Thecus Windows Storage Server 2012 R2


Thecus just create a new product line, Thecus WSS, to support Windows Storage Server. Here are some information I just collect.

2015/3/29 Update after testing a Thecus W5000.

Product Line

Thecus WSS comes with Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials for SMB / home and Standard for large business. Both are x64 and supports more than 4GB RAM. Feel free to upgrade your W2000, W4000, and W5000 to 4GB RAM.

Below is a clear explanation about Windows Storage Server  from Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX File Transfer Performance Report:

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a x64 Windows based on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2. In specification tab of Thecus W5000, you will see a comparison table of Workgroup, Standard, and Essentials. Essentials doesn’t support Hyper-V but is capable of being a Domain Controller of Active Directory.

Although WSS 2012 R2 Essentials is a x64 Windows, it is limited to 4GB of RAM on Intel Atom Processor D2550 models. Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases on Microsoft provides a clear explanation.

 

W2000 and W4000 comes with Kingston SSD 60GB while W5000 is Seagate Laptop SSHD 500GB. Yes, you may use the spare space on SSHD for storage.

System Management

For Windows 7 and 8, you may use Launchpad which will be install automatically during first-time connect. Browse below web address to launch Server Wizard.

http://<Thecus WSS Server IP>/connect

Mac user need to download Windows Server Essentials Connector for Windows Server 2012 R2 from Microsoft Download Center and install MacConnector.dmg manually. If you follow Connect NAS to your Mac Directly with Ethernet, MacConnector won’t connect to your Thecus Windows Storage Server device even with IP address.

It also provides Remote Desktop Protocol aka RDP for remote access.

There is a My Server mobile app in windows Store to help you manage from windows tablet. I use Dashboard to manage accounts and Server Manager for File and Storage Services. If you want to use Storage Spaces, use Server Manager. Or you may use [Disk Management] in Computer Management to create RAID. How To Manage Storage Spaces and Storage Pools in Windows Server 2012 on MCP Magazine is a step-by-step guide which I found it very useful.

Active Directory

Active Directory support is build-in. It is capable of being a Domain Controller of Active Directory according to [SPECIFICATION] tab in W5000. You will need to enable [Active Directory Domain Services] in Server Manager and use [Active Directory Administrative Center] under [Tools] for administration.

File Sharing

It supports Server Message Block aka smb 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1 and Network File System aka NFS v2, v3, v4.

While most NAS use ext4 as file system for hard drive, Thecus WSS is NTFS or ReFS. You may use FAT and Encrypting File System, an encrypoted NTFS, as well.

Below is a clear explanation on invalid characters on NTFS and ReFS from Invalid Characters in File Names:

According to Illegal Characters on Various Operating Systems and Semantic Differences Between Server for NFS and UNIX-Based NFS Servers on Microsoft TechNet, : ” \ / * ? < > | and any character type with [Ctrl] key are invalid characters in file names.

Wiki Filename provides more information when used as extension and in POSIX.

After testing ReFS on Thecus W5000, : ” \ / * ? < > |  is still not supported.

Use Server Manager to configure File and Storage Services. You also need to configure [Security] property of the shared folder to match your permission policy.

There is no official mobile client apps like Dropbox for general users. You need to get a third-party apps.

Backup

For Windows, it has build-in Shadow Copy to work with Thecus WSS.

For OSX users, you need to create a shared folder on Thecus WSS and connect to it from OS X. Then enable Time Machine in OSX. An Easier Way to Set Up Time Machine to Back Up to a Networked Windows Computer on Lifehacker will guide you step-by-step.

There is no desktop file sync tools build-in. I recommend FreeFileSync which is free and supports Linux, OSX, and Windows.

More

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2012 on Microsoft TechNet provides some useful resource for existing user. Basic concept should be similar to Windows Server 2012 R2. Make sure it is supported on Thecus WSS.

If you have Thecus WSS across WAN, BranchCache might help you to save traffic. You will found this option when using [New Share Wizard] in Server Manager. It must be enabled in [Server Roles] first. Or you may manually enable this in [Sharing] Tab → [Advanced Sharing] → [Caching] → [enable BranchCache] of the property dialog of the shared folder. Enable BranchCache on a file share on TechNet has a clear explanation.

Reference

  1. Acronis: 39790: Illegal Characters on Various Operating Systems
  2. Apple: OS X
  3. Connect NAS to your Mac Directly with Ethernet
  4. Dropbox
  5. FreeFileSync0
  6. Intel Atom Processor D2550
  7. Invalid Characters in File Names
  8. Kingston
  9. Lifehacker: An Easier Way to Set Up Time Machine to Back Up to a Networked Windows Computer
  10. Linux.org
  11. MCPMAG: How To Manage Storage Spaces and Storage Pools in Windows Server 2012
  12. Microsoft: Download Center: Windows Server Essentials Connector for Windows Server 2012 R2
  13. Microsoft: MSDN: Resilient file system
  14. Microsoft: TechNet: BranchCache
  15. Microsoft: TechNet: Domain Controller Roles
  16. Microsoft: TechNet: Enable BranchCache on a file share
  17. Microsoft: TechNet: File and Storage Services Overview
  18. Microsoft: TechNet: Get Connected in Windows Server Essentials
  19. Microsoft: TechNet: Hyper-V
  20. Microsoft: TechNet: Overview of the Dashboard in Windows Server Essentials
  21. Microsoft: TechNet: Overview of the Launchpad in Windows Server Essentials
  22. Microsoft: TechNet: Semantic Differences Between Server for NFS and UNIX-Based NFS Servers
  23. Microsoft: TechNet: Storage Spaces Overview
  24. Microsoft: TechNet: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2012
  25. Microsoft: Windows
  26. Microsoft: Windows Server 2012 R2
  27. Microsoft: Windows Store: My Server
  28. Microsoft: Windows: Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases
  29. Samba.org: [Samba] Question marks, asterisks, colons in filenames
  30. Seagate: Seagate Laptop SSHD
  31. Thecus
  32. Thecus W5000 with Mac OSX File Transfer Performance Report
  33. Thecus: W2000
  34. Thecus: W4000
  35. Thecus: W5000
  36. Thecus: Windows Storage Server
  37. Thecus: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  38. Thecus: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard
  39. Wiki: Active Directory
  40. Wiki: ext4
  41. Wiki: Bring your own device
  42. Wiki: Domain controller
  43. Wiki: Encrypting File System
  44. Wiki: File Allocation Table
  45. Wiki: File system
  46. Wiki: IP address
  47. Wiki: Network File System
  48. Wiki: NTFS
  49. Wiki: POSIX
  50. Wiki: Remote Desktop Protocol
  51. Wiki: Server Message Block
  52. Wiki: Shadow Copy
  53. Wiki: Solid-state drive
  54. Wiki: Standard RAID levels
  55. Wiki: Time Machine (OS X)
  56. Wiki: Wide area network
  57. Wiki: x86-64
  58. Wiki: x86-64: 6.6 Windows

4 thoughts on “Thecus Windows Storage Server 2012 R2

  1. Just an observation in relation to the Active Directory comment: the Essentials version of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, which ships in the three SMB/Home Thecus systems you mention, absolutely does function as a domain controller – in fact, the initial configuration sets up a domain by default.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for your feedback!

      “Active Directory support is build-in. It is not a domain controller but may join others.” is based on following links I found related to different Windows Storage Server versions and editions.

      1. Windows Powered BUFFALO Storage Server
      2. Can Windows Storage Server 2008 be a domain controller?
      3. Can I make Windows Storage Server 2008 a DC

      Because Buffalo also use WSS 2012R2 Workgroup/Standard, I think it should be applicable to WSS 2012R2 Essential/Standard in Thecus.

      Anyway, I have applied a test unit and should be able to get it before 2015/2/17. I will test to see if it could be a Primary Domain Controller and update this post. 🙂

      If Thecus WSS can act as a Primary Domain Controller, it should be a very valuable feature to many small business!

      Please keep in touch!

      Have a nice day!

      Best regards,

      Amigo

      Like

  2. Amigo,

    Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials, in common with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, is _expected_ to be a domain controller (ie. it sets up that way by default). This is shown in the Software section and table in this official blog post:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/storageserver/archive/2014/12/10/windows-storage-server-2012-r2-essentials-a-closer-look.aspx

    To quote “including the ability to either setup an Active Directory domain or tie into to an existing one”.

    This isn’t theory or speculation on my part – I own a W5000 🙂 There are some aspects of the setup that I don’t like (eg. it gives you a .local domain by default and the only way to change that is to cancel the installation at the correct point and restart it using a Powershell script with the appropriate parameters) but it makes setting up a domain and all of the associated gubbins very simple.

    Cheers, Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Steve,

      I got my WSS5000 and is doing a lot of test including 802.11ac/802.11n support, invalid file name on NTFS via NFS from Mac client, and etc. I will shared in other post next month.

      I also found the transfer bottleneck is not the CPU. It only has less than 20% during test. I am very surprised that Atom is fast enough for WSS 2012 R2 Essential.

      Have a nice day!

      Best regards,

      Amigo

      Like

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