WD DX4000: Installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

With a bit of wrangling and some brain surgery from the folks over at Home Server Show forums, I was able to successfully get Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials up and running on my Western Digital DX 4000 server. There really is no trickery to this, and honestly it could not have been any easier. You don’t even really need a TightVNC Bootable USB to craft your subsystem if you set things up right for auto installation. However, there is one small issue I encountered that baffled me for a few days and I’ll cover that caveat a little later in this post so you can learn from my mistake.

 [note: autounattend.xml file fixed]

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WD DX4000: Intel RST 12.9 vs 13.1 performance and flashback

I recently had the opportunity to rebuild my system and decided to upgrade to Windows Server 2012R2. I like having a system that I know I can rely on, an “out of sight, out of mind” type deal; however, I do occasionally get way to involved and analytical while getting my hands dirty. Regardless of those things, the past week has been interesting and I thought I would share some of my findings related to this upgrade and the performance differences between the two currently available RST drivers from Intel.

[update: 10.23.2014, the RST CLI 13.1.0.1058 is now available from Intel to use with the corresponding drivers for array modifications]

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WD DX4000: Customize RAID Configuration

Over the past year, I received several great compliments regarding these postings, and for that I just wanted to say thanks. There have been a few questions floating around regarding the RAID configuration possibilities and today, I have something I found interesting to share with everyone.

You can in fact change the volume and array structure to fit your needs. I found a really nice command line tool on the Intel® Download Center called the RST CLI. The tool corresponds with a particular driver release, but allows you to configure the controller and drives for any particular array and volume you choose. In my initial tests, I have been able to successfully use the version 12.9.0.1001 driver and RST CLI tool, to change my 4 drive array, into a RAID 10 configuration (*see note at the end). I have since changed back to a RAID 5 configuration and modified the stripe size to fit my particular data storage and performance needs.

To get started, download the drivers and toolkit from the links above, or just visit the download center and search for RST drivers and RST CLI. Note: they do have a newer driver available (version 13.1); however, as of the time of this writing they do not have a matching toolkit available (version 13.0 is the latest for RST CLI) so use the 12.9 versions.

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WD DX4000: Building Windows Server 2012, part 3 – the LCD

This is the third and final article in my series related to converting the DX4000 to Windows Server 2012. In this post, I cover some details related to using PowerShell to display performance information to the LCD. I created a video that demonstrates the script in action… take a look:

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WD DX4000: Building Windows Server 2012, part 2

Welcome to the second part of my guide on converting the DX4000 into a nice little Windows Server 2012 build. In this article, we will cover what is needed to create the auto unattended installation and a couple neat features (at the end). Like usual, please read the entire article before getting started. I tried to make things as linear as possible,… read first, then do.

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WD DX4000: Building Windows Server 2012, part 1

Before beginning to exercise the information provided in this article, read the entire article first and make sure you have access to the following.

Requirements:

  • Intel RST Drivers ( server 2008R2, version 10.5.6.1001)
    • Note that version 11.7.0.1013 can also be used
    • Version 12.5.0.1066 (3/22/2013) used in the article
    • current 12.6.0.1033 (5/02/2013)
  • Intel NIC Drivers (82574L)
    • ProWinx64 version 18.2
  • Windows ADK for Windows 8
    • Deployment Tools (required installation option)
    • Windows Pre-installation Environment (required installation option, WinPE)
  • USB Flash Drive (8GB recommended)
  • Technician Computer
    • A laptop or desktop PC
    • Used for creating images
    • USB port (2.0 or 3.0)
    • DVD Drive (optional)
  • Windows Server 2012 installation ISO (and license)
  • ISO mount utility (e.g.: Daemon Tools Lite)
  • TightVNC (free remote control tool)
  • Familiarize yourself with UEFI standards
  • Know your System IP Address!

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