Friday, November 26, 2010

New storage solution

Our Windows Home Server machine has had some problems.  It seems that the drives in the external ESATA enclosure become inaccessible.  After a reboot everything works fine, and when I validate the drives, the results are fine.  I am thinking that the various interfaces are all potential points of failures.  We have 4 drives in the ex475 enclosure, 4 drives in the external ESATA enclosure, 2 drives in an external USB enclosure, and one more USB drive.  Each of those pieces of hardware may fail, and can cause the problems that I am having.

I was thinking about getting a server enclosure, that can support all the drives internally, when the Vail version of Windows Home Server is released.  I would take that as an opportunity to upgrade both the hardware and software, and not attempt to upgrade my existing server, and potentially have the upgrade fail.

But this week, Microsoft announced that the new version of Windows Home Server would not include Drive Extender.  There has been a large community reaction about this, and Microsoft has responded that they are looking into it, but I am not sure what their response would be.

I would install linux on a computer, and use RAID, but there are some downsides to it:

  1. Maintenance is not as easy with a consumer server product.  I don't want to manage software upgrades or package dependencies.

  2. RAID requires more drive management than I want to do.  With RAID, generally the drives in the pool to be the same size, and to be upgraded together.  Drive Extender allows any size drives to be used, and then added later if necessary.

If Drive Extender is not part of the next version of Windows Home Server, I want to find a different NAS solution.  Maybe a ReadyNAS or a Drobo will work for me.  I just need to find one that has enough storage space for me.

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