As a point of curiosity, does your system ever unexpectantly drop your RAID array or hang for a long period (30 secs or more) for no real reason? Also when you say your backups are not working, what is happening exactly? Do they get to X% and fail or is something else happening?
So you have a Samsung, Intel and Indilinx controller. All of those controllers have a history of stability and longevity whereas I suspect that my problems (and possibly others using WHS) are using Sandforce controllers and therein lies the problem. It is a little odd as this is the only problem I have with my Corsair SSDs but if you look at the reports of Sandforce controllers, you will see that there are are variety of problems with them.
I think the problem mainly comes down to the usage of SSDs either in the client or the server.
My server has a 160GB SATA system drive and a 6TB RAID 5 config. I have intermittent problems with two clients - both of them have SSDs installed as their system drive. Sometimes the backups go through without a hitch, other times they will hang somewhere between 1% and 33% infinitum. The other clients that run off normal SATA drives backup without a problem every time. The odd thing about the process is that if you look at the launchpad in the client, the backup will inform you that it has failed and yet if you go into the dashboard, the server says the backup process has not failed and will indicate that it is still in the process of backing up.
Without doubt the most annoying aspect of this process is that when a backup 'hangs' it affects a number of other services. You can remote desktop into the server no problem yet if you want to browse more than one level down in the server share folders, the whole system hangs. The only thing that cures the problem is a reboot of the server. And the really, really, really annoying thing about having to reboot the server is that a software reboot either through remote desktop or through the dashboard doesn't work - you have to physically go to the server and push the reset button.
It sounds as though all you are really after is something that is on 24/7 to store and serve some of your media / documents. Given that WHS, is probably overkill for your needs when you could use a NAS which would be much more energy efficient and probably a neater option for you. You could also look at building something and using FREENAS if you wanted something bare metal.
If you do decide to go down the WHS path, most budget systems will be fine for a server build. Many people do have an SSD drive in their system but considering that you will be accessing most of your stuff remotely, that will be overkill for your needs so just go a traditional HDD with enough storage. You will also need a RAM which is not included on your list of needs. A UPS probably not really needed unless you have a lot of black outs in your area but if you do get one, they are generally pre-configured to restart when power is restored.
To be honest, what you want to do is not that processor intensive and remember that your server will typically be idle most of the time. Serving video and doing backups will not require many resources so I would recommend a very budget processor. I myself bought an E5800 processor with a compatible motherboard for around $100 for my most recent WHS 2011 build and it hasn't skipped a beat. For the price an i3 would probably be ideal for your needs as they are pretty cheap and give you good bang for buck.
Whatever you are serving media to will require something a bit more advanced be it processor or video card but remember that a server does a couple of dedicated tasks and is therefore a very different beast to other computers such as HTPCs or Desktops.
I'd just like to add my experiences to this problem as it might help someone else down the track.
I had a 160GB HDD with Win XP installed on a client PC. I wanted to replace this with a 60GB SSD about 6 months ago but the restore process wouldn't let me restore to a smaller drive. To get around the issue, I was able to shrink the partition of the 160GB HDD down to a 60GB partition using Partition Magic as there was only about 30GB of actual data on the drive. Everything went smoothly from there and I was able to restore the image and do backups from the SSD from that point on.
I eventually decided that the SSD was wasted in XP as that operating system does not support TRIM so I thought I would simply restore the current image back to the original 160GB HDD. That was when I came across the bad cluster issues. None of the backups that I had saved after the SSD was installed worked; the bad cluster errors coming up each time. I was however able to restore one of my saved images from a backup that was run when the original 160GB was backed up.
After a successful system restore, I was able to open up any one of the newer SSD images through the console so I was able to copy all of my most recent data back to the PC. Windows update, virus definitions etc took a while to get right though. I can only assume that shrinking partition somehow affected the backup process and gave bad clusters although I don't really understand how I was able to open one of my more recent images if there were truly bad clusters within that backup.
I agree that it is not a simple process but it is definitely one that should have been thought of before going RTM. I remember when I upgraded to XP (or was it Win98?) there was a built in wizard that converted your existing file system from FAT32 to NTFS. Now I understand that a file system and a backup engine are different beasts but by providing such a wizard, Microsoft at least acknowledged that users would upgrade their OS and provided a means of making their existing data available to the upgraded OS. This market has not been catered for with the release of WHS 2011 and I find it bizarre to say the least.
I had actually come to terms with the loss of DE and had decided to bite the bullet and go with a RAID config. I have been doing a fair bit of research the last few months on RAID and despite not knowing much about it to begin with, I think I probably know enough now to give it a shot. Essentially then a RAID 5 config will take care of my issues with DE.
Moving my data would be a simple (but lengthy) process so that didn't give me to many sleepless nights. I then considered what was going to happen with my backups and noted that there was simply no thought put into moving that data between servers.
My biggest issue with not being able to convert my backups to the new version of WHS is that I have saved images of each PC at a point when Windows was first installed on each system, prior to updating or adding any software. I also have several other saved versions after I have added AV software, desktop applications etc to each system. The reason for doing this is that it allows me to have a clean install version of each PC in the house so that when each PC loses freshness over a period of 6 months or so due to the installation of bloatware etc, I can restore a nice clean image for that PC and then that PC is like new again. So if I can't move these backups over to WHS 2011, I will have to format and install Windows on each PC again. That is something that I am not looking forward to.
As my current WHS is an old desktop that has been put to new use, I intended to go with all new hardware when I upgraded. Given that, I suppose I could restore each of my clean install images on each PC under v1 and then immediately backup to WHS 2011 so that the new OS captures that new clean image. I would imagine that I would have to uninstall the v1 connector software and install the WHS 2011 software if that is possible. Would this even work?
Seems like a lot of unnecessary work though when a wizard probably should have been developed by Microsoft to begin with.
I understand what you are saying but I find it hard to fathom that there would not be a process to move the backups over to 2011. When you look at it, a backup is in essence data. I can't think of a single Microsoft product that was not able to migrate data when upgrading from one version of a product to the very next. Sure, there are plenty of examples which require you to do a fresh install but there is ability to move a stored copy of the data over to the new OS when that install process is done.
Surely a wizard or something similar wouldn't be too much to ask for?
It isn't my intention to shoot the messenger here but I find it really frustrating that a new product is released and yet there is virtually zero incentive for users of the previous OS to upgrade. You would think that it is these people who you would be trying to persuade to upgrade and therefore 'spread the word' so that overtime WHS becomes more mainstream.
No DE and no way to migrate my backups. Why would anyone upgrade?
Does anyone have an official answer to whether v1 backups can be migrated to WHS 2011? It would be very odd if this cannot be done but I must admit I have not seen this aspect of migration investigated at all.
Couldn't you install a 3rd party program like CrashPlan on AMAHI server as well as the clients to take care of the backups? I haven't used it but their site indicates that it supports incremental backup and it has multiplatform support.
Crashplan has an automated backup service that runs on Server 2003 and apparently are looking at a WHS addin if other threads are anything to go by. They also have an unlimited online backup plan for one computer (your WHS) for $5 per month - a bit cheaper than most other providers.
Personally I haven't used the service but have been looking at ways that I can protect my server in the event of a fire/flood/cyclone etc so have been researching this a bit lately.
I think you are 100% right here. Any PC user who has ever lost precious data due to a dead hard drive would love DE if it were integrated into Windows 7 or any other mainstream OS. DE was a genuine feature - the sort of feature that made you say to yourself 'that is a reason to upgrade'. MS killed DE and replaced it with nothing. Very very hard to fathom.