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Geoff Coupe's Blog has 2 recent stories about 2TB limitations, thoughts?


tinkererguy
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Do you have a client to backup with a greater than 2TB volume?  

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  1. 1. Reader of this post, do you have a client PC to backup to WHS2011 with a greater than 2TB volume?



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I'm in the middle of doing a backup to my WHS2011 test rig now, with it's 7TB RAID E: drive/partition, which is just native W2K8R2 based software RAID5 for now. It is in the middle of resynching that RAID array, and that is taking days but I ran out of patience, so performance could very well be degraded. But this test and discussion are not really about performance: I'm trying to determine if it finishes the backup or not, and if it can do an (overnight) restore as well. If it fails, I always have the original WHSv1 backup from yesterday to fall back on.

 

Interesting though, on the WHS2011 testrig called BIGSERVER, just one CPU of 4 is at about 15% to 20% busy, the others are <3% (idle), and the network throughput for Gigabit is about 15% to 25%, which is roughly 200Mbit/sec average, and fairly smooth (see messy screenshot for details)

...

 

Ok, got some results to share. Sorry if this post and thread have become a bit complex: if you don't wish to hear the details of how I did and why I did it, just read the results here, and skip the long EXPLANATION section.

 

RESULTS:

Like WHSv1, WHS2011 can backup AND restore a system with 2.4TB of data, including GPT support for non-boot drive!

Video Editing rig that I backed up looks like this:

Intel ICH8-based software+hardware RAID on the planar of system, divided into 2 RAID0 drive volumes, 250GB and 2.5TB

250GB volume formatted as "Basic" C: drive

2.5TB volume formatted as "Basic" GPT type of D: drive (not Dynamic)

(this formatting scheme was done when I discovered in the summer of 2009 that you can't boot from non-UEFI systems from >2TB drive volume)

 

EXPLANATION OF HOW I TESTED:

I need to mention I had some trials and tribulations with a bad DIMM (and I had to stop the in progress backup (see screenshot above from Friday 5/6/2011)).

I then moved to a RAID based system, which required a rebuild of WHS2011 as well. I then found the particular RAID controller I had on hand had only supported RAID0 (striping), which has excellent speed for reads and writes, but horrible reliability (loose one drive, loose the entire array's data). That's ok, for this test. I also means I could focus more on Gigabit Ethernet or CPU as the potential bottlenecks, with disk and memory being highly unlikely to be slown downs.

 

I started a backup, saw only about 25% network utilization, and seemingly long backup times estimated (15 hours or something). So I then stopped it and tried networking teaming using 2 ports and the Intel drivers/utility (but it wouldn't work, no matter what, shows 2nd and 3rd ports as inactive), just to see if that mattered. It didn't, restarted initial backup, got same estimates, this time let it finish overnight.

 

But I later realized I had to cleanup after that first backup attempt, and didn't want to wait until the weekly job that WHS2011 comes preconfigured for cleanups (with no GUI button anymore to do this). the new method for cleanup is well documented here:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2016-backup-cleanup/

 

This test box is just a "proof of concept," and certainly not best practices. Under load, the rig took 450 watts anyway, so no way I'll leave this running nonstop, as-is anyhow.

 

Here's the configuration of my current BIGSERVER WHS2011 test rig:

Dual Xeon CPUs

32GB ram

3 1TB drives in MegaRAID 1064e based RAID0 array for the C: drive

5 2TB drives in MegaRAID 1064e based RAID0 array (same controller) for the GPT formatted 9.5TB E: drive, moving the default backup location from:

D:\ServerFolders\Client Computer Backups

to

E:\ServerFolders\Client Computer Backups

 

Here's lessons learned

 

a ) 24 hour full backup took ~24 hours (took WHsv1 about the same amount of time on far older Pentium D system, but with same gigabit networking)

First backup of the 2.4TB of data from my video editing PC took about 24 hours (finished in the middle of the night when I wasn't watching, right-click on the backup, and selecting Properties, doesn't show length of backup, and haven't spotted if this info is buried in the Windows logs somewhere)

 

b ) Daily backup takes only 15 minutes! (took WHSv1 at least 90 minutes every day)

Daily backup of the 2.4TB system (no significant changes to system, just browser history and temp files varied) takes only 15 minutes

Server typically under 7% on all 4 CPUs during this 15 minutes

 

This is a big deal to me, finally, instead of my daily backups taking from midnight well into late morning every night, it sure looks likely that WHS2011 will handle these in far less time (3.7TB of Client Backups total)

 

c ) Gigabit network was rarely at more than 50% capacity (500mbits/sec) for backups or restores (so not using full Gigabit wirespeed, bottleneck may be elsewhere in the WHS2011 code or server), usually more like 25% utilization.

 

Gotta attend to my day job now, will try to stick some screenshots up here later tonight, if folks are interested and/or skeptical.

Edited by tinkererguy
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Great info from Timothy Daleo here, all about GPT and more:

http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/02/27/gpt-and-mbr-disk-partitioning-a-supplement-to-byob-33/2/

 

So my CLIENT scenario is NOT a 3TB single hard drive, it is NOT a boot drive. But it IS a 2.5TB RAID0 volume, that can be backed up AND restored with WHSv1 (many times these last 2 years) and WHS2011 RTM (tested backup and restore 5/8/2011).

Edited by tinkererguy
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Guest no-control

While I don't have any client PC's with more than 1TB of data on them (I do have a server afterall wink.gif ) You have done an excellent job documenting your test. Well Done sir!

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...

 

c ) Gigabit network was rarely at more than 50% capacity (500mbits/sec) for backups or restores (so not using full Gigabit wirespeed, bottleneck may be elsewhere in the WHS2011 code or server), usually more like 25% utilization.

 

...

 

Also, when the backups were done, I did a simple drag and drop of a 3GB ISO file to a share on this test server, and got a nice smooth 800mbit/sec, taking just 30 seconds to complete. Same with download from this server, about 800mbit/sec and 30 seconds to complete as well. Not a caching effect, using variety of files, the throughput was the same.

 

So the CAT6 cabling, my gigabit switch, and ethernet drivers are not likely bottlenecks for the backup and restore 25% line speeds I see for backups and restores. But the very fast daily backup is what really counts for most days, and those really shine here with WHS2011 (15 minutes versus 90 minutes). And I would never go back to other backup solutions that don't de-dupe the data, as my server storage and backup would be far more costly.

 

So a penalty in raw restore speed compared to say Ghost, as it calculates which clusters have changed and which haven't, doesn't bother me much, especially with these great daily backup times.

Edited by tinkererguy
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Also, when the backups were done, I did a simple drag and drop of a 3GB ISO file to a share on this test server, and got a nice smooth 800mbit/sec, taking just 30 seconds to complete. Same with download from this server, about 800mbit/sec and 30 seconds to complete as well. Not a caching effect, using variety of files, the throughput was the same.

 

So the CAT6 cabling, my gigabit switch, and ethernet drivers are not likely bottlenecks for the backup and restore 25% line speeds I see for backups and restores. But the very fast daily backup is what really counts for most days, and those really shine here with WHS2011 (15 minutes versus 90 minutes). And I would never go back to other backup solutions that don't de-dupe the data, as my server storage and backup would be far more costly.

 

So a penalty in raw restore speed compared to say Ghost, as it calculates which clusters have changed and which haven't, doesn't bother me much, especially with these great daily backup times.

 

I should also add that de-duping is available elsewhere, but at a considerable cost, here's an example:

http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/advanced-server/

 

And while I do have Windows Dynamic Disk and GPT support in WHS at a low cost, I do envy the ability of some products to do restores to dissimilar hardware

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/#plus-pack

 

I get similar functionality with WHS by manually restoring a WHSv1 backup to a virtual machine, while my laptop is getting serviced for example: but that process is tricky and time consuming, and the VM itself is blue-screen-prone, with many reboots needed to get it booted without nasty errors.

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This sentence in the first article got my attention:

Even more frustrating, you can’t even backup a client computer that has a disc of more than 2TB assigned as one contiguous space. The Windows 7 client computer will be perfectly happy, but WHS 2011 will refuse to have anything to do with it.

I think I should go back and clarify that statement in the blog entry itself... It was discussed in the comments to the blog entry, but perhaps you missed that. The issue is that you cannot Backup and then Restore a GPT OS drive with Windows Home Server. You can backup a GPT with v1 and perform the Restore but the disk will not boot. You can Restore individual files from a GPT backup but again not the OS into a bootable device.

 

For WHS 2011, Microsoft’s release notes state:

 

“If a client computer is running Windows Home Server 2011, and it has a hard disk that is configured to use the GUID Partition Table (GPT) format, you cannot use back up or restore data from the operating system, individual files, or folders on that computer. However, you can restore individual files or folders from other computers to a client computer that uses GPT formatting.

 

In the event that a client computer is configured to use GPT hard disks, you must employ an alternative method to back up or restore that computer”.

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I think I should go back and clarify that statement in the blog entry itself... It was discussed in the comments to the blog entry, but perhaps you missed that....

 

You are absolutely correct, I had missed that, and I'm truly sorry. Sometimes a little ADD gets the better of me, and I tend to jump in and try things, before finishing reading what others have already learned for me. I guess I tend to like to learn things the hard way.

 

But before posting, I should have re-read your article more thoroughly, especially when what I was posting could be construed as a challenge of sorts. I had really just meant to start a conversation with others about their own GPT experiences, and let others know I too am confused about this GPT matter. Admittedly, I don't remember the nasty errors I got when trying to boot from a single huge GPT partition back AND restore from it, when I built that video editing rig in mid 2009.

 

Thank you for jumping in Geoff!

Edited by tinkererguy
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You are absolutely correct, I had missed that, and I'm truly sorry.

No need to beat yourself up :-)

 

Conversations are good - and good conversations are even better!

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I think I should go back and clarify that statement in the blog entry itself... It was discussed in the comments to the blog entry, but perhaps you missed that. The issue is that you cannot Backup and then Restore a GPT OS drive with Windows Home Server. You can backup a GPT with v1 and perform the Restore but the disk will not boot. You can Restore individual files from a GPT backup but again not the OS into a bootable device.

 

 

I agree as I rarely read the comments. Not sure about on your blog but most of the time the comments are useless.

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