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post #1 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I am in the process of putting (5) 3TB HDD's into my computer (Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit) to rip my Blu-ray collection to for playback in my home theater room via a Popcorn Hour player (or similar media player TBD). Each drive is independent and I will be systematically filling one drive with movies before going onto the next.

The problem is that the Popcorn Hour players communicate with the PC by specifying one folder via SMB that contains all of my media. Since I am doing independent drives, there will be one master folder on each drive containing all of the media for that said drive. Meaning, in terms of the Popcorn Hour/SMB setup, there are five folders I need it to *see* and catalog.

Without doing a RAID setup, and without using something like FlexRAID, is there a way to make a folder in Windows 7 that I can point the Popcorn Hour player to via SMB but that contains the five master folders from the five independent hard drives?

I.E. - I need a folder that can hold all five media folders from my five hard drives but without that master folder taking up any space on my C drive. Is this possible?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 10:58 PM
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Junction folders

 

Windows can do this through the command prompt buts easier to use link shell extension. I currently use this method to create a "ghetto" drive pool and it works well. Only problem is that you have to create a new junction for every movie you add. Link shell extension makes this easy to do, just  a couple clicks and you're done.



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post #3 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrkazador View Post

Junction folders

Windows can do this through the command prompt buts easier to use link shell extension. I currently use this method to create a "ghetto" drive pool and it works well. Only problem is that you have to create a new junction for every movie you add. Link shell extension makes this easy to do, just  a couple clicks and you're done.
I do similar, but have a powershell script that creates the junctions automatically from the pool of shares.

Here is the script:
Code:
$global:redirectdir = "d:\ServerFolders\Movies\"
$global:dirlist = @("\\BLACKIE\Movies1\", "\\BLACKIE\Movies2\", "\\BLACKIE\Movies3")

$global:quote = "`""

Function MakeLink($source, $target)
{
    $mklink = "mklink /d "
    $cmd = $mklink + $quote + $source + $quote + " " + $quote + $target + $quote
    $cmd = "/c " + $quote + $cmd + $quote
    cmd $cmd
}


Filter MakeTheLink
{
    $source = $redirectdir + $_.Name
    $target = $_.FullName
    MakeLink $source $target
} 

Function CreateAllRedirects
{
    $c = $global:dirlist.Length
    for ($i = 0; $i -lt $c; $i++)
    {
        $loc = $global:dirlist[$i]
        gci $loc | MakeTheLink
    }
}

Function RemoveLink($link)
{
    $rd = "rd "
    $cmd = $rd + $quote + $link + $quote
    $cmd = "/c " + $quote + $cmd + $quote
    cmd $cmd
}

Function CleanAllRedirects
{
    gci $global:redirectdir | where { $_.Attributes -eq "Directory, ReparsePoint" } | foreach { RemoveLink $_.FullName } 
}

CleanAllRedirects
CreateAllRedirects

In order for clients to use the share, there needs to be some changes the way links are processed:
Code:
fsutil behavior set SymlinkEvaluation L2L:1 R2R:1 L2R:1 R2L:1

You could modify the script to create a different kind of link (directory junctions instead of symlinks to remote shares), but I had problems with that technique...
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 07:14 AM
 
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It is fairly easy, actually - use shortcuts. Create a folder on your C drive (for example, C:\Movies) and share it with full permissions. Go to the main folder where your movies are stored (for example, F:\Movies\) and create a shortcut to it in the new folder on the C drive. The easiest way is copy the folder on the F drive (using my example) and then right click into the new C:\Movies folder and select "Create Shortcut". When you point your Popcorn Hour to the shared C:\Movies folder, you will see the link to the folder on your F drive.

I do this for Media Browser.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

It is fairly easy, actually - use shortcuts. Create a folder on your C drive (for example, C:\Movies) and share it with full permissions. Go to the main folder where your movies are stored (for example, F:\Movies\) and create a shortcut to it in the new folder on the C drive. The easiest way is copy the folder on the F drive (using my example) and then right click into the new C:\Movies folder and select "Create Shortcut". When you point your Popcorn Hour to the shared C:\Movies folder, you will see the link to the folder on your F drive.
I do this for Media Browser.

I just share all my drives.

Even the C drive in all my PC's.

I have nothing sensitive in them, and it's just me and my wife on the network.


I use the libraries to make my shortcut. I just make a library and edit the properties to be whatever folder or not I want - that way all my PC have a hot link library shortcut build right into the side of windows that takes me instantly to that folder I want.

It's better than creating a short cut.

LIBRARIES > SHORTCUTS.

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post #6 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

Hey guys,
I am in the process of putting (5) 3TB HDD's into my computer (Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit) to rip my Blu-ray collection to for playback in my home theater room via a Popcorn Hour player (or similar media player TBD). Each drive is independent and I will be systematically filling one drive with movies before going onto the next.
The problem is that the Popcorn Hour players communicate with the PC by specifying one folder via SMB that contains all of my media. Since I am doing independent drives, there will be one master folder on each drive containing all of the media for that said drive. Meaning, in terms of the Popcorn Hour/SMB setup, there are five folders I need it to *see* and catalog.
Without doing a RAID setup, and without using something like FlexRAID, is there a way to make a folder in Windows 7 that I can point the Popcorn Hour player to via SMB but that contains the five master folders from the five independent hard drives?
I.E. - I need a folder that can hold all five media folders from my five hard drives but without that master folder taking up any space on my C drive. Is this possible?
Thanks!

FLEX RAID or SNAPRAID is really you best choice.

There is free alternatives to FlexRaid if you don't want to pay.

I pay for FLEXRAID and love it. it's worth it.

It would do exactly what you want and fix your problems.

I think it is probably the best solution. If you don't want to pay for it- look for the alternatives. But this type of "pooling" makes sense for you.

Make a folder then put the 5 folders inside it- It would be pooled and spanned across all your drives.

Also- if you lost a drive you could keep your data with flex raid.

Without it- if you lose a drive you lose your data.


If you back up- it takes another drive per drive your backing up of the same size.

With flexraid you could back up all 3 of your 3TB drives with a single drive- making back up easier against drive failure.

You don't even have to back it up now- but in future adding a 3TB parity drive would allow you some security against the failure of all three of your data drives.


It makes sense.

Why don't you want to do it ?

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post #7 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't mind paying for FlexRAID Storage Pooling (I do not require their Data Redundancy tool/setup as each drive will have its own external backup) but just wanted to see if there were any options built into Windows 7 that could accomplish what I need.
Someone over at the Windows 7 forums suggested I look into using a JBOD/SPAN setup if my motherboard supports it. Any input on this?

Thanks
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

I don't mind paying for FlexRAID Storage Pooling (I do not require their Data Redundancy tool/setup as each drive will have its own external backup) but just wanted to see if there were any options built into Windows 7 that could accomplish what I need.
Someone over at the Windows 7 forums suggested I look into using a JBOD/SPAN setup if my motherboard supports it. Any input on this?
Thanks

Try Liquesce. Free (for now).


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post #9 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 08:19 AM
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Try Liquesce. Free (for now).

That looks interesting. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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post #10 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post

I don't mind paying for FlexRAID Storage Pooling (I do not require their Data Redundancy tool/setup as each drive will have its own external backup) but just wanted to see if there were any options built into Windows 7 that could accomplish what I need.
Someone over at the Windows 7 forums suggested I look into using a JBOD/SPAN setup if my motherboard supports it. Any input on this?
Thanks

but you need a drive per each drive to be back up as external.

That seems a waste.

With a parity drive you could use only 1 drive as parity and even convert those externals your using as back ups to more storage space.

I think you can do like 8 or 9 drives with a single parity drive.

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post #11 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

but you need a drive per each drive to be back up as external.
That seems a waste.
With a parity drive you could use only 1 drive as parity and even convert those externals your using as back ups to more storage space.
I think you can do like 8 or 9 drives with a single parity drive.

Can I add the parity drive for FlexRAID later on down the road even once all my storage drives are full?

Does the parity drive work with their Storage Pool download or do I have to pay for both Storage Pool and Data Redundancy downloads?
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by BllDo View Post


That looks interesting. Does anyone have any experience with this?

 

I tried it once and explorer would hang when trying to access the pool from a client pc. I think it was/is a known problem at the time, this was when flexraid was not free anymore.



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post #13 of 19 Old 07-20-2012, 03:04 PM
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Is it also worth investigating UnRaid (http://lime-technology.com) Many people (myself included) use Unraid. You can try it for free with a couple of HDDs to see if it meets your needs.

In terms of shares it is flexible. You can share at the individual HDD level or you can create multiple user shares on a single HDD or that span HDDs

e.g. imagine your UnRaid server is called "tower" you could do the equivalent of:

\\tower\hdd1 <--- share for an individual hdd
\\tower\hdd2 <--- share for an individual hdd
\\tower\hdd3 <--- share for an individual hdd
\\tower\hdd4 <--- share for an individual hdd
\\tower\hdd5 <--- share for an individual hdd

\\tower\movies <--- this share could span hdd1/2/3
\\tower\tvseries <---- this share could solely reside on hdd4
\\tower\music <---- this share could reside on hdd5 (along with misc and temp)
\\tower\misc <---- this share could reside on hdd5 (along with music and temp)
\\tower\temp <---- this share could reside on hdd5 (along with misc and music)

I find UnRaid very flexible as you can easily add HDDs as you wish and they can be all different sizes. i.e. you can re-use your existing older HDDs as well as newer ones and have a complete mix. Once you've filled up all your HDD slots you can then replace smaller drivers with larger drives (it supports 4TB HDDs).

It is worth a look in my view.

hth

Alex
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-20-2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

but you need a drive per each drive to be back up as external.
That seems a waste.
With a parity drive you could use only 1 drive as parity and even convert those externals your using as back ups to more storage space.
I think you can do like 8 or 9 drives with a single parity drive.
It's not a waste if the goal is to actually have a backup. Flexraid, unRAID and such are not backups. They give perfection, but would not trust data I didn't want to lose only on these systems.
OP is your goal to actually have a backup copy or is your goal to have some protection from loss?
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-20-2012, 07:34 PM
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Very important to understand that FlexRaid, unRaid, SnapRaid, etc are not backup.

Don't get burned. Backup your important stuff. Crashplan is about $4/month.


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post #16 of 19 Old 07-20-2012, 07:34 PM
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I've tried Unraid. Functionally it works fine. Two things that ultimately steered me away from it was the fact that it ran of USB drives. I've had multiple USB drive failures. Secondly, was the pricing structure. Yes, three drives is free and you can in theory replace your drives as the fill up assuming you have a place to put the data from the drive you are replacing. However, I already have several older drives that I would like to use. At $70 for 4+ drives that puts you into a crowded tier of products that may fit an end users goals better. And ultimately, I like to support free and open source projects like Amahi or apparently Liquesce which I might try out this weekend. To each their own and just my two cents blah blah blah.

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post #17 of 19 Old 07-21-2012, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BllDo View Post

I've tried Unraid. Functionally it works fine. Two things that ultimately steered me away from it was the fact that it ran of USB drives. I've had multiple USB drive failures. Secondly, was the pricing structure. Yes, three drives is free and you can in theory replace your drives as the fill up assuming you have a place to put the data from the drive you are replacing. However, I already have several older drives that I would like to use. At $70 for 4+ drives that puts you into a crowded tier of products that may fit an end users goals better. And ultimately, I like to support free and open source projects like Amahi or apparently Liquesce which I might try out this weekend. To each their own and just my two cents blah blah blah.
You have to find what works for you price and functionality. I use unRAID and it has worked for me. If I was using a computer that already had Windows on it I may have went a different direction, but I started with a blank slate which put unRAID in the game. I have been very happy with it, but there are many that are happy with the software raid they went with too. I really don't think you can go wrong with whatever you choose as long as you get the media payback and storage you are looking for.

On a side note I was leery of using flash drive also, I eventually a Kingston Flash Card Reader MobileLite G2 USB 2.0 Multi-card Reader FCR-MLG2. It has a unique GUID and if the card goes bad I throw another card in put my backup on the card and I'm back up and running in minutes.
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-22-2012, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrkazador View Post

Junction folders
I've been doing this for many years now - even before the issue of spanning media. I always liked having a single share point. For me it's the best and only way.
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-22-2012, 08:24 AM
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How would you guys compare FlexRaid storage pooling to Drive Bender?
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