Tag Archive: WHS


Some problems

Wireless network not operating at 802.11n 130 Mbps speed (only running at 802.11g 54 Mbps): I won’t go into too much detail- but the resolution was to change the security from WPA to WPA2 (seems crazy to me that the web interface doesn’t make this incompatibility clear).

ESXi / NFS problems: My virtual machines kept dieing and there were a lot of NFS events in vSphere "Lost connection to server x mount point y mounted as z". This must be related to the network maintenance over the last few weeks but I’m not quite sure why. I ended up fitting the new HP NC360T dual-port gigabit NICs to both HP Microservers then migrating the datastore to FreeNAS. Since then *fingers crossed, touch wood etc* I’ve had no problems!

I want to talk a bit about LACP but that’ll have to wait for another time:

L

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New Virtual Lab – Part 2

…continued from https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/new-virtual-lab-part-1/

So- in came the first set of bits for new server #1 and I begun piecing it together…

Issue #1- The motherboard doesn’t sit quite right on the spacers/chassis screws (because of the element of the cpu cooler which sits on the underside of the metherboard)- not really a problem, I just added a few washers (I expect I may’ve been able to find some slightly larger spacers too, if i’d looked hard enough).

Issue #2- My USB pen drive didn’t fit in the internal slot with the chassis together. Not to worry- i simply attached a header to the spare pins and plugged the USB stick into one of those ports still inside the case.

Issue #3- When i powered up the machine it was pretty loud. I checked and believe this to be because the Akasa cooler (AK-CCE-7107BS) only has a 3 pin header so doesn’t support pulse-width-modulation (PWM) and effectively runs at full speed all of the time! Fortunately the other cooler (Gelid Slim Silence IPlus Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler) had the correct 4 pin connector and when hooked up, supported PWM and ran nice and quiet!

Issue #4- I intend to run the server “headless” so one of the great features of the X8-SiL-F motherboard is the on-board IPMI. Unfortunately when i tried to connect with the default username/password “ADMIN” / “ADMIN” access was denied. I downloaded a copy of the latest firmware from the Supermicro site and flashed using:

dpupdate.exe -f SMT_SX_250.bin -r n

The -r n parameter telling it to reset to factory settings. Voila- I could now login via the web-interface or windows IPMI tool using the default login credentials (“ADMIN” / “ADMIN”).

ESXi 4.1 installed like a charm but i’ve had a little trouble trying to deploy my first Virtual Machine (ESXi management network losing connectivity and/or the hypervisor crashing)- I think this might be because i’m using old knackered network cables! I will replace them and hopefully update tomorrow in Part 3.

The 2nd of these servers is on route and hopefully be delivered before the weekend.

My next question is what virtual machines should i configure?

I definitely need a vCenter server
I definitely need at least one SQL server (possibly 2 or 3 as i’d like to experiment with replication)
I definitely need at least one web server (IIS)
I definitely want to get trixbox back up and running
I am considering experimenting with pfSense or possibly untangle?
I also need a local dns server but think that might best sit on physical hardware or i’ll get problems with the hypervisor being unable to query DNS before the VM has started?
My fileserver currently runs WHS2011- So I would also like a WHS2011 VM to test the “Drive Extender” replacements on (however I realize I can’t really test performance here so might have to give that a miss).
Also, i think that OSX Server might run on ESXi- and i’d quite like to have a proper (non-hacked) time machine backup store configured so this might be the right route to go down…

L

I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to try and create a script (if no-one beat me to it) to automate the process of configuring a samba share to be used with Time Machine. I’ve had a go…

Here is the automator script: http://www.tickett.net/downloads/setup_samba_for_time_machine.zip

There are still a few steps required but it removes the need to open the terminal and lookup your computer name, mac address etc

1. Mount your samba share
2. Right click the setup_samba_for_time_machine automator script (downloaded above) and select Open With, Automator Runner

3. Select your samba share mount point, click choose

4. Wait a minute and you should see a message similar to above. Now launch Time Machine and point at the samba share!

I’ve never used Automator before so I expect the script can be improved considerably… I expect there are currently a few limitations:

  • The .sparsebundle file must not already exist
  • Your computer name must not contain any spaces
  • Others?

I have also seen an error when trying to backup one of my Macs that the image isn’t big enough even though it is set to the same size as the hard disk drive? (Should we be making the .sparsebundle image larger than the hdd size?)

Feel free to modify the script and please feedback and changes/comments etc- I will most likely blog later about the way the script works (I found it quite hard using google to solve issues such as: How do I determine the size of the hard disk drive? How do I display a simple message/popup/dialog?)

L

*Update* I have written a script to automate the process

*Update* I recommend considering ways to avoid wasting space with your backups

This is an update on my earlier post after finding another article: http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/18462-getting-mac-backups-to-work/

1. Configure a share on the server ensuring you have credentials for a user with read+write permission
2. Make a note of your ethernet mac address (found in network utility). Regardless of the interface you will be using for the backup this must be your ethernet mac address!

and your computer name (found in sharing)

3. From the terminal execute the following command:
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
4. From Disk Utility click new image (select custom size and enter your hard disk size in GB, replace YYY with your computer name (from above) and ZZZ with your mac address (from above, dropping the separator- e.g. C82A140BCAF2), format = mac os extended (journaled), encryption = none, partitions = single partition – apple partition map, image format = sparse bundle disk image):

5. Mount your samba share from finder (Connect To Server from the Go menu)

6. Copy the .sparsebundle file you just created from the desktop to your samba share
7. Launch Time Machine, click Select Disk and choose the samba share. The backup should start in 120s!

There is talk of a company called Orbital Technologies creating an add-in to do this automatically http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/02/21/windows-home-server-2011-support-time-machine-backups-addin/

Paul also mentioned in a comment on his article that someone is in the process of writing a script to automate the process- I’ve asked about said script and depending on the response may decide to write a script of my own.

L

*UPDATE* There is an update to this article here: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/time-machine-backup-with-windows-home-server-2011-update/

I’ve never used Time Machine before but after some recent hardware issues and the introduction of my new fileserver I felt it time to give it a try.

I read some articles suggesting WHS 2011 was going to support Time Machine out of the box- it doesn’t, damn! I found two very good articles on how to get it working:
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2011/05/05/guide-backing-up-your-mac-to-whs-2011-with-time-machine
http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2011/02/how-to-enable-timemachine-backup-for.html

I stumbled on a few steps so thought I’d blog what worked for me (I expect this same process works for any samba fileserver and is not limited to WHS 2011):

1. Configure a share on the server ensuring you have credentials for a user with read+write permission
2. Make a note of your ethernet mac address (found in network utility)

and your computer name (found in sharing)

3. From the terminal execute the following commands (replacing XXX with your mac hard disk size in GB, YYY with your computer name (from above) and ZZZ with your mac address (from above):
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
sudo hdiutil create -size XXXg -type SPARSEBUNDLE -nospotlight -volname “Backup of YYY” -fs “Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+” -verbose ~/Desktop/YYY_ZZZ.sparsebundle
4. Mount your samba share from finder (Connect To Server from the Go menu)

5. From the terminal copy the .sparsebundle file you just created to the newly mounted share (I found trying to do this using drag & drop generated an error)- replace /Volumes/AAA with the mount point of your samba share:
sudo cp ~/Desktop/YYY_ZZZ.sparsebundle /Volumes/AAA
6. Launch Time Machine and click Select Disk, choose the samba share and the backup should start in 120s!

There is talk of a company called Orbital Technologies creating an add-in to do this automatically http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/02/21/windows-home-server-2011-support-time-machine-backups-addin/

Paul also mentioned in a comment on his article that someone is in the process of writing a script to automate the process- I’ve asked about said script and depending on the response may decide to write a script of my own.

L

*Update* I removed StableBit DrivePool beta after realising how much it was degrading performance (this is expected behaviour as it is still an early beta). Today DataCore have announced the beta of their Drive Extender replacement Drive Harmony: http://www.mswhs.com/2011/05/datacore-de-replacement-beta-announced-at-tech-ed-2011/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MSWHS+%28MS+Windows+Home+Server%29&utm_content=Twitter

I tried the WHS 2011 install again today and this time it succeeded (I only did two things differently: 1. entered the product key during installation & 2. left the default US locale/keyboard layout)

I started to configure my drives as described in my earlier post: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/windows-home-server-2011-released/ but realised you can only setup mirroring on a per disk basis (unless I’ve missed something?). So instead I’ve decided to try the StableBit DrivePool BETA which adds the old WHS v1 DriveExtender functionality. I currently have 4x 1.5TB disks in a single pool.

So far, so good- just transferring all the data from my old fileserver. I’m also in the process of trying to setup the server to work with Time Machine on my Mac.

Will try and keep you posted.

L

Completely missed this! I had been waiting for the release of WHS2011 for my new fileserver, but hadn’t been regularly checking. Alas, I looked a few days ago and it has apparently been available on technet since 05/04/11 (en_server_install_disc_windows_home_server_2011_x64_dvd_658487.iso).

Unfortunately, I tried installing it and came across an error (which already appears to have been logged): https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/details/662605/setupmon-exe-fails-to-complete-configuration-suggests-i-should-reinstall

Annoyingly RC1 worked flawlessly so I’m not sure what has been added which is causing this error.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to decide how I want to organise the drives once I get it up and running. I have a load of 1.5TB drives laying around but don’t think 6TB will be enough initially (including mirrored data/backups etc). I think if I get an additional 3TB drive I’ll be good to go:

Drive1 (1.5TB): Downloaded Applications, *Business Accounts, *Videos
Drive2 (1.5TB): *Movies
Drive3 (1.5TB): *Photos
Drive4 (3.0TB): Mirrors & Computer Backups

All of the items marked with * will be mirrored (initially this should be less than 3TB)

I will probably retry the installation in the next few days, although I expect the same result.

L

After arsing about for an eternity I think I’ve finally chosen a server… introducing the HP Proliant Microserver:

Ideally I was looking for a rackmount chassis but this ticks a lot more boxes than any other server I’ve found- namely: extremely low power consumption, almost silent and bloody cheap (HP were offering £100 cashback).

I’ve loaded it with 4x 1.5TB SATA disks but will probably add another one (or two?). The server comes with a mere 1GB of DDR3 ram so I’ve ordered 2x 4GB DDR3 (for close to peanuts from Crucial- also offering 7% off with coupon code and a further 7% cashback through quidco/topcashback) to bring it up to 8GB.

After a lot of experimenting with different operating systems i’m 99% sure i’m going to go with Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS2011). I will be installing the o/s on either a USB stick or SD card (once It’s released). Everyone seems to be getting their knickers in a twist about Microsoft’s decisions to drop Drive Extender but if I decide to go down that route there’s already an add-in being worked on by Covecube; StableBit Drive Pool

Expect an update once the remaining parts arrive and WHS2011 is released.

L

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