JBOD software with individual drive spin down?

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Apr 9, 2010
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I've been raking my mind for days trying to find something like this, or at least a confirmed instance where one of the commercially available RAID and JBOD software's do something like this.

Basically I want a software JBOD solution with MAID style power management, or... I want to fake the combination of my drives in a windows environment. I dont want every drive in my array to spin up to access one file on one drive, but at the same time, I want all the drives to appear as one logical one.

Is this a pipe dream?
 

Nex7

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I would think, essentially, yes.

Assuming you want actual RAID-level redundancy, then it's going to have to spin up every drive that has a 'part' of that file. On most RAID systems, this is going to be basically all of them.

The only one I'm presently aware of that makes a point of doing what you're suggesting is the Unraid thing. But that one's idea of redundancy and data protection makes me leery.
 

bexamous

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Snapraid or flexraid, assuming you want to store movies and stuff on these drives. Snapraid pooling isn't that great, flexraid isn't that free. So neither are perfect. Actually few versions of flexraid, not sure what is free and what is not.
 
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Ok sorry, I have no interest in redundancy. I just want JBOD or spanning or whatever its called. Several physical drives appearing as a single logical disk with 100% of available capacity.

I'm building a super efficient HTPC/storage solution that'll be on 24/7. Whole system with OS SSD draws less than 9W of power, however each hard drive adds between 3w and 6w, depending what its doing. Sleeping draws next to no power, and since only one drive will ever be in use (just for movies), I want the rest in a permanent sleep state. I dont really care if theres a 10 second spin up delay, some drives might go 3-5 days in between spin ups.

That said, Snapraid and Flexraid both support JBOD disk spanning with individual drive sleeping?

I tried the standard windows software solution in 8.1 and while it did the job fairly well, accessing a 175mb file at the start of the first drive caused 5 more to spin up.

edit: Bah it looks like i've been searching for the wrong terms this whole time. I want a storage pool, I dont want a raid. Storage pool where read's only wake up the drive in question.
 
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Phog

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phrozenfayte -

Unraid is exactly what you are looking for.

It has a huge following, and allows mixing of different drives including power saving by spinning down unused drives.

http://lime-technology.com/
 

Elpee

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I want a storage pool, I dont want a raid. Storage pool where read's only wake up the drive in question.

Ok, check flexaid, stableit, and drive bender. They all have option to let you try in a few weeks and you can figure out which one is the best for you. Those are not free but pesonally it's worth.
 

Nex7

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I hope you keep backups of all this data, or that it is unimportant data you don't mind losing! Because some of those drives will die with time.

Stick to something like Unraid or the other suggestions. Stay far away from 'normal' RAID, like the one built into Windows, because any 'RAID0' setup across all those drives makes them all dependent on the others, so one failure loses all your data.
 

Old Hippie

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I want to fake the combination of my drives in a windows environment. I dont want every drive in my array to spin up to access one file on one drive, but at the same time, I want all the drives to appear as one logical one.

It can't be done and probably one of the worst ideas I've heard for awhile.

Your data won't start at the first drive and fill them sequentially. It could be put anywhere and even split between drives.

Sorry, but drive spanning is just a bad idea.
 

Aesma

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Actually with FlexRAID pool function you can configure it to fill drives one by one so that things won't get split between drives unnecessarily.

I use Liquesce at the moment because it's free and I only use it to get an overview of all the stuff on many drives at once, I don't write directly to the pool (you can see individual drives, while the pool appears as another drive), I don't know how it would deal with spun down drives as I don't spin drives down (I shut down the secondary PSU dedicated to HDDs).
 

Old Hippie

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Actually with FlexRAID pool function you can configure it to fill drives one by one so that things won't get split between drives unnecessarily.

Cool....ya learn something new everyday.
 

JoeComp

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Is automatically filling up pool drives, one at a time, really such an important feature in pooling software?

As long as the pooling software does not hide individual drives, it is exceedingly easy to make a shortcut or symlink to the one drive I am currently filling up, until it is full, and then change the shortcut to another drive.

It takes a long time for me to fill a drive, so a few seconds of effort separated by months is hardly a big inconvenience. I guess if someone is filling multiple drives per day then such a feature might save them a a minute or two of effort.
 

bexamous

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If the alternative is new files go to drive with most free space, if I copy a folder with 10 mp3s in it each might end up on a different drive. Just creates mess. Sure long as you use pooling software who cares, but if you ever decide you don't want to now all your files are a mess. Or if you lose one drive and have no parity, well now every album is missing one song. There is so little advantage in doing things like this, IMO, I don't like the mess could create.

Also I think pooling software is most popular for media storage. And I too use it only for my media files. I have 2 parity drives but that's it. Worst case happens I lose a couple drives but the rest keep working and I just need to replace what was on the lost drives. Replacing 1 song from an album is as much work as replacing the entire album. Redownloading a season of some tv show is as much work as redownloading one episode from that season. I'd rather the missing files all be related to eachother.
 
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It can't be done and probably one of the worst ideas I've heard for awhile.

Your data won't start at the first drive and fill them sequentially. It could be put anywhere and even split between drives.

Sorry, but drive spanning is just a bad idea.

Man that's harsh, and really wrong too. JBOD and Windows Storage Spaces and a shitload of other hardware and software solutions do just this, and there are benefits.

I wanted a drive span so I didn't have to micro-manage my storage constantly. I could just manually fill one drive then move onto the next, but at least half of my stored data are TV shows that are currently airing. I want to keep all the shows together so watching them one after the other doesn't cause random drives to keep spinning up and spinning down, same with my music. So far some of the programs i've looked at have options to attempt to spread top level folders across drives evenly when writing, attempting to keep sub levels together, which works out good, but none of them supported single drive spin ups on read. Example: D:\Music stays on one physical drive, folders under D:\TV\ each stay located under a single drive, etc.

I should've mentioned from the start that i've got a periodic offsite backup for all the data, that's why I dont need any mirroring. At worst I'm going to lose this week's shows.

I want this system to be as cover-all and as hands off as possible, as I wont be the one to use it most of the time. I can't be fiddling with it, swapping links to different drives or shuffling through drives to find a bit of space. Most of the users need to be able to blindly drop a file into the "movie" folder and just have it work. Also, every single spanning software i've seen so far seems to offer seamless drive additions too, which makes the entire thing even easier, if it would meet the first parameter of power requirements.

Looks as if drivebender and flexraid have everything i want, although the power saving features weren't clearly documented. Will start testing it soon.
 

Old Hippie

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Man that's harsh, and really wrong too.

Ya think?.....

I've seen too many use drive spanning and have lost all data when a drive dies.

You're one step ahead of the crowd with back-ups but I doubt you'll find anything that fits all your requirements.

If you do please come and update this thread.

Good Luck!
 
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So a quick update to my findings. So far i've tried Liquesce, Drive Bender, StableBit's DrivePool, FlexRaid. I'm testing all this with 3 drives, 2 for the pool, on windows 8.1 with intel's standard AHCI setup.

Drive Bender - Lovely interface, quick with no need to reboot. Not a lot of options outside of some performance and redundancy toggles. Will split up files evenly across drives and has no control for keeping folders together. Requires the drive to be converted to a pool drive, doesn't appear by itself in explorer.

DrivePool - Nice interface, again really quick and works well. Has several control plugins for file splitting and uses duplication for redundancy. Has options to write and read from several drives at once raid 0 style to improve speed while keeping redundancy. File splitting plugins have an ordered fill mode which fills one drive at a time, but has no intelligence to file splitting. I feel i could get exactly what I want from this software if i write my own plugin to split files (which is an option, but requires some programming).

Liquesce - I couldn't get this working in any sensible way. After several attempts I was able to get a drive functioning, but i couldn't write to it. According to the developers, its an ongoing work in progress and they aren't very far through it it seems. Otherwise this looked like it could've done the job in the exact way i wanted it.

FlexRAID - This was the hardest to set up with the most difficult interface (runs a webserver internally, HTML config interface with little to no help documentation inbuilt). However this one did exactly what i wanted it to, in a way. It has a Folder Priority Mode that attempts to keep drives the way it "found" them, and attempts to keep folders together. This is raid over file system, so every drive operates as it would normally with an abstraction layer on top to combine it all. Drives behave as i want them in regards to sleep (except in explorer, spinning up the first pooled drive no matter what when its accessed. Worked as intended with direct links through media players). The only thing that it doesnt do that I wanted, is balancing space based on new folder creations. That is, in Folder Priority Mode, unless a folder already exists, it just creates new files and folders on the first drive. According to what i can find on the site, the entire system is undergoing a massive re-write and in the near (or distant) future, they'll be releasing a "next gen" software that'll "blow everything else out of the water". Hopefully that includes some more options for tweaking the file placement. While they do have an explicit programmable mode for file placement, I haven't had a chance to sit down and figure it out yet.

Seems like flex raid does the job I want, if i can change the way it puts files. It's not such a huge ask. If a folder exists, put it in there first. If creating a new folder, put it on the HDD with the most free space.
 
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