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Windows Server 2019 Storage Pools


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oj88

Has anyone played around with Storage Pools? I have a few questions. But first, some background:

 

I have a Windows Server 2019 with Plex. All Plex media is stored in a Drive Bender pool using 3 and 4TB drives, all within the same box. Recently, one of the 4TB drive failed. Thankfully, I have folder duplication enabled on personal files, but not on the Plex media. That said, I will have to re-rip a lot of those media that came down with the drive. Suffice to say, I am looking for a better solution to still have both Plex running in Windows Server and use Storage Pools with parity and/or mirrored drive redundancy.

 

I am just starting to understand the concepts (physical disks, pool, virtual disks, volumes, etc.) and I'm thinking of buying a bunch of small capacity SATA drives to play around in the lab to see how it behaves. It's no ZFS for sure, but I'm really FreeBSD and Linux illiterate. I would rather do everything in Windows.

 

Anyway, it will help me if my big ticket questions below are answered.

 

1. How is the read/write performance? I read that Windows 10 Storage Spaces was particularly bad.

2. How flexible is it in utilizing space from different-sized drives in parity mode?

3. NTFS vs ReFS... which one would be best suited for my use case (Plex media server and glorified NAS), and why?

4. This is going to be a long shot but I have to ask: Is it possible to switch pool layouts between Simple, Mirror, and Parity and vice versa without destroying the pool?

5. How is it on system resources? Particularly, if Parity is selected. Is Storage Pools hard on the CPU, memory, disk I/O, or a combination?

 

Thanks!

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Al_Borges

The resounding silence here shows the level of love that storage spaces has on this forum

 

I tested storages spaces as part of my move away from WHS v2 a number of years ago

 

4 x  2 tb drive setup,   worked but nothing stood out positive or negative

a bit concerned about going with software raid, especially as I thought that Microsoft wasn't putting much effort In support.   I think the last few years proven this concern to be valid.  its not been improved at all  

 

in the end , I went with drive pool, as the features and support are far better  the addition of a ssd cache drive really helps performance

Edited by Al_Borges
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oj88

Thanks Al_Borges. I really get the perks for using Drive Pool or Drive Bender as I've been using the latter for the better part of the last decade. However, unless I enable folder duplication for everything, which effectively cuts down usable capacity to 50%, I won't have true physical disk resiliency.

 

I really want to give Server 2019 Storage Spaces a fair shake since I already have a license. Maybe most of the improvements since Server 2012 and 2016 are under the hood? Can't know for certain without testing it, I guess.

 

ReFS seems cool as well. As I understand it, it sort of mimics what ZFS does (actively checks for corruption and fix them). But I don't know if there are strings attached if applied to my use case. I'm almost certain that there will be a performance hit.

 

Since I've started this thread, I have decided to also look at TrueNAS CORE (formerly FreeNAS). Not that I'm comfortable with it, but It's a purpose-built NAS and it uses OpenZFS. Maybe it'll be worth exploring.

 

And if time permits, I'd probably also look at Unraid (with the ZFS plugin). But it's not free and they only have a 30-day trial period. Still, I am enticed to try it from watching this clip: 

 

 

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JackoUK

Happy New Year oj ... and everyone.

 

I'd like to try a large scale Storage Spaces configuration too ...

... but didn't get a round tuit for XMAS.

 

1. How is the read/write performance? I read that Windows 10 Storage Spaces was particularly bad.

Parity mode is reported as hideously slow.

Mirrored mode with large column counts looks like the way to go. Theoretically a 2-way mirror will go twice as fast

and so on. I am nearing having 16 internal disks and 8 external USB disks for an 8 column setup.

My aim is to approach 8x100MB io rate for pumping over 10GbE.

 

2. How flexible is it in utilizing space from different-sized drives in parity mode?

I didn't check once I came to 'parity'.

 

3. NTFS vs ReFS... which one would be best suited for my use case (Plex media server and glorified NAS), and why?

Elaborate server class protection mechanisms are OTT in the home setting for my money.

But I don't know what SS would do if the 2 parts of a mirror went out of sync due to disk rot on a client or workstation machine. However ReFS is part of Windows Server licensing (and Windows for Workstations) so you might as well use it.

 

4. This is going to be a long shot but I have to ask: Is it possible to switch pool layouts between Simple, Mirror, and Parity and vice versa without destroying the pool?

Does zero probability sound sufficiently long?

Gotta be careful for any type of upgrade.

I think one would need to commit fully to Storage Spaces plus backup.

 

5. How is it on system resources? Particularly, if Parity is selected. Is Storage Pools hard on the CPU, memory, disk I/O, or a combination?

One day I might find out ...

... your idea of testing with a bunch of old drives sounds great: when might we expect a report ;-)

 

My view on SS is that it is designed for a large number of disks (cabinets of 32-64 in datacentre roles).

A 4 column mirror i.e. 4+4 might be fine at home ... but 8+8 might be a lot better.

One benefit of the rebuilding process following a disk failure is that it is automatic and stripes across remaining good disks: instead of waiting for expensive checksum recalculation in RAID the missing side of the mirror is replicated in parallel across remaining good disks.

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