I now have two of the 1,5 TB EARS drives. One as an external server backup drive, one as an internal data pool drive. One drive was easily configured, the other one was very complicated, but one thing at a time:
The use as server backup drive is without problems, as you can create the partition on this kind of drives in another computer, e.g. in a Vista or Windows 7 PC. After this, when you add the drive as system backup drive to the WHS using the WHS console, WHS will NOT create a new partition, but will use the existing partition, which is already aligned and so has full performance. It is also possible to create a (misaligned) partition on the drive using the WHS drive management snap-in, then detach the drive from the WHS PC, attach it to a Vista/Win7 PC and run the WDALIGN tool there to get the partition aligned. After that re-attach the drive to the WHS PC and everything is fine. This is how I did it.
Quite complicated way, you might think. Why not use the WDALIGN tool from within WHS? Simply because WD does not allow you to install the WDALIGN tool on WHS!!! Now, this is an unexpected "pleasure"! Why WD chose this path - I don't know, but I have asked via support (no answer yet). I find it quite a trick, to release this tool only for XP, Vista and Windows 7 and not for Windows 2003 and WHS (where it is needed most and hey, those OS's are still supported by Microsoft, right?). In the current situation, you might say that the EARS drives are not fully supported in Windows Server 2003 and WHS.
So as you can not use the WDALIGN tool within WHS, this leads us to the problems with the data pool drive. The process of adding a drive to the data pool is a bit different from adding a server backup drive, as all partitions are wiped from the data pool drive before adding and a new (unaligned) partition is created, that has no drive letter (but exists as directory link under C:\fs\). I tried to use the same tactics as with the server backup drive: Add the drive to the pool, detach it from the WHS PC, attach it to a Vista PC, run WDALIGN and finally put it back into your WHS PC. This lead to a total mess in the WHS console. The console status was critical/red and said that there was a problem with the drive. The new drive had a drive letter(!) and was only "by half" part of the data pool (it was listed under the data pool drives, but its status was "Not added") - very strange! I also was not able to remove the drive from the data pool as the data store size calculation (the data storage size diagram on the right side) never completed. I only got it fixed again, after I detached the drive from the server and then removed it from the pool. So it seems, attaching a drive, that is currently part of a WHS data pool, to another PC is generally never a good idea, if you want to put it back to the pool afterwards! Perhaps some of you have experienced something similar.
So the only possibility to use this drive in the data pool was to set the jumper on pins 7-8. This is ok for data pool drives as they only have one partition, but I would have preferred the use of WDALIGN within WHS.
So finally, as long as WDALIGN does not support WHS, you can say, for a data pool drive use the jumper solution, for a server backup drive you can use the WDALIGN tool from within another PC. I don't know what happens if you use such a drive as system drive and want to align the partitions (there are two, so no jumper solution possible!) in another PC. I guess you will run into problems, as the SYS partition is a boot partition. At the end you might end up with an unbootable WHS server. :-O
But if you have a proper (aligned) partition, the drives are really fast for a green drive (see attached HDTach diagram - running through eSATA on an ICH10R controller).