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Should I use a smaller disk as the system and "primary" data disk? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've read a lot of post now and I'm still not sure if I've got it all right.

    If I have 3 x 1TB disks and 1 x 320GB disk, I assume that the correct ting then would be to use the 320GB disk as the system and "primary" data partition. This because all that gets stored on it is the system on C: and tombstones plus alle files that is being stored temporarily before moved to "secondaryd disks" in the array on the D: data partition?
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 9:03 AM

Answers

  •  

    Actually Ken, when you're transfer files from your home computer to the Windows Home Server, it transfers files directly to the drive itself (not the primary drive and not the d partition) and makes a reparse point on the main drive that is the exact size of that file that was just transfer.  Drive Extender comes through shrinks that file down to 4096bytes.  Because of this, your secondary partition on your primary drive needs to be large enough to handle the amount of data you'll be transferring at a single time.  This also has a lot to do with Windows Vista because Windows Vista looks at the exact space free on your secondary partition ( D: ) and decides if you can transfer that amount of data or not.  To avoid this problem, we recommend using your larger drive as a primary drive so you do not have to rebuild later when you need it.  Your shares can always grow by adding a drive and it is much easier to do that than having to replace your primary drive.

    However, like Ken has stated, you may not need that full amount of space and can use a smaller drive that will be big enough to handle your transfer.  A 320GB drive for my primary drive would be large enough for me.  If you can get away with a smaller drive, my other recommendation would be to use your fastest drive as your primary.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Olly, when a disk drive manufacturer refers to a disk as being "320 GB", they typically quote that size based on powers of 10, so it's 320 billion bytes of storage. Computer software including operating systems calculates disk space in powers of 2, so a "GB" to WHS is 10243 bytes of storage. So as a result, your "320 GB" disk is actually only about 298 GB in size. The remainder after the (exactly) 20 GB system partition is 278 GB.

    (Disk drive manufacturers say they do this because it's how people are used to thinking about disk sizes. Personally, I think about them the same way software does, and I think just about everyone else I know does too, so I think it's more a case of "marketing-speak", as 320 GB sounds better than 298 GB...)

    Regarding copying files to WHS, you are correct. With a 320 GB system disk, you won't be able to copy more than

    278 - (reparse points) - (other WHS control files) GB

    to your server before you will have to pause and wait for Drive Extender to migrate files to the secondary drives. If you come close to filling up your system drive, that could take quite a while.

    Tombstones are NTFS reparse points, and are 4096 bytes in size. A million files will only take up 4 GB of disk space, which is a paltry amount. Smile
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Actually, the primary drive is not reliant on USB drives.  During install of Windows Home Server, it will ask you to remove USB drive thus making it so you cannot use it as a SYS/Primary drive.

     

    In my experience RAID has added more frustration and never prevented data loss in the event of hard drive death.  Tape backups are what have saved my server life. 

     

    The primary drive doesn't contain any data for the typical user that cannot be replaced. Usernames and settings can all be added back in and usually doesn't take that long. 

     

    I would rather add the extra hard drive into my server storage and set folder duplication to on than use RAID on my system drive. 

     

    Friday, September 14, 2007 6:30 PM
    Moderator
  •  Joel Burt wrote:
    D:\ contains reparse points/tombstones.  I'll try and post more specific details about the process later. 

    It's a pretty in-depth process.

     

    I've built and bought many different servers with RAID and while it seemingly worked quietly in the back ground, I've never had a success story in the event of failure.  The only 3 times I needed RAID to work it had failed.  I even had one hard drive die in the RAID and the controller destroyed the second hard drive.  However, I have had friends with success stories.  Just my opinion,YMMV.

     



    I hear ya Joel. I guess the nice thing is, RAID 1 for the system drive will never necessarily "hurt" you. If it works it saves you a bunch of hastle. Then again, if it fails, as it has for you several times, it's even more time consuming to setup 2 discs in RAID 1 again for the system drive.
    Monday, September 17, 2007 5:41 AM
  • The remainder of the first hard drive, the Primary DATA partition, is used to store a unique entry for each file.  If a home server has more than one hard drive, then these files become “tombstones”.  Tombstones are really NTFS reparse points that Drive Extender understands.  They are tiny files that redirect to one or two “shadow” files on the hard drives that make up the Secondary DATA partition.  The shadows are where your data is really stored.  If folder duplication is enabled for a Shared Folder then there will be 2 shadows, if duplication is off then there will be 1 shadow.  

     

      Note

    The first hard drive in a home server should be as large as possible for two reasons: 

    ·         To provide sufficient room to grow the file table for all of the files stored on your home server

    ·         Windows Vista and other home computer operating systems check to see if there is adequate space on the Primary DATA partition prior to starting a copy operation.

     

     

    If a new photo is saved to the Photos shared folder on the home server, the following happens:

     

    1. A new entry for this file is created in the file table on the Primary DATA partition.  On a home server with multiple hard drives, this is a “tombstone” file.
    2. The Drive Extender file system filter creates a pointer (reparse point) for the new file and determines onto which disk the photo should be stored.  The “tombstone” is updated with the location of the actual file.  This file is known as the “master or primary shadow”.
    3. If Folder Duplication is enabled for the Photos shared folder, then the Drive Extender migrator service will create a duplicate copy of the file and update the tombstone file on the Primary DATA partition with the reparse point to include the second location of a “shadow” file.  This file is known as the “alternate or secondary shadow”.
    Monday, September 17, 2007 7:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes they are.  Todd Headrick was the writer of that information.  I'm just the distributor.  :-)

     

    Monday, September 17, 2007 11:26 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    The best "setup" will be as giving one of the 1TB drive to be as the Primary drive (and WHS will make 2 partiotions on it).

    Setup as this:

    1 - 1 TB drive (disk0) as the Primary one.
    2 - 2 TB + 1 320GB as the whs pool (drives add to WHS pool).

    My best.
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 9:34 AM
  • Hmm, I see your answer but I don't understand why I would use such a big disk drive when I get the impression while reading on this forum that this 1. disk only will be used for the system, tombstones and temporarily storage of all files that then moves on to the pool.

    Doe's you answer mean that WHS also will fill the free storage space on the Primary Disk drive (D:\ "Primary" data - that is) ? Because if not, it seems like a terrible waste of diskspace. Smile
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:31 AM
  • Microsoft has said that we should use our largest disk as our system disk. Because of the way WHS uses the system disk, even a server with multiple disks may find a smaller system disk a bottleneck when attempting to copy large amounts of data to the server, so as a rule of thumb that's a good idea. I believe there's a point at which that will no longer matter, though, as long as you're willing to live with the limitation on the amount of data you can copy to WHS in a single operation. For me, that point is somewhere around 160 GB. I don't need to move large numbers of huge files to and fro regularly, so having to take a couple of days to load up my server isn't a big deal. YMMV, of course. Smile
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:40 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ken, great answer :-)

    This means, if I understood correctly,  that you will not at any given time be able to transfer more data to the WHS than what is available on the D:\ "Primary" data partition. So if I use my 320GB diskdrive, this will give me roughly 300GB of diskspace for this task (and I guess the tombstones don't take up that much space)?
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 12:05 PM
  • Hi,

    If you heard of unRaid you see as WHS taking similar task here as well, put the biggest hard drive you have (as in unraid) as you array management, the idea there and here can go to same rules, as unraid will manage the array in it main system disk, and whs will do it task (as Ken said, moving files and a like).

    So even if it do not look right to put the largest hard disk as primary drive, but it fact it need for other task to be in smooth operational as possible.

    What extra gb will make me any good, if the OS start to scream for help Smile

    My best.
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 12:07 PM
  • Olly, when a disk drive manufacturer refers to a disk as being "320 GB", they typically quote that size based on powers of 10, so it's 320 billion bytes of storage. Computer software including operating systems calculates disk space in powers of 2, so a "GB" to WHS is 10243 bytes of storage. So as a result, your "320 GB" disk is actually only about 298 GB in size. The remainder after the (exactly) 20 GB system partition is 278 GB.

    (Disk drive manufacturers say they do this because it's how people are used to thinking about disk sizes. Personally, I think about them the same way software does, and I think just about everyone else I know does too, so I think it's more a case of "marketing-speak", as 320 GB sounds better than 298 GB...)

    Regarding copying files to WHS, you are correct. With a 320 GB system disk, you won't be able to copy more than

    278 - (reparse points) - (other WHS control files) GB

    to your server before you will have to pause and wait for Drive Extender to migrate files to the secondary drives. If you come close to filling up your system drive, that could take quite a while.

    Tombstones are NTFS reparse points, and are 4096 bytes in size. A million files will only take up 4 GB of disk space, which is a paltry amount. Smile
    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:22 PM
    Moderator
  • In my setup I have an Samsung 160Gb. 2,5" notebokk drive as the primary drive. I have done this because i want an low as posible powerconsumption. The most activity when the server is in idle will be on the system drive an the notebook drive only cosumes 2 Watt and an 3,5" 7200 rews drive consumes 13 watt.

    I have not felt any bottelneck because of this.

    My storage pool is 500gb. sata drive 400gb. ide drive and 320 gb. ide drive.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 3:01 PM
  •  

    Actually Ken, when you're transfer files from your home computer to the Windows Home Server, it transfers files directly to the drive itself (not the primary drive and not the d partition) and makes a reparse point on the main drive that is the exact size of that file that was just transfer.  Drive Extender comes through shrinks that file down to 4096bytes.  Because of this, your secondary partition on your primary drive needs to be large enough to handle the amount of data you'll be transferring at a single time.  This also has a lot to do with Windows Vista because Windows Vista looks at the exact space free on your secondary partition ( D: ) and decides if you can transfer that amount of data or not.  To avoid this problem, we recommend using your larger drive as a primary drive so you do not have to rebuild later when you need it.  Your shares can always grow by adding a drive and it is much easier to do that than having to replace your primary drive.

    However, like Ken has stated, you may not need that full amount of space and can use a smaller drive that will be big enough to handle your transfer.  A 320GB drive for my primary drive would be large enough for me.  If you can get away with a smaller drive, my other recommendation would be to use your fastest drive as your primary.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:38 PM
    Moderator
  •  Joel Burt wrote:
    Actually Ken, when you're transfer files from your home computer to the Windows Home Server, it transfers files directly to the drive itself (not the primary drive and not the d partition) and makes a reparse point on the main drive that is the exact size of that file that was just transfer.  Drive Extender comes through shrinks that file down to 4096bytes.
    Cool! I learned something! Always a good day when you learn something... Smile

    I've never tried to interrupt the process between when the file was fully written and when it was replaced (as I thought) with a reparse point. It makes more sense to do it the way WHS does, in a way, because that could reduce the possibility of losing a file to a power outage.
    Thursday, September 13, 2007 12:17 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Great info as always Joel.

    But could someone update the FAQ, becouse there the example for "bigger" recommanded is over 300gb.

    "Hard Drives: One 300GB hard drive for Windows Home Server and two 300GB drives (or larger) for the storage"

    My best.
    Thursday, September 13, 2007 12:54 AM
  • Thanks Ken and Joel, for the great answers. My confusion has now vaporized on this matter ;-) Now I only have to wait for WHS to get to Retail so that I can start setting up my new fileserver and scrap the XP version I allready got.
    Thursday, September 13, 2007 6:52 AM
  •  abobader wrote:
    Hi,

    Great info as always Joel.

    But could someone update the FAQ, becouse there the example for "bigger" recommanded is over 300gb.

    "Hard Drives: One 300GB hard drive for Windows Home Server and two 300GB drives (or larger) for the storage"

    My best.

     

    I will be updating the FAQ's hopefully soon with lots of nice information that we are currently working on to educate the public on how Windows Home Server works.  It may not be listed as a FAQ however but some other form.  I'll know more later.

     

    As a general thought, I'd still recommend using your largest drive as your primary because it can be a bottleneck in data transferring.  For the more technical user, they can design something a little more specific for themselves.  I'd hate to see someone having to rebuild their Windows Home Server because there wasn't enough room on their primary drive for data transferring of a certain size.

     

    Thursday, September 13, 2007 8:18 PM
    Moderator
  •  OllyRollo wrote:
    Thanks Ken and Joel, for the great answers. My confusion has now vaporized on this matter ;-) Now I only have to wait for WHS to get to Retail so that I can start setting up my new fileserver and scrap the XP version I allready got.

     

    You are quite welcome OllyRollo!  Would you mind marking the posts that helped you as "marked as answer" please?  This gives the users credit for helping you with your questions.  :-)

    Thursday, September 13, 2007 8:19 PM
    Moderator
  • I haven't figured out the best way to BACKUP the primary disk. AFAIK WHS doesn't offer any tool for backup and recovery of the server itself. I think an imaging software like ghost and an external usb drive would be the best solution...
    Friday, September 14, 2007 12:01 AM
  • I have seen users on the forum use ghost and other imaging software to backup the primary hard drive as such.

    Friday, September 14, 2007 1:16 AM
    Moderator
  • Honestly I would prefer to setup a raid1 with a proper controller for the system drive rather than rely to highly unreliable usb drives. Moreover, i havent decided which capacity to get.
    Friday, September 14, 2007 12:18 PM
  • Actually, the primary drive is not reliant on USB drives.  During install of Windows Home Server, it will ask you to remove USB drive thus making it so you cannot use it as a SYS/Primary drive.

     

    In my experience RAID has added more frustration and never prevented data loss in the event of hard drive death.  Tape backups are what have saved my server life. 

     

    The primary drive doesn't contain any data for the typical user that cannot be replaced. Usernames and settings can all be added back in and usually doesn't take that long. 

     

    I would rather add the extra hard drive into my server storage and set folder duplication to on than use RAID on my system drive. 

     

    Friday, September 14, 2007 6:30 PM
    Moderator
  • I meant that I would not trust to do a backup of the system drive on a usb drive. Yes, tape units are good, but low capacity and expensive. And I'm not sure about which software would work on WHS/2003.
    Moreover, imaging software is not 100% reliable either. I heard and experienced too many horror stories to trust any.

    To avoid double frustration I would rather follow the recovery reinstall procedure.
    How long does the recovery procedure takes?

    Raid never prevented data loss? What kind of setup did u use and which controllers?
    I'm used to scsi raid and I have a vista32 machine that is running in degraded raid1 mode for 2 months (I'm waiting for the replacement disk from manifacturer), and it still scores 5,9 in vista.

    I plan to go all sata for the WHS machine because scsi is too expensive and time-consuming to setup.
    Friday, September 14, 2007 8:00 PM
  •  Telstar wrote:
    I haven't figured out the best way to BACKUP the primary disk. AFAIK WHS doesn't offer any tool for backup and recovery of the server itself. I think an imaging software like ghost and an external usb drive would be the best solution...


    Or you could run the primary disk as 2 in a RAID 1. Although WHS doesn't officially support RAID this would make the most sense for RAID in WHS and I don't really see how it could cause issues considering RAID 1 is very simply mirroring.
    Saturday, September 15, 2007 5:52 AM
  •  tony4d wrote:

    Or you could run the primary disk as 2 in a RAID 1. Although WHS doesn't officially support RAID this would make the most sense for RAID in WHS and I don't really see how it could cause issues considering RAID 1 is very simply mirroring.


    I made a reply earlier today but it didnt post for some reason.
    I said that i will likely do as you say, getting an hw raid controller for raid1 of the system disk.
    Saturday, September 15, 2007 9:04 PM
  •  Joel Burt wrote:

    Actually Ken, when you're transfer files from your home computer to the Windows Home Server, it transfers files directly to the drive itself (not the primary drive and not the d partition) and makes a reparse point on the main drive that is the exact size of that file that was just transfer.

     

    Joel, is that new in RTM?  RC1 definitely does not do this.  It would store the full file on D:\shares.  Then at some point later (I've seen it be up to 2 hours later), it would copy the file to a hidden DE folder.  Shortly after, it would shrink the file in D:\shares to 4096 bytes.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:17 PM
    Moderator
  • D:\ contains reparse points/tombstones.  I'll try and post more specific details about the process later. 

    It's a pretty in-depth process.

     

    I've built and bought many different servers with RAID and while it seemingly worked quietly in the back ground, I've never had a success story in the event of failure.  The only 3 times I needed RAID to work it had failed.  I even had one hard drive die in the RAID and the controller destroyed the second hard drive.  However, I have had friends with success stories.  Just my opinion,YMMV.

     

    Sunday, September 16, 2007 9:27 PM
    Moderator
  •  Joel Burt wrote:
    D:\ contains reparse points/tombstones.  I'll try and post more specific details about the process later. 

    It's a pretty in-depth process.

     

    I've built and bought many different servers with RAID and while it seemingly worked quietly in the back ground, I've never had a success story in the event of failure.  The only 3 times I needed RAID to work it had failed.  I even had one hard drive die in the RAID and the controller destroyed the second hard drive.  However, I have had friends with success stories.  Just my opinion,YMMV.

     



    I hear ya Joel. I guess the nice thing is, RAID 1 for the system drive will never necessarily "hurt" you. If it works it saves you a bunch of hastle. Then again, if it fails, as it has for you several times, it's even more time consuming to setup 2 discs in RAID 1 again for the system drive.
    Monday, September 17, 2007 5:41 AM
  • The remainder of the first hard drive, the Primary DATA partition, is used to store a unique entry for each file.  If a home server has more than one hard drive, then these files become “tombstones”.  Tombstones are really NTFS reparse points that Drive Extender understands.  They are tiny files that redirect to one or two “shadow” files on the hard drives that make up the Secondary DATA partition.  The shadows are where your data is really stored.  If folder duplication is enabled for a Shared Folder then there will be 2 shadows, if duplication is off then there will be 1 shadow.  

     

      Note

    The first hard drive in a home server should be as large as possible for two reasons: 

    ·         To provide sufficient room to grow the file table for all of the files stored on your home server

    ·         Windows Vista and other home computer operating systems check to see if there is adequate space on the Primary DATA partition prior to starting a copy operation.

     

     

    If a new photo is saved to the Photos shared folder on the home server, the following happens:

     

    1. A new entry for this file is created in the file table on the Primary DATA partition.  On a home server with multiple hard drives, this is a “tombstone” file.
    2. The Drive Extender file system filter creates a pointer (reparse point) for the new file and determines onto which disk the photo should be stored.  The “tombstone” is updated with the location of the actual file.  This file is known as the “master or primary shadow”.
    3. If Folder Duplication is enabled for the Photos shared folder, then the Drive Extender migrator service will create a duplicate copy of the file and update the tombstone file on the Primary DATA partition with the reparse point to include the second location of a “shadow” file.  This file is known as the “alternate or secondary shadow”.
    Monday, September 17, 2007 7:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the nice explanation Joel.

    Are the tombstones the files that are always 4096 bytes?
    Monday, September 17, 2007 10:01 PM
  • Yes they are.  Todd Headrick was the writer of that information.  I'm just the distributor.  :-)

     

    Monday, September 17, 2007 11:26 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm currently running WHS with 11 SATA drives, from 320Gb to 1Tb in size.  I've built it with the 1Tb as Primary, 750Gb as Primary, and 320Gb as primary. (I've also got 500Gb in there, but haven't tried that specifically as a Primary yet)

     

    In my opinion, the 1Tb is a waste as a Primary drive...  The DATA partition on the Primary will be the last part of the data pool to hold actual file data, so that 980Gb of storage is basically wasted in day to day operations.

     

    When migrating data over, during the builds (I never did an upgrade, always a fresh install), the Primary drive never had more than 250Gb-350Gb used at any time.  DEMigrator was able to keep up rather well, with the actual usage on that Primary drive sitting at about 100Gb-150Gb.

     

    Personally, I think the 320Gb is a bit too small: making the initial build a bit of a hassle, and cutting things close for large file copies.  The 750Gb is about the same as the 1Tb in my mind, too big to be cost effective.

     

    I'm planning to run the OEM version on the 500Gb as my Primary, thinking that will be the "sweet" spot in terms of initial storage for build, growth, but not wasting too much on day to day operations.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007 3:03 AM
  • Having a a large primary drive is not a waste of space, If you ever run out of room in the storage pool the primary data partition will be used (you have the same total space regardless of how the drives are configured). Today I could get away with a 500GB primary drive but I have no idea what size primary drive I'll need in 5 years from now and the primary drive is the hardest drive to replace. I'd follow MS reccomendations of using the largest drive as the primary but I'm not sure I'd purchase a larger drive just to use it for the primary drive.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007 6:48 PM
  • Hi,

    Yes, as well to consider the issue, large HDD size now days coming in good low price, either 1TB or the 750GB.

    So if I want to build now, and insure the truble free, I do not see why not going from the start with largest HDD as the primary one, also considration defernet from one person setup and usage, and you know you planned a head need.

    My best.
    Wednesday, September 19, 2007 7:04 PM
  •  Bezalel Geretz wrote:

    Having a a large primary drive is not a waste of space, If you ever run out of room in the storage pool the primary data partition will be used (you have the same total space regardless of how the drives are configured). Today I could get away with a 500GB primary drive but I have no idea what size primary drive I'll need in 5 years from now and the primary drive is the hardest drive to replace. I'd follow MS reccomendations of using the largest drive as the primary but I'm not sure I'd purchase a larger drive just to use it for the primary drive.

     

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I know that the primary partition is used as part of the pool.  However, it's used LAST for storage, and in a multi disk system, it probably won't ever be used for actual storage (except for the short term where it's a temp area till a new disk gets installed).  If I ever fill the pool to the point where I'm using my primary disk partition, then I'm going to immediately add a new drive to the system.  At this point, migrator will move that data off the primary and onto the new drive.

     

    This in effect leaves that primary disk partition as a landing zone only, and wasted as a storage area...

     

    What you need, is to size that disk partition so you have enough space to handle tombstones for total system data, and enough space to handle data migration load till migrator can move it to permanent location.  And lets be honest with ourselves...  anyone that's building WHS from scratch for themselves isn't going to let that box sit for years and years without upgrading/reinstalling at some point Stick out tongue  So the "hardest to upgrade" argument doesn't really fit.  And I'd argue it's false too!  Provided there's no actual DATA on that disk, a primary drive is probably the easiest to upgrade in size; just remove the old primary, install the new primary, run server reinstall off DVD, let it rebuild.  If it's holding data though, it becomes MUCH harder to upgrade.  Another arguement for "correct" sizing, vs "largest" sizing Smile

    Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:04 PM
  • Tombstones: tombstones for 1 million files require 4 GB of space. Don't sweat it...

    System disk size: I think there's a question of whether you intend to keep WHS filled to the point that the system disk contains files (duplicates, actually, I believe; it's not normally used for primary storage in my experience) or you intend to "right size" it for normal operation, i.e. copying files to and fro on a regular basis. If you plan to use it for storage, then you definitely want the system drive to be huge. If you plan to let it be a "landing zone" and graveyard, but make sure there's space on other drives for file and backup storage, then it only needs to be big enough to contain the volume of files you're likely to add in a reasonable period (say a day).

    I think the "sweet spot" is probably much less than 500 GB; I can't imaging someone manipulating 500 GB of data at home every day. Smile As a point of reference, the system drive in the WHS I'm using "for real" (as opposed to my test unit) is only 160 GB. The only constraint that put on me was the initial loading of the server, which took an extra day or so. I'm not working with a zillion media files every day, though. I suppose that could increase my demands. Still, 500 GB (which is what the HP unit will contain) is likely to hold me to WHS version 2.0.
    Thursday, September 20, 2007 5:00 PM
    Moderator
  • I think think this is one of those discussions that will depend on all sorts of criteria. Just a few of which:

     

    Are people building from new - just checked and the difference in price between 350 and 500GB is less that 2%.

    Are people building to be green - in general, smaller hard drives consume less power.

    Are people re-purposing existing drives - depends what they have.

    Are people streaming and storing all their videos to the server - maybe larger is better.

    Are people just using it as a backup machine - smaller will be adequate.

     

    Of the servers we have here, one has a 500GB primary drive and stores videos, while another is just backups and runs fine with a 320GB primary disk. It had problems with the videos, thats' why another server was built.

     

    Colin

    Thursday, September 20, 2007 5:27 PM
  • How exactly can you ensure that there isn't any data on your primary disk? And what about all of your Add-ins, User accounts, Tweaks, and other settings (and the time it takes to rebuild the primary partition). There is no such thing as "Correct Sizing" for long term usage. My goal is to have "Sufficient Sizing" on my primary drive for as long as possible.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007 9:00 PM
  • Bezalel, in my observation if you never create a situation where WHS must use the system drive for storage, it never will use it for storage. Once it's been used for storage, you may be able to clean it off through manipulating duplication.

    Assuming you're starting with an empty WHS:

    If you have only one drive, it will be used for storage, obviously.

    If you have two drives, the system drive is used for duplication (a form of storage) and tombstones, and (maybe, haven't figured out why it does this but I've seen it once) backups (another form of storage). If the secondary drive gets filled up, and there's space on the system drive, then it gets used for storage that way too.

    If you have 3+ drives, the system drive is used for tombstones. If you fill all of your other drives, WHS will force files onto the system drive.

    Once your system drive has been used for storage, WHS is lazy about clearing it off. It won't remove duplicates (that I've seen) as long as duplication is enabled for the shares containing them. However, I've been successful in getting files (but not backups) off of it by first adding a new disk large enough to hold all the files currently on the drive. Then I turned duplication on for shares containing files that are only on the system drive (this forces a shadow copy onto the new drive). Then I turn duplication off for all shares that have any files on the system drive. WHS wants to keep primary storage of files off the system drive, so the "shadows" on the new drive were kept, and the files on the system drive were removed. Then I reset duplication as I wanted it, and WHS didn't move any files back to the system drive.

    It's easier to add a drive, delete the files that are stored on the system drive, and copy them back to WHS if you only have a few files to deal with, or a relatively small volume of data anyway.  Smile

    I haven't found a way to get backups off of the system drive, except by cleaning out the entire backup database using steps 4-10 of SME's 10 step program.
    Thursday, September 20, 2007 10:34 PM
    Moderator
  •  Joel Burt wrote:

    I have seen users on the forum use ghost and other imaging software to backup the primary hard drive as such.

     

    Have a question though. Let say I backup the "primary" hard drive with some Norton Ghost oc Acronis Image.

    Should I backup the whole "primary" drive, means 320Gb or 500Gb? Or only one partition (in my installation of 160Gb PATA as primary and 500Gb SATA as secondary, I see two partitions - 20Gb for system, and the rest combined from two disks - in DE partition "Data")?

     

    Also where to keep this backup? Is there a possibility to add disk to the server, format it to NTFS, and NOT add it to storage of the server, but use it by Acronis or Norton Ghost to store backups there and restore from that backup if needed?

     

    BTW, thanks a lot for this discussion and explanations, very informative for newbies in server administration.

    After many years maintaining PCs with principle of separating system from data storage disks, this approach is really new for me.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007 11:44 PM
  • Ken I have a system with massive amounts of strage capability and I started to transfer over my media files to be shared.  It seems that my primary drive is almost full and it is a 500 GB drive.  I don't see tombstones on it but whole files.  I have 4 1TB drives that are virtually free and would be expecting the primary drive to be rewriting data over to them but it is not.  Do you have any ideas what the problem might be.

     

     

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:25 AM
  • When you say you see files, where do you see files and what, exactly, do you see? If you see what look like files in D:\Shares\etc., you should look at the properties closely. They should show size on disk as 4kb each, and total file size as the actual size of the file. If you look in D:\DE\Shares\etc. you will find actual file shadows if they're being stored on the system disk, Those will be the full size of the file on disk.

    If you have the Power Pack 1 RC installed, you won't be able to manipulate files, folders, and duplication to get Windows Home Server to move files off the system drive.
    Tuesday, July 8, 2008 3:22 AM
    Moderator