Win8 Might Just Replace my WHS (Storage Pools and Storage Spaces) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 01-05-2012, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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So as someone who relies heavily on WHS (v1) and the Drive Extender technology, I've been holding off on upgrading the dated OS on my server. It's been a bit of a pain as some of these larger drives have been getting more cost-effective, since WHS doesn't support advanced formatting.

From the looks of a (very detailed) new post on the "Building Windows 8" blog though, I might actually be able to upgrade soon enough:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2...fficiency.aspx

Hopefully there's a cost-effective 'Home Server' type version that works great in a headless setup and includes the excellent WHS backup features, because it looks like right now I could probably switch (and get the added benefit of presumably faster performance than how slow Drive Extender is).

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post #2 of 50 Old 01-05-2012, 06:05 PM
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It does look like an excellent solution. There's really no reason it cannot run headless that I can think of. Worst case scenario is to log in as a user via RDP and just leave that user logged in. Not ideal in the bigger context, but as a media storage server I can't think of any drawbacks to that approach really.
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post #3 of 50 Old 01-05-2012, 08:22 PM
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Too me after reading, it seems that this is essentially a software raid similar to unraid, except that it will be more compatible due to being windows with hardware and even a bit more flexible.

I love my unraid box, but it doesn't always play well with certain things. I have a feeling when I'm making my next upgrade, I will be retiring my unraid setup for a windows server setup making use of this technology

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post #4 of 50 Old 01-05-2012, 09:04 PM
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As many problems as I have with my WHS v1. It still just works, and its still just storage. I don't think I will ever update that system. If anything, I would make a new system and have two. No worries about migrating data or anything like that.

I accepted my fate with WHS v1 and its slowness and random blue screens. But it still works.
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post #5 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 05:22 AM
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If they include this technology in Windows 8 Server, then this could retire a lot of WHSv1 servers quickly.

There's still no specific word on whether there will be a Windows 8 Home Server, but it wouldn't surprise me if MS are developing this in parallel with the other server versions. As they can now include Storage Spaces and Storage Pools in the core system, this would make sense. It's only really tweaking the front end interface, and adding client backup technology, which they can pretty much take straight from WHS2011.

Maybe they new all along that 'Drive Extender' technology was going to appear in Windows 8, but couldn't say anything at the time.
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post #6 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 06:20 AM
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I would be pretty shocked if this didn't make it into the server version as well. From the article:

Quote:


Storage Spaces delivers on diverse requirements that can span deployments ranging from a single PC in the home, up to a very large-scale enterprise datacenter.

Also:

Quote:


We do test pools comprising multiple hundreds of disks - such as you might see in a datacenter. There is no architectural limit to the number of disks comprising a pool.

If they're testing this with hundreds of disks and mentioning datacenters, it's a pretty good bet it'll be included in both server and client versions.

From everything mentioned, this implementation is much more robust and reliable than the original Drive Extender technology. Looks like MS is starting to mix virtual technologies into the native OS, which is definitely a good thing (the hypervisor for VMs will also be included in both client and server versions of Windows 8). If this works as advertised, I can see a lot of other solutions being kicked to the curb (FlexRAID and UnRAID come to mind).
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post #7 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 06:34 AM
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A Win 8 home server would be nice. I use WHS for remote access and automated backups, as well as typical file server functions. Without remote access and automated backups, it would not be useful to me... YMMV
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post #8 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemogoblin View Post

As many problems as I have with my WHS v1. It still just works, and its still just storage. I don't think I will ever update that system. If anything, I would make a new system and have two. No worries about migrating data or anything like that.

I accepted my fate with WHS v1 and its slowness and random blue screens. But it still works.

It still works, but the big issue for me is that it doesn't support newer formatted / higher capacity drives, which means that when I need to add more storage, I can't just get the most cost-effective large drive and instead drop back to smaller ones.

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post #9 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 09:51 AM
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I want one.

Even though my Unraid box has been flawless for my media this looks like it has some features I would really like.

One question...If I am running windows 8 on my home pc and have all my storage discs in my seperate enclosure (the one Im running unraid on now) would I need a copy of windows 8 on that seperate enclosure also or could those drives be mapped over my network as part of the pool?

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post #10 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 11:25 AM
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I agree. My WHS v1 setup is still going strong, although I'd love to be able to update it to a newer OS. It seems that making a WHS-like version of Windows 8 server would be pretty trivial. I don't think the regular client version would work as well - would need remote access, management dashboard/console, backups, headless, etc.

Definitely looking forward to hearing more.
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post #11 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 11:41 AM
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Great news, thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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post #12 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 11:44 AM
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I am definitely keeping an eye on this. It seems clear from the article this is something targeted to both home and enterprise users which gives me a lot of hope. There's a lot of mention of home users and WHS v1.

BTW, if you have the chance to fool around with the Metro UI touch interface it's pretty amazing. The Live Tiles feature is a game changer IMHO.

 

 

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post #13 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 12:10 PM
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This sounds awesome. Looks like I might retire my unRAID server or at least delegate it to backup duties...
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post #14 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post

I want one.

Even though my Unraid box has been flawless for my media this looks like it has some features I would really like.

One question...If I am running windows 8 on my home pc and have all my storage discs in my seperate enclosure (the one Im running unraid on now) would I need a copy of windows 8 on that seperate enclosure also or could those drives be mapped over my network as part of the pool?

"Spaces" cannot use network shares. It needs physical drives. Unless you're using something like a SAS expander for that separate enclosure, yes, you'll need Windows 8 on that enclosure.
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post #15 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

"Spaces" cannot use network shares. It needs physical drives. Unless you're using something like a SAS expander for that separate enclosure, yes, you'll need Windows 8 on that enclosure.

Thanks, thats what I figured. Still looks like an interesting option.

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post #16 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post

Thanks, thats what I figured. Still looks like an interesting option.

Absolutely. I can vouch that Spaces work as good as WHSv1 and then some. The parity option, is basically an unraid style system built into Windows natively. And now, with Windows 8 and homegroup sharing, you don't need outdated Windows 2003 based products (i.e. WHS v1). Your storage server IS a Windows 8 machine.
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post #17 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 01:17 PM
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Nice, wanted to build an UnRAID server (i actually did, but never got to move the data to it) but with this feature, i might just use my main desktop//workstation as a server, as i do now, but with built-in redundancy. I hope it will be part of Windows 8 Pro and MS doesn`t make a dumb decision of making it a Ultimate/Server edition exclusive
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post #18 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GreenEyez View Post

I hope it will be part of Windows 8 Pro and MS doesn`t make a dumb decision of making it a Ultimate/Server edition exclusive

I doubt it. The feature is too interwoven into the core (atleast based on my understanding), to become a "feature" that can be activated/deactivated.

Besides, MS needs to give folks motivation to upgrade....
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post #19 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

Absolutely. I can vouch that Spaces work as good as WHSv1 and then some. The parity option, is basically an unraid style system built into Windows natively. And now, with Windows 8 and homegroup sharing, you don't need outdated Windows 2003 based products (i.e. WHS v1). Your storage server IS a Windows 8 machine.

Not to over hype a product that hasnt even been released yet but this really is pretty huge. (at least to the tech community)
This can really be a game changer to the htpc crowd.

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post #20 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 03:39 PM
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Will disks that are part of Spaces still retain data in natively readable NTFS? That is one of the huge advantages of unRaid/DE. It sounds like Spaces will stripe data across each disk so this may not be possible.
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post #21 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

Will disks that are part of Spaces still retain data in natively readable NTFS? That is one of the huge advantages of unRaid/DE. It sounds like Spaces will stripe data across each disk so this may not be possible.

I would guess no, unfortunately. That's a slight concern of mine as well. The only hint they seem to give is:

Quote:


Q) What happens when I plug physical disks comprising a pool into a Windows 7 machine?

Windows 7 does not support Storage Spaces and will treat the physical disks just as it would any disk with an unfamiliar partitioning scheme.

The fact it calls it an unfamiliar partitioning scheme makes me think that it won't work.

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post #22 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 05:03 PM
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This is easily the single biggest Windows 8 feature. It will be in both client and server so its something a large no of 3rd party oem's and tool vendors are going to take advantage of.

I would have liked to see checksumming of each slab and data so that the system could detect data errors as soon as they occur. Maybe it will be added in a future version. And I also hope file system drivers that can read a 'Spaces' disk are made available for other platforms.
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post #23 of 50 Old 01-06-2012, 09:27 PM
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Have been running unRAID happily for a long time now. It just stays on and I don't pay it any mind other than when it is running low on capacity and needs new drives or when I feel like upgrading the OS. There are things I'd love for unRAID to be able to do so as to reduce my reliance on a second server (I am aware there are ways to make unRAID do a lot of extra stuff, but requires a bit of fiddling).

If the new storage pools and spaces feature of Microsofts next generation of Windows products truly does deliver on all it's promises, it would make a compelling upgrade path for me.

Currently the main limitations with unRAID is that it is:
* limited to around 20 odd storage drives
* limited to certain hardware where drivers are available (sometimes necessitating using beta versions of the OS)
* requires more work in order to gain additional functionality

The main reasons to stay with unRAID are:
* lower hardware requirements
* the parity drive is separate and the files are not striped allowing you to recover data from drives that have not failed

The more interesting components of Windows 8 storage tech is that you can use any number of drives and if I am reading this correctly, you can have more than 1 drive fail and still access the data in certain scenarios (e.g. 4 out of 6 healthy drives or having the data mirrored three ways).

Along with being able to run additional software for media management, media ingestion, etc. I am definitely holding off on using my second unRAID pro license on a second server until I can give this new Windows 8 Spaces/Pools a solid run.

Count me in the excited camp.
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post #24 of 50 Old 01-07-2012, 03:01 AM
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If Microsoft offer the centralised PC backup facility of WHS packaged as an Add-on in the Windows Store for Windows 8, then I seriously doubt that we will see a follow-on to WHS 2011.

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post #25 of 50 Old 01-09-2012, 07:12 AM
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I know its early but any word on pricing for windows 8 yet?

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post #26 of 50 Old 01-09-2012, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

Will disks that are part of Spaces still retain data in natively readable NTFS? That is one of the huge advantages of unRaid/DE. It sounds like Spaces will stripe data across each disk so this may not be possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

I would guess no, unfortunately. That's a slight concern of mine as well. The only hint they seem to give is:



The fact it calls it an unfamiliar partitioning scheme makes me think that it won't work.


It looks like the data will be readable by any Windows 8 machine though, which may be ok for me. It looks like you may be able to avoid stripping the data by using only 2 pair mirrors. I do not know if it is possible to continue to grow the pool by continuing to add mirrored pairs ( that is what I hope to do).
This is the question I saw which makes me think that data stripping may be avoidable it you use mirroring:

ZipZapRap
5 Jan 2012 7:08 PM
#

One question - if I have an internal 2TB drive, and an external 2TB drive as my pool, if I decided to take the external drive away (say for storage), what happens to the data on the internal drive? Is it accessible.

Here's why I'm asking. All of my holiday pictures, photography stuff and videos of my daughter are stored on a 2TB internal drive, which I use SyncToy to back up to two seperate external 2TB drives. One gets stored at my parents house, one gets stored with me.

If I create a "pool" of these three drives, can I still give the second drive to my parents for safe-keeping, keep the other unplugged, and have access to the data on the internal drive?

Thanks!

Rajeev Nagar [MSFT]
6 Jan 2012 8:23 AM
#

@ZipZapRap - although Storage Spaces were not designed for your particular mode of usage, you could achieve your goals by creating a two-disk pool (excluding the internal drive) and pretty much do as you described.
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post #27 of 50 Old 01-10-2012, 07:25 AM
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Personally, I don't think MS did it right here - specifiically to parity.

While I don't have a lot of real-world experience with other Win-based parity solutions (FlexRAID/SnapRAID) I'd rather go with them.

1. I like to have control of what is on which disk (or...FR has pooling)
2. You can NOT remove a drive from the pool and connect to another computer to read the data - this is a HUGE issue.
3. Parity is limited to a single disk.

I was excited.....at first.
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post #28 of 50 Old 01-10-2012, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
1. I like to have control of what is on which disk (or...FR has pooling)

While that has some tangential benefits, in ANY pooled/RAID type storage system, it's just not gonna happen.
Quote:
2. You can NOT remove a drive from the pool and connect to another computer to read the data - this is a HUGE issue.

Sort of, but not really. Again, we have been spoiled by WHS v1 and it's implementation of DE. You can disconnect drives and connect them to another Windows 8 machine, and as soon as it has enough drives to recognize it as a pool, the pool is active. I'll give up WHS v1 style implementation, for the flexibility and self healing in Windows 8.

Even in ZFS (which is the closest implementation to this) you cannot just read a single disk.
Quote:
3. Parity is limited to a single disk.

Can you expand on this?
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post #29 of 50 Old 01-10-2012, 07:57 AM
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Kapone-

I'm refering to parity-based RAID on Win-based systems.
Taking a group of "simple" NTFS formatted disks and adding a single (or multiple) disk for parity information. These setups have the VERY IMPORTANT (to me anyway) benefit of being able to disconnect ANY single disk from the RAID array and connect it to ANY PC that can read the NTFS file system and retrieve the data that resides on that particular disk. Further, from what I read in the article, if you use Win8's parity setup and (2) drives fail - you loose the entire pool. With the other solutions, you only loose the data on the failed drives.
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post #30 of 50 Old 01-10-2012, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by video321 View Post

Kapone-

I'm refering to parity-based RAID on Win-based systems.
Taking a group of "simple" NTFS formatted disks and adding a single (or multiple) disk for parity information. These setups have the VERY IMPORTANT (to me anyway) benefit of being able to disconnect ANY single disk from the RAID array and connect it to ANY PC that can read the NTFS file system and retrieve the data that resides on that particular disk. Further, from what I read in the article, if you use Win8's parity setup and (2) drives fail - you loose the entire pool. With the other solutions, you only loose the data on the failed drives.

Ah. Then Windows 8 is not for you (as a storage server that is).
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