Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Windows Home Server makes losing hard drives “inconvenient” not Devastating

Windows Home Server

[This post brought to you courtesy of David Belanger]

Windows Home Server Saves an Exam!

David and his significant other, Janet, installed a Windows Home Server about 8 months prior to this story.  The server was configured and setup correctly providing many different functionality to the home.  Home Server excels in providing centralized storage of music, videos and pictures, providing remote access via the web to all these items, and streaming them around the home.  However, the most amazing feature of Home Server is the “set-and-forget" backup solution.  By simply installing the client-side code, the client computer wakes up every night and backs up the client computer to the home server.  After 8 months of things running completely fine, David and Janet had completely forgot that computers were being backed up.

As just this past school term was coming to a close and it was exam season.  Janet had been taking some online courses in which the exams were take-home and to be completed over a number of days.  Unknown to Janet, she had a RAID0 (or “stripped”) hard-drive solution in her client computer.  As we all know, RAID0 is built for speed, not for redundancy, and during one of her multi-day take-home exams, one of the drives crashed, causing the computer to be un-bootable.  Janet was awe-struck, at the risk of losing a few days of work on her exam, this could cost her the course and the money she had sunk into it!

Windows Home Server came to rescue.  David had a spare disk on the side, replaced the bad disk, re-configured the RAID0 drive.  When the hardware was ready, he placed the Windows Home Server Recovery DVD in the drive and booted into the Home Server Recovery Environment.  Selecting last night’s backup from the home server, Janet's computer was up and running in less than 30 minutes. And while some work was lost, most of it remained, allowing Janet to focus on passing the course.

David was able to replace the disk under warranty, but bad news struck a second time.  Only a few days after the new disk arrived, the other disk in the RAID0 died, requiring the process to be repeated!  When Janet finished her exam and handed it in, she explained this story to me and explained how it was “inconvenient" that two drives died in the span of a week, all during finals.

I remember when losing a hard drive was the end of the world, now, it’s just inconvenient.


Anonymous said...

You'd have thought given the importance of Janet's PC and the near tragedy of the first HDD failure, you'd avoid going straight back to a RAID0 set-up! I predicted the outcome before even reading to the end!

Anonymous said...

^^ The prediction being the second HDD failing soon after the first was replaced! Still - gotta love WHS