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Hello,

I am making a large jump here, moving from Windows Home Server V1, to Windows Server 2016. I have been taking some time during trial periods of installing various NAS server OS's. The 2 that bring me here are Windows Server 2016 Standard (Windows Server 2016 Standard with the Essentials Roles) and WSE 2016. All of which are supported by Drivepool and in my testing I have been very impressed with Drivepool. My 1st build was without essentials and I soon realized that I didn't have the backups that Essentials provided. So I created a fresh install on another SSD, (pulling all of my drives) and after installing Windows Server 2016 standard immediately installed the Essentials as a role. I then installed Stablebit Drivepool and a second drive, and created my Storage pool using just the single drive for testing.

In the Essentials Dashboard>Server Folders  I used the move folders command to move the Users, Folder Redirection, etc., etc. to the storage pool I created. I then made a few test user accounts through the essentials dashboard at which time the User folders were automatically created in the Users folder (Users/Tom, Users/Test, etc.) During testing of the permissions from a client machine, I found I was able to delete the User folder (Users/Tom, Users/Test) I am not able to delete Users. And this is not what I would expect, and I am using many tools I am not familiar with, so please keep this in mind.

Does the Move operation into the Drivepool, cause some permissions issues? Or is this behavior caused by the way I am using Windows Server 2016 Standard with the Essentials Role added instead of using Windows Server 2016 essentials. I have run across posts from many people coming from WHS but I have not ran across post describing the issue I am seeing.

The items I value in my new home server are as follows (no particular order)

  • Pooled drives
  • Folder duplication to protect against drive failure (more flexible than raid solution).
  • WHS V1 type client backups
  • File shares for movies, music, work documents, user files, software, etc.
  • The ability to place a HDD into any Windows PC and have immediate access to my data in the event of a server failure.

The reason I am listing the criteria for my build is that perhaps Windows Server 2016 is overkill and it seems to have a steep learning curve. Perhaps it's time to bypass the Windows client backups I am used to and use alternative methods like ToDoBackup or Backupper to automate backups. This would allow me to use Windows 7 or 10 with Drivepool as a file share. I didn't expect that Windows Server 2016 would be easy, however, I have been using computers and different operating systems as well as servers for decades and it seems like it is overly complicated (multiple layers of permissions, forced folder structure for shares, automated tasks that only half-ass the basics). I digress, because obviously I must be doing something wrong as this is a new OS... Or am I?

I would appreciate your input and guidance greatly,

Regards,

Tom

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The only tidbit of wisdom that I can offer is what I've been told before about how Drivepool "talks" to the pool drives.  It merely passes commands to them like Windows would to any NTFS drive (although there are some "wonky" things NTFS does that Alex had to work around).  I wouldn't think this would interfere with regular copy/move/delete commands, even on system folders.  @Christopher (Drashna) is the real WHS/WSE/Drivepool guru however, so it'd be best to wait and hear what he has to say.

As for the rest of your criteria - even Windows 7 Pro + Drivepool can handle them, with the exception of WHS V1 style client backups.  The W7 Ultimate server I'm running on now (which I'm going to be upgrading to WSE 2016 soon) does all of them except the backup (currently using Macrium Reflect).  After I migrate to WSE, I *think* I'll be using Veeam for backups based on the research I've done so far.  If you haven't looked at it, it may be worth the time.

And while WSE might seem to be overkill in a lot of circumstances, I value it highly for the learning experience it provides.  Some of what it does is "next level" stuff, which you don't get to see in a standard desktop operating system.  That comes in handy for me since I'm in the IT field professionally, though it may not for a lot of people.  Because of that, I feel it's worth the extra effort.  I'm going to be installing it on top of a Hyper-V on bare metal...   just for the experience.  If you're into server based installations for any reason, it's good to keep up on the current popular platforms.

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For me, the client backups are what makes Windows Server worthwhile. File sharing, running a certain downloading client (that we'll not discuss) and media server etc. are nice extras (although that can be done on a W10 machine as well of course). I am currently at WHS 2011 and intend to go WSE 2019 (which as it turns out will be a SKU, but WS Standard won't offer the Essentials role anymore). It'll be a steep learning curve for me as well, which is a shame. But that is the one reason I am waiting a bit still and go WSE2019: It'll be longer before I have to go through that experience again. My main issue is that with WHS v1 (and 2011 somewhat) there were online resources aimed at, well, SOHO. With WSE2016 en higher that is far less the case. If you find one, pls let me know.

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Windows Server 2016 Essentials is a very good choice, actually!  It's the direct successor to Windows Home Server, actually.  The caveat here is that it does want to be a domain controller (but that's 100% optional). 

On 9/3/2018 at 3:56 PM, TAdams said:

 In the Essentials Dashboard>Server Folders  I used the move folders command to move the Users, Folder Redirection, etc., etc. to the storage pool I created. I then made a few test user accounts through the essentials dashboard at which time the User folders were automatically created in the Users folder (Users/Tom, Users/Test, etc.) During testing of the permissions from a client machine, I found I was able to delete the User folder (Users/Tom, Users/Test) I am not able to delete Users. And this is not what I would expect, and I am using many tools I am not familiar with, so please keep this in mind.

Yeah, the Essentials Experience won't really let you delete the Users folder. There is some hard coded functionality here, which ... is annoying. 

On 9/3/2018 at 3:56 PM, TAdams said:

 Does the Move operation into the Drivepool, cause some permissions issues? Or is this behavior caused by the way I am using Windows Server 2016 Standard with the Essentials Role added instead of using Windows Server 2016 essentials. I have run across posts from many people coming from WHS but I have not ran across post describing the issue I am seeing.

Depending on how you move the folders, "yes".  Eg, it will keep the permissions from the old folder, and not use the ones from the new folder. It's quite annoying, and why some of my automation stuff uses a temp drive and then moves stuff to the pool. 

On 9/3/2018 at 3:56 PM, TAdams said:

The reason I am listing the criteria for my build is that perhaps Windows Server 2016 is overkill and it seems to have a steep learning curve. Perhaps it's time to bypass the Windows client backups I am used to and use alternative methods like ToDoBackup or Backupper to automate backups. This would allow me to use Windows 7 or 10 with Drivepool as a file share. I didn't expect that Windows Server 2016 would be easy, however, I have been using computers and different operating systems as well as servers for decades and it seems like it is overly complicated (multiple layers of permissions, forced folder structure for shares, automated tasks that only half-ass the basics). I digress, because obviously I must be doing something wrong as this is a new OS... Or am I?

If you're using the Essentials stuff, you should be good.  

But you should check out this: https://tinkertry.com/ws2012e-connector

https://tinkertry.com/how-to-make-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials-client-connector-install-behave-just-like-windows-home-server

 

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First of all, I would like to say thank you all for taking the time to reply and or answer. I currently have an SSD which Windows Server 2016 Standard which has my shares as well as drive pool installed and I have gotten pretty far along in the setup and is pretty close to how I want it. Again, I realized I was missing the "sever essentials" backup system and I installed that. I believe the issues I was seeing is from the way the two flavors deal with file permissions. I initially had them set with Standard and when I added Essentials it added many permissions (per user and or group) to each file. Each mechanism allowing/disallowing rights based on that systems scheme. Which meant I had some doubled up and files that I shouldn't have access to - I did and vice versa for others. In short it seems like the most practical way is to perform a clean install and use which ever system to create and administer the shares - not both or a mix and match of both. I don't think this was a Drive Pool issue at all, simply put it was my lack of understanding of how the two systems apply user permissions.

 In my first install, I tried Windows Server Essentials and had backups running but did not like the strange folder structure, which is why I tried downloading and installing Standard and added the server role. I believe I could live with it, but the current look is so clean and that of course leaves me without the previously mentioned backup solution. I have checked out Veeam which looks VERY promising I appreciate the suggestion Jaga!

I hadn't realized MS had planned on removing the ability to add Essentials Role in the future Umfriend, is there anything in particular you are looking for in WSE 2019?

 

Thank you for the links Christopher, those are put together better than the tidbits I located in my searches. Currently I am trying to decide what I want to purchase, Windows Server 2016 Standard, WSE 2016...They are roughly the same price on Amazon and it seems like the Standard with provide greater flexibility for the future.  I am most certainly getting drivepool!

 

Thank you all again! Regards,

Tom

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Actually, all I want is what WHS2011 does but then with continued support and security updates and support for way more memory. In any case, I was planning to go WSE2016 at some stage but that will be WSE2019. I was just trying to warn you that WS2016 support will end, I think end of 2022 (2027 extended support, no clue what that means) and that going WSE2019 might save you a learning curve.

Having said that, and missing knowledge & experience with WSE 2012/2016, it may be that WSE 2019 actually misses the dashboard (if that is what is the Essentials Experience role):

https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/windowsserver/2018/09/05/windows-server-2019-essentials-update/

So basically, I don't know what I am talking about...

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10 hours ago, Umfriend said:

Having said that, and missing knowledge & experience with WSE 2012/2016, it may be that WSE 2019 actually misses the dashboard (if that is what is the Essentials Experience role):

RIP Essentials.  Rip WHS. 

2019 Essentials is a rebrand of the "Foundation" server SKU.  

It lacks everything that makes Essentials "Essentials".  That means no: 

  • Dashboard
  • Connector
  • Client Backup and Restore
  • Remote Access website (aka Anywhere Access)
  • Office 365 integration
  • etc

What it does give you?  A neutered version of Standard, without the need for CAL (client Access Licenses).  Which is a joke/slap in the face to the Home Server community.  (This is my personal opinion and not representative of Covecube)

 

If you want the WHS experience, ... that's not Server 2019, at all.  

If you want a cheap(er) server OS but don't want to deal with all the licensing involved with servers and are okay with some key features being removed/not present, then 2019 Essentials should be "good enough"

10 hours ago, Umfriend said:

I was just trying to warn you that WS2016 support will end, I think end of 2022 (2027 extended support, no clue what that means) 

Mainstream support (til 2022) gets updates to the "Essentials" code, and "new features".  After that, and until 2027, it is only security patches. No feature fixes, no new features, etc. 

 

15 hours ago, TAdams said:

  In my first install, I tried Windows Server Essentials and had backups running but did not like the strange folder structure, which is why I tried downloading and installing Standard and added the server role. I believe I could live with it, but the current look is so clean and that of course leaves me without the previously mentioned backup solution. I have checked out Veeam which looks VERY promising I appreciate the suggestion Jaga!

Yeah, the folder structure is because it's a domain controller (the sysvol and netlogon shares).  These are non-negotiable for Essentials.  The File History and Folder Redirection stuff is optional, but nice.  

That's why you're supposed to use the "Shared Folders" folder on Essentials. It mostly has all the folders that you want, and none of the system stuff. 

And Veeam is a very popular choice. 

15 hours ago, TAdams said:

Thank you for the links Christopher, those are put together better than the tidbits I located in my searches. Currently I am trying to decide what I want to purchase, Windows Server 2016 Standard, WSE 2016...They are roughly the same price on Amazon and it seems like the Standard with provide greater flexibility for the future.  I am most certainly getting drivepool!

You're very welcome!  Paul "Tinkertry" was one of the very active members of the WHS community, and he has a lot of good info on his blog. :)

My recommendation would be Windows Server 2016 Essentials.   Because with the Standard version, you're supposed to buy User CALs, as well. 
As for flexibility, there are only a couple of things missing from standard. And that's mostly data deduplication, which doesn't work on the pool, actually.  So, you really don't miss out on much. 

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