I also started drilling holes in the side of the Norco Enclosure so I could add more drives and I have my Email Drive mounted there.

There are a wide range of eBooks available from We Got Served and they have books for WHS v1, WHS2011 and WS2012E I find them to be well written and easy to understand but because I prefer paper they will cost you a lot of money if you print the entire eBook as I did with one.

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Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:24 am 
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Thank you for the very detailed reply.

After reading though it, I should make you aware that my server is only used as a media server holding my Blu-Ray rips and other various DVD's and TV series. I do use it to back up my desktop machine but other than that the VPN features and such would be a bit redundant to me as I simply have no use for them.

I don't think I want the expensive of having to pay £200+ for WS2012E as I consider it to be too expensive to justify as I wont use nearly half of its features.

Which leaves me with WHS2011. I just need to find a decent hardware configeration and I'll buy it and give it a test. Hopefully liking it and then be able to move all the data from my v1 onto something a little faster and less prone to errors (which I've been having a lot of recently from v1)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:27 am 
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WHS2011 will work for you but if you want to pool your drives and have file and folder duplication then you will need to install Drive Bender, Stablebit Drive Pool or set up a RAID Configuration. I use Stablebit Drive Pool myself and like it much better than DE which is built into WHSv1.\

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Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:38 pm 
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I think I will use Stablebit Drive Pool as I've read good things about it.

One thing that I am thinking is what PSU to use as my case will take 20+ HDD's thats a alot of SATA power I'm going to need but I wont be drawing much power from them. Most power supplies around 500watts only have a max of 5 sata plugs and even with 4x molex power with a double sata coming off that its still only 11 Sata power plugs in total?

What has anyone else done on this?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:38 pm 
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I think I will use Stablebit Drive Pool as I've read good things about it.

One thing that I am thinking is what PSU to use as my case will take 20+ HDD's thats a alot of SATA power I'm going to need but I wont be drawing much power from them. Most power supplies around 500watts only have a max of 5 sata plugs and even with 4x molex power with a double sata coming off that its still only 11 Sata power plugs in total?

What has anyone else done on this?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:15 pm 
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If you use backplanes or drive cages with backplanes it makes power distribution easier. On Highlander I am using a Corsair AX750 which is a 750W Modular PSU.

Your going to have to daisy chain extension power cables to make all the connections you need. I think a 500w PSU might be too small to power all those drives and while it may work I think you might end up having to replace it. Lian Li has backplanes which will reduce the number of power connections in the 2 and 3 port backplanes. The 2 port backplane only uses 1 power connection where the 3 port backplane used 2 power connection. Their backplanes use Molex connectors so you would need to convert the SATA Power to MOLEX. Not certain of how much added cost these will add to the build but they really should not be overly expensive since they are only pass through devices with no other capabilities other than making drive connections easier.

For me it was easy in the Norco Enclosure because I only needed to power 5 backplane to power 20 drives and the other 3 drives and optical drive are powered right from the PSU as well as the fans.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:39 pm 
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The 3 port backplanes are like £15 each so not much compared to the build, not a problem. As I'm a novice on this one, where do you attach the backplanes to? directly onto the back of the hard drives in the rack in guessing?

I might consider getting a 600 watt PSU for now and adding a 2nd PSU if needed at a later stage, ATM I only to power the mobo, and 9 hard drives so I'm guessing 600 should be plenty.

Yeah yo're Norco Enclosure looks nice but also waayyyy too expensive for my little home server :P


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:19 pm 
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That's right you have a spot for 2 PSUs but you will need a switch to turn the 2nd PSU on so keep that in mind. Actually the Norco 4220 is less expensive than your Lian Li enclosure unless you got an outstanding price on it but its not important because the Lian Li Enclosure is very nice.

As for the backplanes I am not certain where they mount but I believe the drives are installed from the front of the enclosure so if I am correct the backplanes would be mounted to the back of the drive cage. If your happy with the price and do not mind buying them in advance then it would be a good idea to install them before you populate the enclosure. I am not certain how difficult it would be to install them after the enclosure is populated even though it does have plenty of room in it to work on.

I am using what I believe are the same backplanes in my Lian Li PC-Q25B enclosure which I use to run my primary WHS v1 server. This was of course a downgrade in server size but it can handle 7 3.5" Drives and a 2.5" Drive so 8 drives in total which is more than enough for what its doing. Personally I love backplanes because they help you to keep your cable management neat and the same is for Modular PSU's which allow you to connect only the cables you need which eliminates a tone of cable clutter.

So when you do build your server keep your cable management in mind and always try to remember that if you had to service the thing a year or two down the road that good cable management will help you especially when you go to replace failed components so thinking about serviceability helps out a lot too. If all your cables are tangled up and one day you need to work on it your not going to be happy with your self.

Even at work I apply this because my machine controls are important to me and I never allow others who do not keep my controls in a neat and orderly to work on my equipment. Running wire from point A to point B and having it work is one thing but when its all mangled with other wires its a mess to troubleshoot later on but not just for me but for others who may have to work on it.

Also if you tie up cables which may prevent you from removing a device its always a good thing to create a label for the device with a reminder to remove the cable tie which will restrict extraction of the device. This is where a good label machine comes in handy and if you label your drives to remind you when you bought and installed them it helps you keep track of warranties. Down the road when you have 20 drives in your server you will appreciate the extra effort when a drive fails and you do not remember when you bought the drive or if its still under warranty or not before you contact the OEM for warranty replacement.

One thing I would urge you to do is to get a UPS to protect the server and install the necessary software to shut the server down after a short period of time if there is a power failure and the power has not been restored. Typically its best not to let the UPS Batteries drain down to less than 80% capacity before having it instruct the server to shut down. A UPS will reduce the potential for hard drive corruption which often occurs during a power failure when a drive is being written to and power is lost. I can't stress this enough and we are approaching the Thunder Storm Season here in the USA and with it will come many forum members having server issues. Not sure how things are there in the UK for you but here its bad but in my area we also get Tornados but fortunately the hurricanes go around the metro Atlanta area but the after noon thunder storms are a pain but knock on wood my equipment is protected and when the power is out I use the older UPS's to power low level lights so I am the only one in my area with power so to speak.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:45 pm 
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We in the UK are lucky as we have no storms that effect anything and its very very rare we have power cuts of any type, once a year if that to be honest.

"need a switch to turn the 2nd PSU on so keep that in mind." that would be to switch the PSU on which I didn't think about because of course naturally you have a switch at the front of the machine. How would you create a 2nd switch to power up both PSUs simultaneously?

I'm going to buy 3 backplanes now to hand my 9 hard drives and then when I need more I'll buy more. All in all it looks like it's going to cost me around £750 ish which is a bit more than I wanted but I guess I'm getting something that should be quite future proof.

My component list at present is:

Lian Li PC-D8000 - £300
Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 Intel Z68 - £76 (not sure on this mobo but looks rather decent for the price - its a SandyBridge one)
Intel Core i3 2120 - 3.3 GHz Dual-Core - £50-65 on eBay 2nd hand
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800 - £48
EVGA SuperNova NEX 650W '80 Plus Gold' Modular - £75
Supermicro 8-Port SAS/SATA Card - £94 (Recommended by yourself)

That's about the bulk of it, can't think of much more I would need. Any thoughts on what you might change ect to save a few pounds (dollars :P) ?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:58 pm 
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Your going to need the break out cable to connect the drives to the Supermicro MV8 SFF-8087 connector to 1-4 hard drives. This is an example of what to look for: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6816116097 This cable will allow you to connect your individual hard drives or backplanes to the controller. The MV8 will support up to 8 drives. I would encourage you to also get a drive to backup the OS Drive. If you ever have to restore WHS2011 you will be able to do so from the Server Backup Drive. WHS2011 by default will backup the Server OS drive twice a day or more or less frequently since its easily configurable.

There are 2 very different types of this multilane cable and how they work. The cable above is a Forward Breakout Cable which is used to make the connection from the controller to the individual hard drives. The other cable is a Reverse Breakout Cable and is used to connect the 4 SATA ports on a mother board and the other end the SFF-8087 to a backplane.

There is a big difference between the two and when your looking at the two sided by side you really can't tell them apart from each other.

Now I do like the MV8 and have had good luck with them. I do have 3 installed in my server but back in 2011 when I built it I did have one MV8 fail and had to return it. When you boot the server you will see the MV8 Post, reset and initialize the drives which takes a bit of time. I have 3 of them but only see 2 when the server boots but the 3rd is functional. Some have difficulty getting a 3rd to work but this was not the case for me. I did have to request update drivers from Supermicro but as I have mentioned already I forget the reason why but it was not because the original drivers were not working.

If you purchase a license and install Stablebit Drive Pool which I highly recommend you will need to watch WHS2011 because it likes to turn on Shadow Copies for each drive in the server. You will need to disable this for your Stablebit Drive Pool Drives. All other drives you can feel free to use Shadow Copies and set them up to be backed up much like the OS Drive.

I see the motherboard has an mSATA Port and I wonder if you have given any consideration to using it to connect a small SSD to it to boot the OS which I am not sure if its possible but might be worth looking into. I have a 180 GB Intel SSD running Highlander which improved OS Boot Times but more important I have some 3rd Party software running which use to take quite a long time to load and the SSD took that down to a fraction of the time it use to.

While I am certain you have reviewed the motherboard specs just make sure you fully understand how the expansion ports work when you populate them. Here is the specs for your motherboard I am looking at: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/produc ... id=4015#sp

Also check the RAM you have selected as it my not be compatible with your motherboard or if it runs it may run at reduced speed which means your buying more RAM then you need not the memory size but the speed. Again check the specs in the link above.






I think for your needs you will like WHS2011 very much.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Sorry misspoke on the RAM just read it wrong as the PC3-12800 is 1600 and your motherboard selection supports that.

_________________
Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:28 am 
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Hey,

Is this the cable I need? http://www.scan.co.uk/products/3ware-mu ... ngle-cable & im guessing you plug two of those cables into the card and then the other ends into the hard drives?

Do you think a 64GB m-Sata would be be sufficient? I've never used one before I'm guessing it's the same as a normal HDD just on an odd port (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showprodu ... -CR&tool=3)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:11 pm 
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The cable looks correct but at .5 meter in length it may not reach the drives so you will need to determine how long the cable will need to be to reach your drives.

I believe the drive size requirement for WHS2011 would be 160 GB to install the OS. The system partition on the System Drive is 60 GB alone. Some have worked around the issue to use smaller drives as the System Drive but this is not an area I played around with but it was done at the time when SSD's were extremely expensive. You may want to start off with a mechanical drive then later on clone it to a smaller SSD but for the matter of simplicity you want to work within the initial requirements of WHS2011.

_________________
Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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