Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

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Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:05 pm

Apologies in advance, I know there are some similar threads on this topic already... But I like having my own thread for stuff like this! 8)

As some of you know my need for vast amounts of redundant storage recently increased dramatically. ;) Sure I've already got a two bay NAS and I could upgrade my pair of 750GB WD RE drives to a pair of 2TB Reds but where's the fun in that? Also it would still be a little on the slow side... Besides, I want a real home server, I've never built one proper, something not just for storage but also for game servers and occasional number crunching - however also ultimately something reasonably power efficient and downright forgettable that justifies its own existence separate from my main rig or my HTPC. So with that in mind, here is my proposed build...

Case: Fractal Design Node 304 - love this case, this whole build is probably just an excuse to use it
HDDs: 3x WD 2TB Reds - for RAID 5 naturally, one in each of the three drive bays in the 304 works well for my OCD and [less importantly] my storage needs
PSU: CORSAIR CX430M - not super attached to this one but it's a new model and it's cheap and it's Corsair so why not?
RAM: G.SKILL (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 - 16GB so I will have plenty of room to play around with the RAM drive mentioned in the subject
Mobo: Intel DH77DF (H77) - not the most thrilling choice but I've built three systems with it so far and its nice enough
CPU: Intel i5-3450S - talked myself into this over the i3-3220 because I accidently bought an extra for work (that I will buy from work at full price! :P)
OS: Windows Home Server 2011 - missed it in its prime time but still seems like a solid offering for an MS guy

Thoughts? Here are mine... I think I'll be able to sleep at night installing the OS on the array instead of an SSD - we'll have to wait and see. :oops: RAMDrive for Minecraft is kind of a silly thing for a server running with only about 5mbps upstream bandwidth but what is MC for if not experimenting? :) Maybe WHS isn't a great idea? Should I just go with Win8 instead? :-? Will probably get this UPS - seems as good a time as any to finally buy my first one... :o

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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:11 pm

RAID 5 using the mobo?
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:13 pm

Indeed, but with the option to expand to 6 drives and a separate card later if needed.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:23 pm

Why limit yourself to 2.0 TB drives when larger models are available?
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:47 pm

A couple things... WHS2011 has an artificial hard limit on RAM of 8GB. M$ forced this you need to go up to small business server for more RAM.

If you are using just a few drives I highly recommend Drive Bender to do storage pooling instead of RAID. www.drivebender.com
You can turn on replication to get redundancy similar to WHS 1.0

there are issues in WHS2011 using drives larger than 2TB but you hit those issues on any volume exceding 2TB.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:52 pm

I had a WHS 1.0 server for quite a few years (Acer Aspire Easystore H340) then I built a WHS2011 machine last March. So if you have any questions.

Instead of a RAM drive for Minecraft consider a small cheap SSD? 60GB?

I used to boot my WHS from SSD but it failed and while waiting on RMA I replace it with a Hybrid MomentusXT, The footprint of WHS is small enough it is very speedy on the hybrid.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:07 pm

Arvald wrote:A couple things... WHS2011 has an artificial hard limit on RAM of 8GB. M$ forced this you need to go up to small business server for more RAM.

If you are using just a few drives I highly recommend Drive Bender to do storage pooling instead of RAID. http://www.drivebender.com
You can turn on replication to get redundancy similar to WHS 1.0

there are issues in WHS2011 using drives larger than 2TB but you hit those issues on any volume exceding 2TB.

What issues? GPT ones? Assuming you are not trying to boot from a GPT volume, as data volumes they should be fine?
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Flying Fox wrote:What issues? GPT ones? Assuming you are not trying to boot from a GPT volume, as data volumes they should be fine?


No GPT is fine for data. The main issue is with the backup of the server, the software cannot handle the larger volumes, hence I only use the built in backup for the boot drive 60GB partition in my case.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:15 pm

drfish wrote:Should I just go with Win8 instead?

Yes

But you knew I'd say that

If you like messing with storage arrays you might like Storage Spaces a lot. You'd never have to rebuild those arrays...just add more drives when you feel like it and you're good to go. I'm not sure all games like SS, though...had some problems with Ubisoft ones that may have been related. (On that note SS doesn't let you use it on the boot drive.)

WHS2011 is server tuned, so unless you like messing with sec policies and whatnot the default config is going to take some retuning for consumer use.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:12 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Why limit yourself to 2.0 TB drives when larger models are available?


Cost\capacity. Two 3TB drives give me 3TB for $340. Three 2TB drives give me 4TB for $330 (and maybe more speed).

Arvald wrote:Instead of a RAM drive for Minecraft consider a small cheap SSD? 60GB?


Not as much sex appeal. ;) Have run MC server from SSD before, still not 100% happy with performance. Have never played with RAM drives before so killing two birds with one stone...

Will drop WHS from plan I think. Thanks all!
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:51 pm

I know it's heresy to mention it, but there is another hard-drive manufacturer besides Western Digital. True, you might have to buy twice as many drives and run them in RAID1
because they're not as reliable as WD drives, but if they cost ¼ as much...
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:58 pm

I'm going to put in a vote that you get a copy of WHS - even if you just run it in a virtual machine. Assuming you've got other MS machines running at home, there is no simpler solution that I have found for bare-metal-recoverable (yes, that's a word) backups that includes versioning,etc. WHS combined with Crashplan is my backup solution of choice and I implore you to give it a shot (WHS) if you haven't before.

I guess this might be a silly question, but how are you planning to back this thing up? Having a few little ones myself I'm pretty paranoid about losing irreplaceable pictures of them growing up so my backups have backups...have backups. If you're shooting for 4tb of high availability (used loosely in this context, but you are giving up the capacity of a drive for redundancy here) storage, do you have an equal amount available to back it up? Or is this the backup to files/media stored elsewhere?

I've got a 3TB external Seagate USB3 drive that I picked up for $89 before Christmas and it's served me well. This is the first Seagate I've owned in about 10 years after being mostly WD and then Samsung (interesting note, I had 2 WD drives fail withing a week of each other after not having a drive failure in over 5 years) and so far it's been fast and run cool.

If you can, I would suggest trying out crashplan running on the server and either your work machine (if that's allowed) or a family member that lives reasonably nearby and hang a 3TB external drive off that machine for offsite backups. The nice thing I've found is that you can actually seed your backup with your existing files, take the drive offsite and reattach to the new machine and then just get any new files over the line in the future. I've been using that method a little over 3 years now with great results.

Sorry for the tangent there, we now return you to your originally scheduled programming.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:19 pm

There is no problem using 3 TB drives with WHS 2011, at least not as data drives.

Also, rather than Drive Bender, I would recommend Drivepool. I've used both and I find drive pool far superior.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:30 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I know it's heresy to mention it, but there is another hard-drive manufacturer besides Western Digital. True, you might have to buy twice as many drives and run them in RAID1
because they're not as reliable as WD drives, but if they cost ¼ as much...


But... But... Red stickers! Red. Stickers. :o

frumper15 wrote:I'm going to put in a vote that you get a copy of WHS - even if you just run it in a virtual machine. Assuming you've got other MS machines running at home, there is no simpler solution that I have found for bare-metal-recoverable (yes, that's a word) backups that includes versioning,etc. WHS combined with Crashplan is my backup solution of choice and I implore you to give it a shot (WHS) if you haven't before.

I guess this might be a silly question, but how are you planning to back this thing up?...


WHS could be more "fun" than just another Win8 install... Hmm... Regarding backing it up - I'm not sure. I have some storage online but not anything like an online backup service... A lot of the stuff on it won't be critical - Steam backups, backups of the other computers on the network, maybe some DVD rips. Important stuff like family pictures/video would likely be on more than one computer on my network but I would like to get something offsite setup. The server would primarily be the backup/redundancy itself but it would certainly be subject to eggs in one basket syndrome for some things (like the Minecraft worlds!)... Thanks for getting me thinking about it, I hadn't considered that by giving it roles beyond just being storage that it meant I would need to back it up too.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:40 am

The Windows 7 Backup in Windows 8 can backup specific files, system images, or system repair disc (full metal).

Windows 8 File History can backup the Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Music to a network location.

The Backup and Restore Center in Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate can do back ups across the network with a choice of specific files, system images, or system repair disc (full metal).

I'm not sold on the idea that WHS is worth it at all.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:59 am

The 8GB RAM limit is probably what will keep me from getting it. I've used the restore process in Wn7 from my existing NAS and it does work really well.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:07 am

In case you haven't purchased drives yet, I saw a Newegg deal for 3TB drives you might be interested in. They're not out of this world deals, but they're not bad either.

Seagate external USB3.0 3TB - I have this drive and I'm pretty sure it's a 7200 RPM drive in there, but over USB3.0 I think you're getting pretty close to bare drive performance out of these anyways
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822178117
Coupon code EMCNJJE23 brings it to $120 shipped

Your precious WD Red 3TB :)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822236344
Coupon code EMCNJJE28 brings it to $140 shipped

So I think the Seagate is the better deal, even if you rip the drive out you'll still have a nice external USB3.0 sata case. I don't have enough experience with the seagate yet to say if it's more or less reliable than the WD, but so far so good for me.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:43 pm

I did order the drives and the rest of the parts earlier in the week. Planning to go with Win8 for the OS initially but might play with VMware later since we use it at work and I know it pretty well. Will hopefully get a chance to do the build this weekend.
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Re: Windows Home Server & RAMDisk Minecraft Build

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:34 pm

She's done! I forgot to grab a pic with with the case on but I'll get that later. Did everything Friday night and it went super smooth. Been fussing with the software over the weekend getting everything just right but I'm happy. :)

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