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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at what options I have to fulfill the following requirements, in terms of storage:

- join multiple pre-formated (with the FS of my choosing) partitions (on different sized drives) into one large accessible space.

- If one drive dies, only the data on that drive is lost. All other data remains.

- If I pull one drive/parttion out, it should be accessible like a regular partition on another system. (this means that the original FS is not modified, and remains accessible when the drive is removed)


I know there's JBOD. What I 'm looking for is kinda like that, but not exactly.


Prefer if this was linux based, but will take any OS.



[UPDATE]: Think I may have found what I was looking for. It's called AuFS .

Anyone heard of any software that does this?
 

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You just described ZFS.


-In ZFS you have a 'pool' of drives you can add and remove 'drives' to this 'pool' all you want which adds and removes the data on those drives only, the pool will always appear as one 'disc' when you access it.

-A 'drive' can be an actual drive or a RAID array of drives or a tape drive or a CF card, whatever you want.

-ZFS is Solaris based (a flavor of *nix).


Nothing will take any formatted drive you want and run with it. Striping is RAID0 and not what you're looking for, if any one drive dies they all die and you cannot add or remove drives to/from it.
 

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doesn't take pre-formatted drives and certainly not any format or extra USB sticks, but Unraid does what you're saying. If you take a disk out you can access the data using Linux tools
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanx guys.

I've had some bad luck in the past where the RAID5 set wasn't recognized on a new system (with new controller), and lost all the data.

Another time (which was my fault) I was playing with a software RAID5 set, and messed things up, and again lost everything.


I would like to be able to read all my disks independent of the set, which it seems like UnRAID is the only one that will do everything... Unfortunately the free version only does 3 drives.
 

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Just see if your motherboard supports JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) mode. Hi-Point and Promise sell PCI cards that do if the motherboard doesn't.


But why even bother? Just tell the software where to record and don't let whatever disk you are recording to get too low on space to record your movie. I have 2 500GB drives and I don't have any trouble figuring out where to put the movie I want to record. I bet you won't either.
 

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FWIW, some versions of Vista (and I believe some versions of XP and 2003 also) support spanned partitions over several drives. The catch is that the drives have to be formatted as logical, you can convert to logical but to covert back to standard drive you have to reformat. Personally, I have a 1.5TB partition spanning several drives and it works well. If you want to replace a drive you can shrink the partition off the drive (assuming there's enough empty space in the partition), replace the drive and expand the partition onto the new drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by egarrard /forum/post/14171820


I have 2 500GB drives and I don't have any trouble figuring out where to put the movie I want to record. I bet you won't either.

The problem is having to manage where the data goes.

With 2 drives it's not really a problem.

But with 4 drives (other have more drives) having similar data spread over several drives means you have to look in multiple folders to find what you're looking for.

Multiple folders for music, multiple folders for movies... it can get messy.


And some software only allows you to specify one folder for your media...which causes other problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think the ultimate solution would be some software that presents a new special folder on the system. This folder would be an amalgamation of the partitions needed to be combined, and the software would manage the distribution of all the files which reside on the individual drives/partitions.


So essentially when a file is written to this special folder, the software would look to see where there is the most space available (which partition), and put the file there.


All the drives/partitions would have to have the same folder structure, just different data in each folder.


Anyway, it sounds like wishful thinking at this point.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider787 /forum/post/14173152


I think the ultimate solution would be some software that presents a new special folder on the system. This folder would be an amalgamation of the partitions needed to be combined, and the software would manage the distribution of all the files which reside on the individual drives/partitions.


So essentially when a file is written to this special folder, the software would look to see where there is the most space available (which partition), and put the file there.


All the drives/partitions would have to have the same folder structure, just different data in each folder.


Anyway, it sounds like wishful thinking at this point.

It's already there. ZFS and Solaris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/14173182


It's already there. ZFS and Solaris.

Kapone,

can you elaborate a little on what zfs calls some of the features I'm looking for?

Or just describe how zfs does the things I'm looking for?
 

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If my quick read of wikipedia was right zfs doesn't let you remove drives and read them on another machine.


If sounds like the OP wants something like a virual folder, which you can get in vista, osx and linux. That would allow for listing and reading the contents of multiple drives, though I'm not sure how it would handle writing additional data.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLan /forum/post/14175064


If sounds like the OP wants something like a virual folder, which you can get in vista, osx and linux. That would allow for listing and reading the contents of multiple drives, though I'm not sure how it would handle writing additional data.

I've never heard of these 'virtual folders'. Can you elaborate a little?

I'm running linux (openSuse 10.3) and I could probably live with managing the writing portion of the equation, if all the reading appears as if it's coming from one place.
 

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Whoops...I made a boo boo.


I reread your requirements again, and you said "- If I pull one drive/parttion out, it should be accessible like a regular partition on another system. (this means that the original FS is not modified, and remains accessible when the drive is removed)", THAT requirement, as as I know is only satisfied by Windows Home Server. It formats all disks in the pool as NTFS and they can read on any Windows machine. Other than WHS, I don't know of ANY system that does that, including ZFS (Even ZFS will stripe as far as I know).


But even WHS violates your first requirement, partially: "- join multiple pre-formated (with the FS of my choosing) partitions (on different sized drives) into one large accessible space." When you add a disk to a WHS pool it WILL reformat it, but once it's done that (and it formats as NTFS), you can take that disk and read it on a different Windows machine, bring it back, plug it back into WHS and it will chug along like nothing happened.


I think you're right. "Anyway, it sounds like wishful thinking at this point."
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/14175681


..THAT requirement, as as I know is only satisfied by Windows Home Server...

So how does WHS manage where data is saved, when it writes to multiple disks, each of which is simply formated as individual drives?

Say I start with 3 blank disks, and I start copying data to WHS. Does it fill up the first then move onto the next? Does it spread the data around so all drives fill at the same rate?
 

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Ah, yes you're right. In a ZFS pool once you add a disc to the pool you cannot remove it, such is the problem w/striping. Looks like your only option if that is a critical requirement is WHMS and after my last experience with Windows Server 2003 windows is never allowed to hold my data again
 
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