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Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 133499 24-Oct-2013 09:56
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Anyone using Microsoft Storage Spaces with Windows 8 or Server 2012?

There seems to be a bit of negative feedback on the net but I'm dubious that its coming from a few lone individuals that seem to be a bit bias towards DrivePool & Drive Bender. Would be interested to hear anyone's experiences from using Storage Spaces in a SOHO environment.

The technology seems pretty appealing particularly with the ability to expand the pool with more disks over time. I've looked at all the alternative such as Drive Bender, unRAID, FlexRAID, ZFS/FreeNAS etc etc and they all seem to compromise on expandability, performance or redundancy.

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  Reply # 920860 24-Oct-2013 10:34
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I use Stablebit Drivepool for WHS 2011 and it has been flawless, everything is duplicated, I have had a couple of disk failures and not lost anything.

I especially like the fact I can pull the failing disk from the system and try to recover files on any system I have as the disks are just formatted in NTFS. I heard, but have not investigated that storage spaces disks are formatted in a special way so cannot be accessed on any system if something goes wrong.

Stablebit have just released Drive Pool version 2 which has some cool new features. http://www.stablebit.com/DrivePool/Features

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  Reply # 920863 24-Oct-2013 10:35
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There are some threads on wegotserved from people using storage spaces fail. It is/was also getting a reputation for really bad speeds, a lot like WHSv1's Drive Extender.

Here's a positive one http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/28506-experiences-on-storage-spaces-disk-failures/

This one eventually had a good result http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/25889-storage-pool-hd-failed/

Another one that eventually ended OK http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/28219-server-2012-storage-issue/

Trying to find positive feedback on any product can be hard. People only have something to say when it goes wrong. I've read enough bad stories from people who've never heard of the alternatives to spook me. You might have great success with it, and if you have the data backed up properly, you've got nothing to worry about.

Personally I'm a fan of DrivePool and Scanner, I'll take duplication over parity any day of the week. The bulk of my data it's ultimately expendable, so I don't back it up, but I do like to manage the risk. To me Storage Spaces is too big a risk.




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  Reply # 920927 24-Oct-2013 12:05
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What about good old software RAID?  I used RAID 1 in Windows (WHS 2011) with no issues, and zero reduction in speed.  It's not too great on the expansion front, unless I take two RAID 1 arrays and make them RAID 10 (which is the longer term plan).  And if one disk dies, the other is plain old NTFS and readable by any Windows system.

I too have struggled to find anything good written about storage spaces, or indeed any reason to use it.

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  Reply # 920948 24-Oct-2013 12:41
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timbosan: What about good old software RAID?  I used RAID 1 in Windows (WHS 2011) with no issues, and zero reduction in speed.  It's not too great on the expansion front, unless I take two RAID 1 arrays and make them RAID 10 (which is the longer term plan).  And if one disk dies, the other is plain old NTFS and readable by any Windows system.

I too have struggled to find anything good written about storage spaces, or indeed any reason to use it.


DrivePool + Scanner kicks RAID1's butt in every respect IMO :)

NTFS files, any disk size or type, duplication, read striping, less activity on hot disks, and maybe best of all disk evacuation if a drive is detected as failing.




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  Reply # 921012 24-Oct-2013 14:10
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andrewNZ: There are some threads on wegotserved from people using storage spaces fail. It is/was also getting a reputation for really bad speeds, a lot like WHSv1's Drive Extender. 


I did a lot of testing with my storage spaces pool (using 4 x 3TB western digital red hdds) before I put into play.  I was getting up to 500MB/sec transfers when shifting data between a 3TB 'mirrored space' and an SSD drive.

I've been scared off of using hardware RAID for anything other than a mirror in 'consumer' hardware - mainly because you're often 'up the creek' when something goes wrong and you don't have an identical card to swap out.  Storage spaces stores/stripes all the configuration data across the disks so you can pull all the spindles into a brand new machine and then import the configuration.

For those of you who think that 'hardware based is better', have a think about all the SAN systems out there - they all typically have a CPU, memory, and operating system to run.  Not a lot different to Windows Server + Storage Spaces, really.  Windows just does a lot more stuff  in addition to the storage spaces.  In fact, using storage spaces with windows often gives you benefits that you pay 'through the nose' for with SAN vendors.  Well priced disk drives, multi-protocol, de-duplication, thin provisioning, dual parity, clustered spaces, tiered storage (SSD+HDD), SMB3, etc.





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  Reply # 921015 24-Oct-2013 14:14
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Regs: I did a lot of testing with my storage spaces pool (using 4 x 3TB western digital red hdds) before I put into play.  I was getting up to 500MB/sec transfers when shifting data between a 3TB 'mirrored space' and an SSD drive.

That's the sort of information I was hoping for. So you've been using this pool in anger? How long? Or was the testing just proof of concept?


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  Reply # 921050 24-Oct-2013 15:12
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Tested it on a server he were looking at for an iscsi/backup location for DPM. It was good, but in my experience you need to use REFS when formatting instead of NTFS. I had a disk fail in an NTFS array and all the data was lost with no option to recover or introduce a new disk. Formatted to REFS for the next test and that worked a lot better. So well in fact that when I plugged one of the disks into my Win8 desktop in a USB caddy and it recognised that it was part of an array and asked for the other three disks so it could rebuild it. We were not looking for ultimate speed as it was just a storage hole for VM backups.

We did end up going for a hardware raid solution for the production system though as my boss was not sold on a "software raid".
We had the storage space solution in for 3 months and then moved to the raid card solution with bigger disks after that.




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  Reply # 921070 24-Oct-2013 15:38
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Might be worth looking at 2012R2 if you can as there have been a lot of cool improvements to the feature in the latest release.




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  Reply # 921173 24-Oct-2013 20:54
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PANiCnz:
Regs: I did a lot of testing with my storage spaces pool (using 4 x 3TB western digital red hdds) before I put into play.  I was getting up to 500MB/sec transfers when shifting data between a 3TB 'mirrored space' and an SSD drive.

That's the sort of information I was hoping for. So you've been using this pool in anger? How long? Or was the testing just proof of concept?



this particular one was continuously replicating 1TB of hyper-v virtual machines for about 4 months - then I transferred the disks to a new box with updated OS (win2012R2) and imported the spaces and pulled the data off OK.  Because I decided to drop the single SSD and only keep the 4x3TB disks, I ended up using the built-in raid card to do raid 0+1 for the storage as well as the boot drive.




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  Reply # 921175 24-Oct-2013 20:56
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paulmilbank: Might be worth looking at 2012R2 if you can as there have been a lot of cool improvements to the feature in the latest release.


one of the cool new features is the ability to do tiered storage with SSD and HDD tiers. would work well in a home media situation, I think.  frequently used music sitting on ssd's, less frequently music automatically floating out to the HDD tier, no need to manually manage location.




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  Reply # 921911 25-Oct-2013 23:55
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Thought this was pretty cool when investigating the new features and improvements in R2:
http://www.trainsignal.com/blog/storage-spaces-performance
Microsoft definitely eats its own dog food with this stuff. The release team uses 20 storage servers each with a 60 disk JBOD bay for their build storage. Handles 720 petabytes a week through 80Gbps of aggregated 10Gbe links.




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  Reply # 923588 29-Oct-2013 15:03
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Regs: 
this particular one was continuously replicating 1TB of hyper-v virtual machines for about 4 months - then I transferred the disks to a new box with updated OS (win2012R2) and imported the spaces and pulled the data off OK.  Because I decided to drop the single SSD and only keep the 4x3TB disks, I ended up using the built-in raid card to do raid 0+1 for the storage as well as the boot drive.


Have you tried simulating a disk failure by pulling a disk, putting in a new blank one and replicating/rebuilding?

I've heard mixed results.

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  Reply # 923698 29-Oct-2013 17:47
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Ragnor:
Regs: 
this particular one was continuously replicating 1TB of hyper-v virtual machines for about 4 months - then I transferred the disks to a new box with updated OS (win2012R2) and imported the spaces and pulled the data off OK.  Because I decided to drop the single SSD and only keep the 4x3TB disks, I ended up using the built-in raid card to do raid 0+1 for the storage as well as the boot drive.


Have you tried simulating a disk failure by pulling a disk, putting in a new blank one and replicating/rebuilding?

I've heard mixed results.


No, that's one test I haven't tried.  I would have expected that scenario to have been tested more than shifting a pool between server installations.

If the disks in use were consumer SATA devices then a few negative results would probably be expected - and be easy to find (everybody blogs failures, hardly anyone blogs success).  I've had so many failures of consumer disks, especially seagate a couple of years back, that i'd be surprised if there werent failures to be found in almost any type of storage solution using them.




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  Reply # 1208950 6-Jan-2015 09:04
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Interested to hear how ReFS and Storage Spaces are these days, and any success stories or bad experiences. I was considering a NAS but I really don't need one, just a reliable file system for my PC. I'm considering using SS/ReFS under the W10 preview then W10 full after release.

Has anyone created say a parity storage space on one PC then imported it into another PC? Is that supported? I guess with mirror disks it could be easier.




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  Reply # 1208956 6-Jan-2015 09:19
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Using it on Essentials Server 2012 R2 with ReFS. Working as it should. Started with 4TB. When it filled up, added 4TB more without any issues.




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