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Dynamic Volumes RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have put an extra 500GB drive in. It is a pain to extend the original volume for the data. Luckily with my years of experience with servers, it was easily done, but this is not something my parents could do if they wanted to. There needs to be an easier way to do this. I even reformatted the WHS thinking it would automatically add the additional drive, but it does not. May want to consider making this a little bit easier.
    Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:22 PM

All replies

  • You found it a pain?

    Just to confirm... did you use the Server Console to add the freshly added HD to the WHS disk set by simply right clicking on it and choosing add? ... or were you using the Disk Management MMC to manually extend an existing partition onto the new HD?

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Ehem ... I just went through both today ... Yes it's very easy to add the drive by right-clicking and pressing Add. It's too easy to do things the hard way when you haven't noticed that MS already provided a new easy way ... after all, we've been doing it the hard way for years  ':-)
    Thursday, March 15, 2007 11:10 PM
  • Haywire I think you went about installing the new drive the hard way. Let me illustrate. Imagine again that you turned off your WHS and connected the new hard drive, closed the case and turned the machine back on. Assume that there were no issues with the physical installation of the HD and that the bios is happy with it. If you then sit at one of your client machines and load up the connect client, click on the 'server storage' tab at the top. You will see a listing of drives in the WHS machine, the newly added drive will appear on this screen with the identification that is not currently being used. You click on that hard drive and then click on the 'add' button one line below the top tabs. WHS will ask you if you are sure and say that it will wipe the disk. You click 'ok' and it formats the drive and adds it to the dynamic volume.

    When I expanded the storage on my WHS machine, that is the method I used. Like you I initally thought it was going to be difficult, but with the warning screen on the remote desktop I searched the console for the functionality, and there it was.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 6:48 AM
  • After more researching here is what happened:

    I built up a new machine. I put in 2X500GB SATA drives that were out of the box never been used. I started the install from the DVD and let the install run. I went to the console afterwards and had a data partition on drive 0 (d:) and a data partition on drive 1 (no letter). The volumes were not spanned. Both discs were basic and not dynamic. I tried going to add the volume in the console, but the add button was not active. So I had to manually go and delete the partition on drive 1 then go into the tool to add the second drive as a spanned volume.

    My question is: If the install automatically creates a data partition on a single drive, why will it not convert the drives to dynamic and span across all volumes either automatically or by asking if you want it done?

    Friday, March 16, 2007 2:24 PM
  • From the Server Storage tab on the Server Console... did the Storage Allocation Graph show the presence of both physical hard drives and a total free space nearly equal to both drives combined?

    From the sounds of it what you were seeing is perfectly normal as the spanning Windows Home Server uses is unrelated to the spanned volumes that Windows 2003 supports... instead what WHS gives you is far more simple than the Dynamic Volumes as it enables you to add or remove drives more freely as well as improved data integrity.

    When you copy a file to a WHS share that is set to be duplicated, the file is actually copied to more than one physical hard drive so that if one dies you are not SOL... while with a dynamic spanned volume, if any HD in the set fails all data on the volume is lost.

    Does this clear things up a bit?

    Friday, March 16, 2007 6:40 PM
    Moderator
  •  Brendan Grant wrote:

    From the Server Storage tab on the Server Console... did the Storage Allocation Graph show the presence of both physical hard drives and a total free space nearly equal to both drives combined?

    From the sounds of it what you were seeing is perfectly normal as the spanning Windows Home Server uses is unrelated to the spanned volumes that Windows 2003 supports... instead what WHS gives you is far more simple than the Dynamic Volumes as it enables you to add or remove drives more freely as well as improved data integrity.

    When you copy a file to a WHS share that is set to be duplicated, the file is actually copied to more than one physical hard drive so that if one dies you are not SOL... while with a dynamic spanned volume, if any HD in the set fails all data on the volume is lost.

    Does this clear things up a bit?

    That makes perfect sense for a mirrored drive, but not for an extended partition. I would rather have the 990GB for data and not 490GB of data with a copy of it. My point of all of this is when you do the install, it should ask you how you would like the drives configured. Windows, since 98 and maybe even 95, would not allow you to install the operating system if there was a parition that was not formatted. With this still being the case on the second drive a partition was created and formatted thus not allowing for the second partition on the first drive to be extended to the second drive without having to delete the parition off the second drive. Yes both drives were showing up in the allocation graph, but the second disk could not be accessed the way I wanted it to. Maybe I am just not stating my side/point clearly. I am not trying to be agressive, but meerly as a power user/beta tester point out a flaw/dislike that I believe should be changed. Everyone has offerred up great advise, it is just not the answer to the question I have been asking. Thank you for the answers.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 9:20 PM
  •  Haywire wrote:
    That makes perfect sense for a mirrored drive, but not for an extended partition. I would rather have the 990GB for data and not 490GB of data with a copy of it.

    It's a little more complicated than that... at least behind the scenes and that is why in many respects, the drive extender is so much more powerful than what you get with regular dynamic disks.

    When using a dynamic volume you can setup mirroring or spanning quite easily... as an all or nothing thing... a volume is mirrored or not, spanned or not.

    When a new drive is added to a WHS it is added as a drive and how exactly it will be used is up to you.

    If you configure a network share for duplication (a simple check box in the share’s properties window in Server Console) then the files will exist on more than one drive... if you do not have this box checked then the files... this way those files you want the added reliability for have it while those you don’t do not... all without having to deal with drive letters and/or matching numbers of hard drives into static mirror sets... instead the Drive Extender is responsible for farming out the actual storage to one (or more) of the physical drives without you ever having to know or be involved in anything more than adding the drive and choosing which folders should be duplicated.

     Haywire wrote:
    My point of all of this is when you do the install, it should ask you how you would like the drives configured.

    What kind of configuration are you looking to have?

     Haywire wrote:
     Windows, since 98 and maybe even 95, would not allow you to install the operating system if there was a parition that was not formatted. With this still being the case on the second drive a partition was created and formatted thus not allowing for the second partition on the first drive to be extended to the second drive without having to delete the parition off the second drive. Yes both drives were showing up in the allocation graph, but the second disk could not be accessed the way I wanted it to.

    How is it you want to access the second disk? As a regular non-Drive Extender extended disk volume that you have complete control over? If so.. you can do that as well just so long as you do not add the disk to the disk pool by having it present in the system at install time or by explicitly adding it to the pool in the Server Console.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 9:55 PM
    Moderator
  •  Brendan Grant wrote:

    What kind of configuration are you looking to have?

    How is it you want to access the second disk? As a regular non-Drive Extender extended disk volume that you have complete control over? If so.. you can do that as well just so long as you do not add the disk to the disk pool by having it present in the system at install time or by explicitly adding it to the pool in the Server Console.

    If there is a second drive in the machine, I would like to be asked how I would like it set up. For example it could ask if I want to use it to extend a data partition, mirror the main drive, or just leave it alone. Again, this problem is just when you install WHS with new HDDs in the system that have not previously been formatted.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 3:01 PM
  • I have two 160gb in my whs and when I installed whs it took care of the both I now have 300gb+ the software did it all.
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:55 PM
  •  Haywire wrote:

    If there is a second drive in the machine, I would like to be asked how I would like it set up. For example it could ask if I want to use it to extend a data partition, mirror the main drive, or just leave it alone. Again, this problem is just when you install WHS with new HDDs in the system that have not previously been formatted.

    WHS console handles all this. When you add a new drive it inherits the settings you have for the folders on the WHS machine. If you have your folder duplication turned off, the folder simply adds to the space. If you have folder duplication on, it is used for duplication. If you have some folders duplicated and some not, it will use the additional drive for both as needed.

    Simply, WHS though the dynamic volume enables you to set these things on a per folder basis rather than per drive.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 6:21 PM