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post #1 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I just bought one of the 24 bay Servermicro enclosures off Ebay that is referenced on this forum, and need a little direction as to what OS to run.

I searched RAID OS alternatives, and it's giving me a headache. Unraid, FreeNAS, FlexRaid, WHS, etc. Nobody seems to agree, and I don't know what would be best for what I'm trying to do.

Currently I have no server, just my main PC, an HTPC, and some laptops/tablets/etc (all running Win 7 for the most part). For the Supermicro file server, I'd like to put the two storage drives from the HTPC into this to take advantage of data backup (One 2 TB & one 3 TB currently). I also have a few 500 GB drives laying around I could throw in the Supermicro as well. I can purchase a couple of 2/3/4 TB drives if needed for parity/cache or whatever is needed. I would then add drives as needed. What I don't want to have to do is go out and buy 24 hard drives that are all the same size/vendor.

Supermicro server is basically going to house movie rips/pictures/home video/recorded tv from homerun prime, and then be accessed by WMC/Media Extenders/PC's. Basically a big file server that can stream content over gigabit network to everything else in the house.

Any of the programs stand out for this? Appreciate any help all.
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post #2 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 09:02 AM
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You're right. Not everyone will agree. All I can tell you is what I've done.

I've got a 12-bay server with about 9tb of data capacity. My server also acts as a DVR and is a working PC some of the time. I'm running W8 Pro 64 with classic shell (can't stand windows 8). For server I'm running Flexraid with drive pooling. Remember, the parity drive, which you will lose all capacity of, needs to be the largest drive in the array so if you intend to use 4tb drives I would recommend you pick up a 4tb drive and start your array using that drive as your parity.

I'm very satisfied with my setup.

Bob
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post #3 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 09:09 AM
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I have a 2U 12 bay Supermicro server that I picked up a year ago. I decided to install Windows 7 on it just in case I wanted to put in a Ceton tuner card at some point in the future.

I co-opted a disk drive from another PC to do it, but there is a way to install Windows 7 from a thumb drive if necessary. A year down the road I'm very happy with my choice. 7 had all the drivers needed to get it up and running. I've never worked with Linux and I was already taking on a big project, so I didn't feel like learning. I replaced all the the fans and put in a new power supply, so instead of a hurricane, it purrs like a kitten.

The Server isn't connected to a monitor or keyboard. I access it using my Ipad and Splashtop. It's a real luxury to have a full pc that I can off load video conversion and other tasks to.
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post #4 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 09:13 AM
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Forgot to mention, I did initally have Flexraid installed, but had to remove it due to stability issues. I'm not sure if it was Flexraid, or if one of my hard drives is failing. It was new, and has had no problems since I took it out of the array, so I'm pretty sure it was Flexraid.

At this time I'm not using any RAID softward. I've jut been backing up my files the old fashion way. Once done you will love it. It's a great feeling to have almost unlimited storage.
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post #5 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 10:00 AM
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Is you want WHS then Flexraid is a good option for you.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #6 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Is you want WHS then Flexraid is a good option for you.

I would also assume that FlexRaid would work on WHS 2011 as well right? I got lots of different server OS's to try out and still working on a solid solution. I like the solidness of Server 2008 R2 and I could run WHS 2011 in Hyper-V to handle all the client backup tasks. But of course its the matter of whether to run FR on 2008 R2 or on WHS 2011.
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post #7 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 11:07 AM
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If you don't have WHS2011 already I suggest you consider Server 2012 Essentials, it costs more than WHS but remember WHS is no longer evolving.
2012 will allow you to run a domain, vastly simplifying user/client admin if you have many PCs.

Flexraid runs great on 2012.
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post #8 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post

I would also assume that FlexRaid would work on WHS 2011 as well right? I got lots of different server OS's to try out and still working on a solid solution. I like the solidness of Server 2008 R2 and I could run WHS 2011 in Hyper-V to handle all the client backup tasks. But of course its the matter of whether to run FR on 2008 R2 or on WHS 2011.

I run it on WHS2011 so yes. biggrin.gif

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post #9 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Supermicro server is basically going to house movie rips/pictures/home video/recorded tv from homerun prime, and then be accessed by WMC/Media Extenders/PC's. Basically a big file server that can stream content over gigabit network to everything else in the house.

I'm running a server for a similar purpose (minus recorded TV), and use WHS2011 + FlexRaid (Pooling + Backup).

There's a bit of a learning curve with FlexRaid, but it does everything I need it to do.

Admittedly, I did have to rebuild it once, but I'm still very satisfied.
(just remember to turn off automatic updates in WHS)

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post #10 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 11:40 AM
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I tried flexraid on WHS when moving off WHS. I considered FlexRaid on regular win 7 as one solution as well as a few other solutions

In the end I went with unRAID. Main reasons:

  • Cheap to buy and try: $120-ish for the "pro" version of what ever it's called. You can test with free version with just a USB stick (and a spare drive)
  • Like the technology
  • Boots off USB stick - 10 mins to replace failed OS drive: no installing windows, driver, and then trying to get storage back online
  • Lots of available plug-ins
  • Multiple parity drives
  • cache drives (for fast upload and later copy to array)
  • Very active forum and developer community
  • Was never really "comfortable* with FlexRaid's company. Can't put my finger on the reason. I don't think LimeWire is much better: AFAIK it's pretty much one guy (or at least FlexRaid is)

I used to work with UNIX many years ago, but very, very rusty. You need very little UNIX skills (if any to use and install)

I'm running on my HP Microserver N36L. Streams 1080p to my media center PC just fine

Been using for about 6 months. Happy with the choice.

Hope it helps

Mark
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post #11 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the replies everyone -- I've narrowed it down to unraid or flex on top of WHS or 7. Did some more research and saw that Assassin has server guides now so I'm gonna see what those look like and go from there.

Thanks again,
Trig
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post #12 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 12:03 PM
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in regards to cost, WHS 2011 is usually sold at NewEgg for $30-$35 once a month, and the most FlexRaid will cost (depending on the Package you want) is $60.
Max price for the two is $110 if you can't wait for the sale on WHS (normally $50)

If you want plug-ins, (or other server-centric opportunities) take a look at this site:
http://www.wegotserved.com/
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post #13 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triglet View Post

Thanks for all of the replies everyone -- I've narrowed it down to unraid or flex on top of WHS or 7. Did some more research and saw that Assassin has server guides now so I'm gonna see what those look like and go from there.

Thanks again,
Trig

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438027/planning-to-rebuild-and-upgrade-my-30tb-whs-flexraid-media-server-information-requested/0_100

You may find value here: ^

I traveled long and hard and would be happy to share with you what I have learned.
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post #14 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

If you don't have WHS2011 already I suggest you consider Server 2012 Essentials, it costs more than WHS but remember WHS is no longer evolving.
2012 will allow you to run a domain, vastly simplifying user/client admin if you have many PCs.

Flexraid runs great on 2012.

I have downloaded Server 2012 to use for the 6 month trial, but the only problem I have is that it does not support XP clients for backup since I have two XP boxes. I have legacy software and hardware for some of the video work I do that will only work on XP, so upgrading to 7 won't be an option in that case.

Plus I need to test whether the Ceton (PCIe version) will work with 2012. I know how to do the manual bridging process to where I can share out the tuners to the clients.
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post #15 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 01:07 PM
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I'd still recommend WHS2011 if you can get it. It's very stable, and while it's not actively developed any more, because it's built off Windows 2008 R2, there's still massive support for it, and you can get it for a rock bottom price. Windows 2012 Essentials (the supposed replacement for WHS2011) is hugely more expensive and while technically more up-to-date, almost everything you need can still be done on the older platform. Also, 2012 Essentials requires you to setup a full A/D domain during installation, which is way overkill for the average home user.
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post #16 of 40 Old 08-22-2013, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_anderson_u View Post

I tried flexraid on WHS when moving off WHS. I considered FlexRaid on regular win 7 as one solution as well as a few other solutions

In the end I went with unRAID. Main reasons:

  • Cheap to buy and try: $120-ish for the "pro" version of what ever it's called. You can test with free version with just a USB stick (and a spare drive)
  • Like the technology
  • Boots off USB stick - 10 mins to replace failed OS drive: no installing windows, driver, and then trying to get storage back online
  • Lots of available plug-ins
  • Multiple parity drives
  • cache drives (for fast upload and later copy to array)
  • Very active forum and developer community
  • Was never really "comfortable* with FlexRaid's company. Can't put my finger on the reason. I don't think LimeWire is much better: AFAIK it's pretty much one guy (or at least FlexRaid is)

I used to work with UNIX many years ago, but very, very rusty. You need very little UNIX skills (if any to use and install)

I'm running on my HP Microserver N36L. Streams 1080p to my media center PC just fine

Been using for about 6 months. Happy with the choice.

Hope it helps

Mark

Same boat here. I tried whs2011, freenas, vortexbox and ended up with unraid. It has been stable for me and using a HP M N40L.

"Dang! You got shocks, pegs... lucky! You ever take it off any sweet jumps? "

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post #17 of 40 Old 08-23-2013, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tman247 View Post

I'd still recommend WHS2011 if you can get it. It's very stable, and while it's not actively developed any more, because it's built off Windows 2008 R2, there's still massive support for it, and you can get it for a rock bottom price. Windows 2012 Essentials (the supposed replacement for WHS2011) is hugely more expensive and while technically more up-to-date, almost everything you need can still be done on the older platform. Also, 2012 Essentials requires you to setup a full A/D domain during installation, which is way overkill for the average home user.

I wouldn't touch WHS2011. I own it and moved off it as soon as MS dropped it. I loved original WHS.

I get what you say about lots of support, but I still wouldn't use

I dropped it because of
  • Lack of Drive Extender (forcing you to buy StableBit, FlexRaid et al and I wasn't happy with any of those offerings). I know DE was pretty lame tech, but was easy for critical data
  • Massive problems with client backups from Win8
  • 64-bit client restore was an absolute nightmare

Regards

mark
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post #18 of 40 Old 08-23-2013, 01:34 PM
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I have no problem with WHS2011 and Flexraid biggrin.gif I like using something that is established and veteran and has much support already developed around it. Cutting edge OS is a headache.

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post #19 of 40 Old 08-23-2013, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_anderson_u View Post

I wouldn't touch WHS2011. I own it and moved off it as soon as MS dropped it. I loved original WHS.

I get what you say about lots of support, but I still wouldn't use

I dropped it because of
  • Lack of Drive Extender (forcing you to buy StableBit, FlexRaid et al and I wasn't happy with any of those offerings). I know DE was pretty lame tech, but was easy for critical data
  • Massive problems with client backups from Win8
  • 64-bit client restore was an absolute nightmare

Regards

mark

You have to understand, WHS 2011 was out before Windows 8 so its no surprise that you had problems with Win8 client backups. WHS 2011 is based more on Windows 7 structure rather than 8. Server 2012 Essentials has native support for Win8 client backups.

I did a test 64-bit image restore and had no problems.
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post #20 of 40 Old 08-25-2013, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I have no problem with WHS2011 and Flexraid biggrin.gif I like using something that is established and veteran and has much support already developed around it. Cutting edge OS is a headache.

Since when was Linux considered a cutting edge OS
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post #21 of 40 Old 08-25-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post

You have to understand, WHS 2011 was out before Windows 8 so its no surprise that you had problems with Win8 client backups. WHS 2011 is based more on Windows 7 structure rather than 8. Server 2012 Essentials has native support for Win8 client backups.

I don't dispute that, but the fact remains it didn't work, so others buying new PC's or upgrading to Windows8 are likely to have the same problem
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post


I did a test 64-bit image restore and had no problems.

Finding 32-bit drivers for my laptops network chip was, I think the problem
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post #22 of 40 Old 08-25-2013, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mark_anderson_u View Post

I wouldn't touch WHS2011. I own it and moved off it as soon as MS dropped it. I loved original WHS.

I get what you say about lots of support, but I still wouldn't use

I dropped it because of
  • Lack of Drive Extender (forcing you to buy StableBit, FlexRaid et al and I wasn't happy with any of those offerings). I know DE was pretty lame tech, but was easy for critical data
  • Massive problems with client backups from Win8
  • 64-bit client restore was an absolute nightmare

Regards

mark

There are many low cost alternatives to DE so that is not a reason to give up on WHS2011. Windows8 pc's backup fine for me and the only 64bit os restore I did worked ok too.

Itsa shame MS has decided to drop WHS, it works really well.

David
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post #23 of 40 Old 08-25-2013, 11:54 AM
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Hasn't support for Win8 been added recently to WHS2011? In my experience, it works fine...
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post #24 of 40 Old 08-26-2013, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Eiffel View Post

Hasn't support for Win8 been added recently to WHS2011? In my experience, it works fine...

I think so... I've used WHS2011 to backup Win8 since December w/o any issues.
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post #25 of 40 Old 08-27-2013, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Eiffel View Post

Hasn't support for Win8 been added recently to WHS2011? In my experience, it works fine...

Yes, WHS2011 (with the latest updates) fully supports Win8, and I've never heard of any problems restoring 64-bit O/S's.
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post #26 of 40 Old 08-27-2013, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_anderson_u View Post

I wouldn't touch WHS2011. I own it and moved off it as soon as MS dropped it. I loved original WHS.

I get what you say about lots of support, but I still wouldn't use

I dropped it because of
  • Lack of Drive Extender (forcing you to buy StableBit, FlexRaid et al and I wasn't happy with any of those offerings). I know DE was pretty lame tech, but was easy for critical data
  • Massive problems with client backups from Win8
  • 64-bit client restore was an absolute nightmare

Regards

mark

I too loved the first WHS, but it was getting very long in the tooth, and certainly the lack of DE was a huge issue for me in WHS2011, and caused a massive outcry when MS said they were dropping it, but it did open up a thriving 3rd party market for replacements. I waited about 12 months before moving to WHS2011 and selected Stablebit Drivepool once it reached maturity and reviews were good. It integrates nicely in the WHS console, and works very, very well. If a small outfit like Stablebit can do this, then lord knows why MS couldn't.

My biggest gripes with 2012 Essentials are;

1) Cost. It's stupidly expensive if it's being sold as a replacement for WHS2011
2) You have to use A/D, and have no choice in this (it puts quite an overhead on the server)
3) I would not trust one bit of my data to Storage Spaces. There have been some real horror stories with people losing data or SS not working as expected.
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post #27 of 40 Old 09-01-2013, 06:44 AM
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Having had to restore a Win8 64b client (and UEFI), I can confirm that it's doable with WHS2011... this being said, this was far from smooth sailing as I had first to find the Win7 drivers for my motherboard (Asus P8Z77) and be very patient for everything to be recognized (even if there was no suggestion to wait), before it worked. UEFI support was also a bit iffy, but it did work in the end.

Concerns of mine are the limitation to 2TB partitions (not an issue for me at the moment, but hardly future proof), the inability to backup the server on multiple drives (a surprising omission), sluggish backups and remote access, and lack of support for devices such as tablets (sliverlight is required to stream media remotely).

My vortexbox (and previously Ubuntu server setup) was significantly faster, even on weaker hardware, but lacked some of the features of WHS and I never reached the same level of expertise with Linux as with Windows, sadly.

I wish Microsoft were working on a new WHS (at the same price), or at last were extending support for a few more years.
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post #28 of 40 Old 09-02-2013, 10:20 PM
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I'm currently about to repurpose my wife's old AMD gaming pc into a server. I'm looking at doing FreeNas with Raid-Z1. I had to buy a few parts to bring it up to speed: max out RAM to 16GB,80+ bronze psu, 5x 3TB WD Red had, Nzxt Source 210 case. From what I'm reading FreeNas is very some to setup and just runs reliably out of the box.
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post #29 of 40 Old 09-03-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott750 View Post

I'm currently about to repurpose my wife's old AMD gaming pc into a server. I'm looking at doing FreeNas with Raid-Z1. I had to buy a few parts to bring it up to speed: max out RAM to 16GB,80+ bronze psu, 5x 3TB WD Red had, Nzxt Source 210 case. From what I'm reading FreeNas is very some to setup and just runs reliably out of the box.


FWIW, I looked at FreeNAS and chose unRaid over it. It's been a while, so I don't recall what the problems were: I think it was a problem getting Linux running

UnRAID is dead easy to install and runs from a USB stick
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post #30 of 40 Old 09-03-2013, 05:15 PM
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I'm not using anything in Linux. I'm just looking for something that's a set it and forget it. Everything I've researched about FreeNas points to being that easy.
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