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Windows Server Backup + 4KB Advanced Format / Native External HDD's

Currently going through hell trying to find a 4TB External USB HDD capable of backing up all of our data (This is SOLELY for off-site backup/ISO compliance. On-site backups are handled with a separate NAS).

I've just purchased 2x 4TB Seagate GoFlex drives hoping to use them alongside Window Server Backup.

WRONG.

Turns out the drives I purchased are reporting themselves as 'natively' having physical 4K sectors.

I have been hunting high and low for a 4TB drive that supports 512 byte emulation; I'm getting mixed reports about Western Digital drives (Will their WD Black 4TB drive in a USB3.0 Caddy allow me to format the drive as 512b sectors?)

Thanks in advance. This is REALLY causing me a nuisance! My next final step is to crack these two external drives out of their enclosures and put them both into a Netgear ReadyNAS or something to cover off-site backups. (Will this even work!?)
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UncleVirus
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UncleVirus
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1 Solution
 
noxchoCommented:
If you buy a box with a single 4TB drive inside then it is 99% native 4K drive inside.
So you need to have a look on 3TB or double 2TB drives inside. Yes, the box will be bigger and heavier - but these still emulate 512 byte.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I haven't seen a good drive over 2TB that works reliably with windows server backup. Even with 512e. Because of how windows vss preallocates space, 512e doesn't work like or would for small filesystem writes. You get unpredictable failures. The simple truth is if you want to got >2TB reliably, you need 3rd party software or need to upgrade to server 2012.
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Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi,

Just to echo what others have said, 4TB drives were designed with hardware required to reach such a capacity - that hardware is fixed (not alterable by software) with 4K sectors.

Is there a specific reason you wanted only 4TB drives, other than you have 6 or 7TB to backup?

Mike
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UncleVirusAuthor Commented:
Hi Mike, I'm painfully aware of the situation with 4KB sector drives; The only workaround in my situation is to try and find a drive from someone such as Western Digital that supports 512e (512 byte emulation). There is no 'list' I can find that clearly shows any 512e enabled drives and it's often quite cryptic determining which actual drive is located within an enclosure!

Western Digital's website/ticketing system for pre-sales does not appear to actually work, just annoy me further so I can't even ask them directly! I'm scouring technet posts and various sites on the net trying to get to the bottom of which combo will work.

Separately, would ripping these two 4TB drives out of their enclosures and throwing them into a NAS allow me to use it as a backup target for Windows Server Backup?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
You can use a NAS (with any sized drive) as a backup target, but there is a BIG catch. Every backup overwrites the previous one. It does not allow or do any incrementals.
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UncleVirusAuthor Commented:
Hi Cliff, that's is an absolutely *vital* feature with the amount of data I'm working with :-(

I've also got a full BackupAssist server license, will this be able to do incremental backups using it's own engine? Or is this a caveat with using a network share as a backup destination?

Not sure if I could possibly use iSCSI to improve the situation.. Hmm..
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I can't answer the backupassist question. I am only aware that the product exists. But the windows server backup has thus limitation. iSCSI is a possible solution, but presents a new set of issues. Most notably bare metal restores with iSCSI is very tricky because WinPE does not have the initiator to restore.
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UncleVirusAuthor Commented:
Ah, that's a damn shame... I'm not too fussed about the bare-metal, as long as we have file versioning etc I'd be more than happy.

I'm tempted to roll over to a robocopy-style script which should be able to cope with what I'm asking for, but not sure about the incremental side of things.
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noxchoCommented:
You have two options here:
1)Give a call to WD or their local representative (reseller) and explain what you need. They must have a list of drives which emulate 512byte.
2)Get a third party backup tool which does not depend on this limit. As far as I know Paragon Hard Disk Manager 14 Server Basic can do backup of 512byte system to 4K drive (AFD): http://www.paragon-software.com/small-business/hdm-business/features.html
With it you can store as many copies of backup as you want.
Separately, would ripping these two 4TB drives out of their enclosures and throwing them into a NAS allow me to use it as a backup target for Windows Server Backup?
Should work.
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UncleVirusAuthor Commented:
Massive shout to noxcho on the Paragon Software..! It's extremely well priced, am giving the trial a go now. I'll update you all on my progress, although seeding this data may take a little while :o)
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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