locked
Western Digital Advanced Format drives and WHS Vail RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am about to take delivery of 3 WD10EARS HD's today for a new build of Windows Vail. I noticed in the release notes:

     

    Issue

    Server installation may fail when using Western Digital hard disk drives with Advanced Format

    Description

    Depending on the exact Western Digital hard disk drive model and firmware, Windows Server “Vail” setup may fail because of compatibility issues with the sector sizes that are reported by the hard disk drive.

    Solution

    It is recommended that Western Digital hard disk drives with Advanced Format not be used as the primary hard disk drive on the server.

     

    I would like to benefit from the performance of these new drives, but I'll be keeping a backup of my files just in case.

     

    Question is will I know if this won't work from the off? Do I need to use WD Align?

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:05 AM

Answers

  • "Server installation may fail..." seems pretty clear to me. You install and either there's an error partway through, or nothing works afterward. In which case, use a drive from a different manufacturer as your system drive.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:29 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • "Server installation may fail..." seems pretty clear to me. You install and either there's an error partway through, or nothing works afterward. In which case, use a drive from a different manufacturer as your system drive.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:29 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ken

     

    Just had my first go at an install and as expected I got an error near the end of the installation when Vail creates profiles etc.

     

    I'm having a second go with the jumper installed to see if that makes a difference.

     

    If it works I'll wait until a fix is released and reinstall. This is strange as Server 2008 R2 supports AFDs.

     

    Are MS going to sort this as all HD's are heading the AFD way in the next year?

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:56 AM
  • Somewhere Microsoft has said that they are working with WD and other drive manufacturers to improve compatibility. Probably, though, this is a firmware issue and will be sorted by the drive manufacturers rather than Microsoft.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 1:16 PM
    Moderator
  • OK thanks.

     

    I have reinstalled changing the following settings in my Gigabyte Award BIOS, turned on "AHCI" and changed SATA to "Native" as it was previously on "Legacy".

     

    So far it seems to be working. Keeping a back up of all docs on a removable drive just in case.

     

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 2:17 PM
  • *Edit

    The error I experienced was because of lack of network connectivity. After connecting my lan cable and hitting restart, everything seems to be working WITH the advanced formatted drive. I'll post again if I have any issues, but it's currently running Windows Update, so the install process worked fine. (It was quite slow and restarted a lot though)

    _____

    I just got a new 2TB WD drive which I intended to use as my C-drive. If there is an issue, I may as well stick with the original WHS. Do the advanced format drives work out of the box with WHS1? Has anyone had any success with them on Vail? I got an error on installation as well.

    • Edited by Uberman Friday, May 7, 2010 8:49 AM
    Friday, May 7, 2010 8:17 AM
  • I am running 3 1TB AFD's with Vail at the moment with a 1TB backup for my docs just in case. 

     

    Seems to be running fine so far.

     

    When I installed I changed BIOS to AHCI and Sata native to get it to install.

     

    If you're going to try it make sure you have a backup which will let you access your docs on another PC.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 8:45 AM
  • Yea, I am using a pretty decent ASUS board, so I assume it was set that way by default. I had my C-drive fail on me, so I am going to be running Vail on my main system. I have all my critical stuff running through SugarSync to the cloud just in case.
    Friday, May 7, 2010 8:51 AM
  • "Yea, I am using a pretty decent ASUS board, so I assume it was set that way by default"

     

    I have never come across an ASUS board (or any other in fact) that had AHCI as default. That did get me to thinking, is the recommendation to build VAIL with AHCI. I have a 160GB Intel G2 SSD as my system drive and I know Intel strongly recommend that one chooses AHCI to allow NCQ (never really understood NCQ on SSD if I am honest).

     

    I am glad that yours installed fine.

     

    Ian

    Friday, May 7, 2010 10:18 AM
  • I am experiencing quite slow transfer speeds between a backup drive from my old WHS to my new one. Around 30Kbps. I normally get around 130k between drives and 100k over a network. has this got something to do with AFDs? The old drive is non AFD.
    Friday, May 7, 2010 6:18 PM
  • I am experiencing extremely slow transfer speeds as well actually. I am mounting drives internally to try and speed up the process, but it's extremely slow. It currently says 14MB/s but it's definitely going MUCH slower than that.

    I am going to try re-formatting with a WD Black drive (I assume it's not AFD) and see how that goes. I'll update if it makes a difference.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 7:56 PM
  • I would recommend AHCI for Vail. The performance improvement is small, but measurable, and Vail has common SATA drivers "in box".
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, May 7, 2010 9:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken

     

    As per earlier post, I am using AHCI and SATA native. The previous settings for WHS 1 were non AHCI and sata legacy and it was quicker????

     

    Friday, May 7, 2010 10:43 PM
  • It may be because of the additional debug code that Vail currently contains, or maybe your SATA HBA has some issues with Server 2008. Performance on my Vail box is on a par with, or slightly better than, my V1 box.

    It wouldn't hurt to submit a bug on this, though, with server logs included.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, May 7, 2010 10:48 PM
    Moderator
  • Whilst I am getting much better performance on Vail and using IDE not AHCI, I have to believe that that is a red herring. I am currently copying 1TB of photographs as a test to the server and my wife is watching an HD movie on the server and I am still seeing 36MB/s on the copy which is probably limited by my disc that it is coming from. I have been seeing writes to the server saturating my 1Gb network.

     

    Ian

    Friday, May 7, 2010 10:58 PM
  • Can you use or is there benifit in using EARS drives with the larger sectors in the pool drives? I understand you can't on the primary drive.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 4:58 AM
  • I am currently using 2 2TB EARS WD and one EVDS 2TB WD. I am hoping that my instability issues are not related to that of course. It has run all night doing its copy and it has started a backup on my machine as is currently backing up for the first time the disk that is the source for the copy. Of course the speed has dropped below 10MB/s but it is now reading twice from the same source and writing twice to the same target. It sounds like torture but I need a resilient solution.

     

    I hope that your system peps up over the weekend. Remember to not have the computer folder open when doing data transfer as it murders speed (known issue).

     

    Best,

     

    Ian

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 7:11 AM
  • I hope that your system peps up over the weekend. Remember to not have the computer folder open when doing data transfer as it murders speed (known issue).


    I don't quite understand what you mean by having the computer folder open? I closed everything except the copy transfer progress window and I did not see any difference in speed.
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:04 AM
  • It wouldn't hurt to submit a bug on this, though, with server logs included.

    I've never submitted logs before. seems a novice question but do I submit an export from the Event Viewer?
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:59 AM
  • There is a known bug where file copies are dramatically slowed if you have the computers and backups tab open in the Vail Server Dashboard. I once saw transfer speeds so slow that it changed the estimated time to complete a copy from 9 hours to 7000. I shut the dashboard and it went up to 39MB/s.

     

    Ian

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 10:04 AM
  • Yes I know about that it is in the notes, the dashboard is different to having folders open in my mind but I guess you were saying folders open in the Dashboard.
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:59 AM
  • I've never submitted logs before. seems a novice question but do I submit an export from the Event Viewer?
    No.  You need to download the Vail Log Collector from Connect.
    Saturday, May 8, 2010 2:33 PM
    Moderator
  • My experiences:

    1. Installed Vail on a non-Advanced Format WD drive with AHCI enabled in the BIOS. It worked but the system kept stopping for seconds at a time so I reinstalled.

    2. Reinstalled on the same drive but with the BIOS set to IDE for the SATA disks. Added a WD20EARS Advanced Format drive and added it to the server storage pool.

    3. Booted from the Acronis WD Align tool disk which confirmed that the WD20EARS disk was "Optimally aligned" (and the other was a non-advanced format disk).

    4. With duplication turned on, copied the Vail .iso image from my main PC to the server "Documents" folder. Copy speed of between 98 and 103 MB/sec, falling to 50MB/sec at the end of the copy.

    5. With duplication turned "Off" I achieved copy speeds of geater than 100MB/sec (peaking at 120MB/sec) throughout the copy.

    One happy boy here other than the AHCI issue.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 2:39 PM
  • In response to my previous post, my system is generally running much smoother now that I have the C-drive as a non-advanced format drive.

    I did a full format of my advanced format drive on my Windows 7 system, and then stuck it in and added it to the storage pool. While transfer speeds are not "amazing" it seems to be handling much better than as the c-drive. The formatting on my desktop could be a fluke in terms of performance, but I can't see it hurting. *I didn't use the WD align, but through the windows disk management.

    Monday, May 10, 2010 2:58 AM
  • I am running AFD's for system and pool, on AHCI with SATA native. System is running fine, no stability issues or unexpected restarts. Transfer rates are up to around 90 kbps  now since I have turned off folder duplication which is not as high as it should be but much better and constant.
    Monday, May 10, 2010 4:39 PM
  • Dear Joe,

    I am glad that things are a little happier but 90 kbps would have me at my wits' end. I am seeing 1TB multi-file transfers closer to 90 MBps (Bytes not bits) and we are using the same drives aren't we (WD 2TB EARS)? Something is broken I am afraid, I only wish I could help you.

     

    Very best,

     

    Ian

    Monday, May 10, 2010 8:27 PM
  • Dear Joe,

    I am glad that things are a little happier but 90 kbps would have me at my wits' end. I am seeing 1TB multi-file transfers closer to 90 MBps (Bytes not bits) and we are using the same drives aren't we (WD 2TB EARS)? Something is broken I am afraid, I only wish I could help you.

     

    Very best,

     

    Ian

    LOL, Thanks Ian it was a typo I meant 90 MBps!!
    Monday, May 10, 2010 8:38 PM