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Jazman

As of today, Drive Pool (StableBit) or Drive Bender

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Technogod

I had the same problem with StableBit Scanner reporting load cycle count errors on a Seagate drive. Called Seagate and they said it wasn't a problem.

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revengineer

Have you contacted us about that? (and by us, I mean StableBit support)

Also, the newer beta versions have a lot of significant changes (such as hard coded to ignore DriveBender's pool), so that may work better.

WHS2011 (or anything with a dashboard): http://dl.covecube.com/ScannerWhs2/beta/download/

Generic Windows: http://dl.covecube.com/ScannerWindows/beta/download/ (Grab the EXE installer)

Newest at the bottom. 

I have and Alex was very responsive. Unfortunately, the only way to move forward on the problem was to do a remote session and I opted not to go for that. I do not want to get into beta testing with my production server. I will wait until the next release comes out and will then give the new version another try.

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Drashna Jaelre

Drashna. I'm sure you are correct on all counts, they just won't admit it.

 

I had the same problem with StableBit Scanner reporting load cycle count errors on a Seagate drive. Called Seagate and they said it wasn't a problem.

 

 

Well, unfortunately, the value seems to be a non-critical one. And depending on system configuration and usage, the count can skyrocket very quickly. I believe this is part of why it's recommended to run the wdidle util, to help prevent this from climbing high quickly. 

http://www.storagereview.com/how_to_stop_excessive_load_cycles_on_the_western_digital_2tb_caviar_green_wd20ears_with_wdidle3

 

I have and Alex was very responsive. Unfortunately, the only way to move forward on the problem was to do a remote session and I opted not to go for that. I do not want to get into beta testing with my production server. I will wait until the next release comes out and will then give the new version another try.

I can definitely understand and respect that answer. And I definitely get the not wanting to beta test on your production machine. 

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timekills

Another +1 for StableBit DrivePool. I switched between a RAID and it a few times, and only went back to my RAID setting because the write speeds are faster and I'm comfortable with my RAID setup. DrivePool is everything WHS v1 was supposed to be, without the occasional low downs we used to get from WHS V1.

 

The great part about DrivePool is it allows per directory mirroring, and you can choose whether you want just one mirror to a separate drive, or multiple physical drives to mirror the files. And as mentioned, if you have to pull the drive, the files aren't in a proprietary format. They're standard NTFS, albeit in a hidden directory on the drive.

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Drashna Jaelre

timekills,

 

you are aware of the Archive Optimizer balancer plugin for DrivePool, right? It allows you to specify "feeder" and "archive" disks, and it's main point is to help increase write speeds.

http://stablebit.com/DrivePool/Plugins

 

That, and you *could* use RAID arrays for the Pooled disks, as well.

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timekills

timekills,

 

you are aware of the Archive Optimizer balancer plugin for DrivePool, right? It allows you to specify "feeder" and "archive" disks, and it's main point is to help increase write speeds.

http://stablebit.com/DrivePool/Plugins

 

That, and you *could* use RAID arrays for the Pooled disks, as well.

 

I was not aware of that or the other plugins. In my case, all the drives are the same ( 6 x 2TB 5700RPM Samsung drives) but I could see adding a low cost SSD in there as the feeder, and then have the files get balanced over the rest of the pool.

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Drashna Jaelre

Yup, that's the idea. Though if you're using duplication, then you'd want to add two drives, ideally. Otherwise files for duplicated folders will be written to "slower" disks.

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Boris

I'm curious about DrivePool and DriveBender for Windows 7 (I know, just marginally off topic), since it doesn't look like I'll be able to get a RAID card in my HP N40L. Can someone, at a high level, just explain what each product does and the major differences between them? I'm a huge fan of Storage Spaces & ReFS on my Windows Server 2012 and am just looking for something "similar" to replace it. Thin provisioning isn't a requirement. Performance really doesn't matter to me. I care most about stability, data integrity and [lack of] data corruption (ECC).

 

I really liked reading that DrivePool stores raw NTFS files and just copies them rather than chunking proprietary binary blobs across drives, however does it store an md5 hash of a file and ensure an uncorrupted copy is always served, or a bad copy is rewritten, etc? Or in case of a sector failure, will it know to pull a copy from another disk?

 

Anyway, looking forward to reading more. Thanks :)

 

EDIT: P.S. How much overhead should I expect for DrivePool or DriveBender?

Edited by Boris

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Boris

Ignore my post, I've decided no matter which answer I'll get, I won't be happy without some serious testing, so I'm currently testing PoolHD, DriveBender and DrivePool on my virtual system.

 

My testing is pretty aggressive and I've found some bugs, but have yet to lose any data. PoolHD is pretty aggressive in making sure the copies exist on multiple disks. I'll try and post a review a bit later.

Edited by Boris
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Boris

I have some quick initial impressions - would like to post those as I don't know if/when I'll have time for a full review.

 

DriveBender is extremely complicating, but includes a lot of features, one of which that I was looking for and is not included with the other two is CRC checking. The UI is extremely complicating to navigate, is extremely busy with eye candy and takes up a lot of CPU/GPU to manage. It's also the only product which lost data in my testing. Unless I missed the option somewhere, it doesn't write data to multiple disks at once and only forces replication at 6-, 12- and 24-hour increments. The nice thing about it, however is that it hides the pooled drives from explorer. I didn't do performance testing, but this option seemed to also be the slowest. It has options to optimize streaming performance and so on, but IMO the software should just be fast enough without any of that garbage built in. Sometimes less is more.

 

DrivePool and PoolHD actually work very similarly and do the same stuff, but PoolHD is baked right into explorer, which makes it easier to manage (for me) and both don't include any "fluff." Both just work well. I was dropping drives left and right on my VM for testing and neither skipped a beat and protected the data without fail. PoolHD seemed a bit more intuitive, but I did find a few bugs with it (none of which lost data, but things that could be improved upon). For example, try and delete the PoolHD pool drive from explorer and you'll see it attempts the delete but goes nowhere. The data looks like it's still in the drive, but when you access it, it's not there.

 

DrivePool and PoolHD do duplication in the same exact manner, where they have a hidden "<Product>.<GUID>" folder which contains the data and configuration files used by the pool. In all 3 options, in the event of a pool failure, hardware failure or any other type of failure the data is relatively easy to pull, just by mounting the disks to another machine and pulling off the data. It may require some diff/merge, but that's a small price to pay.

 

I really wish DrivePool and PoolHD had two additional features, which would make them 100x more useful:

1. CRC Checking

 - This can be maintained on a schedule (or run asynchronously) as not to reduce day-to-day performance and would protect against data corruption - something nearly as bad as losing the data outright

2. The option to "hide" drives that are in the pool, so that they aren't just visible in Explorer

 - I understand that having the drives displayed can be very useful, but I find it distracting for my purposes, especially in DrivePool, where you can't really tell which drives are part of the pool and which aren't just by looking at explorer. Especially since DrivePool has the ability to mount drives which aren't formatted with any type of volume. PoolHD requires the drives be mounted in order to pool them.

 

I need to do some more in depth testing, prior to entrusting my data to any of these solutions (even with a backup), however the features above would sell me on DrivePool or PoolHD. Given that DrivePool and PoolHD are so similar, I would probably recommend PoolHD for most people, just due to lack of complexity. It just works and works well. No additional GUI's, etc. PoolHD does have an option for a client, to administer remotely, but I didn't try this at all. I don't know how either work with SMART alerts or anything else, but PoolHD does have an option to email a user in case of issues (I didn't test this either).

 

If anyone has any input I'm all ears. If there are performance metrics comparing DrivePool and PoolHD, I'd be incredibly grateful as I wouldn't trust perf numbers on VM drives.

Edited by Boris

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