Yup, I do have strong opinions on the DE fiasco…
Keeping in mind that I came from Server 2K3 Enterprise with RAID that I built…
I use WHS for three reasons:
- Storage pooling. This is Drive Extender. Multiple drives act together as one logical unit.
- Automated backup.
- Extensibility (I’m a Windows guy, so I have lots of other services/apps that I can run on the platform)
Those also happen to be in order of importance to me.
The implication that Drobo could “replace” WHS is a bit far-off in my mind.
Drobo does storage expansion - but currently it does not do storage pooling. Meaning you can expand a single Drobo’s capacity to whatever the current limit is based on drive size.
WHS Drive Extender’s storage pooling is a bit different. It allows for multiple drives to be pooled together. In my case, since I use Drobo as the drives in my storage pool, I have two Drobo v2 units with 5.5 TB usable each (4x2TB drives), so I have “one big pool” of 11 TB. I could add the other Drobo v2 unit with 5.5 TB to my storage pool, bringing my storage pool to 16.5 TB, but I’m not that full yet, so that Drobo unit I use as a backup.
Yes, I could condense my storage to a single DroboPro with 8 drives and have 14.55 TB in my storage pool, but what happens when I need more than 14.55 TB of storage?
That’s where DE comes in, I could add another Drobo, DroboPro, or just a plain old drive to it. Expansion without having to wait for 3 TB drives or larger to become affordable. Granted, larger drives in fewer units makes for more power efficiency…
DE also has a function called Duplication which essentially operates as RAID 1 mirroring on a file level (for all files within a share).
However, proper functioning of that feature requires that WHS is ‘aware’ of each physical drive.
Since WHS doesn’t support GPT volumes for DE (even though the core OS does support GPT), each of my Drobos end up looking like three 2 TB drives, so WHS v1 can’t maintain a “one physical drive to one physical device” relationship for anything larger than 2 TB.
That’s why I don’t use Duplication, aside from the fact that it’s not storage-efficient.
So I was really looking forward to WHS v2 since it was going to support GPT for the storage pool, but now that DE has been pulled, there’s no reason for me to upgrade.
I’m more than a bit disappointed.