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YagottaBKiddin

DrivePool FTW vs. Storage Spaces 2012 R2

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Good evening everyone.  I found this very interesting, fascinating even:

 

I had just set up a Windows 2012-R2 Storage Server, with ~20 TiB of drives to function primarily as a media server running Emby and file-server endpoint for various backups of machine images etc.  

 

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K

RAM: 32 GiB DDR3 2666MHz.  

OS is hosted on an M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD (128 GiB) *screaming fast*. 

5 x 4 TiB HGST DeathStar NAS (0S003664) 7200 RPM/64 MB cache SATA-III

 

Initially, the machine was set up with one large mirrored storage pool (no hot spares) composed from 5 primordial 4 TiB HGST sata-III disks all connected to sata-III ports on the motherboard (Z97 based).

 

The graph below was taken during the process of copying ~199 files in multiple directories of various sizes (15K - 780 GiB) for a total of ~225 GiB.

 

 

CopyToStorageSpace.png

Fig 1: Copy To Storage Spaces 2012-R2 mirrored pool

 

What isn't apparent from the graph above are the *numerous* stalls where the transfer rate would dwindle down to 0 for 2-5 seconds at a time. The peaks are ~50 MB/s. Took *forever* to copy that batch over.

 

Compare the above graph with the one below, which is another screenshot of the *exact* same batch of files from the exact same client machine as the above, at almost exactly the same point in the process. The client machine was similarly tasked under both conditions. The target was the exact same server as described above, only I had destroyed the Storage Spaces pool and the associated virtual disk and created a new pool, created from the exact same drives as above, using StableBit DrivePool (2.1.1.561), transferring across the exact same NIC, switches and cabling as above also. More succinctly: Everything from the hardware, OS, network infrastructure, originating client (Windows 10 x64) is exactly the same.

 

The only difference is that the pooled drives are managed by DrivePool instead of Storage Spaces:

 

CopyToDrivePool.png

Fig 2: Massive file transfer to DrivePool (2.1.1.561) managed pool.

 

What a huge difference in performance!  I didn't believe it the first time.  So, of course, I repeated it, with the same results.

 

Has anyone else noticed this enormous performance delta between Storage Spaces and DrivePool?

 

I think the problem is with the writes to the mirrored storage pool, I had no problems with stalls or inconsistent transfer rates when reading large batches of files from the pool managed by Storage Spaces. The write performance is utterly horrid and unacceptable!

 

Bottom Line: The combination of drastically improved performance with DrivePool over Storage Spaces, plus the *greatly* enhanced optics into the health of the drives provided with Scanner:  DrivePool + Scanner >>>> Storage Spaces.  Hands Down, no contest for my purposes. The fact that you can mount a DrivePool managed drive on *any* host that can read NTFS is another major bonus.  You cannot do the same with StorageSpace managed drives, unless you move all of them en-bloc.

 

Kudos to you guys!  <tips hat>

 

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Was this copying to Storage Spaces?  If so... yeah, the poor write performance is a known issue... Even more so with the Parity option (but you said you're using Mirrored). 

 

 

And glad to see that StableBit DrivePool is treating you very well, and that you're very happy with it!

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I had read some of the performance issues regarding Storage Spaces, and indeed most were in reference to parity.  Most of what I ran across was for the initial versions from a few years ago. Apparently there's still work to be done! 

 

Thanks again for the great tool!

 

Now to implement either snapRAID or maybe just go with corz and keep hashes of all the files... corz can also keep a list of all hashed files on any given disk so if one exhales the magic blue smoke, at least there's a list of what was on the drive...

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Work to be done... probably not unfortunately.  I Think the issue is mostly that it's software based, and not much can be done (this is why most people recommend hardware RAID over software, in fact)
 
As for great tools, thanks!  However, speaking of drives dying (and shameless self-promotion):
 
You may want to check StableBit Scanner out. Not only does it monitor the SMART attributes of the drives (which can give pre-failure warnings), but it does a surface scan of the drive which will let you know if there are problems reading the disk, and can potentially trigger the drive's built in error correction to fix bad sections on the disk before they become an issue (a process usually referred to as called "data scrubbing"). 
 
Additionally, if you have both StableBit Scanner and StableBit DrivePool installed on the same system, DrivePool will grab information from Scanner. And if Scanner detects damage on the disk, DrivePool will automatically move data off of the disk to help prevent data loss due to corruption/damage.
 
Additionally, if you purchase both products, there is a discount for doing so. Either purchase one and use the link on the order status page, or purchase the "StableBit Bundle" (DrivePool + Scanner + CloudDrive) for the best discount.
 

It's not a checksum, but it may help identify issues and save your data.

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Indeed I do use Scanner + DrivePool (I mentioned this at the very bottom of the first post ;)

 

It's not a shameless plug when it is good advice and a great deal!

 

I'll be converting my other 2012-R2 StorageSpace server over to DrivePool soon (already have the DrivePool key) and will be adding Scanner to it as well.  The integration of the two has come a long way in the past few years! (I've been a StableBit customer for a few years now).  

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