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edamiga1

Storage Spaces vs DE - Apples to Apples

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edamiga1

I just finished listening to the podcast and was somewhat confused on how we were comparing Storage Spaces to the old WHS V1 DE. I don't think they were comparing apples to apples.

 

The old DE was only mirroring the data, basically there was a background task that made sure that the file was copied on two different physical drives. It had no parity capability and you also had no control over what drives were used for redundancy. It was one big drive and nothing else. You did have the ability to select if a folder was duplicated. Two things I did not like about DE. The background task killed performance when it ran, movies would stutter, etc., and you could not create put high performing drives together, it grouped them all together and you never knew where your file was stored.

 

The new Storage Spaces has mirroring and the performance sounds reasonable, but you have the added flexibility to create your own pools that are optimized for different purposes. It is basically DE but without all of the issues mentioned above.

 

What I would like to know is if you compare the mirror of SP with DE, is there any difference in performance. It is unfair to test parity drives against a mirror, since there is no calculations required. It is also not reasonable to compare SP to hardware based RAID. So can someone provide comments on the following comparisons.

 

DE vs SP Mirror - This would be an apples to apples comparison.

SP MIrror vs old Windows Mirror - Again a fair comparison.

SP RAID vs old Windows RAID - a fair comparison.

SP vs other software based technology like Drive Bender.

 

If we can get someone to test this out, then we would have a fair comparision, but the ones I have seen to date are simply not comparing apples to apples.

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Guest no-control

The old DE was only mirroring the data, basically there was a background task that made sure that the file was copied on two different physical drives. It had no parity capability and you also had no control over what drives were used for redundancy. It was one big drive and nothing else. You did have the ability to select if a folder was duplicated. Two things I did not like about DE. The background task killed performance when it ran, movies would stutter, etc., and you could not create put high performing drives together, it grouped them all together and you never knew where your file was stored.

 

To be fair you could group drives using RAID then attach them to WHS, but i see your point. What WHSv1 did was file level duplication. It was Microsoft's first real stab at it and it was buggy.

 

The new Storage Spaces has mirroring and the performance sounds reasonable, but you have the added flexibility to create your own pools that are optimized for different purposes. It is basically DE but without all of the issues mentioned above.

 

This is correct, but it has its own issues. Which version of Storage spaces are we talking about here? 8 or 2012? If the performance quoted is reasonable for your use then have at it.

 

What I would like to know is if you compare the mirror of SP with DE, is there any difference in performance. It is unfair to test parity drives against a mirror, since there is no calculations required. It is also not reasonable to compare SP to hardware based RAID. So can someone provide comments on the following comparisons.

 

DE vs SP Mirror - This would be an apples to apples comparison.

SP MIrror vs old Windows Mirror - Again a fair comparison.

SP RAID vs old Windows RAID - a fair comparison.

SP vs other software based technology like Drive Bender.

 

If we can get someone to test this out, then we would have a fair comparision, but the ones I have seen to date are simply not comparing apples to apples.

 

Comparing it to a mirror and hardware RAID IS apple to apples in the sense that those are 2 relevant paths one could take in a storage server. The comparisons your looking for would compare storage spaces to either outdated software or software RAID5. Which to me is comparing apples to (whatever fruit you like) I don't see those as current viable storage solutions. A better comparison would be Storage Spaces against unRAID, or FreeNAS the current software RAID platforms with support.

 

Sounds like you need to download listen to BYOB and set up a test rig so you can answer your specific questions. ;)

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pcdoc

I just finished listening to the podcast and was somewhat confused on how we were comparing Storage Spaces to the old WHS V1 DE. I don't think they were comparing apples to apples.

 

The old DE was only mirroring the data, basically there was a background task that made sure that the file was copied on two different physical drives. It had no parity capability and you also had no control over what drives were used for redundancy. It was one big drive and nothing else. You did have the ability to select if a folder was duplicated. Two things I did not like about DE. The background task killed performance when it ran, movies would stutter, etc., and you could not create put high performing drives together, it grouped them all together and you never knew where your file was stored.

 

The new Storage Spaces has mirroring and the performance sounds reasonable, but you have the added flexibility to create your own pools that are optimized for different purposes. It is basically DE but without all of the issues mentioned above.

 

What I would like to know is if you compare the mirror of SP with DE, is there any difference in performance. It is unfair to test parity drives against a mirror, since there is no calculations required. It is also not reasonable to compare SP to hardware based RAID. So can someone provide comments on the following comparisons.

 

DE vs SP Mirror - This would be an apples to apples comparison.

SP MIrror vs old Windows Mirror - Again a fair comparison.

SP RAID vs old Windows RAID - a fair comparison.

 

SP vs other software based technology like Drive Bender.

 

If we can get someone to test this out, then we would have a fair comparision, but the ones I have seen to date are simply not comparing apples to apples.

 

 

 

I believe the reference was made as performance comparison to DE. Based on what I tested, here is my answers to your questions.

 

-DE was much faster than SS in parity but slightly slower than a mirror. Mirroring does not have the same overhead as DE

-Performance of SS vs Mirror is about the same

-Not sure which version of RAID you are talking about as mirror was in both and is basically the same but only if you disabled DE.

 

-I only tested earlier versions of the DE replacements and they where slower than than the naive mirroring but faster than parity

 

Others are welcome to input there results but if you are limiting yourself to looking at duplication such as DE, Mirroring, SP or DB, then you will find that all will get you about the same results and all will be more consistent than DE. At the end of the day you have to use what you have confidence in but setting my own opinions on storage aside, all are far more flexible than Storage. Storage spaces is a one way trip, at least with DE replacements, you can remove drives.

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ikon

I disagree about the apples-to-apples. I don't think it matters whether the comparison is between similar/identical technologies. What matters is the results. So, if 2 technologies purport to accomplish similar/identical goals, then it's perfectly fair to compare them. For example, IMHO, it is fair to compare Parity to Mirror. They both purport to increase redundancy/reliability, just in different ways. What matters is how well each one does it.

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edamiga1

I don't disagree that you can/should compare these, but you do need to understand why one would be faster than the other. You also have to understand that to get additional capability, more drive space, you have to sometimes give up on other issues, performance or drive rebuild. What I am trying to say is that if you want to compare SS to some other technology you need to understand why one would be faster from a theoretical perspecitive and is independent of implementation.

 

In a parity solution you have to have at least 3 drives and the information if copied and then a parity value is calculated and stored to provide the redundancy. Since you have to calculate a value and then store a result you should take longer. Thus parity will always be slower than Mirroring, but Parity provides more storage as you add more drives.

 

DE and SP Mirror are doing basically the same thing, they are copying a file to two different disks. What I am not sure on is if DE did the duplication in real time or this was an after the fact copy. I know it started out as after the fact, which was one issue that was fixed early on. I am curious as to what you mean by the following "DE was much faster than SS in parity but slightly slower than a mirror. Mirroring does not have the same overhead as DE" I thought DE was only Mirroring, but a more manual way of doing it.

 

I am currently using Mirroring on my WHS 2011 boxes, but plan to move to SP Mirroring and would not expect any significant performance differences. Are you seeing this not to be the case. To me Mirrroring is the best option for me, because I only have about 3 TB that I am mirroring and can achieve this with 2 1TB and 2 1.5 TB drive mirrors. Mirror gives me the ability to read the drive if one fails, where Parity does not. I have had to do this twice...

 

Please let me know if this is not correct, but my main point of this article is not to compare SS Parity drives to Drive Extenter, since this is not an apple to apple comparison. You could only compare DE to Mirror or SS Mirror. I also want to not bring in the issue of Hardware RAID, since this would always be faster. I can always go out and buy an hardware LUN and get really good performance. Kind of like comparing an Accord to a Ferrari, yes one is faster, but it costs a lot more. Apples to Apples.

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pcdoc

I don't disagree that you can/should compare these, but you do need to understand why one would be faster than the other. You also have to understand that to get additional capability, more drive space, you have to sometimes give up on other issues, performance or drive rebuild. What I am trying to say is that if you want to compare SS to some other technology you need to understand why one would be faster from a theoretical perspecitive and is independent of implementation.

 

In a parity solution you have to have at least 3 drives and the information if copied and then a parity value is calculated and stored to provide the redundancy. Since you have to calculate a value and then store a result you should take longer. Thus parity will always be slower than Mirroring, but Parity provides more storage as you add more drives.

 

DE and SP Mirror are doing basically the same thing, they are copying a file to two different disks. What I am not sure on is if DE did the duplication in real time or this was an after the fact copy. I know it started out as after the fact, which was one issue that was fixed early on. I am curious as to what you mean by the following "DE was much faster than SS in parity but slightly slower than a mirror. Mirroring does not have the same overhead as DE" I thought DE was only Mirroring, but a more manual way of doing it.

 

I am currently using Mirroring on my WHS 2011 boxes, but plan to move to SP Mirroring and would not expect any significant performance differences. Are you seeing this not to be the case. To me Mirrroring is the best option for me, because I only have about 3 TB that I am mirroring and can achieve this with 2 1TB and 2 1.5 TB drive mirrors. Mirror gives me the ability to read the drive if one fails, where Parity does not. I have had to do this twice...

 

Please let me know if this is not correct, but my main point of this article is not to compare SS Parity drives to Drive Extenter, since this is not an apple to apple comparison. You could only compare DE to Mirror or SS Mirror. I also want to not bring in the issue of Hardware RAID, since this would always be faster. I can always go out and buy an hardware LUN and get really good performance. Kind of like comparing an Accord to a Ferrari, yes one is faster, but it costs a lot more. Apples to Apples.

 

 

Just to clarify, performance of SS in a mirror configuration is faster than DE. You will not see much difference between 2011 Mirror and SS. If mirroring works for you than is obviously is the best solution for you, however I would argue that it is the best option overall. If your data needs are small and you do not mind a 50% hit to storage, then it is a great solution. Remember DE had the same loss but only on folders that were duplicated. In mirroring it is all or nothing. In the end it is not a one stop solution and everyone has to determine their own needs. In my performance reviews, I only compare parity because in my opinion it provides the best mix of redundancy and maximum storage. Certainly not suggesting that it is the only way only my two cents. Based on that basis and testing, adding the $75 card can save you money (storage saved based on the number of drives), provide better performance, and better recovery. In your example, you are using 4 drives to get 2.5T of usable storage. So to summarize, IMO, the choice becomes, Mirroring (either with the OS or SS) or adding a Raid card, and not to use a parity configuration.

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edamiga1

I agree that if I had a lot of data that I wanted to keep online and redundant that Raid 5 or 6 or SS Parity would be the best option. But Mirroring is the best option for me given the following, two core use cases.

 

I have around 400 movies ripped and available for MyMovies. These are sitting on four 2TB drives and I use WHS 2011 to put a few folders on each of the drives. The folders are grouped by category or Type, DVD/BlueRay. This is just a rough grouping, since MyMovies groups this all together. I do not have these mirrored, but I Never want to rip these again, so I have a harddrive backup of them offsite. It is basically a 1:1 backup and I use SyncToy to back them up periodically. My work process is rip the movie on my desktop, fastest machince, copy to a local folder and then copy to the server. When I get time I bring the backup drive from offsite and sync it and take back offsite. I then remove the files from my desktop and the process begins again. If a drive goes bad, I bring the backup in and copy the other way and I am good to go. Only issue is no realtime and I can be without a movie for some period of time. With SS I was considering adding in Parity, but I probably will not given that I just don't need the availability.

 

My other usage is the 4 drives I mentioned before. I have two identical pairs of drives in Mirror, and back these up using WHS backup to a 3TB drive. I have two of the 3TB drives which I rotate offsite. This gives me high availability on the server, backups are onsite nightly and I move offsite a few times a month. Worst case is house burns down and I loose two weeks of work. I am planning on combining these mirrors into a SS mirror, given the additional flexibility, but will still use the 3TB backups offsite, although these might update to 4TB.

 

The benefit of this is as follows:

I Mirror only those folders which I want the high availability and online redundancy. This is similar to what DE had, just a different perspective. Instead of specifying that the folder needs redundancy, I put the folder on a drive that has redundancy. Same goal achieved.

I Can use different performing drives depending on the requirements. Black for HD movies and green for DVD.

Drives are readable if mirror fails, and I have had to do this multiple times.

Good offsite backup.

Yes I lose 50% of drive capacity with Mirror verses Parity, but given today's drive sizes not a big issue. If I needed 3TB of storage I would need to buy 2 3TB drives for mirror or 3 1.5TB drives for Parity. Also with Parity I am locked into the same drive sizes, unless I am using SS Parity, which is a big limitation. Also in Parity if two drives die, everything is gone.

 

These is my approach, but interested to get feedback if there is something I am missing or could do better. I do plan on moving to SS Mirror, from my existing OS Mirror, simply to get more flexibility in the drive structure.

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ikon

Your approach has a number of similarities to mine.

 

The biggest difference is that my main data pool is a RAID5 array on a 3ware card.

 

However, all the data is backed up every night to a Spanned Drive array in a Lian-Li EX503 enclosure connected via USB3 to my WHS2011. This is my nearline backup, as it is always connected.

 

For offsite backup I have 2 sets of drives. One of these sets is always off site. The other is installed in a 2nd LIan-Li EX503 box, also connected via USB3. In the morning, this 2nd Lian-Li box is ejected from WHS2011 and turned off. The drives are removed and placed in a custom Pelican case. That case is then exchanged for the one at the offsite location. When the exchanged case arrives home, the drives are installed into the EX503 and it is turned on, ready for the coming night's backup.

 

I think it's worth noting that the 2 offsite backup sets aren't identical. One has 2x1TB & 1x2TB drives and the other has 1x1TB & 2x1.5TB drives. Both of them are configured as Spanned Drive arrays. One shows up in WHS2011 as drive S: and the other as drive T. When my scheduled RoboCopy backup routine runs, it checks to see which backup set is currently installed and copies the files to it.

 

This configuration has worked very well for me. Including the one on my desktop computer, I have 4 copies of all files, and 5 copies of 95+% of the files. It's unlikely I will ever lose more than a few hours of data, which means basically I lose nothing.

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edamiga1

You appear to have much higher requirements that I do, but in principal they are similar. Basically my data is sitting on 3 drives at any one time and a fourth drive that is about 2-3 weeks old. So very unlikely that I lose something.

 

I also use winmerge 2.x, from winmerge.org, to compare files and guarantee that everything is backup/synced. It is free and open source and works great, so highly recommended. UI is a little busy, but has every feature under the sun.

 

I am planning on upgrading to WHS 2012, to get beyond the 2TB HD backup and get future support. I will move to SS Mirror when I do that.

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ikon

Thanks for the tip about WinMerge. I'll have to check it out.

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