eSATA external hard drive(s)
eSATA cable – Not SATA
eSATA connection or Add-On PC card (the HP MSS has this connector already)
2 Beers (not shown)
Windows Media Center streaming your favorite 365 station
I have a Dell SC440 PowerEdge running WHS that I built last year. The server came with 6 USB ports to which I immediately connected three external drives (only one is part of the storage), one UPS, a mouse and keyboard. I have often wondered where I would plug in my next drive when the time comes. The release of Power Pack 2 now offers Windows Media Center support and I have decided I am going put the rest of my 120 DVDs on the server. I am going to need more space eventually and Seagate was having an outlet sale so here is the article. My wife wants to know what is in the boxes that keep showing up at our doorstep. I hope she does not look in the server closet any time soon.
I currently have 1.5 TB in the case and a 500GB Free Agent Triple connected via USB. I purchased a second 500GB Triple from the Seagate outlet store this week and for the new eSATA card, the drive and the two new cables, I spent $115. I know I could spend $150 on just one 1 TB eSATA drive but I like to buy drives in stages and replace the older ones. You probably have your own logic on how you like your drives. I am also wondering if I will get any increase in file transfer speeds since I am moving to a faster interface on the duplicated drives. I am going to run some times before and after to see if files transfer faster. It currently takes 1:17 to upload the Voyager 952 MB file.
I thought you might find some of the speed standards interesting shown in the table below:
|Device||Speed (bit/s)||Speed (bytes/s)|
|USB 2.0||480 Mbit/s||60 MB/s|
|FireWire 400||393.216 Mbit/s||49.152 MB/s|
|eSATA (SATA 300)||2,400 Mbit/s||300 MB/s|
All external Seagate drives that offer FireWire connectors use the FW400 standard. Over the years I was always led to believe that FireWire 400 was really fast. Who really checked? I guess if you want to be able to daisy chain then you can use FireWire. USB 2.0 is still preferred for most of my applications.
Enough of the specs. Lets touch some hardware. Let the good times roll. Viva WHS.
The Dell Server was made for easy access and card installation. You can do pretty much everything you want inside the system without tools. I removed the cover and pushed two plastic pins to get the card bay open. As you can see I can also get to everything else in the same fashion.
I bought the PCIx1 slot card since it had two eSATA connections and the 3.0 Gbps speed. Your hardware will be different of course. I added the card I bought from Newegg and it went in without any issues.
Mental Note: I recently read about how much work is required to change the RAM on a HP MSS and I just about hit the floor. I hope my parents never decide to start streaming media with their MSS!
I put everything back together (without tools) and put the server back in closet. I connected all of the cables, including the two new eSATA cables on the card side and pressed the power button. Come on baby. Do your thing.
Ok, so my WHS booted back up and I am waiting for the CTL-ALT-DEL screen. For those of you with HP MSS you should have skipped all of these steps. You also skip the “normal” log in screen like those of us with the OEM version and a monitor. Personally I have a hard time trusting a system without a monitor. I need to see the boot process and log in. Yes, I know I am strange.
Great, my WHS actually found the new hardware without my help and is downloading the driver. Is this really going as smoothly as it seems? It is all done. Seriously?
I am now connecting the new drive. Sweet. WHS sees the new drive. Notice that it shows 76% free before I add the drive.
I select the new drive and click on Add. Here we go again…
I expect you and I appreciate the warning but just flippin add the drive already.
Drive added. Thank you. 80% free? I totally expected more of a delta. We covered the math a few articles ago so I will now console myself with another beer.
Hey did you notice that my first Free Agent drive is now listed as Internal (SATA) also? Before the screen shot I just unplugged the USB and reconnected it with the new eSATA cable and the drive was recognized and the location was relabelled. How cool is that?
It is now time copy some files and check that everything is working on the client side. It is getting late and the wife will be asking questions soon so I better hurry.
I just copied my 952MB Voyager test file and there was no difference in the time from before I changed to eSATA. I am kind of bummed about not seeing any change but I guess the WHS balances the loads before it copies to external drives. I am ok with everything else. You can see my two eSATA drives below and my other USB Free Agent that I use for backup.
You could also see in the Console shots earlier above that I also have a second backup drive that I keep in a small USB safe. I rotate this smaller drive off site by backing up the database and all folders BUT the videos folder due to space limitations. You can never back up too much. Seriously.
I have the extra space I need so it is time to start backing up my DVDs.
See you next Friday night.
A good website that has all of the speed standards is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bandwidths
If you go to the link above you can see that the new USB 3.0 is going to kick ass in the next few years. Seriously.