Replicating a Pseudo-WHS with Server 2008?

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Hey all,

I've been considering my next step with my WHS, and I've decided that I want to move to a more modern OS, but I'm having serious doubts about Vail given the feature list that we know of so far. Now, I have a Technet subscription, and I've been doing some reading on Storage Server 2008...but I have yet to find any first-person experiences with using it in a home server-type environment.

Are there any guides out there for setting up a Storage Server '08 box so that it behaves like WHS? Is there an easy way to duplicate files with Server '08 that could possibly replace the WHS storage pool setup? Or is it too much overkill for what amounts to a file repository?

Any help greatly appreciated.
 

vectravl400

Weaksauce
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Sep 24, 2007
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Vail is built on Server 08 (R2 I think.) What don't you like about it?

From what I understand, the only differences with Storage Server 08 vs vanilla 08 are SIS (Single Instance Storage) and IO tuning.
 

danman

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You'd probably also need System Center Data Protection manager to duplicate the backup functionality.

Storage Server also includes the iSCSI target software built in.
 

nitrobass24

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Storage Server really just take Server 2008 and adds in an iSCSI target.

So unless you want that, then theres no reason to go with Storage server.
Secondly you cannot reproduce the WHS Drive pool in Server2008.

The closest you can get is spanned volumes. But it has similar drawbacks to RAID0 without the benefits.
 

danman

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The iSCSI target software is on MSDN so you can install it on vanilla Server 2008.
 

Forceman

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I had kind of the same question. Drive Extender kind of worries me from a long-term reliability perspective, and was thinking of moving to Server 08, but wasn't sure about things like backups (which could be managed from the host computer) and duplication - having a single virtual drive pool isn't a must-have for me.
 

rmd3003

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That's why I'm going to keep my original WHS. New Storage Pool is a big turn-off for me. Let's say I have 10 drives in a pool now. 6 are full and I keep list of files on each drive. If one drive fails I just restore it from my external backups. In a new WHS if drives fails (assuming you don't have folder duplication) you loose it forever.
 

nitrobass24

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That's why I'm going to keep my original WHS. New Storage Pool is a big turn-off for me. Let's say I have 10 drives in a pool now. 6 are full and I keep list of files on each drive. If one drive fails I just restore it from my external backups. In a new WHS if drives fails (assuming you don't have folder duplication) you loose it forever.

Thats not how the new one works.
 

nitrobass24

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For a file over 1GB it is.

Really have you tried it? I have and thats not how it works.

WHS2 Uses 1gb chunks.

The reason behind this is because WHSv1 had a limitation that if there was not enough freespace on a single drive for a large file you couldnt copy it over.
So if you have 3 drives with 2gb free, 6gb free, and 9gb free. And you wanted to copy over a bluray that is 12gb, you couldnt do it, even tho you had enough total free space.

With the new WHS it breaks things up into 1gb chunks below the file system.
It will attempt to put your file on a single drive when possible, however should the scenario i mentioned above or similar arise it will split it across the drives.

This is not the same as striping. If you have 10 drives and copy over a 50gb file, if there is 50gb of free space on a single drive it will go to that drive. It does not just spit your files all over the place.
 

danman

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Per the developer:

http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whsvailbeta/thread/49a8c753-0f27-48af-a60f-a4eee49636cb

I am not familiar with FlexRaid, but from what I gather it operates on top of a file system. Drive Extender v2 is a volume driver that sits *under* the file system. In other words, on a running Vail machine Drive Extender presents its data as regular NTFS volumes (each share, e.g. Music, Videos, etc. is a separate volume with its own drive letter), and all applications that live on top of NTFS and interact with NTFS through the documented interfaces should work just fine. In fact, application compatibility has *dramatically* improved compared to WHS v1, and making sure that we look just like regular NTFS volumes to applications (both local and remote) was one of our primary design goals for v2.

Internally, these NTFS volumes are sliced and diced into 1 GB chunks, which are distributed (in multiple copies if duplication is enabled) across multiple physical disks according to our own on-disk schema. DEVolume.sys (our driver, working only on Vail at the moment) is the only driver currently in existence that can parse this layout and present the aforementioned NTFS volumes to applications. Consequently, any system not running DEVolume.sys is currently unable to retrieve the data from directly connected DEv2 disks -- that includes all client Windows OS. This affects only situations when DEVolume.sys is not loaded / running -- primarily recovery scenarios, as mentioned in the original post.
 

nitrobass24

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Yea ive read it, and it does distribute the data across the disks but it does not split stuff up when its not necesarry.

Ive been using Vail for a long long time now, and have seen how it moves data with my own eyes.
 
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Yea ive read it, and it does distribute the data across the disks but it does not split stuff up when its not necesarry.

Ive been using Vail for a long long time now, and have seen how it moves data with my own eyes.

This was really my main concern in starting this thread, it's difficult to see if Vail is more or less resilient to hard disk failures with so many changes under the hood. But if the algorithm really works as you said, and it only splits files across drives when there are no other alternatives, then I guess I don't really have a problem with the new system.

Add to that the fact that we can now exclude the system drive from the pool, and back up the server itself, we at least have a path now for restoring from a system drive failure.

The downside I still see however is the 120GB minimum requirement for the system drive size, since it seems you an only adjust the system partition down to 20GB and it requires a full 100GB free on the same drive at the time of installation. I was hoping to use a smaller SSD for a system drive.
 

nitrobass24

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This was really my main concern in starting this thread, it's difficult to see if Vail is more or less resilient to hard disk failures with so many changes under the hood. But if the algorithm really works as you said, and it only splits files across drives when there are no other alternatives, then I guess I don't really have a problem with the new system.

Add to that the fact that we can now exclude the system drive from the pool, and back up the server itself, we at least have a path now for restoring from a system drive failure.

The downside I still see however is the 120GB minimum requirement for the system drive size, since it seems you an only adjust the system partition down to 20GB and it requires a full 100GB free on the same drive at the time of installation. I was hoping to use a smaller SSD for a system drive.

Well one thing to bear in mind is that the algorithm is subject to change as this is only a beta release. not even CTP, RC. Also it should be noted that MS changed the algortihm in V1 with PP1.

Yea i dont understand the reasoning with the large system drive either.
 

Archer75

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I think some of the self healing features similar to ZFS is a nice trade off. Should protect against silent bit rot and corruption.

The only thing that irks me is not being able to pull a drive out and plug it into my desktop to recover data. Granted i've never had to do that. It was just piece of mind.

But everything else sounds great.
 
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I think some of the self healing features similar to ZFS is a nice trade off. Should protect against silent bit rot and corruption.

The only thing that irks me is not being able to pull a drive out and plug it into my desktop to recover data. Granted i've never had to do that. It was just piece of mind.

But everything else sounds great.

But again if the system drive fails you will be able to restore it from a system drive backup or, worst case scenario, perform a fresh install of Vail on a new system drive and it will import your storage pool. There shouldn't be a need to pull individual drives and empty/add them to the pool/re-transfer data one-by-one if you have to perform a fresh install. I understand about the peace of mind thing though.
 
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