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Question about how WHS uses HDs


c0op3r
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I just rebuilt my server putting it in a larger RackMount case, that has more drive bays, I also upgraded the HDs in the server while doing the upgrade (all with an eye towards 64bit WHS v2 aka 'Vail').

 

I started off with one WD 2.oTB EARS drive, I installed the OS on that drive and set the rest to the storage pool, I copies about 1.5TB of data from my Cisco/Linksys NAS, I sold the Linksys NAS to offset the cost of more WD 2.oTB HDs.

 

I have since install the 3 other WD HDs, but there is almost nothing on the 2nd drive, and absolutely nothing on drive #3 or #4, I have since moved about 20gigs of data to the WHS with the new drives in the pool.

 

So here is my question; how does WHS go about using the available drive space, does it spread it out, or use a drive to capacity and move to the next?

 

I of course add all the drive to the pool, all show as healthy, and there is still about 300gigs available on the first drive in the server.

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Guest no-control

It usually uses a single drive until its full, with some exceptions. If you are using duplication then it will move duplicated data across other drives. WHS doesn't really "balance" the drives by equally spreading the data across all drives. By Balancing it means that the backup info is balanced, i.e. data exists on 2 physical drives = balanced.

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No-control is right. The only thing it is supposed to do is not use the main drive if you have a three or more drive system. Notice I said "supposed to". That is the theory behind WHS.

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pcdoc and no-control are right. If you think of hard drives in your WHS like a series of water glasses, WHS simply fills up the first glass before moving on to the next. Balancing works to not only ensure that everything is properly duplicated, but to maintain sufficient space on the first drive since, in general, WHS will try to copy files to it first. There's also stuff like backups and WHS system information on that drive.

 

Overall, I say don't worry about it. WHS does a decent job of storing your files and giving you quick access to them when you want to retrieve them. There are others that disagree with me, and they have built various utilities that force WHS to spread data across all drives in the pool.

 

If you'd like some more information, there's a good article on the homeservershow website you can check out. It contains information on one such utility as well as WHS's default behaviour.

 

http://homeservershow.com/windows-home-server-drive-balancer-utility.html

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Yes, there was some discussion in the past about manually activating drive balancer in order to even the distribution of data across all available drives. But I've since moved away from that idea. I just let WHS do what it wants as I too believe WHS knows what it's doing in this area.

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Personally I would not mess with it either. For most people, we should let WHS do it thing as it does a pretty good job. It does not really matter if the drives are not balanced. My two cents...

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I agree with everyone who says leave it alone. I think many of us use tools in the console to view what is happening in our servers only to start over thinking the situation.

 

If it's not broke, don't try fixing it.

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Oh I have no plan of forcing the WHS software to do anything, I just wanted to make sure that it was functioning as it was supposed to as I had just installed those new drives and one is sitting completely idle. which struck me a odd being that I had just copied so much data to the Server.

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You know, another perk that arises from the way that v1 manages file distribution is that each file is wholly contained on one single pool drive. Because of this, you're able to slave a pool drive to your main PC and read/pull files directly from it. That's something that is apparently going to change in Vail, though beta testers are fighting it.

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I have a hunch it will be changed before release or there will be a work around. Certain things do not make sense and this is one of them.

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