Combine Live Mesh, Windows Home Server for a Personal Cloud

14 Comments

live-mesh-whs

Although I normally follow Ian Dixon’s excellent Digital Lifestyle blog, I missed a great post recently. Lucky for me that one of our readers brought it to my attention. The gist of the post is about extending Windows Home Server (s MSFT) by using Live Mesh. That’s a killer concept, because you might have files or media on a device that’s not on the same network as your WHS. By using Live Mesh on the WHS box, you can pull that content in. Very slick! Even better: With the included cloud storage, you could have key files and folders available on both your WHS and in the Live Mesh cloud. That could be handy if the home server goes on the fritz. In a case like that, your data as of the last sync is available from the web.

I haven’t looked much at WHS since my FiOS install last week, but I’m seriously thinking about adding Live Mesh to the box for testing purposes. The only reason I’ve been on hold is the remote access issues I was working through. Now that my home network has stabilized (and is much faster), I think it’s time to pick up where I left off. Thanks for pointing this out, Greg!

14 Comments

Greg

So I have decided that I need to use a different solution since I don’t want to corrupt my data. Anyone know of an automatic sync solution that works with WHS?

Rogerio Altmeyer

Live Mesh cannot sync with a network drive!
Right, this limitation is (“I THINK”) because it use NTFS flags to control the sync.

Rogerio.

Rogerio Altmeyer

Greg,

I already tried Mesh using a UNC, but it doesnt work…

You told: “but all of the folders in the D drive are the same size as the shares directory”.. Look my case:

I have a WHServer with 4 500Gb disks, On the WHS Console, Server Storage tab, the pie show me this:

Total Size: 1.82Tb
Free Space: 410Gb

when I click on properties of D partition on windows explorer, it show my this:

Used Space: 35Gb
Free Space: 410Gb
Capacity: 445Gb (capatity of D partition)

Capacity is for the D partition, and it is right, but free space is fake, changed by Drive Extended.

If I try to see the properties of D:share folder, windows explorer will show me the total occupied for all drives.

So, the files (or thumbstones) of D drive show the exact same size of real files, but it is fake.

Rogerio.

Greg

Does anyone know why you couldn’t just map a network drive to the UNC path, then sync mesh to that mapped drive? That seems like it may work since it would be using the path then right?

Greg

So just to be safe I turned off the mesh on the server until I can make sure it isn’t going to corrupt stuff.

Greg

Yeah I remember reading about how you are supposed to access files using the shares area, but all of the folders in the D drive are the same size as the shares directory. Might need to look into this a bit more. Seems to be working though thus far.

Rogerio Altmeyer

Helo again,

When you have a WHS machine with more than one HardDrive, Drive Extender service will create tombstones for your files on D: partition that points to real file on other fisical HardDrives.

The problem is: Mesh cant follow these tombstones (on D: partition) to the real files, and your sync files on Mesh Live Folder and other machines will be lost/corrupted over the time.

The only secure way to access the files on a WHServer, even local, is using UNC (\serversharedFolder). This will acess the files using WHS Drive Extender to follow the tombstones.

Windows Home Server Technical Brief for Drive Extender document:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=40C6C9CC-B85F-45FE-8C5C-F103C894A5E2&displaylang=en

Last year, the Microsoft guys made a technical previa for WHS and Live Mesh working together, but I cound´t find a public beta yet:
http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/archive/2008/10/30/windows-home-server-and-live-mesh-technology-demonstration.aspx

Im using a personal cloud using “super flexible file sincronizer”, if someone want to try I can explain how to do.

Rogerio

Aung

Just an idea. I use WHS and MS Groove together. All my WIP files goes under the Groove folder on my WHS. Groove syncs up to 2GB of data across different computers. For me, that’s my laptop, office desktop and WHS. All my home computers have access to WHS, since they are on the same network. For non-WIP files, I use the WHS web access. This setup works well for me most of the time with some issues. The laptop doesn’t sync too well because, I shut it off after I use it. And Groove doesn’t work with 64-bit stuff.

Rogerio

Don´t try this on a Home Server with more than one harddrive, your files will corrupt because WHS only supports access to the shared folders via network, like \whsservermusic, never try to use d:sharemusic

I tried Mesh using shared folder, but the actual version does’nt work with.

MR

I only have one HDD in my my WHS so this mesh cloud sync is great for the documents share that is only 40MB – ie a great backup for files you don’t mind being in the cloud.

Mark

This won’t work if you have more than one hard drive in your home server. Not all files under d:shares will be the real files. Some of them will be “tombstones” (4k files that are placeholders for the real files). You’ll end up with the tombstones being synced to your mesh. I don’t know if this can end up corrupting your files or not, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance!

Jake

I believe Microsoft hinted at better integration of Live Mesh into WHS in the future – perhaps when Mesh comes out of beta and the second version of WHS comes out.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what they come up with but, like Greg, I’m a little nervous about sharing too much.

Greg

Sweet, thanks for the credit in finding the link, lol. I have been using the mesh on my home server here and it has been working great keeping the tx2110 and the q1u all in sync with the server. I had been using windows live sync before to sync docs and all but it didn’t work very well and always had trouble signing in. The mesh has been working just fine so far.

I currently sync my mp3’s from one computer to the other and the server using sync toy since foldershare or live sync as it has been renamed screwed up all the names and went crazy. I am going to have to test out how mesh handle’s mp3’s. With live sync, different from live mesh, syncs music, the computer will identify the file and open it somehow when syncing then live sync would think the file had changed and sync it again, but with a different name since the one file was open. It would keep doing this until the hard drive got full. That is the only thing I need to test with the mesh program.

I don’t know if I want to enable mesh for music though since if I had ripped a cd at home and didn’t sync while on wifi, took the computer out in the world and was online with my aircard it could rack up some serious data use.

Just my thoughts on the service so far.

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