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Alternative (non-supported?) Drive Replacement Strategy RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm about to replace a flaky drive in my pool.

    The pool, however, is at 94% capacity and I expect that when I start the removal process it will throw an "Insufficient Space" message.

    I have duplication turned on for all shares and both past experience and advice from greater minds than mine tell me that turning it off is a bad idea.

    SATA connectors on the mobo are maxed out.   I've got a USB wrapper, but adding the new drive from that and then moving the drive to a SATA connector later seems like a needless risk.

    I *think* I've heard somebody who knows refer to an alternate strategy.

    Here is what I propose:

    - Prep the new disc offline on another PC using a USB wrapper: 64-k blocks, Name=”Disc n”
    - Ensure all shares have Duplication = True 
    - Ensure Production Server = Backup Server using BeyondCompare: All files sb on both boxes
    - Shut down Production Server
    - Replace old physical drive with new physical drive
    - Boot up Production Server
    - Add new drive to pool
    - If the old drive persists in the pool's list, just remove it and expect WHS to not make the server unavailable for any significant length of time, 
     since no files are accessible on the drive tb removed.
    - Check Production Server vs Backup Server using BeyondCompare: All files sb on both boxes

    Does this sound reasonable?

    • I avoid the 24 hours or so downtime while WHS removes the bad drive
    • Duplication takes care of the files on the removed drive
    • If things don't turn out as expected, I have the options of
      either re-installing the old drive or restoring from the 
      Backup Server

     

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:41 PM

All replies

  • I would expect this to work. First step is probably not necessary, WHS will reformat disk anyway when you add it to the pool. Personally I would first do a testrun in a VM, however with the backup server your data is not at risk.
    Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:05 PM
    Moderator
  • That should work, and would fall in the general category of "supported ways to replace a disk". However: "64-k blocks" isn't going to do you any good, Windows Home Server will remove any pre-existing partitions and replace them with a single partition that uses 4k blocks.

    You may lose backups. (If server storage is 90+% full, I would count on it...) Skip the backup server; it doesn't appreciably improve the protection of your data over duplication on your production server. Only off-site backups will do that.

    For the future, get a SATA-to-USB bridge, which will let you connect a bare drive to a USB port. You can buy one for as little as $20 or so online, or drive to Micro Center in St. David's and buy one for $25-30.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:16 PM
    Moderator
  • That should work, and would fall in the general category of "supported ways to replace a disk". However: "64-k blocks" isn't going to do you any good, Windows Home Server will remove any pre-existing partitions and replace them with a single partition that uses 4k blocks.

    My mistake - now that I'm thinking about it, I had to add each  drive to the pool and then (before WHS puts anything on it) re-format it into 64k blocks. This is because a Tivo-On-Steroids application that I use the server for does not like smaller blocks.

    You may lose backups. (If server storage is 90+% full, I would count on it...) Skip the backup server; it doesn't appreciably improve the protection of your data over duplication on your production server. Only off-site backups will do that.

    No problem there - this box lost the ability to recoginize any other PCs over a year ago... no backups to worry about.... -)

    For the future, get a SATA-to-USB bridge, which will let you connect a bare drive to a USB port. You can buy one for as little as $20 or so online, or drive to Micro Center in St. David's and buy one for $25-30.

    I actually have one, but figured "Why tempt fate?" vis-a-vis adding the new drive while it's on the bridge and then moving it to a regular SATA slot.
    Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:11 PM
  • Pete, in your current situation, you have a failing/failed disk, with some files thereon (primary or secondary shadows, doesn't matter), and a storage pool that's almost full. The instant that new disk hits the storage pool, Windows home Server is likely to start creating new duplicates, or moving files from a completely full disk to one that's less full (the new one). I don't know if you'll have a window of opportunity to shut down and reformat with 64k blocks for Sage. Besides, didn't Sage come out with a newer version that works with a smaller allocation unit? I seem to remember something about that...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:00 PM
    Moderator
  • Pete, in your current situation, you have a failing/failed disk, with some files thereon (primary or secondary shadows, doesn't matter), and a storage pool that's almost full. The instant that new disk hits the storage pool, Windows home Server is likely to start creating new duplicates, or moving files from a completely full disk to one that's less full (the new one). I don't know if you'll have a window of opportunity to shut down and reformat with 64k blocks for Sage. Besides, didn't Sage come out with a newer version that works with a smaller allocation unit? I seem to remember something about that...

    I seem to have gotten away with it one more time.

    Yes, Sage has a new version (7) that tolerates smaller blocks.  I think Beta started in late May.  Dunno if a final 7.0 has been released yet, but I'm more of a "point-one release" user.... -)

    I'm also waiting for the Server 2008-based WSH to come out.   When I move to it, hopefully SageTV 7.1 will be available and I'll bite the bullet and maybe even build a new system on a new mobo - with more SATA connectors.

    Can't report on the final result of the drive swap yet bc the removal of the physically-removed drive is still running - which makes sense in light of all the tombstone files that need tb updated.  

    Come to think of it, maybe that's part of why I got away with the format.... WHS probably won't start duplicating until the dead drive is "Removed" and the tombstone files tell it that all those duplicate copies that were on the removed drive are missing.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 9:30 PM
  • I seem to have gotten away with it one more time.

    Everything seems tb OK after checking each share with BeyondCompare.

    The Removal of the already-physically-removed drive took a little over five hours.   Better than the 29 hours for the previous removal but OTOH the previous removal was done in the context of a PIO drive.

    Friday, September 10, 2010 1:19 PM
  • Good for you!

    Do you know if all files were duplicated once removal of the drive finished?

    Can you write down detailed steps of the procedure (leaving out the 4 to 64k  part)? I think this could be a useful procedure for users running into similar problems.

    Friday, September 10, 2010 1:29 PM
    Moderator
  • Good for you!

    Do you know if all files were duplicated once removal of the drive finished?

    Can you write down detailed steps of the procedure (leaving out the 4 to 64k  part)? I think this could be a useful procedure for users running into similar problems.

    My Bad: I did not think to check Server Storage to see if duplication was complete.

    Maybe the next person/time....    That might offer an additional explaination for the five hours (which seems a little long to me if just the tombstone files were being updated).

     

    Here is what I actually did:

    - Ensured all shares have Duplication = True 
    - Ensured Production Server = Backup Server using BeyondCompare.
    - Shut down Production Server
    - Replaced old physical drive with new physical drive (old drive was 1 TB, new drive is 2 TB)
    - Booted up Production Server
    - Added new drive to pool
    - Removed old drive from pool
    - Waited a little over five hours.
    - Checked Production Server vs Backup Server using BeyondCompare: All files were same on both boxes.

    If I were masochistically inclined or even more obsessive than I already am, I would do the whole thing over again - except that I would remove the old drive from the pool first with
     the new drive hooked up in a USB wraper - just to see if it took more or less than five hours.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010 3:06 PM