Windows 8 Home Server?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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http://www.maximumpc.com/article/windows/windows_8_home_server_guide

Has anyone read this article? Since M$ is killing WHS, this might be the best reason to snag a cheap copy of Windows 8.
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 01:43 PM
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I've read there's some performance issues still with Storage Spaces, but I haven't tried it myself.

Also, only slightly related, but I really hate HomeGroup functionality (which the article mentions as the network sharing solution). I'd much rather use a standard SMB share with separate user accounts (to limit access to specific folders). Of course, the legacy method is still present in Windows 8, so that's not an issue, just complaining about it anyway. biggrin.gif

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post #3 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 03:37 PM
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When I switched to WS2012 I removed HomeGroup from all my client PCs.

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post #4 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 03:49 PM
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Storage spaces was lightly discussed here sometime back, but I'd like if someone could truly clarify the points I'm about to make . . .

I think the biggest shortcomings for storage spaces compared with other frequently discussed options on this forum are
  • Spanned parity (each disk contains parity information with regard to the rest of the pool)
  • asymmetric volumes are confusingly managed (attempts to manage storage levels by writing to new volumes first, but starting with full disks appears to be problematic)
  • Power management and logical write management seem to be very lacking as far as user control

Comparatively, storage spaces seems like an upgrade to Disk Management's "Spanned Volume" offerings, but still not up to snuff compared to Flexraid or the LVM found in *nix
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 03:50 PM
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Since I've not used Windows 8 Storage Spaces myself, I should note that my understanding of the points I made above are primarily from this article http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/10/storage-spaces-explained-a-great-feature-when-it-works/2/
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 04:18 PM
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The performance of Storage Spaces was abysmal when I first tested it. That was on a Windows 8 beta or RC, though, so it may have improved since then. WHS2011+Flexraid still seems like a better solution than using Windows 8 as a server.
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post #7 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 07:22 PM
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post #8 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

The performance of Storage Spaces was abysmal when I first tested it. That was on a Windows 8 beta or RC, though, so it may have improved since then. WHS2011+Flexraid still seems like a better solution than using Windows 8 as a server.


There is a reason I don't recommend it. I have been following these things closely.
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 08:08 PM
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Do people just need Storage spaces just so everything shows up as being on one "drive" versus having to associate folders to each drive? I have an eSata enclosuer with a 3TB drive and another 3Tb drive inside the server computer. But I just use SMB and point the HTPC towards the right folder on the shared driver . All machines are running Win8 and it never fails to stream no matter what it is.
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post


There is a reason I don't recommend it. I have been following these things closely.

Eek, that is very scary stuff. Flexraid seems like a much safer solution.
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Originally Posted by jprovence View Post

Do people just need Storage spaces just so everything shows up as being on one "drive" versus having to associate folders to each drive? I have an eSata enclosuer with a 3TB drive and another 3Tb drive inside the server computer. But I just use SMB and point the HTPC towards the right folder on the shared driver . All machines are running Win8 and it never fails to stream no matter what it is.

Having it all show up as one drive is convenient for many reasons. I think the more important advantage of using something like Flexraid or Unraid, though, is redundancy. If one hard drive fails, all the data is still intact.
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post #11 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 03:45 AM
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The biggest shortcoming for me of trying to use Windows 8 as a WHS replacement is the fact that it does not have anything that comes close to the centralised, single-instance backup system for client PCs. And while it is true that Microsoft won't be developing WHS 2011 further, it will remain fully supported until April 2016, at which point it enters a further five years of Extended Support (e.g. it will continue to receive security fixes).

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post #12 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gcoupe View Post

The biggest shortcoming for me of trying to use Windows 8 as a WHS replacement is the fact that it does not have anything that comes close to the centralised, single-instance backup system for client PCs. And while it is true that Microsoft won't be developing WHS 2011 further, it will remain fully supported until April 2016, at which point it enters a further five years of Extended Support (e.g. it will continue to receive security fixes).

You can just download the free CrashPlan client and use that to handle backups for your whole house -- it's really pretty great for backing up to other systems.

Storage Spaces should not have been released by MS in its current form. It's dreadfully slow unless you are willing to tinker with the write-caching settings, but that makes the likelihood of data loss very high. If you're tied to the Windows platform, you will still want to either use hardware RAID or something like Flexraid.
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mcturkey View Post

You can just download the free CrashPlan client and use that to handle backups for your whole house -- it's really pretty great for backing up to other systems.

Storage Spaces should not have been released by MS in its current form. It's dreadfully slow unless you are willing to tinker with the write-caching settings, but that makes the likelihood of data loss very high. If you're tied to the Windows platform, you will still want to either use hardware RAID or something like Flexraid.

CrashPlan doesn't do a centralized de-duplicated bare-metal backup like WHS2011. I run the WS2012Ess backup as well as CrashPlan for off-site backup.

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post #14 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 05:17 AM
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I recently replaced my WHSv1 server with WHS2011 + StableBit Drivepool. Very, very impressed with this third party disk pooling software. It actually works better than Drive Extender ever did in my opinion.


Early on I was considering WS2012 Essentials + Storage Spaces for drive pooling, but having read the warnings and horror stories about this, I backed off very quickly. Storage Spaces is just to risky by the sounds of it, unpredictable, and not reliable. Wouldn't use it, and certainly wouldn't use Windows 8 as a storage server.
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post #15 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

CrashPlan doesn't do a centralized de-duplicated bare-metal backup like WHS2011. I run the WS2012Ess backup as well as CrashPlan for off-site backup.

It does, in fact, let you backup to a central server, and does support de-dupe -- I've been using that myself. So I'm not quite sure what you're referencing?
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post #16 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcturkey View Post

It does, in fact, let you backup to a central server, and does support de-dupe -- I've been using that myself. So I'm not quite sure what you're referencing?

Bare metal restore. You can't use CrashPlan to restore a backup to an empty drive. You have to have an OS installed with CrashPlan running.

With WHS you put in the client restore disc, connect to the WHS, and pick which backup you wish to restore. About half an hour later your client PC is exactly the same as the backup image. You can also select to restore individual files the same as CrashPlan. Backing up two or more PCs with the same OS only takes up the footprint of one PC plus any files that are different between them. That basically means it will only use up the amount of space of one copy of Windows and Office plus the differences. CrashPlan lacks the disc imaging ability.
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Originally Posted by tman247 View Post

I recently replaced my WHSv1 server with WHS2011 + StableBit Drivepool. Very, very impressed with this third party disk pooling software. It actually works better than Drive Extender ever did in my opinion.


Early on I was considering WS2012 Essentials + Storage Spaces for drive pooling, but having read the warnings and horror stories about this, I backed off very quickly. Storage Spaces is just to risky by the sounds of it, unpredictable, and not reliable. Wouldn't use it, and certainly wouldn't use Windows 8 as a storage server.

I did exactly that. I went from WHS2011 + SB DrivePool to WS2012 Essentials + StorageSpaces. I only use the Pooling feature and no sort of duplication or parity. No horror stories here. I do like SB DrivePool better than StorageSpaces, but I like WS2012 better than WHS2011. StorageSpaces lacks drive balancing in the pool.

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post #17 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 07:08 AM
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I rebuilt my WHS to a Win8 SS base system, migrated 20Tb of data over to it... Then, 60 days later I rebuilt it to WHS 2011 and migrated it all back again.

Win8 StorageSpaces is horrible! I had multiple SS crashes and data corruptions. In addition, what isn't really mentioned well, is the way the system works under the hood. When you build a storage pool, you're building a data set. The default setting for this data set is 3 disks. This means that it builds the parity arrays in sets of 3. So, unless you're adding disks in sets of 3, it doesn't operate the way you intend. Further, there's no way to modify this setting on an active pool, so you need to rebuild everything once you figure this out (unless you build it manually from the beginning).
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Bare metal restore. You can't use CrashPlan to restore a backup to an empty drive. You have to have an OS installed with CrashPlan running.

With WHS you put in the client restore disc, connect to the WHS, and pick which backup you wish to restore. About half an hour later your client PC is exactly the same as the backup image. You can also select to restore individual files the same as CrashPlan. Backing up two or more PCs with the same OS only takes up the footprint of one PC plus any files that are different between them. That basically means it will only use up the amount of space of one copy of Windows and Office plus the differences. CrashPlan lacks the disc imaging ability.
I did exactly that. I went from WHS2011 + SB DrivePool to WS2012 Essentials + StorageSpaces. I only use the Pooling feature and no sort of duplication or parity. No horror stories here. I do like SB DrivePool better than StorageSpaces, but I like WS2012 better than WHS2011. StorageSpaces lacks drive balancing in the pool.

Ah, I see what you're saying. To be honest, I have no use for full system images. Windows 8 takes all of 10 minutes to install,and I keep ISOs of all the software I'd want to install on my server, so throwing CrashPlan on and restoring at that point is easy enough. I can certainly understand where that wouldn't work for others.
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