WHS @ 30+ Terabytes

This is one of the most complex Windows Home Server systems that we have built yet, and it drove us nuts. We started this project out in June of 2009 and didn’t finish it until March of 2010. We have reinstalled this system probably 4 times to have a clean install, its sensitive to install any Windows Home Server Ad-Ins once its working. We wanted the ultimate WHS Storage with the large capacity all in one unit, it would take a certain hardware setup to achieve this and thats what we aimed for. We suffered set backs, my system at one point just had a black screen, we switched out the motherboard, and nothing, we switched graphics cards, still nothing, changed the ram, and at the end it turned out to be a faulty power supply. Luckily my friend and myself were building the same system together so we just kept on testing as we went along, we got busy towards the end of 2009 but this was one difficult machine to get fully stable. I slowly kept gathering more and more 2 TB Hard Drives, we started off with 10 x 2 TB Drives and I just kept ordering a few when I saw a deal for them. Now that the system is operational it fantastic, we are doing some stress testing, its looking good with transfer speeds of 78 to 90 MB/s over the network which is the fast I have seen.

HW Configuration:

  • Norco 4220 Case
  • ASUS P3S WS
  • Intel Quad Core Q8200 2.33 Ghz
  • OCZ Vertex 120 GB SSD (Main HD)
  • G Skill 4 GB
  • 2 x Sata SAS Controllers (To Control 20 HDs)
  • ATI Radeon 7500

With the Sata SAS controllers we could use the extremely effecient and powerful SF8087 connectors to connect to each one of those back planes. Each back plane held 5 drives with 4 back planes for a total of 20 drives. Overall I installed 17 out of the 20 drives with e Western Digital 2 TB Drives to get it up to 30 + TB, and I have a little bit more room to go, I think I can get it to 36 TB with the last few drives. Going overboard with the storage is understatement in my case, but it has been a long and arduous trip with this machine but with a clean install and the right setup its very solid.

Now with Windows Home Server running on Windows Server 2003 it has taken a lot of steps forward Power Pack 3 and all the patches. Now I have two WHS servers running, one is extremely solid and this new one, planning on running one as back up to the other so I have two complete back solutions for the other. Now I’m just waiting for Windows to release Vail which Windows Home Server built on Windows Server 2008 which is a huge step forward. When that is out I’m going to just format and reinstall one of the systems and test it out.



A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!

8 Comments

  1. q8expat

    One can never have enough space…..

  2. May we know the exact use of your WHS? is it simply to share media across the network? or as file/network management?

    I might have some better solid and cheaper solutions for you!

  3. is it mac compatible? lol

  4. laziale

    Why you have to build and have all this hassle ! Just buy Hp Ex media home server ? 5 TB is enough to backup and stream media i think .

    Although i think having HTPC hooked up with a receiver and HDTV is Way better than the lousy streaming WHS throw PS3 or Xbox .

  5. fadibou

    Try to get Storage Foundation for storage management and it will make your life easier and it dynamic storage allocation and for this high number of drives it will rock your world.
    The basic version is free.

  6. k.thekuwaiti

    G-Funk
    1. Automated backup of ~10 computer; with an easy restore procudure (you boot using the restore cd and it pulls all data from the server).
    2. Monitoring and control of ~10 computer (RDP in remotely, check health/warnings)
    3. Streaming of media files over network with UPNP/DLNA capability (and transcoding using third party plug-ins)
    4. Online access of all media stored on server (to retrieve information from anywhere in the world)
    5. Price of the software wasn’t a concern .. cost of WHS is 25KD
    6. Ability to add different sized drives and have the server pool them together. + Support for RAID 1 over multiple drives and sizes.

    One very good benefit of WHS is that if the system dies through any failure (controller, motherboard, system); you can plug in the data harddrive and just copy the info onto a new drive. WHS stores the files natively in the harddrive.. plug and play to retrieve files (even on WinXP).

    B:
    Yup .. you can store files on and configure an automated backup of the system.

    laziale:
    5TB was not enough two years ago.. The HP is also very limited in upgrades and expanions.

    fadibou:
    Enough about symantec .. what can Juniper do for us now?

  7. Dayem

    Hi , I really like what are you doing . I have the Hp WHS . Its working just fine but im having difficulty accessing my data online .

  8. Tyler

    What kind of Sata SAS Controllers are you using? I’m looking to build a WHS that can handle 30+Gig File transfers that will not take hours to transfer.

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