Windows Server 2012 Essentials upgrade path?

I find it hard to believe that a blog is the holdup. How about just posting the xml file. Most people can create a bootable windows usb key. The unattend file is what people need to auto setup rdp/firewall/network. Even if injecting drivers is needed that’s pretty standard.

This could also be a pretty good way to make a windows2go bootable usb device that can get us booted to a useable mode.

Of course this will wipe out your box.  So be prepared to do a WD recovery if you want to go back.  Also copy any data you need somewhere else.  But I swear I don’t know why you want to do this.  2012e is $425 bucks and your only gain is it will be a domain controller, be the DNS server.  Also please note 2012e does not support any clients older than Win7

headless install and cfg.ini.  You really do not need cfg.ini as you can rdp to the desktop after setup and run the essentials setup portion

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Not entirely true; Windows Server 2012 Essentials does allow down-level clients like XP to join the domain, they just aren’t able to run the connector due to the lack of .NET 4.5 and thus will not have all the other benfits of being ‘connected’ to the server, such as automatic backups, being listed in the Dashboard, and Remote Web Access…all pretty useful things to have.

We have unlimited site license for 2012 standard and datacenter. So basically I can upgrade for free and get deduplication.

Some of us just want it for cheap redundant storage, as we have expensive boxes doing servicing and these dx4000’s can do dfs replication, shadow copies, and deduplication. Enterprise quality services.

Storage server is home/small workgroup. Which is fine for some.

2012 standard with no gui can be a remotely managed storage server much easier than all the storage server 2008r2 web stuff. 2012 also has iscsi integrated as well.

I would eventially like to try runnig 2 of these dx4000’s in iscsi raid 1, mpio…for failover. I know they aren’t the fastest but I am still curious.

Win8/server 2012 is very hardware independant/forgiving.  I think the simplest thing for you to try is simply install whatever you want on a hard drive, and plug it in the DX and see what happens.

This past weekend I decided to see what it’d take to get Server 2012 running on my sentinel.  As it turned out, it didn’t really take much at all.  I just used the Windows 7 USB download tool to transfer the iso of the Server 2012 essentials dvd to a usb stick.  Plugged the usb stick in the sentinel, remoted into it and ran the setup.exe from the usb.  Stepped through some of the initial setup (going the clean install route) and the server started the install.  In under an hour I looked up the IP address that the sentinel now had, tried going to http://NewSentinelIP/ to continue the setup like you would during a restore, but the website would through an error.  Turns out you have to connect by machine name.  The machine got a new random name that I found through my router setup page, so I connected to that web address http://NewSentinalMachineName/ and I was able to continue the setup process.  After a little while and a bunch of reboots, I was sitting in Server 2012 on my sentinel.  Now of course going to Essentials 2012 brings new issues, like some of the ones mentioned before about the fan and LCD, but I’ll try and figure those out.  And using Essentials 2012 creates a domain and the box wants to use it’s own dns so I’ll have to figure out that as well.  Just want to say though that the drives are all working and kept all the data through the new install!

Did it work with any hard drive? Or, is that locked into the hardware where you have to use the WD drives?

I just did it overtop of the default 60gb partition that comes setup with the sentinel and it’s setup of 4 drives (I have the 8TB version).  But I imagine it will work with any HD combo/setup.

Got even further!  Most of the WD specific things are working now as you can see.  The big thing was getting the Enclosure Provider service.  Good thing .net Logs errors well, I was able to find out that service needed the new server 2012 sdk dll’s locally.  Still have to figure out the storage info there in the screen shot, but everything else is working now!

wdSentinel2012.jpg

I think I know why WD hasn’t said anything yet on server 2012.  It has to do with Intel not having a version of their RST Raid driver that works on Server 2012 yet.  That’s why I think the Storage section in the Dashboard Monitor is unable to get any info on the hard drives.  I’m definitely leery of putting the current driver that is used for the sentinel on in 2012 as I’ve heard some people get blue screens and all when messing with the RST drivers on other machines.

Any updates on getting this installed?  I think quite a few of us are interested in a How to Guide.  If someone is interested I would be willing to help create a How to if needed.

i used the 2008 R2 driver from WD for the install (works with a PE build for install)

i updated to version 11.7.0.1013 and been using it… works fine for me, but not sure there’s plugins to bring it up in essentials.

futureguis wrote:

This past weekend I decided to see what it’d take to get Server 2012 running on my sentinel.  As it turned out, it didn’t really take much at all.  I just used the Windows 7 USB download tool to transfer the iso of the Server 2012 essentials dvd to a usb stick.  Plugged the usb stick in the sentinel, remoted into it and ran the setup.exe from the usb.  Stepped through some of the initial setup (going the clean install route) and the server started the install.  In under an hour I looked up the IP address that the sentinel now had, tried going to http://NewSentinelIP/ to continue the setup like you would during a restore, but the website would through an error.  Turns out you have to connect by machine name.  The machine got a new random name that I found through my router setup page, so I connected to that web address http://NewSentinalMachineName/ and I was able to continue the setup process.  After a little while and a bunch of reboots, I was sitting in Server 2012 on my sentinel.  Now of course going to Essentials 2012 brings new issues, like some of the ones mentioned before about the fan and LCD, but I’ll try and figure those out.  And using Essentials 2012 creates a domain and the box wants to use it’s own dns so I’ll have to figure out that as well.  Just want to say though that the drives are all working and kept all the data through the new install!

Just as a note. I tried this by copying the essentials folders to the c: drive and then running setup and all it did was continous reboots…I even let it go overnight. 

So I suggest this is not the way to go.

I talked to WD reps at a show last Wednesday and they tell me that a product with Storage Server 2012 will be out some time this summer.  They had no details.  I’m hoping that it runs on a m/b with at least 4 gb of ram.  BTW, none of the 2012 versions will backup XP or Vista computers since Net 4.5 won’t run on them so it may not be the solution for everyone.

well XP is probably not much of a concern since it falls out of maintenance soon anyway… vista i bet will get a patch.  (do people still run vista? )  :cry:

I have uploaded part 1 of what I believe will be a 3 part article series on how to build a windows server 2012 DX4000…

Part 1 involves getting things ready to build a custom image and how to make a WinPE USB for the DX4000.

I will publish Part 2 and 3 together, as Part 2 will be an over-view of the additional things required for the server image  (using the skills learned in Part 1), how to control the FAN and LCD.  I’m still working on a nice powershell 3.0 script to allow custom information to be displayed on the LCD… taking a bit of time to complete, but should have something to share soon.

http://blugged.wordpress.com/category/wd-dx4000/

enjoy!

Sweeeeett!! I can’t wait to try it out - thanks!

I just posted part 2 with a short on the LCD and fan… hope you enjoy it.

I look forward to the feedback.

Troy,

Thanks very much for the detailed directions in PART 1… I have a few comments:

  1. I did not notice any reference to injecting the Intel NIC drivers in your HOW TO (the only reference was for the RST drivers)… so I injected the NIC drivers in a similar manner to that used for the RST drivers (DISM reported success).

  2. I was unable to save the modified versions of the STARTNET.CMD or UNATTEND.XML files due to the system not allowing me to over-write the files in the mounted image. As a work-around, I copied the files out of the mounted image, made the necesary edits to the copies and then copied them back to the mounted image (the system allowed me to over-write the files with new copies, but it would not allow me to edit and save the files in-place). Not sure if I am supposed to be able to edit/save the files in-place.

I have been successful in generating WinPE media files according to your instructions and I have created the USB boot drive. Additionally, I have been able to boot the Sentinel to the “Recovery” mode using the USB drive. Unfortunately, I have not been able to connect via the TightVNC Viewer… I just receive timeout messages. I have a fixed IP on the Sentinel, so I know that I am pinging the correct IP.

I am not asking for any help/guidance at this point… just noting that I have not yet been successful in booting to WinPE and accessing via TightVNC. I will continue to try.

  1. you do not have to supply the nic drivers as they are in the WinPE already

  2. Not my article :slight_smile: But I am fairly certain you simply copy your unattend to the “finished” thumb drive.  This is done after you dismount your image.  Startnet is prob handled the same way.

  3. I would have to go back and look at his steps, but I think he said if you have a fixed IP.  Just because your DX had a fixed IP before does not mean it has one this way, unless you specified one in an xml file with your thumb drive build.  I would look at your DHCP table and see if an odd computer name showed up,

If you have most any other computer on your bench you can “test” most of this process by booting your thumb drive on a box with a monitor.  Just be sure it has a hard drive that can be erased as the purpose of the unattend file is to do the clicks for you LOL  It will not ask you, are you sure you want to erase your hard drive, it will just do it for you !