Upgrading to Windows Home Server 2011

chris

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Jun 10, 2006
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#1
Last week, New Egg had a deal on Windows Home Server 2011. $50. I enjoy Windows 7, so figured it would be a good idea to update my HP EX495 to WHM 2011. HP no longer supports the EX495 and the ability to backup Macs using Time Machine reportedly breaks in Lion. It seemed like a no brainer, but not so much.

These servers pool hard drives, thus creating a gang of data. There is no easy way to simply update the OS utilizing the existing drive pool. Not having a connection to a monitor also makes things a bit tricky. In the end, I decided to backup all of my movies, media to my external 2TB drive. That's typically used for my MacPro backups, so I'm flying without a net while I perform the server migration. I picked up a Samsung EcoGreen 2TB internal drive for $70. I'm going to insert that into my MacPro and install WHS 2011. From what I've read I can install it and then pull it when it stops prompting for information. You pull the drive and then drop it into the EX 495. I'm going to pull all my drives to be sure I don't screw things up. If and when I do, I can simply drop in the old drives until I get the install correct. If all goes well, I'll copy all my data back over the network to the updated server.

If that all goes well, then I can simply add the hard drives back into the mix and they'll be added to the data pool.

Adding some RAM to also help make this a worthy update.

I gotta say, the EX 495 is a nice piece of hardware. It's a shame they've discontinued the product.
 

chris

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#3
what do you think is the most cost effective server to start out with? i have a sun os (the one that google used), but i can't figure out how to set it up so that i can control it.
The most cost effective is to build your own. I've never built a PC in my life, so opted for HP's MediaSmart. There were also portions of the software add-ons that made it attractive. HP built in media collection and support for Time Machine backups. Based on how I use my server, I really didn't need all that. I'd rather have an up to date supported OS without all the stuff. I tested plenty of the HP software, but the only thing I ended up using was Time Machine backups. From what I've read, that will be available on WHS 2011 via an add-on. Since I back up my computer locally to an external 2TB, I only have to worry about my wife's data. Until there is an option available, I just use a spare USB drive. Her files don't change much -- so it's not as if she needs a fresh backup daily, weekly or even monthly.
 

chris

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#5
I'm surprised you've never built a PC, Chris. Mine has evolved over the years as a homebuilt.
I've ripped apart Macs, but never built anything from the ground up. I'd say my biggest project was upgrading the processor on my PowerCenter Pro 180 (when Apple allow clones) or attempting to bring my inlaws iMac back to life. The older iMacs with the lamp style base are a complete mess to deal with.

I'm going to see how this process goes and I might consider upgrading the processor if it doesn't require reloading the OS. I'm really not enjoying the 48 hour backup scenario.
 

chris

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Jun 10, 2006
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#9
Wow, this was crazy. Completely unable to connect to the server, I tried yet again to install via the MacPro. After the first restart, I dropped the drive into the server. Fast forward an hour to about 8:30 last night when my power went out for 6 hours. This morning, I get a different dialog that hadn't seen when trying to access via remote access for Mac. I guess when the power came on, it chugged along with the install and it was the first time this thing was seen on the network.

During the process the day before, my Mac had even stopped working. Lion would refuse to log me in, saying it was an error. Not only did I have a problem with WHS, but I had managed to create a problem with my Mac. I dropped my SSD back into my Mac Pro, fired up VMWare and then tried to access the IP using remote desktop. No luck. I then tried accessing the IP from IE. Boom. I finally saw the green setup screen, which allowed me to properly setup a name for the server and password. I'm in the stages of letting it communicate the final stages of setup, which according to the dialog box, will take around 30 minutes. Crossing my fingers that the power doesn't go out, since this is the closest I've gotten to getting this dopey thing online.

This is why I've never built a PC. I don't think I'd fare too well.