AVS Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am rebuilding my WHS2011 server soon and have been debating moving over to a linux build. I only use my server as a file server and don't use a lot of the features that are packaged with WHS so I am wondering if I am carrying around dead weight. I also would like to have the built in linux tools such as grep, tail and so forth to use in debugging situations and rather dislike the options in powershell. Has anyone else made this transition? If so what did you find you liked/disliked about the decision?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts
I think a straightforward server only system could do well with unraid or freenas. Both require you copy all your data to new filesystems though :(

I still use and prefer a windows server. I am running W8.1, but could be almost as happy with 7. Either way, I like the option for WMC and serverWMC to run on the server. I also run a few other programs like couchpotato, headphones, and sickrage which could be run just as easily in linux but aren't obtrusive to windows whatsoever. There's also uTor which is my preference for clients of it's kind anyway, and it's multiplatform as well. Most things I would like to run are available in Windows. For a couple years I really thought I needed multi-threaded sharing (NFS) so I thought of running WHS or WS since they offer NFS/SMB sharing side by side (on the same shares) or switching to linux. I did run a linux server for about two days, but I couldn't get networking steady and I was in over my head for fixing issues between the rest of the windows boxes and the linux server. I've never seen others have that issue with prebuilt style systems like FreeNAS or unRaid, but if you roll your own ubuntu server w/ zfs every problem gets into the "You have to know everything before you can fix anything" mode of troubleshooting. It's the wild west, and I find it totally manageable from a client/laptop perspective. It was not totally manageable for me at the time as a server. That was really my first "dedicated server" which I quickly re-installed with WHS. That lasted about a month and began annoying me to no end as well. Too much stuff was too hidden for me to configure the way I wanted even for something as simple as controlling the number of image backups it makes for windows clients. Rev3 was really W7, but not long after I updated it to W8 pro for $40 while WMC was still free. I clean installed it of course

I'm now running w8.1 w/ Flexraid's tRAID. It's the most stable it's been through the whole journey

If you choose w8.1 you at least have hyper-v if you want to play around with stuff. There's virtualization software as well, of which my preferred is vmware (their freeware "Player" works nicely for just playing around though I used it to run Sick, Sab, Couch, and headphones from source 24/7 for well over a year with no real issues other than me needing to manually shut it down before windows update shutdowns)

I'd still like to add something like Blue Iris or an android friendly model that works with old android phones running some app. Home automation is on the some day list, but I don't know what's available in that space yet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,909 Posts
If you play around with VM stuff (Hyper-V Core and ESXi are free) you can swap operating systems in and out at will. I used ESXi to "import" my WHS 2011 machine into a VM for the things I wanted, then set up new machines for other stuff. Since I wanted to do some really high-end server stuff, the RAM limitation of 8GB on WHS was too low for me. And I was able to repurpose that hardware - it is now the workstation I'm typing this on.

Speaking of BlueIris, I keep it on a separate VM so that I can easily limit how much RAM and processor it has access to. This way I prevent it from taking up all the processor, and I never have movie stutter due to my server being overloaded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
Personally, I'm really liking the direction that unRAID is going right now. The new v6 is a stable beta that's close to RC and it offers a lot more features than v5. There's a choice of file systems now (XFS and Btrfs as well as Reiserfs), support for Dockers and vitualization w/Xen or KVM guests, cache drive pooling. They're even promising with the next beta release coming very soon there will be VM management utility that will make it easy even for vitualization noobs like myself to set up guest VMs w/KVM and gpu passthrough. (Right now there's a plugin that's helpful but it still requires editing of your XML and config files which leaves it a little above my head still even w/all the great support you get on the unRAID forum).

So I like the flexibility to be able to do a lot more with unRAID now if you want to. In my case, I've got my original low powered unRAID server that I'll keep pretty bare bones while the new i7-4790 server I'm building will run unRAID 6 natively w/Dockers for Plex server, BTSync, and maybe a couple others + guest VMs for an Ubuntu HTPC (Plex Home Theater) and Windows 8 (for Video ReDo and a few other Windows programs that I'd rather run on my server than my desktop).

I poked around on this forum and others trying to learn about virtualization but it's only now that I'm doing this with unRAID that I'm starting to figure it out enough to even attempt a setup like this. Which when you get down to it is really the biggest selling point to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Does "rebuilding" mean that you are building a new box, but the OS installation is fine, or does it mean that your OS installation is hosed and you want to do a clean install?

WHS2011 can be moved to hyper-v pretty easily. You could install Win8 or even hyper-v server and run your existing WHS installation on top of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Does "rebuilding" mean that you are building a new box, but the OS installation is fine, or does it mean that your OS installation is hosed and you want to do a clean install?

WHS2011 can be moved to hyper-v pretty easily. You could install Win8 or even hyper-v server and run your existing WHS installation on top of that.
My HDD is on its way out so I wanted to replace it sooner than later. I've thought about going the ESXi route. A lot more to learn that way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
First step is to make an image of the WHS machine. For vmware, maybe try this one, or wait for more responses from people with more recent experience with vmware: http://www.vmware.com/products/converter

If your host OS is Win8, you might want to try hyper-v. Xenconverter can make an OVF format image which can be run in hyper-v with no issues. http://www.vmware.com/products/converter

Once the image is booted up and running in the VM...perfectly, you would need to learn how to use the existing data disks. For hyper-v, to use the entire disk, you set them as offline in the host OS (e.g., in Win8 disk manager), then "pass" them through by connecting each one through the VM manager.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,909 Posts
I did it a little differently. I got my ESXi machine running and ready. Then I set up a volume on the server. I pulled the data drives out of the WHS server, leaving only the boot drive. Then I ran Converter (above) and told it to copy my WHS server to the new ESXi host. It took about 15 minutes, but was fully automatic. Once it was up and running, I put in the data drives, and mapped them to RDM drives, this way I lost no data off the data drives.

All you need to do is the following and then any disk (not USB) you plugin in thereafter will be available for RDM:
In the ESXi Console window, highlight your server
Go to the Configuration tab
Under Software, click Advanced Settings
Click RdmFilter
Uncheck the box for RdmFilter.HbaIsShared
Click OK

Now you'll be able to map the additional drives as RDM quite easily.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,696 Posts
So, just to throw this out there...

HTPC, freaked out a few minutes ago, wouldn't play media, and upon reboot gave an "inaccessible boot device" error. It appears the SSD has possible gone ka-put.

Booting from WHS restore CD and restoring from last night's backup.

It's quick easy and painless and I love it.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top