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iSCSI? A better way? RRS feed

  • Question

  • After all sorts of problems I'm nearing the end of a bit list of tasks and I'm just about ready to get WHS set up a second time, for the forseeable future. 2TB of backup takes a long time should anyone wonder!

    I'm going for the typical uses of WHS - backup, central accessable storage, admin etc. However the server itself will be doing other tasks - IRC, FTP, Usenet, etc.

    Something else I'd like it to do is replace the hard drive in my main PC. I only have a 100GB SSD fitted, and I don't want to fit a mechanical hard drive. That means I need to provide space from the WHS machine to my own PC. I'm thinking this space should not be shared space on WHS Storage Space, because WHS would be busy balancing it, and other tasks. The WHS is connected by gigabit ethernet which will limit it to roughly 100MB/sec, I'd prefer not to limit it any more than I have to. The partition would be used for games, mainly, and since I use Steam it isn't critical if everything is lost as it can all be replaced. Saves games etc would save to my documents which would be backed up.

    So I'm aware of two options so far... option one is to just create a partition from RAID6 space on the WHS PC, share it, and mount it as a drive on the main PC. This is nice and simple, I'd like to do it this way as it means no extra software on either PC. However in the week or so I've been running WHS I've noticed that shared drives aren't reliable. This may entirely down to the network problems that are thankfully behind me. I'd be happy to accept people's opinion that it is indeed reliable without lots of overhead.

    Option 2 is iSCSI. I've managed to find a free piece of iSCSI target software KernSafe, and I could use that to create a virtual drive for the PC to use. That's attractive because it's designed to work over more than just a LAN so should be more robust, however I would imagine there would be more overhead on packets.

    Option 3? I've got the feeling there might be something else I haven't thought of... I'm open to ideas!

    In short... what's the best way for me to add a virtual drive to my main PC, keeping the speed as high as possible.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:18 PM

All replies

  • Simplest solution: do nothing. You have shares which (if your network is solid, and you don't have any driver or configuration issues) should be accessible. They won't perform like a local hard drive, but neither will anything else that you'll be able to do given what you've said about your network. (Even the iSCSI option won't come anywhere near 100 MB/s.) Most software is able to access a share directly through it's UNC path, and most software that can't will be able to access it through a mapped drive.

    Issues with mapped drives almost always come down to network problems (including hardware, wiring, and driver issues); if your mapped drive is unreliable, you have a network problem to solve.

    I don't know how iSCSI target software will work with Drive Extender; I wouldn't be surprised, though, if it won't, given how Drive Extender works. I haven't tried it, though. If you decide to do so, I would back the server shares up to external storage first, to make sure you have a fallback if the attempt hoses your server. Not that I think that's likely, but it's a possibility.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:34 PM
    Moderator
  • Network issues are now entirely gone. I've dumped wireless and homeplugs, replaced the NICs and all the cables, and things are now fixed and final. You'll note I said the mapped drive was unreliable. I've not had issues since - I was just unsure if I could expect the same reliability as a connected drive.

    I get about 72MB/sec from my own PC to the server. However the server is running a rebuild on the RAID array so performance may be impacted. EDIT : That's across gigabit ethernet, through a router to a RAID6 array, currently with 5 drives from a fast SSD drive.

    Drive Extender, I think, is V2 of WHS (Vail) rather than the 1st version which I'm using. As far as storage is concerned, once all the files are finally off the RAID arrays and I can trash them I'll be turning 8 1TB drives into a 5.4TB RAID6 array, and giving it to the WHS in three parts (I've been advised it can't use anything over 2TB so I'll need to split). For this virtual drive I'd just be keeping some of that space aside.

    • Edited by Quartermass Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:50 PM Clarity
    Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:49 PM
  • Network issues are now entirely gone. I've dumped wireless and homeplugs, replaced the NICs and all the cables, and things are now fixed and final. You'll note I said the mapped drive was unreliable. I've not had issues since - I was just unsure if I could expect the same reliability as a connected drive.

    I get about 72MB/sec from my own PC to the server. However the server is running a rebuild on the RAID array so performance may be impacted. EDIT : That's across gigabit ethernet, through a router to a RAID6 array, currently with 5 drives from a fast SSD drive.

    Drive Extender, I think, is V2 of WHS (Vail) rather than the 1st version which I'm using. 

    FYI, both versions of WHS have Drive Extender (they just function differently between the versions).

    As far as storage is concerned, once all the files are finally off the RAID arrays and I can trash them I'll be turning 8 1TB drives into a 5.4TB RAID6 array, and giving it to the WHS in three parts (I've been advised it can't use anything over 2TB so I'll need to split). For this virtual drive I'd just be keeping some of that space aside.


    Friday, July 30, 2010 5:17 AM
    Moderator