Windows Home Server! Different Versions

WHSsm

I have been talking about Windows Home Server for some time since I have been using it since the original version. At first it seemed like a pet project from Microsoft thats on the side and has a cult following, seeing that a lot of people really do love it they have developed it forward and its only getting better. You can use it in different forms, in simple hardware setups to complex 20+ TB Storage as I have. Some people use it to control other machines throughout the house, to control the lighting system throughout the house, streaming movies and music to every location.

Now this is the best comparison I have seen yet of all the possible versions, for a prosumer WHS Vail is your best bet which is coming out in the next few months, I’m hoping at the end of the year at the latest. The Original WHS was based on Windows Server 2003 and has its limitations, and now with WHS Vail those limitations have been passed since its based on Windows Server 2008. Aurora is the more business oriented version with features that Admin want but its not Windows Server 2008, not that much. I can’t wait for Vail, I’m honestly waiting for it since I’m facing a few hiccups with my current setup since I have advanced it so much, as soon as its officially out I’m installing it and moving the data all around.

Link: HomeServerLand

Windows Home Server – Stage 4

This is one of the final stages of the Windows Home Server modifications, all other modifications will be on a minor scale. These are one the last major changes that I will be making for at least a few months.

Parts:

  • 5 Slot Backplane
  • 4 TB Western Digital Drives
  • 36″ SATA Cables

Tools:

  • One Thin Screw Driver
  • Pliers

WHS Add Ons:

  • Windows Home Server Disk Management – To get details regarding each hard drive status and temperatures, to replace any failed drive.
  • Media Connect Controller – It is an Add-On that automatically formats videos in a way to play through your X-Box 360 which can only play specific formats but through the Windows Home Server you can see all the different files (MKV, MPEG-4, DVIX, and AVI).

I decided to move the CD Rom drive down to the bottom and installing the new Backplane just under the current Backplane. The current Backplane is filled completely with 1 TB Drives, and so will the new one. I will be filling it up with four 1 TB Drives and keeping one open for later purposes and expansion. I currently have 7.2 TB which will soon be filled up with all the Anime, TV Episodes, and Movies that I have floating around in the network. I still haven’t consolidated my network map due to some technical difficulties which I will be discussing later. So the process of dumping data onto the server will take a little longer then expected but it shall be completed in a timely basis.

The first issue I had with this case is to remove the flaps that could bloke the insertion of the Backplane which took sometime. After cleanly installing it and taking some time to organize my CD-Rom wiring I had to figure out how to wire the power to the Backplane. At this point K came into the picture and started rewiring to his usual standard and turned it into a work of art. I know I did a decent job for the start but nothing close to K’s perfection. The SATA Controller and Port Multiplier were moved around to accommodate the extra 5 drives and cleanly incorporate them into the setup.

After that the SATA connection was made to the Backplane, finally all rewiring was finished and the process was to begin. We started the backplane without any drives to check if everything was operational which passed that test. Then I inserted the four drives into the slots, I cleaned up the table, got rid of all used junk, paper, and other materials. It took about 8 minutes for the server to boot up since it was still trying to figure out all the drives to be identified which was the same the last time, after that it booted faster. After booting up into Windows Home Server the process of duplication starts the process of Balancing the server so it starts shifting data round which takes a few days to complete this whole intricate process. I now created more folders and moved the data around to make sure they are located in the appropriate folder names.

I completed one aspect which is online access during the WHS – Stage 3 about a month ago and I do have online access, but again after my network complication I need to figure out how to do it again. It was great having access to all my files at a specific URL. I would like to start syncing my machine but I still have to wait for the Windows Home Server Patch to make sure there aren’t any more read/write problems. Overall this is a great asset for those who store their data and would like a centralized location. The way I have my Windows Home Server is for large media use, it could be used differently, I haven’t even backed up any machines yet but I am looking forward to fully utilizing it. More details and modifications to come.

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WHS – Stage 4

I have the server up and running, dumping files from three machines and the Infrant NAS. I have the Videos in duplication mode, so all my videos are duplicated on the server. Most of drives are in the Athena Backplane, most of it is in the storage pool except for one drive which is what I am going to be using to switch data between drives. Its faster to connect that one drive to the SATA drive of each computer and copy the data, then copy it over at one go by connecting it to the Backplane inside the server. Now to transfer the data from the different networks over to the one location, more drives to be added, and then there is the idea of combining the network.

Windows Home Server – Stage 2

So most of the hardware came in and K had the other half of the solution for this beast of a machine. I had all the 1 TB Drives but not all of them are going into this machine. I spent a good part of the day trying to rewire some of the items, but I did a horrible job so K redid it again.

The Hardware:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Dou 3.0 Ghz/4MB/1333MHz
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R
  • Ram: Kingstong Hyper-X 2 GB/PC800/
  • Graphics Card: XFX NVidia PCX 7200GS/256MB DDR2
  • Main Drive: Seagate 750 GB

After all the work that was done, it turns out that he case is too short. The Silverstone 1200 Watt PSU was too long in the case to fit with the Athena Backplane for the hot-swappable Hard Drives. At this point we went to Hawally to see what our options were for a big PC case with ample space. Other then that the Gigabyte mother board is fantastic for server needs with 8 Sata ports, 8 USB ports, it doesn’t have a graphics card so I picked up a decent graphics card. It didn’t matter much since this will be automatically connected to the system through remote access. This is turning into a monster of job, but I’m loving it and it keeps looking better.

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