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WHS 2011 and Large Drives - Best Practice

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OK, I'm positive this has been spoken to before, I did find several posts similar but none that put it all in the same thread.

 

 

My machine is running WHS 2011 and StableBit 1.3.6.7585.  I have 4 internal drives connected to the motherboard (SATA) and 1 USB3 drive (2 GB) attached to the pool.  There are 2 additional USB drives attached, 1 for C: drive backups and 1 as a (manual) mirror for a few folders in the pool.

 

I'm getting ready to remove two drives (1 TB each) from my pool and install 2 new 4 TB drives,  What is the BEST way to handle this?

 

Microsoft "server backups" are not an issue for me.  I do use that function to backup the c: drive to a dedicated USB drive but don't run local backups on the pool drives.  I consider the built in duplication plus an offsite mirror of the pool to be sufficient.  I hate the thought of having to recover from the cloud (would take weeks) but hope to never have to do it.

 

My plan is to slap the new drives into the hot swap bay of my Windows 10 machine, format them GPT with 2 equal sized NTFS partitions.  Once that is done I'll run an extended SMART test and assuming there are no errors install into the server and add the partitions to the pool.  Once the pool balances I'll do the 2nd drive the same way.

 

---->> Questions  <<-----------

 

    Is there a better plan?  

 

    My research indicates that WHS is fine with GPT and I like the extra protection against MBR failures it offers.  StableBit shouldn't care one way or the other should it?

 

    I don't HAVE to partition at 2 TB but if I change my mind about "server backup" doing it that way keeps this option open.  Is there any downside to partitioning the drives (aside from the microscopic capacity decrease)?

 

 

Thanks in advance for your advice and thanks for an awesome product.  I'm 34 months in without a single issue.  Flawless work guys!!

 

 

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I can only think of a few drawbacks partitioning 2x2TB HDDs but can hardly imagine these to be relevant IRL:

1. You can not store single files > 2TB

2. Assuming you would actually write to both partitions (instead of filling up one first), one partition will perform better than the other because one partition will use the inner cylinders where performance is lower.

 

I do remember a time when the latter issue was relevant. You'd get better performance out of a 1TB HDD partitioned as a 200GB HDD then a plain 200GB HDD, simply becuase the heads never had to move as much. But nowadays?

 

Personally, as a WHS2011 user, I would always partition in 2TB HDDs (at least until DP gets the grouping/string functionality) but then I do do a full Server Backup. In your case, you could simply do 4TB and hustle around a bit as, if and when you do want to use Server Backup.

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Short stroking. :)

 

I was just talking about this with somebody.  And yeah, you're better off using RAID or SSDs for performance than short stroking.

 

 

 

As for GPT? No issues at all.  

Stablebit DrivePool is aware of what physical drive the volumes are on, and will use different physical disks for duplication. 

 

As for smaller partitions, there shouldn't be any issues with doing so... However, Windows Server Backup does have issues with Advanced Format drives, so a lot of 3+TB drives won't work with Server Backup as well. 

And you can't specify multiple schedules... only one.  And adding multiple drives doesn't spread the data, it just uses both (for redundant backups).  But you can use the WBADMIN command line tool to do that manually. 

 

 

 

Basically, there really isn't a point.  Just initialize to GPT and use the full size of the drives for each partition. 

 

But it's really up to you, and you should be fine either way.

 

Thanks in advance for your advice and thanks for an awesome product.  I'm 34 months in without a single issue.  Flawless work guys!!

Glad to hear it!

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The only issue with WHS2011 Server Backup and AF drives I am aware of is in cases where the _backup_ HDD is AF AND connected through a SATA-USB hub that lies about the HDDs properties (many do to help compatability of 2.2TB+ HDDs with Windows XP). I am backing up to AF HDDs (4TB WD and 8TB Seagate Archives) connected directly to SATA and my 2TB Server HDDs are AF.

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The only issue with WHS2011 Server Backup and AF drives I am aware of is in cases where the _backup_ HDD is AF AND connected through a SATA-USB hub that lies about the HDDs properties (many do to help compatability of 2.2TB+ HDDs with Windows XP). I am backing up to AF HDDs (4TB WD and 8TB Seagate Archives) connected directly to SATA and my 2TB Server HDDs are AF.

I've seen it do that with internal drives as well.

 

But I've moved on from 2TB drives and WHS2011 a long while ago. So I'll defer to you on that.

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