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I'm currently backing up a server and the data on the shares it hosts to a single 8TB drive (its not the only backup copy). Because of the single drive dependency, running low on capacity and 8TB being the maximum size currently commercially available for the general market as a single drive, I was going to run 4x USB 3 drives to create a pool as a parity storage space and continue backing up data to that, to provide more capacity and a little bit of redundancy.

My question is does the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Server Backup component support this? I've never tried a server backup with anything but a single drive before. Because this is the 2012 R2 Essentials version, server backup is configured via the Dashboard app, so I was wanting to know if it was supported?

Thanks,

  • I have tested this and found out that the Server Backup wizard within the Dashboard app, looks for single disks and would not let you select a Storage Pool. However by directly using the Windows Server Backup application, you can backup to volume, and my storage spaces is visible. Would circumventing the Dashboard wizard still allow for backup functionality to work correctly? Looking for someone who has done this on 2012 R2 Essentials. – James White Oct 10 '16 at 21:35
  • technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/…. It seems to be possible with a few caveats, but can anyone confirm? – James White Oct 10 '16 at 22:13
  • why not allocate all three disks as one volume and use them like that? – Michal Oct 11 '16 at 7:48
  • @Michal That's what storage spaces would do. Are you saying create a single volume through disk management? – James White Oct 11 '16 at 7:54
  • yup and use like that, you can choose to be dynamic and there you go -> problem solved although as being involved heavily with disaster recovery and backup world I wouldn't recommend this as a permanent solution. – Michal Oct 11 '16 at 7:59
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This is possible and should work fine. If the local system fails you can also restore on the other server using this guide: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askpfeplat/2012/12/24/windows-server-2012-how-to-import-a-storage-pool-on-another-server/

One thing though, 4 eSATA drives doesn't sound reliable and scalable. If you need to add more disks later you'll have to rebuild the volume from scratch. At this scale I'd suggest using a small NAS to keep the disks gathered and managed in one enclosure and also have separate power supply (e.g. some of the Synology/WD units even offer redundant PSU)

  • Essentially the server itself is running a large parity storage space, acting as a file/media storage server with 5x SATA III drives (mostly read operations). The 8TB external USB 3.0 drive which the system and file backup is going to is going to be outgrown within the next few months, which is why I wanted to potentially use 4x USB 3.0 drives in another storage spool to maintain backup space for this backup. The downside to this is a) the Dashboard app doesn't allow for this, but Windows Server Backup interface does b) Storage Spaces might be more tricky in a recovery environment. – James White Oct 14 '16 at 19:13
  • Its important to note that while using elements of enterprise level software/hardware, this is a home setup. I don't think most enterprise/businesses are using Storage Spaces anyway, because of hardware RAID performance being superior in many respects, but storage spaces works for me! – James White Oct 14 '16 at 19:15
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    Storage spaces are getting better, you always pay: either for a RAID card or for CPU cores which process Storage Spaces I/O. I agree that storage spaces are tricky in a recovery environment, hence my suggestion to use the disks in some type of a NAS. It can even be a really cheap workstation or server box (just for high number of disk bays) with FreeNAS/ StarWind Free on top. This way you'll get your storage organized and don't blow the budget. – Stuka Oct 17 '16 at 10:14

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