WHS v1 End of Life – What's Next?

media, windows comments edit

Windows Home Server v1 is end of mainstream support tomorrow and some folks have asked me what I’m going to do.

Options for switching include upgrading to WHS 2011, switching to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or moving off the Windows platform entirely to something else.

If you’ve been following my Media Center solution, you’ll know I have both an HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server v1 and a Synology DS1010+.

I use the WHS for:

  • PC image-based backups
  • General file sharing
  • Image sharing
  • Music sharing (both via file system and via UPnP using Asset).
  • Windows 8 File History

I use the Synology DS1010+ for:

  • Storing DVD movie images
  • Serving the MySQL instance for my XBMC machines

Both machines have all drive bays full. The Synology doesn’t have enough space to hold all the stuff I have on the Home Server and the Home Server can’t hold all the stuff on the Synology. We’re talking about terabytes on both machines. Keeping that in mind, if I were to want to change the OS on the WHS it’d require me to…

  • Move everything off the WHS to… somewhere.
  • Reformat and upgrade the OS on the HP MediaSmart box, which is older and not super-powerful. It’s also headless (no video card and no DVD drive) so… that’s pretty limiting. If there’s any troubleshooting to do during the installation, that’s going to be painful.
  • Hope against hope that the new OS won’t tank the HP box into non-performance and that all the drivers are properly found.
  • If I go with Windows Server 2012 Essentials, I get to set up a domain for my home computers and go around joining everything so they can be backed up. If I go with WHS 2011, I will get the same backup functionality I’m used to. If I go with something else… I get to figure out my backup solution.
  • Move everything back to the WHS that was previously there and set all that junk up again.

If, instead, I moved everything to the Synology I’d need to upgrade all the drives in the RAID array. It’s RAID 5 so I can’t do one at a time. And I can’t switch to a different RAID strategy (like the Hybrid RAID they provide) without moving everything off the NAS and back on.

UGH. There was a time in my life where I had a bunch of time at home and loved to tinker with things. Now… it takes me two nights to watch a two-hour movie. I just want things to work.

So what am I going to do?

Not a damn thing.

I don’t expose my WHS to the outside world so I’m not worried much about the security aspect of things. I will probably run it until it dies. In the meantime I’ll slowly be moving things over to the Synology. I will probably end up investing in the five-drive expansion bay for it so I can add more drives in a new array. Then I can stock those drives up and slowly but surely both expand storage and switch to the Hybrid RAID approach. I’ll also have to figure out my UPnP answer (I’ve admittedly not tried the Music Station that Synology offers, but I hope it does transcoding of, like, Apple Lossless and whatnot). And I’ll have to figure out the backup strategy; probably something like Acronis TrueImage.

In the meantime… the plan is “no action.”