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Home Server Question

  • Backup
  • Servers
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
November 27, 2012 4:03:37 PM

Hi all,

I have maxed out the 2TB mirrored capacity of my WDMyBookLive Duo and want to upgrade to a more robust storage solution. Seeing as nice 5-bay NAS is around $2,000 I thought buying a full fledged home server would be a better option.

I have never run a server and I want to make sure I'm not getting in over my head in terms of maintenance time so please warn me if you think so.

I have several laptops and a desktop on my home network. I want to schedule automated backups of these windows 7 computers to a centralized backup location. Within this backup location I want a level of parity as well as a level of regular backup. My NAS is mirrored which protects against drive failure but not write errors or other issues, which is why I want essentially a mirrored backup location which is then backed up on a schedule to another hard drive for redundancy.

My question is, which should I buy as an OS for my server? I can afford to spend a bit of money if it's worth it.

1) Windows Home Server 2011
2) Windows Server 2012 Essentials
3) Windows 8 client (for use as a server)

I'm not interested in a linux/ubuntu server - I tried an ubuntu install once and it was frustrating.

I'm looking for the ability to expand my storage dynamically by adding a new drive, mirror drives, schedule backups of connected PCs, and use the server to dish out a few TBs of movies and TV shows I have to XBMC on various devices.

Thanks for any help.

More about : home server question

a b G Storage
November 27, 2012 4:27:55 PM

Just depends on how much you know. The home server is aimed at little to no knowledge and will baby step you through the setup. Windows server is a full blown corperate server and you will need to know how to setup shares user logins ect. The full blown server will be able to do more but you will have to know how to make it do those things. If you want set and forget get the home server as the new ones are ment to be headless and just sit there doing its thing once setup.

November 27, 2012 4:43:48 PM

It was my assumption that the main difference between a "server" version of Windows and a "desktop" version was just the ability to set users, roles, active directory, etc. If you are setting this up at your home, you probably will only need a single user account. You could probably do all of the functions you want with a few third party programs and Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8.

As a cost/project solution, I personally would go w/ Ubuntu, but that's just me I guess.
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November 27, 2012 5:08:03 PM

Well I'm happy to use this as a learning experience as I do with all my personal projects but I also want it to run the minimal amount of maintenance required as a NAS would. What features does WHS 2011 lack that Windows Server 2012 Essentials has?

I read something about WHS2011 not being able to combine drives into a single storage space as WHS2004 and Win8/server can. Is this true?
November 27, 2012 5:57:24 PM

On second thought, while the lack of pooled storage is a slight negative, I think I could find a way around that using a RAID controller or some software.

I'm starting to think WHS2011 is the best option.
November 27, 2012 6:44:08 PM

Has anyone used the software RAID control of WHS 2011? I have never used software-based RAID but from what I am reading online it seems to be the new preferred system?
November 30, 2012 2:23:57 PM

To follow up, I went with WHS 2011. The install was easy and it plays nicely with my other windows machines. The backup features work very smoothly. The only thing I would prefer is more fine-control of the backups.

I have 7 HDDs in my computer. 1 SSD for the OS, and 6 x 2TB HDDs for the data. 3 are for data and 3 are to backup each of those. So idealy I wanted that HDD 1a backs up to HDD 1b, HDD 2a backs up to HDD 2b, and HDD 3a backs up to HDD 3b.

Unfortunately I don't see a way to do this. WHS 2011 designates a disk as a backup disk and then handles where it will put the backups. So HDDs 1a-3a all back up together to whatever disk WHS 2011 chooses. I wish I could have each one back up individually to the disk I specify. But oh well.