Building a Windows 10 Home Server Starts Here!

Today’s an exciting day here at We Got Served as we flip over a new page and get to work on our forthcoming Building a Windows 10 Home Server eBook. We’ve now sold thousands of copies of its predecessors, Building a Windows 8 Home Server and Building a Home Server With Windows 8.1 and so the bar has been set to make the new title our best yet!

While Microsoft is busy putting the final touches to their latest re-imagining of the Windows platform (which may, in part, resemble previous releases of the Windows platform – cough – Start Menu) I’ve just ordered the components required to build the all-new home server I’ll be featuring in the forthcoming book.

building-a-windows-10-home-server

This time, I’m looking to create a compact but powerful home server setup that is equally adept at displaying media directly as it is serving files to other network devices – locally or remotely. A multi-drive, private cloud server that’s comfortable working with public cloud services such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. A powerful media hub that can serve as a DVR, media server, home theater PC and media library manager, integrated with leading music, TV and movie metadata providers. All powered by the latest and greatest edition of Windows, tweaked and massaged for home server use.

We’ll cover all of this and more in Building a Windows 10 Home Server.

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If you want to find out what components I’ll be using for my own Windows 10 Home Server, check out this post. Otherwise, stay tuned to hear more about Building a Windows 10 Home Server over the summer.

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11 comments

  1. Lots of ideas here, which I’ll spell out 1 by 1.

    Server 2012 (and hence Windows 8) were designed for enormous enterprise scale-out storage needs to replace the exorbitantly expensive industry solutions: Microsoft hoping for a slice of the lucrative hardware-based storage market via a software solution.

    1. The design is essentially one of parallelism, so on the network side of things if you were not happy with 100MBs throughput from a single GBE connection … have multiple connections. The redesign of the SMB protocol to SMB 3 multichannel introduced this … importantly using commodity network equipment and standard TCPIP.

    So if you connect a home workstation to a home file server … using two (commodity) switches … with 4 cables … not only will you now see 200MBs transfer rates … but should one switch die you will still be in business, albeit at half the rate.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2012/06/28/the-basics-of-smb-multichannel-a-feature-of-windows-server-2012-and-smb-3-0.aspx

    Further, the SMB 3 protocol parallelises the network processing load across the processors of the devices, useful on multicore low power devices.
    Bottom line: have lots of network ports for increased throughput.

  2. 2. The 2nd (of 2) fundamentals is the parallelism in Storage Spaces, which was designed for 24,48,72 disk rack enclosures in datacentres. Bearing some resemblance to RAID 10 … a mirrored Storage Space with 8 disks arranges them in 2 columns of 4. So there are 2 copies of all data with a single file spread out over 4 disks.
    The (potential, test yourself!) benefits are twofold. Read operations use 4 disks at a time … so 100MBs becomes closer to 400MBs (so now you know why you need SMB multichannel with 4 network ports!) … again using commodity components (here any old consumer disks).
    More importantly to me the operation when one disk fails is superior to traditional RAID. In my example above, once a disk has failed its data is rebuilt ON THE REMAINING 3 DISKS of the mirror from the other 4 disks on the other side of the mirror. So instead of having something like a hot spare with a 1 to 1 copy after failure … rebuilding begins immediately and 3 times faster.
    The bottom line: the more disks you have in your Storage Spaces, the faster your reads and the safer your prized picture of you when you were 18 months old 😉

  3. 3. As the speed of broadband increases … Microsoft’s offer of unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 subscribers starts to bite. Office 365 Personal US is <$40. Two 3TB disks are <$240. Both will expire after 6 years.
    Bottom line: why not buy just 2 disks … and backup with OneDrive rather than RAID?

  4. 4. The Samsung M2 drive … is a complete waste of money and inserted just for the fun of testing.
    a. Data to and from the server is constrained by network bandwidth … and no allowance has been made for anything above the normal 100MBs. Why have a disk with 10 times that performance?
    b. Fast boot times? On a server?? Won’t it be permanently on???
    c. The motherboard throttles bandwidth by half: one could say this part of the design is half-baked 😉
    This, and the powerful processor, are surely in the wrong place on the network.
    Shouldn’t they be in the most powerful workstation? You know the device that’s generating all this data to be stored on the server?

    1. What I would like to see here is a calculation of how many 4K video streams can be beamed from the server to devices around the house (small office).

  5. 5. For vendors (picking up my comment in the THECUS thread) I think there is an entry level floor to a server running Windows imposed by the design of Storage Spaces:
    – a small 32Gb SDD (Storage Spaces needs a separate OS disk)
    – 8 disks in a 4-column mirror
    Four disks doesn’t get you anywhere (and you are better off buying an HP Microserver, or similar).
    Six isn’t much better.

  6. 6. For prosumers.
    a. Don’t go RAID … buy an Office 365 subscription and max out OneDrive (you have a fast broadband, right?).
    b. If you must have RAID at home … buy a big case and motherboard with lots of SATA ports. Don’t do 4x6TB drives … do 8x3TB drives … or 12x2TB drives.
    c. Get a 2nd switch and use 2/4 network connections between servers and workstations.
    d. If you haven’t got a server yet … don’t get one … buy a really big case, motherboard and processor with 40 PCI channels (X99); NVME disk (when they come out) and keep everything together.
    YMMV .. so mix and match accordingly.

  7. I really hope setting up a home server is a few mouse clicks, and not a text book worth of stuff..
    i just need somewhere where me and my girlfriend have access to storage..

      1. I got it all set up. and no. I dont like offsite storage where i cant go and physically touch the system with the drive in it. I dont trust the cloud at all.

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