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Disk adding problem RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi!

    I have a strange situation here. First I installed WHS (SP2 evaluation) to a 160G ide disk. Soon I found out that there is not that much disk space, so I added 640G sata disk. Everything goes great, WHS install the disk, formats and adds it as more volume as I wish. When I check the console, disk space has increased that about 640 Gigs. Now when I want to add some files more than available space in 160G disk, there is not that much space. So I can see space, but not use it. Also at any other computer that use shared folders there is only that much space available as is in 160G disk.

    Ok, I know that I should and maybe I have to install it again to that bigger disk. But what's the reason for this? Windows seems to handle disks ok. I have restarted that machine also...
    Any ideas about that?



    -Kim-
    Friday, August 29, 2008 8:21 AM

Answers

  • Kim,

     

    What you are experiencing is a known side effect of the way PP1 handles disk allocation on WHS. As a work arround I have created a simple tool (download here) that can free up space by moving non-duplicated data to the new disk.

     

    The LZreallocator tool is meant as a temporary solution until Microsoft permanently resolves this issue.

    For details, please see the accompanying README.TXT file:

     

    * Purpose:

    Force Windows Home Server PP1 to migrate data from the system drive D: to the secondary drive(s)
    This program can be used as a temporary solution for a problem that might arise as a result of
    removing and/or adding a new drive to the server storage pool. This problem is described on Microsoft
    Connect as feedback ID#354746 ("Severe ‘landing zone’ limitations due to data is not migrated off the
    system disk") as well as feedback ID#354152 and ID#352410

     

    Theo.

    Friday, August 29, 2008 9:14 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • With two disks of very different sizes, you have a couple of problems. One is that, if you turn on duplication for all your shares, you will only have as much space for files as your smaller disk. In this case your smaller disk is the 160 GB disk. As Windows measures disk space, that's 149 GB, minus 20 GB (it's your system disk) leaves you 129 GB for files. That's your first problem.

    The second problem is because Windows Home Server only tells other computers about the space available on the system disk, so when you browse a share on your server from another computer and check available disk space, you're being told that there's (at most) 129 GB free. Vista will use that reported free space as a limit, and refuse to start copying files if you try to copy more than that to your server at once.

    The best solution is not to reinstall, it's to add an additional disk, probably a 640 GB disk since you've already got one.
    Friday, August 29, 2008 11:14 AM
    Moderator
  • Kim,

     

    What you are experiencing is a known side effect of the way PP1 handles disk allocation on WHS. As a work arround I have created a simple tool (download here) that can free up space by moving non-duplicated data to the new disk.

     

    The LZreallocator tool is meant as a temporary solution until Microsoft permanently resolves this issue.

    For details, please see the accompanying README.TXT file:

     

    * Purpose:

    Force Windows Home Server PP1 to migrate data from the system drive D: to the secondary drive(s)
    This program can be used as a temporary solution for a problem that might arise as a result of
    removing and/or adding a new drive to the server storage pool. This problem is described on Microsoft
    Connect as feedback ID#354746 ("Severe ‘landing zone’ limitations due to data is not migrated off the
    system disk") as well as feedback ID#354152 and ID#352410

     

    Theo.

    Friday, August 29, 2008 9:14 PM
    Moderator
  • > The best solution is ... to add an additional ... 640 GB disk since you've already got one.

     

    I really don't mean to be a jerk here, what happened to MS's "any drive, any time", if the OP has to go with two identical-sized large hard drives to get the DE system to function properly, then why not just go with a proper hardware RAID setup -- almost every half-decent motherboard available today for $60-$120 has SATA2 RAID on-board.  And it will mirror instantly, it doesn't take up to 4+ hours [!] for things to get shuffled around like WHS is doing.  Contrary to what some people may have you believe, setting up an integrated SATA RAID is extremely easy even for someone with little to no computer experience, easier in fact than using WHS.

     

    The more I use WHS and look into what DE is actually doing, the more I am concerned.  I will agree that reading the white papers such as the WHSDE.pdf make it sound like a great idea, but in actual deployed setups it seems that there are more negative issues than there should be (probably 50% of all forum threads are disk or file related with way too many concerning data loss).  When I see some of the forum threads where people have the WHS boxes with eight or more internal and external drives all cabled to them, I shudder at the nightmare they are going to have when something goes down (and it will).

     

    In doing some tests on my WHS system (Core2Duo 3GHz, 4GB RAM, Gigabit LAN), the DE visibly chokes on transfers of multiple 2GB files with its file management overhead onto a drive of over 100GB free, and it takes on average at least an hour at total system idle to do its DE/Tombstone/etc. management when even just one single small file transfer has been performed.

     

    Other than the DE system, which quite frankly has me concerned over the reliability and safety of my stored data, I really like WHS (especially because of the price).  With the issues that I am personally encountering with getting WHS to act with speed and reliability, I may just skip it and go with SBS2003.

     

    DG

    Monday, September 1, 2008 2:26 AM
  • DG, you can add any drive you like to Windows Home Server at any time, within some fairly broad limits. Adding a drive that's very small (less than around 40-60 GB) is pointless both because of the way WHS allocates disk space and because you're likely to use that disk space up pretty quickly. It's more efficient to add large drives, and to add drives in pairs, because of the way share duplication works, but that would be a requirement with RAID technology as well. (Except that RAID technology typically can't be expanded by simply adding drives.) Specifically regarding my recommendation to add another 640 GB disk, if you have two disks, with very disparate sizes, duplicaiton will only work up to the point where the smaller disk is full. After that there's no other disk to store files to be duplicated.

    As far as RAID is concerned, it's pretty much an insumountable obstacle for the primary audience for Windows Home Server, which is people without a great deal of technical expertise. And in any case, per Microsoft RAID is not a supported technology for WHS. Whether it works or not is immaterial; OEMs aren't even allowed to include RAID in their products.

    With Power Pack 1 (I assume you have that installed) Drive Extender runs a balancing pass once per hour, so I think you're seeing normal performance there. Regarding the percentage of disk/file issues, I'd say that they are around 5%-10% of forum posts. 50% would be network issues. And realize that even if you add up everyone who's posted about an issue here in the forums, you're still looking at a tiny percentage of all WHS users.

    As for disabling Drive Extender, it's really not possible. There are multiple components to Drive Extender, some of which have hooks in core areas of the operating system. You may perhaps be able to disable the migrator service, defeating duplication, but your server will detect that it's not running and give you a network health warning. I would say that if you want a stock Windows Server 2003 server, you should buy Windows Server 2003.
    Monday, September 1, 2008 4:07 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ken,

     

    Please don't take my posts as anti-MS or think that I am one of "those people" who whine about everything on forums... 

    I am a long-time MS supporter (I've been on many of their beta teams, etc.), I do IT work for multiple corporations in two cities, a hardware and software developer, ISP owner, etc.  I'm well versed in all MS OS's including Server 2003, TS, SBS 2003, etc.

     

    Personally, I just feel that MS "understated" the requirements and configuration for what works properly/best with WHS.  Attempting to make it an "iPod" file server IMHO may have been a bad move on their part.

     

    I am currently looking at WHS for personal use and to replace my personal small web/mail Internet Server (partially because of MS's price-jump on SBS2008 and because SBS is overkill for my needs on this project).  Something that I feel is not pushing WHS beyond its default capabilities (just a second IIS site and SmarterMail).  Unfortunately with WHS I've already had to do a reinstall three times because of various issues with it... 

    I've never had issues like this with any MS OS before (I'm in my mid-40's, I've been doing this since before MSDOS was popular).

    The latest issue was with a test I performed on transferring large amounts of large files to the Shares to see how DE would handle them, and after deleting the test files to clean up the shared folders a reboot ended up with a "service or driver failed during system startup" (status_log_hard_error to be precise).  Yet everything appeared to still be normal (no other events logged, all services were running, all hardware components were working), I simply wiped and did a full reinstall.  I'm trying out the same steps to see if I can reproduce it.

     

    My understanding is that creating folders outside of the shares bypasses the WHS/DE file management system, I may look at doing that (I don't need WHS as a file server but it would have been nice).  I'm considering not using it for my main/only file storage however.  But I may still try to see how well it handles the web/mail setup.

     

    David

    Monday, September 1, 2008 5:14 AM
  • David, if you really feel you need to bypass Drive Extender entirely and take over the management of your server, I don't think you want to start with Windows Home Server. WHS has a lot in common with embedded operating systems; Microsoft has created a simple interface to manage the few interactions that the average home user is likely to need to have with an unusually smart storage appliance. There's some room for extending the platform, but it's not intended to be (or sold by Microsoft as) Windows Server 2003 Lite. Bypassing Drive Extender means bypassing the WHS data protection features, which means that you have to handle that yourself as well, etc. It's a slippery slope...

    Regarding the web/mail setup, if you're familiar with how to install and configure your mail server software, that's probably not going to be a big deal. However, WHS uses the web sites that it comes with for a variety of things; you won't want to strip them out because WHS may start reporting errors, and that's likely to complicate your task.
    Monday, September 1, 2008 1:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ken,

     

    Thanks for the reply.

    With MS bumping SBS to twice the price, that will probably force SOHO's into looking at WHS, which will mean more headaches on the forums... 

     

    Running two large drives with Duplicate may acceptably do what I want for data backup.  However, I was hoping to work live off of the shares but I do not feel confident in doing so.  Not only for corruption issues (which PP1 fixed) but I noticed that file access performance drops considerably when WHS starts to migrate.  Running PerfMon and observing what the system does, it would appear that WHS actually performs a file copy during migration from the 'shares' to the 'DE' folder, then creates the tombstone, even when both are on the same volume.  A file rename and tombstone creation would be considerably more efficient, somewhere around 1,000,000-fold.  I have WHS on a decent system with a C2D 3GHz, 4GB RAM and Gigabit LAN, and it tanks the performance on that when migrating large files or large numbers of files.  I understand that with multiple external drives this method would be unavoidable, but for integrated setups it needs this function optimized.  It seems more suited as a low-performance backup appliance than a file sharing appliance.  I should probably bring this up over on Connect, but it would be nice to know if others see the same occurring.

     

    Which brings me to the backup...  it would appear that there is no simple file synchronization method available.  This would probably be a very good idea for an add-in.  If you are familiar with roaming profiles, that would be the style that would be well suited to what I would like to see (ie. the server contents are updated to reflect the workstation contents on the specified folders).

     

    By "bypassing" DE I was merely referring to creating additional shares outside of the default 'shares' location, to prevent DE from migrating things around the drive, which is currently very inefficient on single-drive setups.

     

    I have deployed SBS servers which uses the companyweb as the default site, which apparently WHS is essentially doing the same thing.  I have always left the companyweb intact for internal use, so adding an additional site should be a similar task and not an issue.

     

    Without having to jump through a few hoops, for my goals it looks like WHS may be more suited as simple backup and POP3 fetching with webmail.  I was hoping for network file sharing and working live on the network, plus my small web site and single-account SMTP/POP3.  SBS2008's new $2000 price-tag puts that out of reach and I don't like Linux (it's the 21st century, where's the interface?), so I will mess around with WHS and see if I can bend it into doing what I want without breaking it, and if I have success I'll share it with everyone. 

     

    David

    Monday, September 1, 2008 7:16 PM