Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Living with Windows Home Server, Day 0.

Living with Windows Home Server, Day 0.

  • Comments 10

Soon after I posted this mini-review of my Mirra home backup solution, Charlie Kindel sent me mail describing a new product he was working on code named "Q".

I was darned impressed with the idea, and was briefly tempted to jump ship from the audio team and help out (obviously I didn't). 

Fast forward to the beginning of January this year.  Charlie stopped by my office on his way to the lead PM in my group.  We chatted for about 15 minutes about what Q was, and I got really excited.

Charlie took pity on me and offered me a chance to beta test the WHS software when it finally hit beta.

 

Well, yesterday WHS Beta 2 went live and today a nifty new box showed up in my office (thanks Charlie!).

Being the geek that I am, I immediately ran home and set it up, and I've got to say, the WHS guys really outdid themselves.

Installation was totally smooth, one UAC elevation and it was done.  I've currently installed the client on 2 of the 6 machines we own, and it's worked very well. 

 

The WHS management console is simple to use, scheduling a manual backup was trivial.  One limitation I noticed is that you can't backup up multiple machines at the same time, that may be an issue if you have a large number of machines in your house (I've not hit it yet, so I can't say).

One thing that surprised me was the speed of the backup process.  It started slowly, analyzing the hard disk, but once it started, it SCREAMED (it maximized the 100Mbs ethernet link I have between the two machines).  That, almost more than anything else impressed the heck out of me.

Next step: Loading up my music and photos onto the server.

If my first impression holds, it's going to be hard to give this one back once the beta's done :).

  • So jealous... As much as I'd love to participate in the beta, my file server runs linux and it will be a massive pain to migrate for something that isn't guaranteed to be stable.

  • Well, I would *hope* it saturated the ethernet -- your disk drives should have ten times the bandwidth of a measly little ethernet link.  Here's an analogy: ethernet is like connecting two bus depots with a Volkswagon Beatle: "there are hardly any city buses arriving (those laggards!) but boy, that little car is really moving!"

    OTOH, I've seen software that could either work over a network, or locally, but where reading data from the network was faster than from the local hard drive.  

  • Peter, it's actually relatively hard to saturate a 100MBs ethernet link with just two adapters.  Most apps can only get to about 60% - there was sufficient traffic flowing between the two machines that you could see when CSMA/CD kicked in (because traffic would drop precipitously for a second or so when it happened).  

  • Did you try to *restore* the stuff you backed up? ;-)

  • Witwe, not yet.  It takes some time to back up my main home machine and I had to leave for work before I could play with it.

  • Man, you get all the best hookups.  Now I've got to figure out a way to weasel my way into the beta.

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007 11:30 AM by Witwe Bolte

    > Did you try to *restore* the stuff you backed up? ;-)

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 11:49 AM by LarryOsterman

    > Witwe, not yet.

    I thought it was socially unacceptable to notice that kind of fact.

  • Color me unimpressed, but when you get even 50% of a 1Gbps link (common on today's montherboards even) without using Vista, then I may raise an eyebrow.

  • Vistas new IP stack is mostly irrelevant on 1gbps+ link speed as file copying itself is extremely slow? I get twice the speed when copying files both locally and over the network in XP SP2.

  • Maxing out 100 Mbit lan was possible 10 years ago with the home computers back then. But I guess today it's possible even with the more poorly written code and drivers and less than optimal buffer sizes.

    Todays harddrive have STR of 60-70 MB/s (average over entire disk) and even laptops come with 1 Gbit ports by default so doing any tests over 100 Mbit is ridiculous.

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