Posted by: Colin Smith
Drive Failure, NAS, WHS
A few years ago I decided to purchase a WHS for my home. I had been looking for a storage device like a NAS that would provide redundancy for my critical data but I also did not want to break the bank and I wanted something easy to use. So I looked and looked and I finally decided on a WHS. I chose this for a few reasons. I am cheap and the price was right. I could get 4T in a WHS for a few hundred less then 4T in a NAS that I liked. Easy to use, it is Windows and I know Windows, and it would make redundant copies of my critical files but only the files that I told it were critical, as well as do backups of all my PCs.
This device has something called Drive Extender and this is the main reason I liked the platform. I could put 4 one Terrabyte drives in this thing and it would present as one large disk pool with shares on it. I could add and subtract shares and I could tell it what shares were holding data that I could not lose and what shares it would be OK if I lost some or all of the data. This meant that I did not have to lose at least one disk to Raid. I really loved this feature and I did also like the automated backups to the WHS and having the ability to do bare metal restore or object level restore was nice as well.
But last week the worst happend. I lost a drive. I know that this happens and it should not be a big deal since all of my critical data should be on multiple drives. The problem is that I lost the boot drive. Without the ability to boot I can not manage the shares or get to my data. What a pain. So I pulled all the drives out and mounted them to another machine. By turning on show hidden files, I was able to get to all the data on the remaining 3 drives and pull it all off. This was great since I did in fact not lose any data.
Now I have an issue though, I have lost my restore media so I do not have WHS V1 Install media to go back to. So my thought was that I will get WHS2011 and install that. No problem right? Well that is WRONG. WHS 2011 does not have drive extender anymore. MS tried to fix some bugs in it and they found that they could not make it the way they wanted it so they just dropped it. So now I can install WHS2011 and a third party tool that will do what Drive Extender did but then I have to purchase that as well. That software add in cost as much as the OS. I have a problem with that.
So now I am back at square one. Do I do that and keep the hardware that I have or do I just go get a NAS. Not sure yet but I need to make a decision soon so that I do not lose my data.