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Storage spaces - RAID 10 like configuration or Perc h710/SS hybrid

I've currently got a 4x4TB RAID 10 array, on a Perc h710p on a Windows Server 2012 R2 box

I've got the capacity to add another 4x4TB drives but would like to configure the system so that I can still have one contiguous space as and when I add the additional drives.

There's nothing on the drives at the moment (and the OS is on a another RAID array) so I can easily reconfigure to any format I like.

The Perc h710p cards can't use online capacity expansion on RAID 10 drives, I don't want to use RAID 5 or 6 due to their write speeds being insufficient for what we need and I'm a bit scared of the potential rebuild times so I was wondering being new to MS Storage spaces if there was a way to emulate RAID 10?

How mad am I to suggest setting up a bunch of RAID1 mirrors on the Perc and do a simple space to join them up?
How about  doing a simple space on 2x RAID 10 arrays?

Are any of these possible? Has anyone tried it? Am I a lunatic for even thinking about it?

Or am I stuck with doing an NTFS volume mount point? Any other options?
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Dale303
Asked:
Dale303
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2 Solutions
 
AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
Sounds a little crazy to me but I like it. I will take a look to see if I can find any information on this but keep us posted if you try any of the above.

"How about  doing a simple space on 2x RAID 10 arrays?" - this doesn't sound too crazy but there has to be a better way.

Basically you are using all these drives to look like one virtual drive? Are you looking to do an array were only one drive is used as parity? What exactly is your desired end result? I might just be missing it but I am trying to get a better picture of what you want to accomplish.
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Dale303Author Commented:
What I want is...

1. a single virtual drive
2. that can easily be expanded
3. has fast write speeds
4. has some sort of redundancy
5. doesn't take an age to rebuild if a drive goes bad.
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AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
Not sure how much of this you already know but this is what I have found on it so far:

About VHD
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd323654(v=vs.85).aspx

Creating VHD
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg318052(v=ws.10).aspx

Expanding Virtual Hard Disk
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn282286.aspx

A problem you might run into with solution:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2013/12/18/cannot-extend-simple-virtual-disk-in-windows-server-2012-r2.aspx

I think those should answer your questions and they are all quick reads.

You would have to look into the redundancy. Perhaps do two virtual pools and simply mirror onto one? Really depends on if you want to backup it all and if you want granular and how often etc. Usually I do backups at a different location when possible at the very least a different room.
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Dale303Author Commented:
I talking about 'virtual disks' in the RAID sense, not the Microsoft sense. Unless you're saying you can span VHDs over multiple drives (something I just assumed wasn't possible).

Thanks for the last link though. I did see that mentioned somewhere but haven't got around to looking for details yet.

What I've learned so far.

RAID 0
Best for capacity
Best  for read speeds
Best for write speed
No resiliency at all. In fact even worse than a single drive.
No chance of being able to rebuild
Can use online capacity expansion so easy to 'grow' the space available.

RAID 1
Poor for capacity
Good for read speeds
Good for write speed
1 drive for resiliency
Good rebuild speed
Can use online capacity expansion so easy to 'grow' the space available.

RAID 5
Great for capacity
Good for read speeds
OK for write speed
a bit risky when using large capacity drives as it might take too long to rebuild. only one drive used for parity
slow at rebuilding
Can use online capacity expansion so easy to 'grow' the space available.

RAID 6
Ok for capacity
OK for read speeds
Horrible for write speeds
2 drives for parity means it quite safe
really slow at rebuilding
Can use online capacity expansion so easy to 'grow' the space available.

RAID 10
Poor at capacity. Needs twice the amount of drives
Good read speed
Good write speed
Good rebuild speed
Can't use online capacity expansion so easy to 'grow' the space available.

Simple Spaces is roughly analogous to RAID 0
Mirrored Spaces is roughly analogous to RAID 1
Parity Spaces is roughly analogous to RAID 5

Nice whitepaper comparing the two but nothing on combining them
http://globalsp.ts.fujitsu.com/dmsp/publications/public/wp-windows-storage-spaces-performance-ww-en.pdf
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AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
Yeah sorry I don't know where my mind was when I was pulling the VHD stuff... somehow I thought that would work fine if you were looking at VHD for a HDD pool but I don't think that would really apply here.

I always liked raid 5 but raid 10 might be the way to go if you are really worried about data integerity. How do you do your backups now? Tape or SAN etc.?

I know their is an option on the drive "shadow copy" or something I can't recall the name that lets you grab somewhat older versions of folders etc. that some people use in place though I think a good backup system is nessasary. Never know when someone will delete a folder...
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Dale303Author Commented:
A lot advice I've been getting is saying that often large drive RAID5 setups have problems rebuilding sometimes resulting in a scenario where it could take weeks to rebuild if the system is being used all the time. That's weeks where you're relying on no safety net at all. RAID 6 give you a double safety net but takes even longer to rebuild. RAID 6 is also 6x slower at writing which will cause a massive bottleneck for us and is the main reason for not choosing it and going the RAID 10 route

Currently, the data we're moving onto this new server is on a QNAP that is rsynced to another QNAP at sister office. The new plan is to convert the existing QNAP to a SAN and use it for onsite backup but still keep the rsync going to the sister office. We've also got some Amazon glacier space for archival so there's more than few copies of the data in a few places.

Shadow copies are great. I always check shadow copy 'backups' before trying elsewhere. The system is only really effective if you have plenty of space on the drive though. When space is sparse, there's no room for shadow copy data. It's still one of the myriad of features I'm looking forward to using on this network when we've finally moved off the QNAP.
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Max SandoStorage EngineerCommented:
I am a bit lost, your title says Storage Spaces. Are you using Windows Storage Spaces? If so, why are you using raid on the perc card?

You can certainly join multiple raids together as you mentioned but expanding will not go well for you.

If expansion is a requirement, given the tools you listed here why not just use windows storage spaces. You can make it a mirror, or even three way mirror if you want. You can add disks to a poor and expand your virtual disk within the pool on the fly. The only downside to this, last I looked windows will not re-balance the array after adding drives. Although this is a pretty advanced feature generally reserved for a fully blown SAN.
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Dale303Author Commented:
Hi Max.  I was trying to see if I could *combine* hardware RAIDed drives using Storage S8paces in the  hope that the hardware RAID would deal with the redundancy/performance side whilst the Storage Spaces would help with the ability to expand the space available. It turns out after a bit of experimenting, Storage Spaces notices that the drives are already hardware RAIDed so won't let me attempt what I wanted to try in the first place so the question is moot.

In order of importance my requirements are redundancy first, performance second, capacity third. The ability to expand is just a big bonus that will save me a load of time when it comes to the drives running out of space.

Anyway, I'm going to stick with hardware RAID10 and simply add a mount point when I need it. RAID 5 and 6 (and their SS equivalents) are just too slow at writing so I have to use something else. RAID 10 is the best of both worlds but the capacity hit means it's much more likely I'll need to add more drives at some point, hence the reason I was looking into ways I could seamlessly do that.
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Dale303Author Commented:
Gah! I've just been playing with Storage spaces on my home Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 mostly to get my head around how it works. Frankly it's useless. It doesn't work anything like WHS v1's Drive extender and it's claims that it's 'simple to just add any sized drive to expand the array' is simply not true. There's majors caveats all around. Will definitely stick to RAID 10 until it can actually do what they claim it can. Anyway points going to Aaron for rooting for me despite my idiocy....
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Dale303Author Commented:
No real solutions but lots of cheering me along.  got to be with some points.
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AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
Thanks Dale303... If you like shadow copy you should check out RoboCopy... One of our locations was using it a an extra backup and I just started using it but it is really easy you should check it out if you haven't used it.
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Dale303Author Commented:
Drivepool.... Bloody Brilliant. A bit slow but for ease of use, flexibility, resiliency and to be able to read drives on any old PC, it can't be beaten. Sticking with RAID 10 for devices that need some oomph but for my home WSE2012R2 box it annihilates Storage Spaces.

I use robocopy for any large data transfer and have been for years. Just moved 14TB of data of a dying QNAP onto serveral backup drives. Nothing else would do it properly as many of the filepaths were well over 256 characters long which most other transfer mechanisms bork at.
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