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taflemer

System Requirements

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So, I’m the guy in a big truck in the right lane with his arm out the window flagging the more nimble and faster guys to pass.  Sorry for all the rust on my rig - washing just makes it worse.

 

My first WHS V1 build was on a HP Proliant DL380 G3.  It had 2 1gig network ports bound in tandem.  The HP bind program for Windows server worked just fine in WHS V1.  Two Xeon dual core processors gave plenty of power.  Finally, the dual power supplies and multiple fans made for a very reliable machine.  Over the years I have purchased used Proliant servers at a penny on the dollar and given them a second life.  All have exceeded my expectations on reliability.

 

I then added a DL360 G4, which is a slight upgrade to the G3s.  Same two network ports and faster CPUs.  The Proliants are great machines.  The upside is they are very reliable and many used machines are available on the market.  Server farms, corporate shops, and ISPs pull these out by the hundreds on a predicted life cycle basis,  The down sides are considerable.  First the machines are very noisy.  You can’t just hide one of these under your desk (and think).  Second, they are power hogs.  My power bill dropped $100/month when I shut off the DLs.

 

I purchased a HP Pavilion desktop with Win 7 home for WHS 2011.  The primary reasons were to reduce power consumption; stay in the WHS upgrade path; and to my understanding WHS 2011 would support multiple cores but not multiple processors.  I guess I could have pulled one of the processors in a Proliant.  However, that would be like running a Detroit Diesel 12v71 on only 6 cylinders.  Not for me.

 

Every review of WHS 2011 I read had complaints about the lack of a drive pool module.  So, I tried some and settled on Stablebit.  I am now glad Microsoft omitted this functionality, the Stablebit Drivepool works great.  Adding and removing drives works well and the drive stats are much more helpful than the WHS V1 drive module.

 

The DL360 G4 now serves as a full back up to Pavilion/ WHS 2011.  I start up the DL360 once or twice a month just long enough to complete the backup process.  Microsoft released a program call Synctoy that works very well to maintain current copies of all files.  It does leave little log files all over the drives to speed up the process.  For critical files there is double redundancy, file duplication via Stablebit and a complete copy on the DL360.  The DL360 sits cold most of the time.

 

At some point Microsoft will stop updates on WHS 2011.  Although I still get updates for WHS V1.  Looking forward, I don’t feel rushed, but there are some issues coming.  Window 8.1 does not play nice with the connector for one.  I also need to figure out streaming for Win 8.1.  I am kicking around next steps, WIn 7, WIn 8.1, WIn 10 and MS Onedrive.  The new Raspberry Pi 2.0 is slated for a Win 10 install.  There are some interesting options to look at.  

 

The Covecube products look like an essential part of any solution.  I know the Covecube products work with many versions of Windows and the answer to my question is hiding in plain sight.  I have not be able to find minimum system requirements for Stablebit and Stable Scanner.  IE: RAM, CPU speed….et al.  Hope somebody can point the guy in the slow lane to the right place.

 

 

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At some point Microsoft will stop updates on WHS 2011.  Although I still get updates for WHS V1.  Looking forward, I don’t feel rushed, but there are some issues coming.  Window 8.1 does not play nice with the connector for one.  I also need to figure out streaming for Win 8.1.  I am kicking around next steps, WIn 7, WIn 8.1, WIn 10 and MS Onedrive.  The new Raspberry Pi 2.0 is slated for a Win 10 install.  There are some interesting options to look at.  

 

The Covecube products look like an essential part of any solution.  I know the Covecube products work with many versions of Windows and the answer to my question is hiding in plain sight.  I have not be able to find minimum system requirements for Stablebit and Stable Scanner.  IE: RAM, CPU speed….et al.  Hope somebody can point the guy in the slow lane to the right place.

 

You should get Security Updates on V1 for a few more months, it's based on server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14, 2015.  You should be good on Security updates through January 2020 on WHS 2011, it's based on Server 2008.   As far as minimum requirements, most of folks started running it on WHS 2011 on an HP Micro Server N36l,  AMD Athlon II NEO N36L 1.3 GHz, this was dual core proc,  passmark of 809,  it came stock with 2GB's ram, but most upgraded to 4GB min,   I'm still running DP and Scaner on a HP Micorserver N40l, system performance is slow when you RDP, but overall it's still a capable file server. 

 

this made me laugh, a Intel Xeon Processor 3.0 GHz processor from the DL380 G4, has a pass mark of 398, much lower than I expected, the 3.6 has a passmark of 500.  makes the micro server look like a beast.

 

As far as confirmed minimal requirements,  I'll leave that for some one else.

 

Edit,  added "security updates", which is the most important for any server touching the internet. 

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I have not be able to find minimum system requirements for Stablebit and Stable Scanner.  IE: RAM, CPU speed….et al.  Hope somebody can point the guy in the slow lane to the right place.

We don't really have a minimum requirement.

 

Both products are designed to be VERY light on resources, in most every circumstance.

 

Neither product is doing anything that is very CPU or memory intensive in most cases.

The driver for the pool uses only kb of memory IIRC, and we run at a lower priority when possible.

 

The read striping feature leverages the cache for NTFS IIRC, so even that should be lightweight.

In fact, the only feature that I can think of that really uses a lot of resources is the "Network IO Boost", as it prioritizes traffic, and it is off by default.

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Microsoft makes the support lifecycle stuff overly complicated. 

So don't feel bad if it makes you feel confused.

 

https://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

 

Specifically, "extended support phase" means that no features are added, and that the product will ONLY receive security updates.

If you get the "Extended Hotfix Support through Premier Support" (paid), you will continue to receive non-security updates.

Additionally, there is no free support.

 

 

What does this mean for us? 

 

Well, for WHSv1, which is based on Server 2003 (not R2):

https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3198

That you will still receive SECURITY updates until July 14, of this year.

For WHS2011, that is based on Server 2008R2:

https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=14134

 

 

And I can absolutely confirm this, as my WHSv1 VM is still receiving new updates. They're all security updates though.

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Many thanks for the quick responses.  This got me going...to buy a copy of Stablebit version 2.  Will explain shortly.

 

HP Proliants have been a comfort zone for me.  Starting with a Proliant 1000 tower.  It was retired out of the banking industry and arrived with no cpu, ram, or drives.  Yes - there are other companies that manufacture servers, but I have followed retired Proliants for twenty some years.  I just like these machines.  In fact I like the HP Micro Server given it’s pedigree.

 

Moving to a less distant past.  I had a dedicated PC running X10 Activehome and servers for file sharing.  When I moved into WHS V1, I did it on a Proliant.  The added features of WHS were much more than I had expected.  Once I was comfortable with it, I moved X10 Activehome onto WHS V1.  All worked very well.

 

Microsoft then released WHS 2011.  Knowing that 2011 would only run on one cpu, i again looked at the HP Micro Server, but opted for a Pavilion with the thinking the I could return it to a desktop function when I got my bearings on WHS 2011.  Again I installed X10 Activehome.  All my fish were swimming in the same direction.  I was happy.

 

Microsoft announced that they would discontinue WHS and not much later X10 went bankrupt.  For the last couple of years I had this blank look on my face that says, “what do I do next?”  On top of this these, technology is moving to cloud computing and the internet of things.  You can see it in my face, the technology concepts are easy enough, my quandary is how do I get from where I'm at today to these new technologies.

 

My wife was in need of a PC upgrade, this normally comes with the added purchase of MS Office Pro.  This time we decided to purchase (subscribe to) Office 365.  The five user subscription comes with 5TB+1TB shared of cloud storage.  Considering the purchase price of Office Pro, I think this is a reasonably good deal at $100/yr.  Now my task is to get it all to work together.

 

We have a HP mini 210 netbook that has been sitting in the closet for a while since we puked it up to the point where waiting for Internet Explorer was a matter of going to diner and taking a nap.  I cleaned out pile of junk and added a new 2GB RAM card.  I even removed the WHS connector.  It is much better now.  I have purchased a copy of Stablebit version 2 with the plan to use the single drive feature to create a clean path between the desktop and Onedrive.  Stablebit should allow me to add or even remove drive space without upsetting the cloud links.  I even transferred a couple of ripped DVDs to the mini and streamed them to another PC.  Not bad.

 

For me, WHS V1 reaching end of life this year is not that big of a deal.  I start the machine make my backup and shut it off.  My expectation is that after July there won’t be any security updates.  If I get really paranoid I have options, shut off the internet during backups, setup a machine with another OS or even build a WHS 2011 machine.  The glide path for 2011 provides plenty of time to make next steps.

 

X10 Activehome on the other hand is looking more like a dead horse.  The new owners of X10 have been promising to revive the software for a couple of years now.  Not long before they shut off the servers, X10 had introduced an app for iPhone.  The software works inside without issue, but I want to move onto the internet of things.  None of the alternative packages really get me going, I am still looking.

 

Our Windows history is v3.11, 95, 98, 98 ME, XP, we skipped Vista, 7, we skipped 8, 8.1, and now are looking forward to the release of 10.  Also, NT, WHS V1 and 2011.  Micro Center is selling a tablet called Winbook TW802 with a quad core CPU, 2GB RAM, a USB2.0 port and a full version of Windows 8.1.  Lets see, internal battery equals a UPS, a wall wart equals low power, built in screen, no keyboard or mouse required.  There might be some possibilities.  The lack of a wired net port is not good.  I am going to purchase another copy of Stablebit and install to see how it works in the 8.1 environment.  As is this might work well for a Home Automation Control center or internet of things.

 

I may or not get to satisfy my itch to save another retired Proliant.  Many years ago Zenith had an ad showing a running tv with a pile of parts on the side and a statement that the tv could run even without these parts.  So, maybe I could strip down a G5 or G6 and see whats what with fewer parts or not.  Or there are options in between.  I am thinking that the Covecube products are going to be a key part of reducing mechanical overhead and reducing my power consumption while moving into new technologies.  Thanks.

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Microsoft makes the support lifecycle stuff overly complicated. 

So don't feel bad if it makes you feel confused.

 

https://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

 

Specifically, "extended support phase" means that no features are added, and that the product will ONLY receive security updates.

If you get the "Extended Hotfix Support through Premier Support" (paid), you will continue to receive non-security updates.

Additionally, there is no free support.

 

 

What does this mean for us? 

 

Well, for WHSv1, which is based on Server 2003 (not R2):

https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3198

That you will still receive SECURITY updates until July 14, of this year.

For WHS2011, that is based on Server 2008R2:

https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=14134

 

Oops, you are correct. Brain fart on my part.

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taflemer,

 

I was aware of X10, but I did not know that they had gone bankrupt! That is very sad news indeed!

 

And yes, HP makes some good hardware. When I buy prebuilt systems, it's usually an HP machine.

 

As for the security updates, if you're not using the remote access website on the WHSv1 box, then you should be okay, for the most part. But it may be a good idea to decommission it at some point. Especially, if you are going to go with Windows 8/10, as WHSv1 doesn't support those OS's and you won't be able to do a bare metal restore on those systems.

 

And if you're looking at getting another HP server, then I would HIGHLY recommend checking out the HP MicroServers. There nice, small boxes. :)

 

 

 

 

And I'm glad to hear that it sounds like our products are going to be used!

If you have any other questions about the products, don't hesitate to ask.

 

 

 

Oops, you are correct. Brain fart on my part.

Like I said, Microsoft makes this stuff overly complicated.

I wasn't sure about this myself, until I saw my WHSv1 VM updating still.

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Part of my job entails auditing large companies to ensure their IS and BC standards are up to snuff, and one of the things I look for are how they manage their products to ensure everything is supported, and how they plan to migrate off of products that are nearing end of support/life. I should have known better!

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Part of my job entails auditing large companies to ensure their IS and BC standards are up to snuff, and one of the things I look for are how they manage their products to ensure everything is supported, and how they plan to migrate off of products that are nearing end of support/life. I should have known better!

Well, in your defense, it's better to stay on a product that is still in mainstream support for large companies. A serious issue can be very costly, and being able to get it resolved quickly with Microsoft is a HUGE deal! :)

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One of the companies I audited is still struggling to migrate off of 3000+ XP workstations.

In this case, lack of prior proper planning does constitute an emergency.... Sadly.

 

And I can't blame them. 3000+ workstations is a huge job. I pity the person (or people) that got stuck with that task.

Especially if they don't have WDS or SCCM setup to deploy Win7 or higher to all of those systems.

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