For the past few months I have been using Windows Home Server (WHS) to backup my workstations at home… two laptops, one desktop workstation and my Media Center PC. The WHS box has 650 GB of hard disk space, about half of which is dedicated to file storage, and the other half is for backup storage. It does a great job of it too… I know that all of my PCs are safe!
I also have a server at home. It runs my production infrastructure in a virtual environment (three Essential Business Server 2008 servers), as well as several other VMs – mostly machines I use as tests (Server Core, Server 2003 R2, etc…). It also holds my ISO store for all of the source disks I need from time to time. All told it has six hard disks which, in its current configuration, combines for about 750 GB of storage space, which is probably 60% used. For both the parent partition and the virtual machines I have a completely separate backup strategy in place.
A few weeks ago I was at a client demonstrating a number of technologies, and they asked to see WHS in action. I didn’t really have a presentation deck for them, but I did have a connection to my home network so I was able to demonstrate it for them. I showed them a lot of the functionalities, and then in order to show them how easy it was to connect a new machine, I installed the WHS connector onto my server. Wow, that was easy!
At the end of that presentation my client had a ton of questions, after which they took me for lunch and then golfing, following which they rushed me to the airport to catch an evening flight.
I never uninstalled the WHS client from my server.
When i got home the next day I plugged my laptop in… I had been away for a week, and I wanted to run a backup. Unfortunately when I clicked the WHS icon in my Vista’s Notification Area it was red… never a good sign. The message was that I had completely run out of storage space on the WHS server, and that I should add more drives.
It did not take long to figure out the issue was the 400GB of information that the server was trying to back up. I uninstalled the WHS Connector from the server, and then from the server removed its stored backups. The WHS Icon turned from Red to Yellow immediately (the warning was that my laptop had not been backed up in 9 days), and I was able to perform the backup (which turns the icon blue).
The moral of the story: Make sure you have enough storage space for your backups… but only join the machines you want backed up to your WHS network!