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Freeze during ISO playback


disaster84
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Hi all, this my first time psoting on this forum so please be gentle.

 

I have been a WHS user since V1 and after much deliberation I recently bit the upgrade bullet and built a new server and opted for essentials 2012 as the OS. I use the home server to store all my PC backups and of course as a central file share. I have a number of HTPC's (currently running Win 8 w/ Media Center - currently moving to media portal). I have my full Bluray and DVD collection backup'd on the Server.

 

The server configuration runs a i5, with a addionics 8 Sata Port contoller, with the following drive configuration:

Movies/Tv Series - 8x3TB RED Drives in Parity Storage Spaces config connected throgh Satat Controller

Sensitive data (photos, files etc) - 2x3TB RED Drive in Mirror Storgae spaces connected through USB 3.0 via a USB3.0 to 5 port Addonics controller.

Non-sensitive data (Home movies, software, drivers) - 3x2TB Drives in Parity Storage spaces connected through USB 3.0 via a USB3.0 to 5 port Addonics controller.

 

all HTPCs connected via GB Ethernet via a 8 port GB switch.

 

The problem I am experiencing is intermitent and I do not know where to look to start to trouble shoot the problem. When I am pulling a BluRay ISO, DVD ISO or sometimes even a TV series eppisode, in the middle of the "show" the video will freeze, the audio continues at some point (usually around 10-15sec) the video speeds up to catch the audio and all returns to normal. This will happen around 3-5 times during a bluray, 0-3 times during a DVD, and everynow and again for a TV show.

 

If I run to the server and lool at the server, the HDD activity lights seem to indicate the Server is hunting through the drives to find the file?

 

For playback I am running TMT and Virtual Clone drive. If I play the file manually through explorer at the HTPC the same issue occurs.

 

Any suggestions, of where to look, or any settings at the server end that may help alleviate this issue?

 

NOTE: that during playback I have no stuttering issues just this occasional freeze.

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I would do the following:

 

1. Try and playback a movie you are having issues with on the local HTPC just to make sure that the issue is not the content or the HTPC.

2. If it plays fine (I am sure it will), then your issue is probably bandwidth of the storage or your network.  My guess based on your configuration and my own experiences is you are a victim of Storage Spaces.  The parity configuration is absolutely terrible as far as performance and carries much latency

 

To eliminate which one.  Benchmark your network copy/read speed from you server to your HTPC.  Anything less than 40 megs/sec will not play BR.  In addition copy the problem movie to a drive that is "NOT" on a storage spaces volume and see if plays fine (I am sure it will).

 

If I was a betting man, I would bet your issue is Storage Spaces Parity.

 

http://thedocsworld.net/storage-spaces2012-essentials-r2/

 

 

Good luck and let us know.

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PCDOC,

 

Thanks for the speedy reply, I will give these tests a shot tonight and post the results.

 

When I set up the server I was tossing up whether to apply any type of data protection. As i had the space I thought best to apply the leanest method. If this turns out to be one of the issues is there a storage space type that is has less latency?

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I'm not sure if it's storage spaces or not.  While the performance isn't that great at times - I set it up in parity for a VM server and it sucks, still trying to shrink the VM's enough to get them back off to something else - I have pretty good luck with it on my server.  I had a 3TB WD Red, 1TB WD Red and 1TB Green drive in a parity storage space and while it's not always great I usually got around 40-60MB/s sustained writes and was able to read fast enough to play bluray, DVD, TV episodes, pretty much whatever.  I have noticed that if I copy files to the array while playing, I'm more likely to have issues, but that's the case with any drive type.  My entire network is gigabit, so it's pretty easy to saturate a storage devices bandwidth at times.  Usually when I get those freezes though, it's everything (audio and video) that stops and then starts again after a few seconds.

 

From what I remember seeing, mirrored or striped (non-resilient) spaces don't have near the performance penalty that parity spaces do, but at either a loss of storage capacity or redundancy.

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PCDOC,

 

Thanks for the speedy reply, I will give these tests a shot tonight and post the results.

 

When I set up the server I was tossing up whether to apply any type of data protection. As i had the space I thought best to apply the leanest method. If this turns out to be one of the issues is there a storage space type that is has less latency?

 

First verify that SS is the problem and if it is, your best bet with a high end setup like you have is to use a RAID card, even a low cast type like the 2720.  In my setup I can sustain 110 megs/sec (max the network will handle) in addition to heavy disk access on the server itself.  Nail down the problem then we can narrow down on the solution.  Even if the problem is your network, you are still playing with fire running SS in parity as it is not ready for prime time (IMO).  Good luck and let us know.

 

 

qcit.png

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It was also my inclination to blame SS as well, but it may be an issue with the HTPC having trouble decoding the .iso stream. So as suggested, definitely try an .iso on the HTPC and see if you have issues

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okay,

 

Well tried the .iso stream (Akira Bluray) locally first, no problems

Then did the copy from the server to the local machine as suggested (graph attached), although it only took around 5 mins (40GB file) there way no loss in speed it sustained a rate of around 110MB/s. You will note a small dip in speed, which got down to around 40MB/s, this was at the same time I opened one note to take the screen clipping and it only dropped for as very short period of time.

 

I will copy around 10 Discs across at once to test a lengthier file transfer.

 

Standby

 

 

 

Untitled picture.png

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This time I transferred around 300GB and as you can see by the attached the sustained performance was around the 80MB/s mark, it then shot up to the 112MB/s mark for the rest of the file transfers. The problem with this graph it doesn't show if there are very momentary dips in performance, i can say this because at one point I wanted to pull a file from another point on the server, I did this and while watching the copy graph noted it was reporting 2.1MB/s, this does not get shown as a dip as it was so brief. What this graph does show is that the sustained performance on the network and the SS are more than reasonable to support streaming (pulling) of Bluray .iso's. 

 

Is there another way to test latency or min/max file transfer speeds so i can pick up if there are momentary lapses in the SS or the server itself?

 

 

Untitled picture 2.png

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I believe pcdoc suggesed you ry to play some ISO Blu-Ray movies from 1 or more of your HTPCs; not by reading the file from the server, by copying the file(s) to the HTPC and playing them right from the HTPC. Did I miss it? I don't see that you did that. It's an important test; it will establish if there is an issue with 1 or more of your HTPCs themselves.

 

Another thing I'm wondering (since it happened to me): how is your network configured? You say the HTPCs are all connected to a Gb switch. How is the WHS2011 connected; to the same switch, to another switch, to your router?

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