Upgrading to Windows Home Server 2011 (Part 1)

I currently use Windows Home Server and I love it. Microsoft released the 2011 edition a few weeks ago and I am starting to figure out my upgrade path. Currently I don't have a massive amount of storage requirements. I keep all of my music, photos, and documents on my server. All of the data on my server, including PC backups totals about 500Gb. I have 3 hard drives in my system right now, one 200Gb Samsung drive for the OS and two 1Tb WD Green drives for the storage pool. I have most of the folders in my storage pool set to be duplicated so really I can only store about 1Tb of data. I use folder duplication as my primary means of data protection in case of a single drive failure.

In preparation for my upgrade to WHS 2011 I purchased an additional 1Tb hard drive and an external dock. I set WHS v1 to perform a server backup to the external drive. Once the server backup was complete I sent the backup folder to the cloud using Crashplan. I chose Crashplan because they offer truly unlimited online backup for a very reasonable price. I got an even more reasonable price by purchasing 4 years of backup and using a coupon. Here is where the first minor problem arose. Because of the slow upload speed of my DSL it took 45 days to complete the offsite backup. Luckily I started this project about 2 months before the RTM version of WHS 2011 was released so I had plenty of time for the upload.

I am going to reuse the two WD 1Tb drives for storage for the WHS 2011 installation. Initially I will set them up as mirrored drives. This will replace folder duplication which was a feature of Drive Extender and is no longer included in WHS. I also purchased two 160Gb WD laptop drives to use for the OS installation. I will also set up these drives as mirrored and will install them in a 3.5" to 2 X 2.5" drive enclosure I purchased form Newegg. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816215198&T). This will protect me against a failure of the OS drive, which is protection I currently do not have in my WHS v1 system.

Planning ahead about the order in which I install the drives will go a long way in helping me create an organized server. I will start with one of the 160Gb OS drives and one of the 1Tb storage drives. After WHS 2011 is installed I will use the "move folder" tool to move all of the shared folders to the 1Tb drive. Next I will install the second 160Gb drive and configure it as the mirror for the OS drive. Then I will install the second 1Tb drive and set up is a mirror of the storage drive. Finally I will connect my external hard drive and copy all of the data back to the shared folders. So that’s the plan, hopefully everything will go smoothly. If anybody has any ideas, suggestions, or questions please feel free to leave a comment.