morpheus.dreaming

Hp Mediasmart Ex495 And Ws2012E

29 posts in this topic

I have successfully installed and configured Windows Server 2012 Essentials (WS2012E) on my HP MediaSmart EX495 (EX495).  Here are the steps I took.
 
 
Preparation
I had done as much reading on WS2012E as I could, but the information was pretty limited for a home server market.  Some great resources, especially here, and the process did seem fairly straight forward.
1. Disassemble the server and install the debug board
2. Ensure all data was refreshed onto my spare Mediasonic JBOD drives
3. Research the deployment and configuration process for WS2012E
 
 
Installation
Now that I had the debug board installed I could perform an attended install.  I used my Logitech DiNovo Mini wireless keyboard of all things - it's normally plugged into the XBOX 360 but it worked fine for the EX495.
1. Create USB boot drive for WS2012E
2. Plug USB drive into lower rear USB, then realise I didn't install the jumper supplied with the debug board to enable access to the BIOS settings
3. Time to be creative - remove the primary boot drive!
4. Boot EX495
5. Enter the WS2012E key and continue until disk management then reinsert the boot drive
6. Remove boot partition and primary partition
7. The installer will not recognise the partition as bootable, so reboot
8. Enter WS2012E key and assign partition size of 60 GB for the system partition
9. Continue with installation and create an "Admin" account
 
 
RAID Controller
After the installation my Mediasonic box was not accessible - a quick install of the drivers soon fixed this.
1. Download and install SIL 3531 driver 3531_x64_w7_1.5.20.1_logo.zip
2. Confirm all MediaSonic drives are visible
3. Reboot 
 
 
Storage Spaces Part One
Now it was time to set up my first Storage Space.
1. Remove RAID-5 array on disks 1, 2, and 3 - this was my WHS2011 configuration
2. Format each internal disk as a simple volume (apart from the boot drive of course)
3. Start Server Manager and select "File and Storage Services"
4. Select "Storage Pools" and click on "New Storage Pool"
5. Add all internal drives, including the 1.3 TB of space left on the boot drive
6. Go to Dashboard | Storage | Hard Drives
7. Select "Advanced: Manage Storage Spaces"
8. Create a storage space called "Data" and use the newly created storage pool
9. Configure the storage space "Data" as "Simple" - no resiliency
 
 
Configure Server
The server was running with a fresh storage space, so it was time to configure the server.
1. Get updates for other Microsoft products - Enabled
2. Add user accounts - Skipped, accounts created during installation
3. Add server folders - Created, additional folders for particular data
4. Set up Server Backup - Skipped, need to reclaim the Mediasonic drives
5. Set up Anywhere Access - Configured
6. Set up email alert notification - Configured
7. Set up Media Server - Enabled, which created 4 folders
8. Connect computers - Skipped, connected later
 
 
Storage Spaces Part Two
Once the server was configured correctly it was time to copy the data from the JBOD drives, reclaim the drives, and create a backup.
1. Copy saved data from JBOD drives to Server Folders
2. Confirmed data was intact and accessible
3. Format each external disk as a simple volume
4. Go to Dashboard | Storage | Hard Drives
5. Select "Advanced: Manage Storage Spaces"
6. Create a storage space called "Backup" and add external disks 4, 5, and 6
7. Configure the storage space "Backup" as "Simple" - no resiliency
8. Use "ROBOCOPY D:\ServerFolders\ E:\ServerFolders\ /E /COPYALL /Z /R:3 /W:10 /LOG:robolog.txt /QUIT /XO" to make a "quick" backup
 
 
Install Add-Ins
Time to try out some of the WS2012E add-ins.  For some of the configuration work, especially with Azure, I had to disable the enhanced security in IE.
1. Windows Azure Online Backup - Installed and configured
2. Heath Report for Windows Server 2012 Essentials - Installed and configured
3. Email - Skipped, no Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365
 
 
Client Computers
For each client computer I installed the connector without joining the domain.
1. Used the registry hack to skip the domain join
2. Accessed the server from the client computer to install the connector software
3. Signed in to the connector to test the connection
4. Configured file history for each client computer
5. Installed My Server application for each client computer
6. Configured backup for each client computer
 
 
Next Steps
I am researching the following, and any help or direction would be appreciated.
1. Automated copy of D:\ServerFolders to E:\ServerFolders (might have to be a robocopy scheduled task)
2. Install and configure Serviio
3. Install and configure Subsonic
4. Install and configure uTorrent
5. Research server based anti-virus protection
6. Research server based ip camera monitoring software

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With that MediaSonic enclsoure (well, the eSATA port), disable PCI express link state (or whatever it's called). Under heavy IO, this will cause the Sil 3531 controller to crash, and require a reboot to come back up.

 

As for Storage Spaces, DON'T! Seriously. Just don't. It's not a reliable solution yet.

I'd recommend StableBit DrivePool, or Drive Bender (I prefer DrivePool, even before "obvious reasons", I like the product more).

Both products offer the Pooling type solution, but both store the files on normal NTFS volumes, so they are easy to recover if something goes wrong. As well as both offer "duplication" (redundancy of all selected folders). A much better solution than Storage Spaces! 

 

As for antivirus... I'd recommend ESET Business Antivirus. You could get multiple licenses for you network.

And as for IP camera stuff... check out Blue Iris. I've been playing with that (after getting some WVC80N's for free). It works well, and supports running as a system service (great for 2012 Essentials).

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Interesting.

 

With that MediaSonic enclsoure (well, the eSATA port), disable PCI express link state (or whatever it's called). Under heavy IO, this will cause the Sil 3531 controller to crash, and require a reboot to come back up.

 

Do you have a source for how to disable the PCI Express Link State, and details of the crash?

 

 

As for Storage Spaces, DON'T! Seriously. Just don't. It's not a reliable solution yet.

 

I'm aware of the risks of using the solution, and I have confidence that Storage Spaces in Simple mode is fast and simple enough for my needs.

 

 

As for antivirus... I'd recommend ESET Business Antivirus. You could get multiple licenses for you network.

And as for IP camera stuff... check out Blue Iris. I've been playing with that (after getting some WVC80N's for free). It works well, and supports running as a system service (great for 2012 Essentials).

 

I'll look into ESET AV.  I'm not sure if MS Forefront is being phased out now or what.  More investigation to do.

 

I was using Xeoma before, and I might install it again - but it's worth reviewing Blue Iris, good to know it runs as a service.

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Well, that was fairly straight forward.
 
Preparation
1. Download Java Windows Offline 32-bit
2. Download Java Windows Offline 64-bit
3. Download Serviio for Windows
4. Download SubSonic for Windows
5. Copy installer files to \\{server}\Company\Software\Server\
 
Serviio
1. Remote Desktop into Server as an Administrator
2. Open D:\ServerFolders\Company\Software\Server
3. Launch the Java Windows Offline 64-bit installer and complete
4. Launch the Serviio installer and complete
5. Confirm installation was successful
 
SubSonic
1. Remote Desktop into Server as an Administrator
2. Open D:\ServerFolders\Company\Software\Server
3. Launch the Java Windows Offline 32-bit installer and complete
4. Launch the SubSonic installer and complete
5. Confirm installation was successful and access the web page to change password and configure
 
 
Pretty simple.  Now to search for a PowerShell scripts for robocopy to adapt.

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How to disable the PCI Express Link State setting:

http://maximumpcguides.com/windows-7/set-pci-express-link-state-power-management/

 

And I'd still recommend against Storage Spaces. It's simple to set up... but it's not easy to repair/fix/recover. In fact, if something does happen... you may just lose all your data.

Which is why I'd recommend StableBit DrivePool or Drive Bender over Storage Spaces. Both store files on normal NTFS partitions, and present a virtual drive of all the storage. Recovery is easy if something does happen.

 

 

And yeah, Forefront is being phase out (or rather, merged into "higher end" products, namely System Center 2012).

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After researching the process of joining a domain I realised two key things.  Firstly, you can connect your Microsoft Account to your Domain Account.  Secondly, you can migrate your files and settings from your previous account to your new Domain Account.  With this in mind I did the following:

 

Client Computers
For each client computer I uninstalled the WS2012E Connector and checked the Registry was clear.
1. Accessed the server from the client computer to install the connector software
2. Entered appropriate Domain Account
3. Rebooted, logged in as Domain Account
4. Connected Microsoft Account to Domain Account
5. Migrated settings and programs from one account to the other
6. Checked File History and Backup
7. Confirmed apps and settings were synched
8. Checked and configured previous programs and settings (basically, reinstall VLC, Chrome, and Trillian)

 

Automated Backup of ServerFolders
I needed a way to copy my ServerFolders from my internal drives to my external drives.
1. Located example PowerShell script
2. Adjusted script to remove mail functionality and configured for Robocopy settings
3. Tested script using "PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -NoLogo -NonInteractive -file {script location}" command
4. Created Basic Task in Task Scheduler specifying "Run whether user is logged on or not" and "Runw with highest privileges"
5. Set Trigger to 0200
6. Tested by selecting the new task and chosing "Run"

I was using SyncToy with Windows Home Server 2011 but decided to use the "baked in" RoboCopy intead.  So far I have 5 log files that I can view using the "My Server" application on my Surface RT whilst in a hotel room on business - works like a charm.

 

Comments and Questions
1. Domain vs Workgroup
I see no problem with joining a domain.  What are the pros and cons that people have thought of?

2. Server Protection
I am going to investigate using System Center Endpoint Protection 2012 - this seems to be part of a more centralised approach by Microsoft.

3. uTorrent
Will hopefully install this over the weekend and configure as a start up task.

4. IP Camera Monitoring
Must check out Blue Iris again, and also look at Xeoma.

5.. Remote Access
I'm going to start a new thread on this.

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Oh, god, Don't use System Center. Not if you value your sanity. It's meant for enterprise business, that have hundreds of computers. It allows them to manage them and inventory both hardware and software. It's... absolutely not for home use. 

 

  1. As for pros: unified login. On all your machines. Or you can set up some packages, such as Subsonic to authenticate against "LDAP", aka the domain.  If you set up the DHCP server role on the server, you could install Windows Deployment Services, which is a PXE (network) boot server, so you could install computers over the network. Or if you hack the restore disk... you could boot that over the server too!
    As for cons: if you wipe the server, you basically have to wipe the client computers too. You'd have to leave the domain (which wipes the domain users from the computer) and the rejoin the new domain. THis means that a working backup is CRITICAL. Or set up a secondary domain controller for redundancy. This is a big considering.
  2. I'd recommend ESET File Protection (or whatever it's called), Or ESET Endpoint Protection. May be a bit more costly, but it's meant for domain environments. So may be worth using instead.
  3. For utorrent, just set it up and get it working, and create a scheduled task. Should be that simple. :)
  4. I've been using Blue Iris for a couple of weeks. the GUI is... crap. But it runs as service, and has a lot of options. And it works well. Definitely worth checking out. I've been very happy with it. Going to spend the $50 on it, unless somebody has something better.
  5. Will check it out. ;)

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With that MediaSonic enclsoure (well, the eSATA port), disable PCI express link state (or whatever it's called). Under heavy IO, this will cause the Sil 3531 controller to crash, and require a reboot to come back up.

 

As for Storage Spaces, DON'T! Seriously. Just don't. It's not a reliable solution yet.

I'd recommend StableBit DrivePool, or Drive Bender (I prefer DrivePool, even before "obvious reasons", I like the product more).

Both products offer the Pooling type solution, but both store the files on normal NTFS volumes, so they are easy to recover if something goes wrong. As well as both offer "duplication" (redundancy of all selected folders). A much better solution than Storage Spaces! 

 

As for antivirus... I'd recommend ESET Business Antivirus. You could get multiple licenses for you network.

And as for IP camera stuff... check out Blue Iris. I've been playing with that (after getting some WVC80N's for free). It works well, and supports running as a system service (great for 2012 Essentials).

 

Any additional links or detail on why storage spaces is not reliable or recommended?

 

Taking a look at drive pool, was just surprised that storage spaces was given the thumbs down, googling has not found a lot of criticism or problems with it.  (or polluted keywords made it difficult)

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Any additional links or detail on why storage spaces is not reliable or recommended?

 

I've been using it with two storage spaces, one for Data, one for Backup.  It is fine so far.  It is the spiritual successor to Drive Extender.

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If you search for "storage spaces issues", you will find all sorts of things.

I can get links if you want.

 

But I've seen a lot of issues. Especially when drives fail.  If you want to know what I mean, physically disconnect one of those drives and see what happens....

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As for spiritual successors, I completely disagree. One of the huge things for Drive Extender was that the drives were readable in any system and recovery was simple. That is COMPLETELY not true with Storage Spaces, which is basically software RAID.

 

The real successors are StableBit DrivePool, and Drive Bender. (and recently PoolHD).  

Neither have a parity option (which I think is rubbish anyhow), but both support duplication. And both store the data on NORMAL NTFS volumes that can be read by any system. 

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I am quite happy with Storage Spaces, and the underlying technology, Storage Pools.  If I am confident enough to be running a Microsoft Server, then I'm confident enough to use their underlying disk management solution.

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morpheus.dreaming, really?

http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/28610-storage-spaces-for-server-backup/#entry140450

 

I'm not so trusting. In fact I know that Storage Spaces has a huge bug with the Client Computer Backup Database. One that microsoft's solution is "don't put it on storage spaces, because it's not meant for databases". And isn't going to fix til R2....

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Wow.... Necropost. :P

 

But yeah, it does. Solutions such as StableBit DrivePool or Drive Bender are much better.

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is anyone having reboot issues with their EX495 since installing WS2012? I have a tread going but it might not be in the right place. I have had some issues but they are random.

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Is it BSODing?

If it's creating files in "C:\Windows\Minidump" or creating a "C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP" file, then it is BSOD, and that can be used to tell why.

 

Also, you may be able to use a program called "WhoCrashed" to diagnose why it's crashing as well.

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Drashna Ill check those out.

 

I do have a file in C:\Windows\Minidump dated 6/16

 

I also have this file C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP

 

how do I access this info? I have never opened these files or tried to read them before.

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Sorry for the delay!

 

The easiest way is to use "WhoCrashed" and that will output basic info about the crashes (it will read from their normal location).

It should give a general indication about what was the cause, though.

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do I install that on the server or can i put it on my laptop and import the dmp files

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This is what windows spit out. i haven't tried the other program yet.
 
Source
Windows
 
Summary
Shut down unexpectedly
 
Date
‎6/‎16/‎2014 7:57 PM
 
Status
Not reported
 
Problem signature
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
Code: 124
Parameter 1: 0
Parameter 2: ffffe001245ee028
Parameter 3: b2000000
Parameter 4: 175
OS version: 6_3_9600
Service Pack: 0_0
Product: 305_2
OS Version: 6.3.9600.2.0.0.305.50
Locale ID: 1033
 
Files that help describe the problem
061614-29296-01.dmp
sysdata.xml
MEMORY.DMP
WERInternalMetadata.xml

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You'd want to run it on the server, ideally.

 

However, if the BSOD code is indeed 124 (WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR), then it indicates a hardware issue.

 

First thing I'd recommend is a memory test...

 

Also, are you running any antivirus?

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ill run the memory test. I have to figure out how to get to the test itself. No I am not running a virus scan on that machine. I just use MSE on my laptop them have it scan my shares.

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So i ran into issues. last night I installed Lights out again to see if I can figure out the issue or work around it. after reading Drashna's post, I went online to remote into my server and check to see if I can find and run that memory test. I wasnt able to get connected so I had someone at home power on my server as it never turned back on from suspend. After power up still not able to connect. I went home at lunch and I can not remote into or connect to the server locally (I have 2 [Gen3] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Cables which I had tried to no luck at all ) the keyboard blinks like its getting power in the boot up but is not operable after that. UGH!!!!

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