Windows Home Server Update

I figure it’s a good time to post an update about my 12TB Windows Home Server since there’s been a couple of changes and I looked at the power usage over a couple of weeks.

Disk Gone Bad

I started having problems with one of the drives. One of the 1TB Western Digital Green drives started acting flakey. It dropped out completely but come back on a reboot but eventually it just started throwing file corruption errors. Chkdsk would fine and fix errors but they came back. Finally I just pulled the drive. Because I had file duplication turned on I didn’t actually lose any files so the only down time was when the drive removal wizard ran. I ran it overnight since the drive was almost full and it would take awhile to move all the files off.

Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as removing an easily accessible drive. The bad drive was in the Coolmaster 4-in-3 Drive Cage which I was using to hold the drives in the 5 1/4″ bays. While not a huge hassle, I did have to pop the front panel off an pull the whole cage. Since I had it out I figured it was a good time to pull apart the cage to clean the dust filter.

I used a replacement drive and put everything back together. I didn’t want to have to pull the server apart again so I decided to go with a spare drive. I have so many of these drives having a spare available isn’t such a bad idea. As it turned out the drive failed diags so the problem doesn’t appear to have been the cable or controller.

Since I was low on disk space the drive removal left little extra space everywhere except the  new drive which was empty. I imagine eventually the file duplication would have sorted itself out but I decided to turn off file duplication then turn it back on. This ended up spreading the files across the drives pretty evenly.

Drive Upgrade

While 12 1TB drives creates a lot of space I still found myself cramped for space. First, I don’t like to use the system drive. This is probably more a hold-over from early versions where the space on the system drive did matter. It doesn’t appear to matter much these days, still old habits dies hard.

I had file duplication turned on for my 4,5TB of video files, turning it into 9TB. I had been using file duplication because I had the space. I intended to turn it off and rely on backups when I needed the space. But with so much data it would take considerable time to do any restore. In this case the file duplication saved me considerable time so I decided to try and keep it.

So, I ended up buying one of the new Western Digital 2 TB drives. They’re still expensive and the longer I wait the cheaper they will become. Still, I decided to go with the 2TB drive now to get the space immediately. At the time Newegg was offering $10 off the regular $300 price but it’s still a lot per gigabyte. It only makes sense when I considered the cost of a new controller and drive cage or the potential time cost of turning off file duplication. I’m consuming less new space these days so hopefully the price will drop considerably before I need another.

So now with the rounding errors and differences between manufacturer and OS measurements (931GB usable per 1TB drives) I’m truly above 12GB with the OS reporting 12,109 GB of space.

I guess I can’t complain, with well over a dozen of the of the WD 1TB green drives and only one failure.

Power Consumption

Before my disk problems I’d been running a Kill A Watt usage meter to measure it’s power usage over 455 hours. The server and external drive bay are both plugged into the UPS and the UPS is plugged into the meter. My server usage was normal (for me) consisting mostly of streaming and file copies for a couple hours most days. There was one patch/reboot cycle in there but otherwise the server ran constantly. Total usage during that time was 61.66 KWh, so at my rate of $0.182/KWh the 12 TB Windows Home Server costs me $4.12/wk and $215/yr. Those electrons can add up.