Questions and Answers - Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS 2011)

 

- What are the main reasons for getting a WHS 2011?

- Can WHS 2011 work for my business?

- How many Computers can be connected to the server?

- What can 1 TB hold?

- Can I add Hard Drives later?

- Can I add a Hard Drive by myself?

- Can I add a DVD drive?

- Can I customize my server?

- Can I upgrade components of my server?

- Can I upgrade from a previous version of WHS (v1.0)?

- Old WHS v1.0 vs. WHS 2011?

- Does WHS 2011 have Drive Extender?

- What is RAID?

- How about RAID 10?

- What is True Available Hard Drive Storage Space?

- What is an External Backup?

- Can I backup my workstations onto the server?

- How do I backup the server?

- AMD vs. Intel Processors and motherboards?

- Which processor would work best for my needs?

- What is a Swappable Hard Drive bay?

- How can I use a Swappable Hard Drive bay for Offsite backup?

- What is included with WHS 2011?

- Can you suggest useful websites for WHS 2011?

- Do I need a surge protector?

- How does WHS 2011 handle Hard Drives, Folders and Partitions?

- What happens if I need to reinstall WHS 2011?

- What happens if one of the Hard Drives would fail?

- Do I have to ship the server back for any repairs or just a defective part?

 

 

- What are the main reasons for getting a WHS 2011?

  Most common use for Home Environment is to backup all your home PCs and store all media in one place.

  That includes:

- Music

- Pictures

- Documents

- DVDs and Blu-Rays

- and anything else you want

 

 

 


- Can WHS 2011 work for my business?

Just because they call it HOME server it certainly does not mean that it is for home use only. Microsoft recommend WHS 2011 for any small business with up to 10 users.

WHS 2011 is based directly on Microsoft Server 2008 R2 (Their Big Boy of Servers) edition with some limitations imposed. Such as limit to 10 users, no Active Directory and some other Domain Based features.

The core of WHS 2011 is Server 2008 R2. Most programs compatible with R2 will work on WHS 2011.

From our experience WHS is perfect for small businesses with up to 10 workstations. Most of our clients are small business owners using WHS for number of years.

You can use RAID configuration to protect your data and/or external backups as well. Hot Swappable drive backup is a very popular option for an additional backup of the most critical data on a swappable HD which can be placed in an offsite location. Click here for more info.

User security is fully customizable. Remote access to files can be easily setup and full backup of all your workstation can be performed daily. Plus you don't need a degree in Computer Science to run it.

WHS 2011 has been working great for our own office and many of our business clients.

 

They are several server levels available from Microsoft. They are all based on the same platform of R2 Server.

The major difference between them is number of users allowed on the network and of course the cost.

 

- Windows Home Server 2011                               10 PCs

- Windows Small Business Server Essentials           25 PCs

- Windows Small Business Server Standard            75 PCs

- Windows Server 2008 R2 Version                        No Limit

 

All servers sold by us are compatible with all of Operating Systems Server Levels.

All servers listed include WHS 2011. They are fully installed, updated and in ready to go condition.

However, if you are interested in other versions of Windows Server Operating Systems please contact us for a quote.

 


- How many Computers can be connected to the server?

Limit for Users and Computers is 10 each


- What can 1 TB hold?

  30 Blu-Ray Movies
  165 DVD Movies
  500,000 photos
  16,600 hours of MP3 music
 

* Above is approximation only


- Can I add Hard Drives later?

Yes, but the process depends on your Motherboard and RAID level.

If you have a Pair of HDs in RAID 1, then you can add 1 or 2 more Pairs depending on empty SATA Connectors. Motherboards usually come with 4 o 6 Connectors.

If you have a RAID 5 with Intel Motherboard then you can have up 6 Hard Drives. You can add them one at a time if you wish.

If you do not have RAID then you can add drives into empty SATA connectors.


- Can I add a Hard Drive by myself?

Yes, as long as you know what you are doing :)

It is not hard, you just have to be careful not to damage or unplug anything.

If you choose to add anything to the server you are doing so at your own risk.


- Can I add a DVD drive?

Yes, DVD drives are not necessary for WHS 2011 normal operations but they are the most added item.

If you think you may want a DVD drive, it is best and probably safest to add it during assembly. We do offer a DVD Writer at a discounted rate.

Please see our Upgrade Page for more details.


- Can I customize my server?

Of course, just let us know your needs and requirements and we will be happy to come up with some options for your server.

You can email us at: sales@digitalsys.net


- Can I upgrade components of my server?

Please click on the picture of the motherboard in the Servers Page (auction).

Intel based motherboards usually are compatible with CPUs up to i7.

Ram memory usually can be up to 16 or 32 GB.

There are empty PCI or PCIe slots available for add-on cards.


- Can I upgrade from a previous version of WHS (v1.0)?

Well ... kind of.

There is no upgrade procedure available. But you can backup your data and restore it into a new WHS 2011.


- Old WHS v1.0 vs. WHS 2011?

 

WHS 2011 is a 64-bit operating System. It runs faster and you DO NOT have a limit of 4GB RAM as it is with 32-bit systems.

WHS 2011 is based on Microsoft Server 2008 R2, which is much better and more stable then Server 2003 (base for v1)

V1 had a Drive Extender, WHS 2011 does not.

Dashboard and Console (old Dashboard) look similar. WHS 2011 has better help Menus and step by step Help.

WHS 2011 looks more like Vista or Win 7, v1 was more of a XP look.

WHS has built in Media Server, v1 did not.


- Does WHS 2011 has Drive Extender?

No. Drive extender was a feature of old WHS (v1). Any Hard Drives in your server could be added into your continues storage pool, represented as a single drive (Usually D). You could then select which folder would duplicate as long as you had 2 or more physical Hard Drives connected.

In WHS 2011 data backup/redundancy has to be done in different ways, such as RAID or external backup.

With RAID 5 you can add more HDs to increase your storage size at any time. Number of drives in single RAID array is limited by number of SATA connectors on the motherboard (usually 6). After that you can expend your storage by adding an additional controller card.


- What is RAID?

In short RAID is a way of grouping Hard Drives together on a hardware level which provides redundancy in case of a hard drive failure.

If one drive fails, server will alert you and you can replace it without loosing any of your data and while your server is still running.

Most commonly used RAID levels are:

 

RAID 0 - Combine multiple drives into 1 drive. Data is recorded across all the drives at the same time speeding up read/write functions, but offers no 

              redundancy.

RAID 1 - Known as Mirror. Data is stored on 2 Drives at the same time. You loose 50% of storage space.

RAID 5 - Data is stored across 3 or more Drives. No matter how many drives you have you will only loose space equal to one drive.

              For Example: 3x2TB in RAID 5 will give you 4TB of usable space. 4x2TB will give you 6TB.

              You can add more drives to a RAID 5 array at anytime.

 

Here are some link with more detailed explanation:

http://www.technotricks.in/videos/raid-explained-in-simple-terms/

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID


- How about RAID 10?

 

RAID 10 - Is a combination of RAID 0  and 1, which means that RAID 10 has 2+ Mirror Sets connected together. It protects against 2 Hard Drives failing at the same time but only if those drives are on separate Mirror sets.

RAID 10 offers better performance then RAID 5 however loss of storage space to redundancy is at 50% and you must have at least 4 Hard Drives which makes this option expensive. For that reason we would only recommend Raid 10 to business customers where extra protection and extra performance would justify its additional cost.

 


- What is True Available Hard Drive Storage Space?

Manufacturers advertise hard drives space using rounded decimal system. 1TB=1000 GB, 1GB = 1000 MB, 1MB=1000 KB, 1KB=1000 bytes

However this is not what actual size of the HD is, because in computer terms 1KB=1024 bytes not 1000 bytes.

This formula rounding creates a discrepancy between advertised and actual storage space.

When Hard Drive is installed into a computer the storage spaces shown as available is actual/true size of the drive.

Formula for true hard drive space uses 1024 dividers rather then 1000 for each of the 3 levels (GB, TB, KB).

For example to calculate true storage space of 2TB Hard Drive you would do following:

2,000,000,000 (2TB) / 1024 /1024 /1024 = 1.863 TB of true storage space.

This applies to all Hard Drives on the market.


- What is an External Backup?

You can use any external backup devices, such as USB drives, for your server backup.

If your system has RAID that external backup is not necessary.


- Can I backup my workstations onto the server?

Yes, WHS 2011 will enter your workstation (PC) into a backup schedule once you will install a Connector on that machine.

Backup can be customized for each of your workstations.


- How do I backup the server?

If you have RAID on your server then your data is already backup.

If not, please use any external backup device, Swappable Hard Drive Bay or an extra internal Hard Drive.


- AMD vs. Intel Processors and motherboards?

AMD does have quality CPUs.

However, our experience has always been with Intel products.

We do use occasionally AMD CPUs on servers with no RAID or RAID 1 (Mirror), but for RAID 5 and any of the high-end servers we only use Intel CPUs.


- Which processor would work best for my needs?

Most of our servers are listed with Intel Pentium Dual Core G620 CPU.

It is an excellent processor, far exceeding any requirements for WHS 2011.

We can always upgrade your CPU all the way up to i7 family. Just email us for a price quote at sales@digitalsys.net


- What is Swappable Hard Drive bay?

It is a Bay which goes into the 5.25'' server slot (DVD Slot).

It makes it easy to add a Hard Drive into your server.

Hard Drives can be used to extend your storage space or as a backup drive.

 

 

- How can I use a Swappable Hard Drive bay for Offsite backup?

Many of our Business customers, as well as some Home users, take advantage of a Swappable Bays to create an additional backup of the most critical data in case of any disastrous event, such as flood, fire, etc. (knock knock).

You can place any size SATA HD (currently up to 4TB) into a swap bay depending on the size of data you will need to backup.

We will provide you with a trial version of a synchronization program, which you can later purchase directly from its designer (around $35).

Synch program will let you schedule periodic (daily, weekly, etc.) or real-time synchronization of selected folders into the HD in a Swappable Bay.

Program will monitor for changes to those folders and copy files over.

All files on the backup drive will be in their native format (not compressed) so you can take that drive and access everything as it was on the server. If anything happens to your entire server, you can connect the backup drive to any other Server or PC and access your files as they were in just minutes.

To properly maintain this backup at offsite location, you will need TWO Hard Drives and two swappable trays ($23/bay). One drive will be in the server being synched and the other drive will be at offsite location. Periodically the drives should be exchanged in order to keep backup data current.

 


 

- What is included with WHS 2011?

Besides what's listed in the servers ad/auction you will receive the following:

- Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 Package (Install DVD, Restore, Client CD and COA)

- Motherboard Manual

- Motherboard Drivers Disk

- Quick Setup Guide

- Detailed Receipt for your Purchase


 

- Can you suggest useful websites for WHS 2011?

Sure:

 

http://www.wegotserved.com/

http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/

http://www.superflexible.com/

 

 


 

- Do I need a surge protector?

Yes, a good one.

You should protect your investment and your data.

The best option would be an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

It doesn't have to be expensive. Battery uptime doesn't have to be very long. However, UPS devices protect server from power surges, voltage fluctuations and other potentially harmful electrical events.


 

- How does WHS 2011 handle Hard Drives, Folders and Partitions?

Hard Drives and Partitions: WHS 2011 needs an Operating System Partition (usually around 60GB - "C"), and the remainder of of storage space will be assigned to a DATA drive (usually "D")

Folders: WHS 2011 storage and sharing is based on Folders not Hard Drives. There are some preset folders, such as Documents, Music, Videos already installed on your server. You can add any additional folders at any time and share them with all or selected users.


 

- What happens if I need to reinstall WHS 2011?

You can use WHS 2011 Server's Installation DVD. If your server does not have a internal DVD you can use external USB DVD drive.

A lot easier and much faster is to reinstall from out Factory Settings Backup.

This option appears for 5 seconds on Boot Up. It will allow you to restore OS partition to its original state.


 

- What happens if one of Hard Drives would fail?

If you do not have a RAID system, your drive would need to be replaced and data restored from external backup.

If you have RAID 1 or RAID 5 your server will continue running but you will receive a message about hard drive failure. There are a few checks and fixes that can be run, but if the hard drive is not working it will need to be replaced with a drive of the same size. 2TB >2TB

You can then use RAID Manager to rebuild your RAID storage to a healthy level.

 


 

- Do I have to ship the server back for any repairs or just a defective part?

If you know what you are doing you can take out a Hard Drive, RAM or DVD drive and send it back to us instead of the server.

 


 


 

 

 

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