whs for more than 10 workstations?

Posted on 2010-09-15
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
WHS is built on Windows Server 2003 right?  If so, then more than 10 workstations should be able to connect to it right?

I want to use a WHS more like a dynamically expandable NAS.  I don't plan on using the backup workstation feature.

But I've got a client that has 21 workstations, and a SBS that has maxed it HD capacity.  I'd like to use the WHS as a way for them to grow their storage space as their needs grow over time.  So I don't need any of the other features of WHS.

So this being my scenario....would I be able to use a WHS as a NAS and not run into a problem with having more than 10 concurrent connectiosn to the WHS?

Also...can I join the WHS to the SBS domain?

Question by:Malamamoto
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LVL 95

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 33686960
No.  Legally, you cannot do anything more than 10 users or join a domain.  And we are not permitted to help you violate the licensing of the product.

How do you max out HD capacity?  You can get 2 TB drives now?  And external enclosures that can add many TBs more!

Author Comment

ID: 33687054
Is there a version or product that can privide the ability to expand storage space dynamically like whs?

They do a lot of video/photo editing on a day to day basis.  Which produces several GB of data on a weekly basis.  And they don't want to have an E, F, H, and J drive to look through when they're locating/storing files.  I don't blame them either.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33687076
So, setup a RAID (you should be using anyway) or use Junctions for categories of data.

D: drive
  2008 Data (folder) with drive mounted to it
  2009 Data (folder) with drive mounted to it
  2010 Data (folder) with drive mounted to it
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Author Comment

ID: 33687193
Can I keep adding drives to a raid array and it grow the size of a single drive within the server?  I thought once you set the raid array, you can't add more without adding additional D, E, F, G, etc drives.  So if there is a RAID 5 array with 4 disks and it's the D drive...  Would I be able to swap one disk out and replace it with a new one?  Or add a 5th disk?  ...all working within the D drive?

And what does the license agreement say for WHS?  What if I don't join the WHS to the domain and there are always less than 10 concurrent users accessing the WHS at any given time. Would they still be breaking the agreement?
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 33687250
Expanding RAID arrays depends on the RAID controller used.

On a Windows server, using Dynamic Disks, you can extend drives onto other drives in Disk Management (but make sure you have a good backup FIRST).

Or wait for Aurora in a few months ... it should use the same drive extending technologies - though I believe it does require you don't have another SBS server on the network.

Further, you do realize, you cannot have a drive above 2 TB without converting the disk to a GPT format.  In which case, why not just get two 2 TB drives and mirror them.  Cost is under $300.

Author Comment

ID: 33687340
RAID 5 would be the most economical right?  But all drives would have to be the same size or they'd lose available space.  I can't recommend to them that they ditch their existing drives that are currently working fine...and buy 2 2TB drives and mirror them.  Because what will I tell them when they run out of space in 10 months?  I'm looking for a perminant low cost for parts and labor solution. WHS seems like it fits the requirements.

You have to factor in the cost for labor that my client would have to pay for whatever solution I recommend.

A little background on this client and their data storage needs.  They are entertainers and do 5 shows 3 days a week, so 15 shows total.  At these shows theve entertain audience members who also participate, this shows get recorded and photographed and sold to the audience after.  These new videos and photos are constantly growing in size, they cannot be compressed and they can't be archived because they are made into video's and printed pictures for the audience.  And audience members will call back 6 months or even 2 years after a show and request the video or photo's.  So the data needs to always be a click away, and it needs to be able to grow almost infinate in size, and be economical at the hardware AND labor level.

If this were the requirements....would you still recommend that solution to them?
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 33687491
Windows Home Server is NOT appropriate here.  IT's licensing doesn't permit it.  And frankly, I don't think it will recognize / expand partitions above 2 TB (you typically need GPT disks for partitions larger than 2 TB).

How old is the existing server and who spec'd it out?  If it's new, then it was not appropriately sized for them.  If it's old, replacing the disks is PERFECTLY JUSTIFIABLE, since drives WILL fail - the older they get the more likely they are to fail.  And replacing them should not take long in most cases.

Yes, a RAID 5 utilizes the total number of drives multiplied by the SMALLEST drive.  So if you have 5 drives (n) - 3x250 GB and 2x1TB, you get (n - 1) x 250 disk space.

Based on this second hand information...
First off, I would NOT implement anything without redundancy for EVERYTHING.  WHS does not necessarily provide redundancy for everything - you have to tell it what to "copy".  Second, I would see how exactly they currently work.  I need to see file structure.  I would probably setup junctions to keep their data on one logical drive, but separate RAIDed disks.  OR, if there storage need was truly significant, I would probably recommend a low case SAN.  Also, what are they doing for backups?  The large amounts of data should be backed up.  I have a client that stores hundreds if not thousands of high res images per day and backs them all up to tape.  They keep 2 TB of data available and the reset is backed up TWICE to two tapes in case one goes bad.

Author Comment

ID: 33687746
Ok, WHS is bad.  :(  What would be good. :)

But I do believe that WHS goes over 2TB partitions.  You just can't install over a single 2TB drive.  If I remember correctly.

So is this your recommendation?
RAID 1 w/ (2) 2TB drives in the server?  I was not aware that you could add mirrored RAID arrays to a single logical drive via junctions.  I'll have to research that more.

They're going to be replicating their data "off-site".  So where would be the best place for them to store data backups?   Besides a tape?  I'm guessing that it shouldn't be on the same drive as the original.  ShouId I create a logical E drive and store the backups on there...or how about a NAS?  The backups need to be stored there and then replicated/transfered off-site.  I say "off-site" becuse they've got a large property.  So it won't be leaving the Gigabit LAN, but it will be far far away from their office.

Thanks for your help by the way!
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33687811
If the drives are on a RAID controller, junctions should be no problem.  If they are software RAID, I'm not sure (I avoid software RAID whenever possible).

There are no drives over 2 TB right now.  But MBR based disks and Dynamic disks cannot support partitions greater than 2 TB.

IF they have/want to keep the backups indefinitely, Tape is the cheapest, using LTO 4 or LTO 5. IT's expensive to start, but the tapes are cheaper than drives, arguably more reliable, and keep for decades.  It's expensive to put in as the drive is costly... but over time, especially if you cannot for YEARS overwrite the backups, then tape is cheapest.


Author Comment

ID: 33687838
I agree, HW RAID controller would be best for them.  No SW RAID.

"But MBR based disks and Dynamic disks cannot support partitions greater than 2 TB."
I just wanna be clear. Are you saying that if there were (4) 2TB disks in a RAID 5...that I couldn't creat a partition grearer than 2TB? Even if there is 8TB available?  Just making sure I'm on the same page.  :)

They've already argued against having tapes because of the manual process it invovles and the high start-up cost.  "tape is cheapest" doesn't apply when there is manual labor invovled.  :)  What would be the next best option for them to store their data backups?
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 35126481
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See my comment at the end of the question for more details.

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