I’ve been running Windows Home Server v1 on a repurposed Dell PowerEdge 400SC for about 2 years now and it’s been a great filer and backup server. When I found out that WHS 2011 was going to be 64-bit only, I tried out the beta on virtual machines to get a feel for if I would like it. Would it really be worth setting up a new server to run this new version? My answer was yes.
Even though I was comfortable on WHS v1, the 400SC was maxed out internally with three hard disks and two optical drives. Being a mini-tower, it was using more power than I needed to just do WHS functions. I had originally considered building a mini-ITX-based pedestal server, but when the base components added up to over $300 I checked on the HP ProLiant MicroServer, which I’d been following since its release. For about $320 I could get the server with the first GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD included. I decided to go that route, adding a 2GB DIMM, HP DVD/RW, and 1TB HDD. With the other two HDD bays I would install the two 1TB drives already deployed in my original WHS. The hardware arrived late this week and as of this writing I have decommissioned the old WHS and moved all the data and the HDDs to the new WHS 2011 server.
I decided not to try to use the MicroServer’s limited RAID. I’ve only got about 500GB of data (not including client computer backups) on the server right now, so I’ve spread that out between the first three disks, and I’m using the extra 1TB drive for server backups. Eventually I’ll add a USB or eSATA external disk for that function. I also plan on setting up Cloudberry Backup for WHS2011 to export my photos to Amazon S3. I’d been using a beta JungleDisk plugin for that on my old WHS. A review of Cloudberry Backup is coming.