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largest drive as primary RRS feed

  • Question

  • So, I'm getting ready do my first hardware build for WHS and I'm having some trouble coming to a decision about which drive to use as a primary. 

    I have the following drives that will ultimately end up in the server:

    80gb, 160gb, 190gb, 280gb, & 500gb

    From what I can find, MS is recommending that we use our largest drive as the primary.  But, elsewhere I read that the primary drive gets used for two purposes:  First, a 10gb partition for the install of WHS, itself and then a second partition on the balance of the drive used for tombtones.

    Now, if I understand this correctly, the tombstones don't provide any "real" storage.  I get it that they are an important part of the file management system, but they don't really provide storage space.

    So, if I use the 500gb drive as my primary drive and the others as second, third, ect drives, I'm only going to have 710gb of storage available to my system.  But if I used the smalled drive as my primary drive I'll have 1.1tb.  Have I got that right?

    Additionally, I've read that there's a problem with beta 2 that limits the maximum file size to the size of your tombstone partition.  But, if that's 70gb, that seems plenty big for any single file. 

    Based on this, my conclusion would be to install the drives in the order I've listed them above and just live with the single file size limitation.

    Curiously, I think this represents a reasonable growth path for this type of product.  I think people will consistently add bigger (and cheaper) drives as they run out of space.  So, even if the primary drive starts as the largest in the box, I doubt that it will stay that way.

    Thanks in advance for any comments, thoughts, renounciations, etc. 

    I'm pretty jazzed about this product and I'm looking forward to getting it up & running.

     

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:46 PM

Answers

  • The primary drive is also used as storage. Most data is transferred to the primary drive at first, and then moved to the other drives via the drive extender's "lazy write" technology. You'll have the same available storage (1.1 TB) regardless of the order you put the disks in. But I can guarantee you you'll get the best performance by making your primary drive the largest drive, and run into multiple issues if you don't.

    The main reason for this is due to a bug in Beta 2 whereby your available free space as reported by the server will always be whatever's free on Disk 0, so even though WHS will show 1 TB free, your client will only properly see 60-70GB free, and will fail in Vista if you try to group copy anything above 70 GB with a "not enough disk space free" error.  This should be fixed by RTM, but for Beta, you want to use the largest disk as your primary.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:49 PM
  • Well, "big enough" is relative. I think you're safe, even during the beta period, if your primary disk on your WHS is larger than any single volume on any other PC in your home.

    As for Drive Extender and share duplication, it's done on a share by share basis, not as a software RAID 1 solution. So WHS will provide access to the entire 1.5 GB of space. Some of that space will be consumed by backups, and some will be consumed by share duplication. You'll see those contributions in the pie chart on the storage tab in WHS Console. If you set all of your shares to use duplication (I wouldn't; media in particular takes up huge amounts of space and can always be ripped again, even if it's painful to contemplate) then I think you'll get a max of (slightly less than) 500 GB of data stored on WHS because you probably can't duplicate more space than there is available on a single drive in a two drive system.
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 4:34 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • The primary drive is also used as storage. Most data is transferred to the primary drive at first, and then moved to the other drives via the drive extender's "lazy write" technology. You'll have the same available storage (1.1 TB) regardless of the order you put the disks in. But I can guarantee you you'll get the best performance by making your primary drive the largest drive, and run into multiple issues if you don't.

    The main reason for this is due to a bug in Beta 2 whereby your available free space as reported by the server will always be whatever's free on Disk 0, so even though WHS will show 1 TB free, your client will only properly see 60-70GB free, and will fail in Vista if you try to group copy anything above 70 GB with a "not enough disk space free" error.  This should be fixed by RTM, but for Beta, you want to use the largest disk as your primary.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 3:49 PM
  • Thanks Janssen, I appreciate the feedback.

    The unfortunate thing about this answer is it completely changes the amount of work I have to do to get started.  You see my 500gb drive is also currently my primary storage.  So, I've got to find somewhere to put about 400gb of media files before I can use the drive in my new server.  Oh well.  At least I'm be doing it the right way.

    Richard.

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 4:15 PM
  •  RCRH wrote:

    Thanks Janssen, I appreciate the feedback.

    The unfortunate thing about this answer is it completely changes the amount of work I have to do to get started. You see my 500gb drive is also currently my primary storage. So, I've got to find somewhere to put about 400gb of media files before I can use the drive in my new server. Oh well. At least I'm be doing it the right way.

    Richard.



    Yep, that's definitely the problem we've all been facing.  I got lucky and found a 500GB external drive at Office depot (the ones that look like books on your bookcase) for $150, and that gave me the space I needed to free up enough data to move disks around.  If you're going to put WHS through its paces, I strongly recommend picking up an additional USB drive to facilitate moving lots of data around.
    Saturday, March 3, 2007 4:24 PM
  • So here's a question: How large is large enough? I have a 500GB that I am planning to use as my main drive for installing WHS. However, I am planning to use WHS as a central storage facility for my movies, music, etc. I already have nearly 1TB of media files. Once I get WHS "up and running", I plan on adding the new Hitachi 1 TB drives to the system (once they are available). So, clearly, my "boot" drive will be my smallest once I add the new 1TB drives, but it should be plenty big, right?

    Also... once I add the first 1TB drive, will I be able to move my (nearly) 1TB of data over, or will the DE functionality cause WHS to only "see" 750GB (half of the 1.5TB)?

    Chris

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:53 PM
  • Well, "big enough" is relative. I think you're safe, even during the beta period, if your primary disk on your WHS is larger than any single volume on any other PC in your home.

    As for Drive Extender and share duplication, it's done on a share by share basis, not as a software RAID 1 solution. So WHS will provide access to the entire 1.5 GB of space. Some of that space will be consumed by backups, and some will be consumed by share duplication. You'll see those contributions in the pie chart on the storage tab in WHS Console. If you set all of your shares to use duplication (I wouldn't; media in particular takes up huge amounts of space and can always be ripped again, even if it's painful to contemplate) then I think you'll get a max of (slightly less than) 500 GB of data stored on WHS because you probably can't duplicate more space than there is available on a single drive in a two drive system.
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 4:34 PM
    Moderator
  • 160 gbt is faster then 80gbt, of course (any caches, 2mbt or 8mbt or 16mbt)

    I recommend :

    80 gbt (2 partition) - C and D

    first  partition 20 gbt - for WHS

    second 60 gbt - for archives AND  - important - NO shares on second partition (third partition) of HDD where installed server.

    shares are on other HDD

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 9:09 PM
  •  Janssen Jones wrote:
    "not enough disk space free" error.  This should be fixed by RTM, but for Beta, you want to use the largest disk as your primary.

    Is it ouspoken by MS that no fix for this problem will be provided for the beta users?

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:00 AM
  • Thanks for th info.  I ran into this drive size bug when I was trying to transfer my music share to the system.  Do you know if a copy will work as long as it's broken up into small enough chunks?
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007 6:35 PM
  •  Avarell_Dalton wrote:
    Is it ouspoken by MS that no fix for this problem will be provided for the beta users?
    We don't know. Microsoft hasn't said yes, they haven't said no.

    Microsoft has not provided a time frame for any additional releases of software to the public beta group, though they have said that there would be another release that would be even larger than the current beta program. And (of course) they haven't told anyone what bugs will be fixed in such a release.
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007 7:33 PM
    Moderator
  • The way WHS sets up the drives when you add a drive to the drive pool from server console it is difficult to determine where the partitions end and begin.  When you view the amount of drive storage available you get the full amount of space available (in my case 10 gig for the C drive and the rest devided up between the second partition on my boot drive and a second drive that was installed after the server was built.) on all drives with no indication as to which drive or partition it is on. If I go into MY COMPUTER on the server I see the 160 gig drive that I installed as the boot drive divided into 2 partitions, 10 gig C drive and 150 gig D drive but no E drive where the 320 gig partition is. All drives show up in disk manager but the 320 gig drive has no drive letter assigned. It looks like WHS takes any additional drives you install and adds them to the D drive as an extention of the D drive and increases the data drive partition size  accordingly.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:48 AM
  • Umm, no. It's more complicated than that. WHS allocates the 10 GB and everything except 10 GB partitions on the system drive, and gives them the drive letters C: and D: respectively.

    The other drives are mounted as directories under C:\FS, assuming you have one or more secondary drives. Then Drive Extender uses the D: partition for storage (primarily) of "tombstones", NTFS reparse points that allow DE to make it look like the files are all on D:, when they are actually on other volumes.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 3:27 AM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:

    We don't know. Microsoft hasn't said yes, they haven't said no.

    Microsoft has not provided a time frame for any additional releases of software to the public beta group, though they have said that there would be another release that would be even larger than the current beta program. And (of course) they haven't told anyone what bugs will be fixed in such a release. 

    Thank you sir for your very complicated way of answering a simple question and a extra thank you for throwing in that besserwisser last sentence, now we all know you are a experienced beta user with that extra knowledge me and perhaps other readers here lacks

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:01 PM
  •  Avarell_Dalton wrote:

    Thank you sir for your very complicated way of answering a simple question and a extra thank you for throwing in that besserwisser last sentence, now we all know you are a experienced beta user with that extra knowledge me and perhaps other readers here lacks

    <sigh>The question you originally asked has no answer that anyone here can give you, either yes or no, because Microsoft hasn't given a public answer to that question, and a private answer (say if someone has access to the current build) is going to be covered under an NDA.

    If you don't like that, I suggest you try to get a better answer out of Microsoft yourself.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:40 PM
    Moderator
  • If you take the time to read the post i replyed to you might see:

     

    "not enough disk space free" error.  This should be fixed by RTM, "

    Aha, fixed by rtm,he says, that might point out something here

     

    "there for Beta, you want to use the largest disk as your primary."

    Yep, this definetly sounds like (M)S)omeone has hinted something (or he is just assuming things). Perhaps I should ask a simple question, especially since I do not read every single WHS blogg out here and don't know what or where MS leaks information? What then happens is that you, Mr 900+ posts has to "take action" to prevent new users from asking "stupid questions", oh how you hate thoose spoone feeders contamining your forums.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:50 PM
  •  Jason "Ned" Ewens wrote:
    Thanks for th info.  I ran into this drive size bug when I was trying to transfer my music share to the system.  Do you know if a copy will work as long as it's broken up into small enough chunks?

     

    Yes. Alternatively, if you know how to use RoboCopy rather than drag-and-drop then use that for the whole transfer; it doesn't do a pre-emptive size check like Windows Explorer in Vista, and it seems smart enough to wait while DEMigrator is busy doing its thing and then start up again.

    Monday, April 23, 2007 2:11 PM
  • This would indicate that a large drive for the primary volume would be a waste as the NTFS in the 2nd partition would not be used as such, only as junctions (reparse points) to files on other disks. The fact that the install only allocates 10G to the system is causing the problem of lack of system filespace. I cannot understand where the space goes as there is 5G after build. I would imagine there should be no user files kept on  the primary volume.
    Also from experience of building many win 2003 servers  there is a performance hit when you put user data on the same disk as the operating system even though it's in a seperate partition.
    I have always put user data on different disks and on another controller to get best performance.

    Windows home server is after all just small business server 2003 with some added programs and it has the same performance restraints as any windows machine.

    My recommendation would be to put a reasonable disk as primary (80G) and put the large drives on seperate controllers, not a problem with SATA machines but if you are using PATA then put the drives on the secondary IDE to get the best performance.
    Tuesday, April 24, 2007 9:45 AM
  • Chris, the DATA partition on the system drive is also used as the initial "landing zone" for all files copied to WHS. It's also what a Vista client PC will see as the "available space" for a file copy operation. So using a larger disk is a good idea; it limits you in a number of ways if it's too small.
    Tuesday, April 24, 2007 12:31 PM
    Moderator
  • The D: partition on the primary hard drive isn't wasted as storage space either; if WHS needs to put data there long-term then it will. It's just less preferred than the other drives as a storage area.
    Tuesday, April 24, 2007 1:52 PM
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    Chris, the DATA partition on the system drive is also used as the initial "landing zone" for all files copied to WHS. It's also what a Vista client PC will see as the "available space" for a file copy operation. So using a larger disk is a good idea; it limits you in a number of ways if it's too small.

    Is that the same in XP/MCE?

     

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007 2:15 PM