WHS 2011 to SBS Essentials 2011 - HDD Raid backup and restore

rpmccly used Ask the Experts™
I'm debating upgrading from Windows Home Server 2011 to Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. I currently have a mirroring raid setup on the WHS and I would plan to use Acronis to image one of the hard drives in case I wanted to ever go  back to WHS. I would initiating install the trial of SBS 2011 Essentials but I would be doing this on that raid. My question, If I install the essentials on that raid and decide I don't want to purchase it and go back to my WHS, how do I do this on the raid? If I go back and image one hard drive with the Acronis image, do I need to do this on both for the raid? Not sure how I do this. Also, I was planning on upgrading my memory from 8GB to 16GB, what the limit for Essentials? I know WHS 2011 had a limit of 8GB. I would like to have a domain to control active directory, I assume this is on essentials? Along with RDP?
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I would assume you can host a website too but is that part of the premium?
Cris HannaSr IT Support Engineer
Since there is no "migration" in either direction, it's going to be a new install.
You should be able to get an external hard drive, attach to WHS box, and image the server/WHS using acronis placing the image on the external hard drive

Then install SBS Essentials clean to the RAID

If you wanted to go back to WHS, you would do a base install of WHS, the restore the image from the external drive

Personally I'd get an extra set of drives...may not cost as much as Acronis and the external drive

You should not be hosting public websites on either WHS or SBS Essentials


Yes, I would be doing a fresh install on Essentials. I really don't have much on the WHS so it wouldn't take too much time getting it up and running again. So forgetting the Acronic/image/backup portion of the question, what does essentials really offer me over whs?

Essentials still has a domain controller?
Can essentials do 16GB of RAM?
Can you still do RDP on Essentials?
Sr IT Support Engineer
Yes you can have 16 GB with Essentials
Yes you can do RWW or RDP
Essentials MUST be a domain controller, it cannot be part of a workgroup or Home Group.

You don't say much about the environment you are using this in.   If this is for home use, stay with WHS.   if you are using this in a business environment, Essentials is better choice.


Staying with WHS as it is suited for my application.

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