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Storage Spaces-- Is a pool movable?


sonisame

New Member
Posts
8
#1
Hi
The idea of creating a large redundant storage pool seems like a good idea (I can finally get rid of FreeNAS box), but before I do that I have couple of simple question

1) Can I move a pool created on one windows 8 machine to another windows 8 machine?

2) what happens if disk where my OS resides crashes or I feel like re-installing windows 8 on a different set of hardware, will I be risking losing all my data if OS or hardware changes force me to re-install windows 8?

Thanks
Sonisame
 

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Calico

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828
#2
Hi
The idea of creating a large redundant storage pool seems like a good idea (I can finally get rid of FreeNAS box), but before I do that I have couple of simple question

1) Can I move a pool created on one windows 8 machine to another windows 8 machine?
Yes.

2) what happens if disk where my OS resides crashes or I feel like re-installing windows 8 on a different set of hardware, will I be risking losing all my data if OS or hardware changes force me to re-install windows 8?

Thanks
Sonisame
If the storage pool is independent of the OS disk it shouldn't matter if you need to reinstall. Storage pools themselves offer resiliency through striping and mirroring, if enabled.

You might want to take a read through this for more information.
 

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Brink

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mvp
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24,215
#3
Hello Sonisame, and welcome to Eight Forums.

From the FAQ's at the link below, you will be able to just connect all drives added to the storage pool to the other Windows 8, and it will recognize and use the storage space. :)

Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency - Building Windows 8 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

Q) Can I move a storage pool from one PC to another, once created? For example, if I have a cage with 6 removable drives?

Yes. Just connect the physical disks comprising the pool to the new PC.


Q)
Say I have 3 external enclosures and I remove them one at a time. I then plug them into another Windows 8 PC in reverse order. Will the new PC think I have a broken pool or will it eventually catch up? What if I never plug in one of the enclosures?

You can plug enclosures back in in any order. When Storage Spaces detects a sufficient number of disks for quorum, it activates the pool and contained spaces. You can plug in more enclosures later. If the data on any disks becomes out of sync, Storage Spaces will automatically sync them. Even if you never plug in some enclosures, as long as Storage Spaces detects the minimum number of disks needed, you can continue working with your data. Both via PowerShell and via Control Panel, Storage Spaces informs you that a few physical disks are missing, thereby encouraging you to plug them back in.
 

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sonisame

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Posts
8
#4
Thank you

This is amazing. As cost of maintaining a extra storage box seems expensive; Freenas 8 is very hardware resource hungry. I have not tried other open-source or paid NAS solutions but did try older version of windows home server on a dedicated machine.

I am not interested in comparing apples to oranges by comparing what a NAS ( e.g freenas, unraid) can provide compared to this feature a windows 8 machine can provide.

I hope over next several months windows 8 team will add on more features (snapshot, network tuning, Link Aggregation etc for better data throughput) to this road map and completely fulfill needs of a average home user who have tons of digital files which need to be shared between devices in his home network setup.

For now I am going to slowly start switching my files to this windows 8 storage pool and hope for the best.
 

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puwaha

New Member
Posts
1
#5
So has anyone actually tried this?

I built a storage pool in the Win8 CP version (running in a VM), and then moved the drives to Windows 8 Server beta on a real test machine. While the Server beta sees that the pool exists, I can't do anything with it. It claims that it is offline with no way to that I can see to bring it back online. I can't delete any of the virtual drives, or delete the pool. Of course the Server interface is different than the client version.

I can't figure out how to just start over either. I can't see the drives in Disk Manager, either.
 

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Brink

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mvp
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24,215
#6
Hello Puwaha, and welcome to Eight Forums.

You may need to have them connected to another Windows 8 computer instead of Windows 8 Server computer since they were created in Windows 8. Maybe in the final releases you may be able to hopefully do so.
 

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    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
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Calico

New Member
Power User
Posts
828
#7
So has anyone actually tried this?

I built a storage pool in the Win8 CP version (running in a VM), and then moved the drives to Windows 8 Server beta on a real test machine. While the Server beta sees that the pool exists, I can't do anything with it. It claims that it is offline with no way to that I can see to bring it back online. I can't delete any of the virtual drives, or delete the pool. Of course the Server interface is different than the client version.

I can't figure out how to just start over either. I can't see the drives in Disk Manager, either.
I'm sure you've probably moved on since you posted this, but I thought I'd post this anyway. As I'm sure you're probably aware, in Server 8, a great deal of the management has been moved to or augmented by Powershell cmdlets. As I was doing some work on my Server today, I was looking at the reference for these and I noticed quite a few related to Storage Spaces/Pools and I though of this thread. I'm not sure if they'll help but I though it worth taking a look:

Windows PowerShell Support for Windows Server “8” Beta

Specifically:

Storage Cmdlets
 

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pparks1

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#8
So has anyone actually tried this?
Yes, in fact I tried it just today.

I took a VM running Windows 8 DP with 3 x 4GB virtual drives, created a Storage Space, just a stripe with no resiliency. I put about 6GB of data onto the logical volume.

I then shut down that VM.

I installed Windows 8 DP again on another virtual machine. I copied over the 3 hard drives from my original VM to this machine. I connected the virtual disks and booted the host. Went into Storage Pools and it saw my pool, gave it a drive letter and all of my data was there. I didn't have to do a single thing to recover it.
 

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FSeal

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#9
It's neat and all but it's a little strange that this technology existed in the original WHS and was removed from WHS 20111 for being "too unstable" and is now inside Windows 8.

1) I hope it's stable now.

2) If so, Windows 8 makes a better home server box than WHS? (Once you add remote machine volume backup software) Would be nice if they made a windows 8 home server and put back all the tools and features they took out of the original WHS...

It really does seem kind of odd to have this server functionality in a desktop OS If I have a system that is going to have 4 stripped/mirrored drives in it, it's not going to be my desktop, it's going to be a server :) 99% of all windows desktop users would never use this and that was more than enough "justification" for removing the start menu!
 

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pparks1

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#10
#1). The technology is not the same. There were many more functions in the Drive Extender product. Unsure on stability of this yet, I have really just started to play with it.

I think regular users could use this in leiu of making backups (I don't recommend this, but they could).

So, they could effectively take 2 x 1TB drives in their computer and build a storage pool out of them. So, in theory they would have a grand total of 2TB of disk space. They could then create
1) Storage space of 500GB that is mirrored on both drives. (thus they end up using about 1TB of their 2TB)
2) Storage space of 1TB that is not-resilient (it's just a stripe and they could store non-important stuff here, say movie downloads from internet).

This gives them the ability to protect that data from Storage Space 1, without having to use the entire drive as a RAID 1 mirror. So, if 1 of their drives were to physically fail, they don't lose their data

This also provides the ability for them to easily add space to that 500GB (mirrored) Storage space in the event that they have filled it. They simply add another volume to the pool and grow that Storage Space volume to say 750GB and Windows ensures that files are stored on at least 2 hard drives.

I could see people who want the functionality of a server for this type of storage, simply using their desktop for it rather than having 2 computers at their home.
 

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Mystere

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#11
Storage spaces is very different from Drive Extender (in WHS). Yes, they provide many of the same features, but they're implemented very differently.

Drive Extender, basically copied files from one disk to another to "balance" them, creating a redundancy. It had an algorithem it used to make sure everything was copied to one drive or another.

Storage Spaces works at the block level rather than the file level, and it uses parity blocks to improve redundancy. This is similar to the old .par technology we used to use on newsgroups, where you could download .par files to "substitute" for any section of a missing file. It's more like RAID with "virtual" volumes rather than DE.

DE was nice you just dropped in a drive, and it auto-initialized and was ready to go. Storage Spaces requires a little more configuration. You can't take a single drive and read files off of it.
 

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FSeal

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#12
I see the use for it, it's just kind of funny thinking that the number of regular desktop users that actually make use of it is probably vastly smaller than the number of people that used the start menu which was removed because "not enough people used it" :D

I'll probably end up testing this over WHS 2011 which I am now using but while funtional seems awefully SLOW for network use (even though the machines are all on GBps ethernet). The only two things I'm using on WHS is the mirroring (on and off line) and whole machine backups. THe latter of which there are many software alternatives for...
 

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pparks1

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#13
Some things I have come across

1). Minimum drive size is 4GB....unless you are testing with VM's like I am, this likely won't be an issue.
2). Each drive that you add to the pool, will have approx 768MB of disk space used for overhead and probably the header info and such that the drive needs to work in the pool.
3). When you create a Storage Pool, 256MB per disk drive in the pool will be overhead. Thus, if you have 2 drives in your pool, the second you create the pool 512MB of xxGB of pool capacity will be used. If you have 4 drives, it would be 1024MB of xxGB of pool capacity used.
4). Each time you add a Storage Space, it has a certain amount of overhead. For example, a straight stripe (no resiliency) with 2 drives, takes 768MB of the Pool for overhead. A 2 way mirror with 2 drives, takes up 1.5GB of pool capacity, etc.


So, I thing I noticed that I didn't like

1). I took 2 x 40GB drives and created a pool, and 1 storage space which was a 20GB 2 drive mirror.
2). I then removed one of the drives from the VM (simulating a drive failure)
3). My machine booted, and I saw my Storage spaces and my E drive was fine, but Windows never did tell me that 1 of the drives in my mirror had failed...unless I manually went into Storage Spaces and checked it out.

When a drive fails, it's gotta let you know. It's gotta be in your face about it.


Now, I was able to take my 1 remaining drive, and move it to another Windows 8 VM and it mounted it, and saw my data and my mirror was intact. So, that was good.

I then tried to remove that drive, and it would not let me. It marked it as retired and said I had to add another drive first to the pool, then remove the first drive.

When I added in the replacement drive, it started a rebuild process automatically.

Once my two way mirror was back intact with 2 drives, I was able to dump the 1st failed drive out of the set.
 

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  • OS
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    EVGA 1280MB Nvidia GeForce GTX570
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC899A 8 channel onboard audio
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    Intel X25-M 80GB Gen 2 SSD
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FSeal

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636
#14
Did the drive failure show up in the windows log at least?

I think your right about wanting to be notified but there are already SO many errors windows keeps to itself (but logs) that you have to constantly be monitoring the log anyway :/
 

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pparks1

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#15
I'm not one that checks event logs on my local PC much. unless I really notice a problem, I don't worry too much. If a drive has failed and I'm down to 1 drive before complete loss of data, I really think Windows needs to pop that up in your face.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7
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    Self-Built in July 2009
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    Intel Q9550 2.83Ghz OC'd to 3.40Ghz
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R rev. 1.1, F12 BIOS
    Memory
    8GB G.Skill PI DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 timings
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA 1280MB Nvidia GeForce GTX570
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC899A 8 channel onboard audio
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    23" Acer x233H
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Intel X25-M 80GB Gen 2 SSD
    Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black, 32MB cache. WD1001FALS
    PSU
    Corsair 620HX modular
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    Antec P182
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    stock
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    ABS M1 Mechanical
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    Logitech G9 Laser Mouse
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    15/2 cable modem
    Other Info
    Windows and Linux enthusiast. Logitech G35 Headset.

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