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James

Questions regarding hard drive spindown/standby

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I am trying to get a better understanding of the hard drive spindown/standby options in Scanner.

 

My situation:

  • I'm using the latest Betas of Scanner and DrivePool on Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
  • I have two data disks which I've added to a single pool.
  • In the Windows power options I have set the hard drive standby time to 30 minutes.

Here are my questions:

 

When I right click a drive in the drive list there is an option called "Put into Standby". If I click this then I hear the drive spindown and the text in the Power column (you need to add this column by right-clicking headings) changes to "Standby or Active". This text will not change back to "Active" until I restart the service, regardless of whether the drive has spun up again. Is this a bug? Should this text reflect the standby status of the drive?

 

If I select a drive and click "Disk control" at the bottom of the screen I find a couple of settings that mention standby, in particular "Standby timer", which has a semi-selected (grey) checkbox. How do these settings relate to the Windows power settings? Do I need to alter them?

 

 

My end goal is to have my drives go into standby after 30 minutes idle time.

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This is actually a fairly complicated topic.

 

Let's start by talking about how normal standby works without the StableBit Scanner getting involved.

 

Windows "Put the Disk to Sleep" Feature

 

Normally, Windows will monitor the disk for activity and if there is no disk activity for some preset amount of time it will put the disk to "sleep" by flushing all of the data in the cache to the disk and sending a special standby command to it. At the same time, it will remember that the disk is asleep in case any other application asks.

 

Shortly after the disk goes to sleep, the StableBit Scanner will indicate the fact that the disk is asleep in the Power column. Normally, the Scanner gets the power status of the disk by querying Windows and not the disk.

 

It does not query the disk directly for the power state because Windows considers this power query disk activity and wakes up the disk as a result.

 

Now, things get a bit more complicated if you want to include the on-disk power management in this picture.

 

Disks can optionally support these features, which can put them to sleep without Windows knowing it:

  • Advanced power management.
  • Standby timer

Advanced Power Management

 

This is a technology that implements power consumption profiles. For instance, if you don't care about performance but want maximum power savings, then you can tell your disk just that. Simply set the Advanced Power Management to Minimum Power Consumption. Or you can do the exact opposite by setting it to Maximum Performance (which guarantees no standby).

 

With Advanced Power Management you don't concern yourself with "sleep timeouts", like in Windows. You simply state your intent and the disk will adjust various parameters, including the standby time, according to your setting.

 

The implementation of Advanced Power Management is completely up to the manufacturer of the drive, and there are no specifications that explicitly state what each power mode does. This entire feature may not even be supported, depending on the disk model.

 

Standby Timer

 

The Standby timer is more widely supported because it is an older feature. You simply specify after how much disk inactivity you would like the disk to be put to sleep. This is similar to how things work in Windows, except that the low power mode will be initiated by the disk firmware itself.

 

Again, the implementation of this is up to the manufacturer of the drive.

 

StableBit Scanner "Put into Standby"

 

In the StableBit Scanner, you can right click on a disk and put it into standby mode. What this does is send a power down command to the disk. This type of power down is equivalent to what Advanced Power Management or the Standby Timer would do.

 

More importantly, when a disk is powered down in this way, Windows will not be aware that the disk is in a low power state, and will continue to report that the disk is still powered up. This is not an issue because the disk will simply spin up the next time that Windows tries to access it.

 

But this leaves the StableBit Scanner with a dilemma. If we can't query the disk for the power state directly, how do we report the true power state of the disk? What the StableBit Scanner implements is a power state in which it's not sure whether the disk is in standby or active, and this is what you were seeing.

 

Forcing the StableBit Scanner to Query the Power Mode from the Disk

 

If you want to use on-disk power management exclusively, and you don't care about Windows putting your disks to sleep, you can instruct the StableBit Scanner to query the power mode directly from the disk.

 

query_power_from_disk.png

 

When this is enabled, you will no longer see the standby or active message, but Windows will never try to put that disk to sleep. That's why this is off by default.

 

SMART

 

And just to make things even more complicated, sometimes a disk will wake up when it's queried for SMART data.

 

To this end the StableBit Scanner implements some more settings to deal with this:

 

smart_power_management.png

 

I hope that this clears things up.

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What a fantastically detailed reply. Thank you!

 

A couple of follow-up questions:

 

1. When the standby timer checkbox is semi-selected (grey), what does that mean?

2. Would you recommend that I use Windows to put the disks in standby, or the disk firmware functionality?

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Still interested to know the answers to the questions above, but thought I would update to say that I now have "Standby" statuses in my Power column. ;)

 

I had to use the SMART throttling. I set "Throttle queries" to 25 minutes and the Windows hard disk standby time to 20 minutes. I also have the "Do not query if the disk has spun down" option checked.

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What a fantastically detailed reply. Thank you!

 

A couple of follow-up questions:

 

1. When the standby timer checkbox is semi-selected (grey), what does that mean?

2. Would you recommend that I use Windows to put the disks in standby, or the disk firmware functionality?

  1. Because there is no way to query the disk for its current standby settings, the checkbox defaults to an indeterminate state.

     

    You can only set standby.

     

  2. I would suggest that if you would like to set different standby times on a per-disk basis then use the firmware, but if you just want a single standby time for all the disks then use Windows.

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I'm currently testing StableBit Scanner and I'm quite impressed and I'm most likely going to buy it in the next days.

 

However, there's one question I'd like to be resolved:

 

Even before I've been installing StableBit Scanner, I realized that my disks never spin down. I've got several disks in my server, most of them being accessed from clients only in very specific situations. So they SHOULD actually be dormant most of the time.

 

I use the Windows setting for spin down, currently set to 10 minutes to test the function. However, they never spin down.

 

I followed all the advice given in your posting above, "Throttle queries not more often than ... " is set to 60 minutes, "Do not query if the disk..." is checked. I don't use "Query Power mode directly from disk", though, because as I understand it, that shouldn't be necessary.

 

I turned on the "Performance" column and that shows me that there seems always to be a bit of traffic on the disks that should be idle. The performance varies between 600 B/s to 1.17 KB/s all the time. I suspect that there is some task accessing the disks continuously, therefor prohibiting them going to idle.

 

Is my assumption correct? Is there any way to figure out which process that could be? Do you know any "usual suspects", like one of the other Dashboard add-ins or software, that is installed on a server?

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After trying to shut down service after service I found the culprit... 

 

It is the DrivePool Service... I installed StableBit DrivePool but I'm not using it yet. After I shut down the service, the "Performance" indicator of all HDDs not in use dropped down to zero.

Why is the service accessing the disks all the time?

 

Now I'm waiting for Windows to spin down the disks... Let's see if that's working now.

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After shutting down the Drive Pool Service, the drives are going into StandBy as expected. 

 

Is this behaviour intended and can be changed in any way? I would like to use DrivePool, but this effect makes me wonder if that's a good idea.

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It is the DrivePool Service... I installed StableBit DrivePool but I'm not using it yet. After I shut down the service, the "Performance" indicator of all HDDs not in use dropped down to zero.

Why is the service accessing the disks all the time?

 

Now I'm waiting for Windows to spin down the disks... Let's see if that's working now.

 

Nope, its not DrivePool service.  I have spindown working fine on my 24 harddisks in Drivepool pools.   Ofcourse I'm using a proper RAID controller (Areca) for the disk spindown function, but if drivepool was constantly querying them they'd constantly be waking back up, which they dont.

 

If you've got disks connected to something like an IBM M1015 or other multiport SAS/SATA controller then HDD spindown in windows is a lot more complicated, but if you've just got them attached to SATA ports, windows powercfg HDD sleep setting should handle it.

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I tried adjusting the Standby Timer and it caused problems with my system. Drives wouldn't wake up. Drives missing from DrivePool. I finally deleted the Store directory data and now everything is fine. From what I've seen Seagate ST3000DM001-9YN166 were never able to be put into Standby. Seagate STM3000DM001-1CH166 were put into Standby but never woke up and caused missing drives from the DrivePool. I have several other different drives that go into standby and wake up fine without any tweaking of StableBit Scanner. They are ST2000DM001-9YN164, WD10EADS-11M2B1 and ST315003-41AS. After reading multiple articles I've determined it may be better that the drives never go into Standby.

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Still interested to know the answers to the questions above, but thought I would update to say that I now have "Standby" statuses in my Power column. ;)

 

I had to use the SMART throttling. I set "Throttle queries" to 25 minutes and the Windows hard disk standby time to 20 minutes. I also have the "Do not query if the disk has spun down" option checked.

 

I had nearly all the same questions as storage drives not going into standby and wasn't sure about the Standby Timer in the Drive Control pages. After changing the SMART throttling mine are also now going in standby so thanks for saving me the "trial & error" time :)

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So, summarizing:

If I want just to spin down all the disk of my system after 30 min,

and I want to check the status from the StableBit Scanner in the power column,

and I want to wake them up ONLY when there is a data access,

I'll have to :

 

1: Set query power mode directly from the disk (in disk setting options)

2: Set do not query if the disk has spun down (in smart options)

3: Disable the Standby timer in all the disk of the system (in disk control)

4: Set the Windows HDD standby to 30 min (in Windows power management)

 

Is that right ?

I'm forgetting something ?

Thanks a lot....

 

Proteo

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Sort of. Alex does cover the issue pretty thoroughly in his response above (http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/48-questions-regarding-hard-drive-spindownstandby/?p=277&do=findComment&comment=277)

 

However, the issue here is that there are a bunch of moving parts here, and anyone can prevent the disks from spinning down. From the disks themselves, to the controllers they're on, to the drivers, Windows itself, and then querying info from the disks will wake them too.

 

 

But, one thing, you wouldn't disable the standby time for the disks. You'd want that enabled and configured. 

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So I am trying to get some HDs to spin down through Scanner.

- Windows never puts HDDs to sleep

- Scanner Disk Settings -> Query power mode directly from disk is set

- Scanner Disk control -> Standby timer is grey, which I understand is because it is something that can not be read from the HDD

- Scanner Disk control -> Advanced Power Management is set

- Scanner Disk control -> Whatever I do, it automatically reverts to Maximum performance (no standby).

 

Why? What should I do? It is an ST2000DM001 (but applies to the ST2000VN000 as well). Perhaps they smply do not support it?

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Sorry, if I'm necro'ing an old post, but I'm switching to Drivepool/Stablebit Scanner combo from DriveBender. and I'd like some advice on how to best maintain the health of my disks regarding standby/disk control, query, etc. options now available.

 

My setup:

20 Green disks (3TB and 4TB) attached to two Supermicro SAS/SATA 8 port cards and the remaining to onboard Intel/Marvel controllers.

 

I will have one large duplicated pool containing all 20 disks.

 

Electricity is not a concern, performance is secondary concern, but health of disks is primary concern.

 

That being said, what are your recommendations on things like spin down, standby, don't wake up for SMART, etc.

 

Thanks.

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Well, I'm not a great person to ask. I leave everything up and running 24/7 and don't worry about idling.

 

Most of my disks are a year or more older, with no issues. 

 

 

But this depends on how you use the system, and how often you access data on the pool.

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However, if the disks are being woken up too frequently, then I'd recommend throttling the SMART queries, or setting it to only query during the work window or when scanning.

 

 

As for standby, StableBit Scanner does have "Power control" for drives that support it. But this is not always usable depending on the disk (such as my Seagates, that display the settings, but don't let you change them).
Aside from that, you can just let Windows handle this, as per normal.

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Hello!  And thank you for this and DrivePool.  I've seen using them (with keys!) for a little over two years flawlessly.  Though, no HDDs have failed (some are 7+ years old), I expect Scanner to kick in on that day and alert the hell out of me!

 

Question on SMART...  And what is disabled when SMART is not available.

 

I lost my SMART abilities on my HBA passthrough today.  How will this affect Scanner and DrivePool?

 

TL;TR

 

Everything was great, scanning, SMART enabled for all 12 of my HDDs.  They are connected two 2x IBM M1015 that I have cross-flashed to the LSI9211 firmware in "IT" mode.  

 

Today, I decided to get to the bottom of my drives never "spindown".  Turns out there is a way to enable it in the INI files for the drivers.  So, I did that and forced the install of a different set of HBA drivers for my LSI cards.

 

Upon rebooting, Scanner tells me that:

"The on-disk S.M.A.R.T. check is not accessible.  Drive temp and mechanical operating parameters are not available and will not be monitored."

 

Could you elaborate on this?  The last part "and will not be monitored" is a bit concerning, meaning the drive won't be monitored at all?  Will drive failures still be detected?

 

Thanks!

 

EDIT: Ok, I now realize that loosing SMART ability I can no longer access the "Disk Control" and other menu options on these drives.  

 

Humm, wondering how they will go to sleep now.  Wonder if Windows will do it.

 

Windows Server 2012 (about to format to Windows Server 2012 R2).

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For the SMART data, you may need to enable the "Unsafe" DirectIO option to get SMART data. To do so:

http://wiki.covecube.com/StableBit_Scanner_Advanced_Settings

Find the "Direct IO" section, check the "Unsafe" option, and reboot the system (or run "services.msc" and restart the "StableBit Scanner Service".

 

Once you've done that, it should get the SMART data from the drives.

It may also get the drive control options back.

 

 

As for spin down... this is a complicated topic, at best. :( 

But yes, in theory, Windows should spin down the drives automatically.

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