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Techtonic

StableBit Drivepool or (StableBit Drivepool/Flexraid "Raid-F" parity)

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Hello everyone!

 

 

                          I'm new here trying to do as much research as I can before purchase. I'm liking all the information I've seen on the main site,manual, and the forums/old forums. I think I've caught a little information off Reddit to push me here. I'm hoping for loads of information and maybe this will help MANY people in the long run on what to do.

 

 

So first off on the topic string. I would like to use StableBit's products only. So in doing so I gathered some can's and can not's. That the Drivepool with Scanner are a pair made to secure any deal. But I'm also worried about parity.

 

My current pool is:

 

5x4TB Seagates

2x3TB Seagates

 

The purpose of my pool is family movies / music and pictures. Besides the music and pictures being of small size, the movies range from 400MB-16GB.

 

 

Here's some Reddit research that even put me on the research run about StableBit products.

 

 

 

 
 

[–] 1 point

1 year ago  

 

So Drivepool and Drive Bender do not offer parity if a 3rd drive is used, it is simply a pooled hard drive tool?

Also I understand that you will only loose the data on that drive, but is there a way to specify which data should be stored were?

 

 
 

[–][deleted] 4 points

1 year ago  

 

They're wrong. Drivepool offers redundancy via its duplication feature.

 

 
 

[–] 1 point

1 year ago  

 

how does the duplication feature stack up against FlexRAID's reduncacy

 

 
 

[–][deleted] 1 point

1 year ago  

 

Not sure but the creator of drivepool has a vlog on YouTube he explains a lot. Also, the fact that they are so transparent and fairly young suggests many improvements are coming. Regardless if flexraid is better now I am betting on drivepool in the long run. Every purchase helps them develop too!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

[–] 3 points

1 year ago  

 

agree with 

im a long time drivepool user (for reference). current setup is > 30TB.

with drivepool you can set a folder (or subfolders) to be duplicated 1-2 times across the pool. 1x duplication will protect against (at max) 1 drive failure; 2x duplication will protect against 2 drives failing (at once). you wont see the duplicated files, but they will be there (if you really need to see them, you can disconnect each drive and hunt for duplicate files).

 

 
 

[–] 1 point

1 year ago  

 

Just a note that in Drivepool "1x" means no duplication, "2x" means duplication and "3x" means triplication etc but absolutely, you can have as many copies as you have drives in the pool if you are paranoid and have something you would hate to lose.

I have 3x for the family photos as well as a backup online.

Ok in this I was told that :

 

1. Drivepool offers redundancy via duplication

2. Creator of StableBit products has a Youtube vLog channel (Couldn't find it but found Stablebit.com's and only had two videos no vLogs)

3. One user that spoke so highly of StableBit products (Has owned it for 4-5 years now)

4. Drivepools duplication works via client setting the folders or subfolders. To be duplicated 2x,x3 so on.

 

 

I was confused on the duplication settings. And if there is a parity for at least one HDD failure or more depending on settings. I really love the way these products looks, the active community and the progressiveness of the Covecube staff for their products! I need to really strongly put it out here that I would really rather use StableBit's products less programs running and wouldn't have to worry about which one is or isn't causing problems.

 

 

 

 

This is a two part thread so this is the end of the first research part.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Now for the second part of the researching. I've seen this in a few places doing a StableBit Drivepool for pooling the drives with FlexRaid (Raid-F) for the parity set up. But mostly using all the programs from StableBit where as setting and forgetting "almost" the FlexRaid setup. Here's the research I've dug up well what I could. Oddly I found a couple hints on the Flexraid forums but nothing saying where it was on the forums or what to search for or anything. So most of it was on the old Covecube forums that are read only. I would put links but I think I'll just select the little information I need so this thread doesn't get kicked. 

 

 

 

 

  • I would think this would work fine, since DP doesn't require the use of drive letters. Removing the drive that way, without waiting for files to be moved off should be quick too.  Between DP folder duplication, and FlexRAID DRU protection of the other folders on the drive, you have lost NOTHING.  Duplication should rebuild it's files, and the remaining folder contents from that drive will be restored from FlexRAID.

    Remember, you can direct FlexRAID to restore a DRU to another destination if you wish, such as a "reserved" empty share you have for this purpose or even a drive outside the pool.  If a share in the pool, then "move" the folders there to your proper shares, which will not really physically move anything, just update links to those folders/files.  Or just restore to \\Shares and let DP place the files back on the drives in your pool.  

    I run FlexRAID on my WHS V1 system.  I have never had to do a restore, but this is how I would basically manage a drive failure.  I use a combination of folder duplication for some shares (photos) and snapshot raid for my other shares with each drive as a DRU + 1 PPU.  9 Drives total, 18TB

    I am planning to move to WHS 2011 this week and will be utilizing Stablebit DP for pooling and folder duplication along with FlexRAID as you guys are.  
    Thanks for all the great information on your experiences with this setup.
  • Admittedly, I don't know much about FlexRAID, but I'm curious to the benefit of running both DP and FlexRAID on the same system. Aren't the two similiar to each other? I looked at FlexRAID a while back before deicding on DrivePoll, but am I missing something with not running both on my WHS2011? Your advice is appreciated.
  • saitoh183 November 2012
    Resident Guru
    Running FR along side DP has the benefit that you dont need to run duplication on your Media data which would cause a lost of space. FR does also have a pooling feature but its not as stable as DP, but its Raid feature helps cover from drive failure without compromising DP functionality 
  • Does that mean you use the pooling of DP and the data protection of FR? I might have to look into that so that I won't have to duplicate over 4TB of visual media. Interesting thought. Are there any basic tutorials out there on how to set up FR with DP already installed? Also, does FR need a dedicated drive for the raid?
  • saitoh183 November 2012
    Resident Guru
    FR requires you to sacrifice at least 1 disks to be use as a parity drive that will be as big as the biggest single drive in your system. This prarity drive will not be part of your pool since you dont want to have any other data on it besides FR parity data. The amount of parity drives will depend on how much protection you want , the more you have the more you can survive multiple drive failures at once. I only have 1 parity drive because its rare to have 2 drives die exactly at the same time.
     
    Check the FR website to learn how FR works, all you need to know really for using both in the same setup, is Dont make your parity drive part of the DP pool and that your protection is dont on each drive individually and not on the pool drive itself. You can also check this forum, i have posted a few screenshots of my setup which could help you understand the setup a bit better
  • Gotcha. I have a new 3TB drive coming in today and I think I'm going to use that for my parity drive then. 

    Thanks for your help. I know some of the questions are on the FR site, so thanks for getting back to me.
  • saitoh183 November 2012
    Resident Guru
    np and good luck 
  • Hi saitoh183,

    I was looking at documentation to set up my first parity drive and I think I'm a bit confused. it looks like the guide located here would be what I want since I don't plan on using FR for pooling:http://wiki.flexraid.com/2011/08/29/setting-up-your-snapshot-raid/ 

    The other write up goes through setting up a pool and then doing your raid. The question I have is about where I set up DRUs and PPUs. Since I'm not using FR for pooling does that mean no DRUs? Or is that where I put the amount of discs I am using in my DP pool? And then possibly extra since I plan on adding more drives at a later date. I'm guessing all of that can be changed later though.

    This sounds great, but I will need to keep on reading to see what I need to do. I browsed for you of your screenshots, but only came up with the one from this topic and I didn't notice the FR interface in it.
  • saitoh183 November 2012
    Resident Guru
    Have a look here http://forum.covecube.com/discussion/554/parity-drive#Item_4
     
    DRU/PPu applies to the raid setup and not the pooling so you will want to use the advanced setup and not the Cruise control (Raid-F +Pooling). If i take my setup as an example:
     
    I have 1X2TB as PPU and 6 DRUs
     
    Under 1 DRU i have 6 drives which total 2TB
     
    Under each other DRU, I have 1X2TB and 1 DRU with 1x1TB
     
    if you compare this to a traditional Raid 5, each DRU = 1 drive in a Raid 5 setup so my DRU with 6 drives under it is considered as 1 failure even if multiple drives fail in that DRU but it would be 2 failures if that DRU failed + 1 of my DRUs that contains only 1x2TB drive. So PPU would recover only 1 DRU regarless of the amount of drives under that single DRU but would only be able to recover 1  DRU if 2 separate DRUs failed.
     
    For Expansion i suggest using the Raid Tx engine because this will allow for the best expansion as the other modes are limited to a certain number of PPUs and DRUs. http://wiki.flexraid.com/about/1355-2/
     
    Your link in your post is the right one to setup your raid. You are also not obligated to put a entire drive as DRU, you can also put just a folder.. Like for my PPU i put L:\PPU. For my DRU,s, since all my drives are in the DP pool, i put the entire drive instead of just the PD hidden poolpart folder incase 1 day somehappens or i need to recreate the pool, the poolpart folder might not have the same exact name which would force me to recreate the raid from scratch. Also before creating the raid, i would suggest mapping your drive to NTFS folders like i show above so that you wont have to recreate your raid down the line.

 

 

And the second part.

 

 

 

 

  • Hi,
     
    Just wondering if there's any plans to add any RAID5 like features in DrivePool. Being able to swap a failing drive and not having to worry about copying / losing data would be a big plus for me.
     
    If there's no plans to add this in DrivePool, does anybody know if something like FlexRAID will play nicely with DrivePool? Thanks!
     
    -Dan
  • saitoh183 April 2012
    Resident Guru
    I don't think DP will ever have Raid capability because it already has duplication(file and folder) in place. As for if plays nice with Flexraid, yes it does. I have been running both for more then a year now and have never had an issue. Since i use Flexraid, i have no use for duplication. If you do decide to go this route and also add Stablebit scanner, just remember to configure your Flexraid schedule to not conflict with scanner 
     
     
    This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
  • Member
    Hi saitoh183,
     
    How does this work exactly then? I'm assuming I set up FlexRAID first, with my DRUs and one or more PPUs, then add the DRUs to the DrivePool pool. Does that sound right? Also, does read/write performance take a hit when compared to using just DrivePool? Thanks very much for your replies!
     
    -Dan
  • saitoh183 April 2012
    Resident Guru
    It doesn't matter in which order you set them up. DP just merges your drives, Your performance comes from DP and Flexraid doesn't affect it. Flexraid is only relevant for performance if you were using the pooling feature of it. Since you aren't, the only performance you will see is when your parity drive is being updated. Also dont forget to not add your PPU to the pool 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok I read the information on the first thread above and that it talking about how it was possible. Saitoh183 posted a few times on that thread with more information on Drivepooling and Flexraiding. Goes through making sure everyone knows that you lose one or more drives (largest or equal size of a every drive"Not put together")  for a parity disk or a PPU so called. 

 

In the second quote of research it is a small thread "explaining" how to setup the both of them. I know and understand that Saitoh183 said "It doesn't matter in which order you set them up. DP just merges your drives, Your performance comes from DP and Flexraid doesn't affect it. Flexraid is only relevant for performance if you were using the pooling feature of it. Since you aren't, the only performance you will see is when your parity drive is being updated. Also dont forget to not add your PPU to the pool"

 

I know from what Saitoh183 it doesn't matter. But I figured you would make the StableBit Drivepool setup the drive letter.

 

Now going to the FlexRaid:

1. Add new configuration

2. Name Cruise Control with Snapshot and Create

3. Open the new configuration to edit and open Drive Manager

4. Add the DRU's (Data drives) and one or more PPU for parity backup's (Snapshots)   I've read a few setup guides and I've heard 1 PPU drive for every 6 and I've heard 1 PPU drive for every 10 both are fine. 

5. Initialize the raid if data is on the DRU's it will now do a parity snapshot, now back to the home page for the named configuration and Start Storage Pool.

 

Not sure what else to after that if it's even right. I don't think the FlexRaid should have a drive letter or it would make things more confusing than it already is using two programs.

 

 

Please enlighten my with any information that can help this research that will help with my purchase and hopefully more people that decide to do this setup also. I would like to firstly so I appreciate everyone up front for there past help with others to even get me here with this information! Thanks again.

 

 

Techtonic

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9 answers to this question

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Sorry as I have a lot running through my head I'm a bit confused by this. Unless it was a typo and the total used would be 44TB? Sorry I don't mean to be a pain.

 

To answer this, if you have 22TBs of actual data, then if you duplicate it using the normal "x2" duplication, then it will consume 44TBs of space. If you use the x3 duplication, 66TBs. And so on.

 

But that is only if you duplicate everything. Since you can configure duplication settings per folder, this can get very complicated, very fast.  The UI does display how much data is duplicated and unduplicated. 

 

 

 

 

Drashna, Thanks so much for answering me and allowing this thread up to help as many people as possible. I have finally read both of the links and there great but I think drivepool with something else for parity would work perfect. I still wish I would have had patience and asked this before blindly buy Flexraid with little to almost no research before being sure of the purchase. I'm glad on the SMART data response you had as I thought I might have that problem with my Mediasonic ProBox 8bay. Using USB 3.0 over eSATA I figured that eSATA would give all the information on the drives but not so much on the serial number part. I could be wrong on this though because that was only seeing the information through Disk Management.

 

 

You are very welcome. In case it doesn't show, I really do enjoy helping people. :)

 

As for FlexRAID, if you decide you don't want it, try contacting them for a refund. (i'm not sure how easy that will be, as I've never had to deal with them). But it's worth at least trying, if you don't want their product.

 

 

As for the SMART data, if you're using USB, you should be in a much better position. From what we've seen, USB bridge chipsets are usually a lot better about relaying SMART data. But that isn't always the case.

However, eSATA is when you start having issues with that. Silicon Image chipsets are atrocious about this. In fact, they only grab the data for the first drive, and either repeat it for all the drives or don't bother displaying it.  Some Marvell eSATA chipsets are bad about SMART data as well. 

 

As for the ProBoxes, those should work fine. Alex (the Developer) has a bunch of the 4 bay ones, so they're tested. However, the only caveat is that you may want to look into buying spare power supplies for them, as they fail frequently. 

 

 

 

I really appreciate everyone's input on this matter but I don't think I will have enough space for x2 duplication. So I will most likely have to pick between either Flexraid or Snapraid like saitoh183 was talking about.

 

You're very welcome!

 

And I can definitely understand about the duplication. It's expensive in the terms of disk space (and disk cost). 

Though, Newegg frequently has sales, (and good sales on NAS drives). So it may be worth checking that out. Even if you do go with FlexRAID/SnapRAID.

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Hi,

 

From my past experience of FlexRaid user, I think FlexRaid is not reliable enough. Reading the forums, there are still too many issues when trying to restore a failed drive, whatever the reasons are (update of the parity drive not done or failed, disk errors, etc...). I lost 700+GB of data, all recovered files were corrupted and it took ages to recover these corrupted files. No error during the last update during the parity, etc... I was using FlexRaid with HD Sentinel.

This is my own experience. It might work perfectly well for other users - even if I am wondering how many people already tried to restore a 6TB drive to check if everything is ok.

 

So I decided to sacrifice hard drive space in order to be sure that my files are protected and that I can recover them without any issue and not waiting for x days: I moved to DrivePool and Scanner. I am pretty satisfied until now even if I have some small issues with Scanner (some of my drives are not recognized). But I like the integration of these 2 tools (files placement rule based on Scanner).

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Hi,

 So I decided to sacrifice hard drive space in order to be sure that my files are protected and that I can recover them without any issue and not waiting for x days: I moved to DrivePool and Scanner. I am pretty satisfied until now even if I have some small issues with Scanner (some of my drives are not recognized). But I like the integration of these 2 tools (files placement rule based on Scanner).

How much HDD space? I know when my data is in the pool I was sitting at 15-17TB. So with running x2+ duplication I wouldn't have enough to space right?

 

Did Scanner not work because of the drives being in a USB or eSATA enclosure?

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Hi,

 

I have moved away from Flexraid and now use snapraid. Snapraid does the job well and i have tested the restore process and it went smoothly. I have seem 0 impact in my pool performance since Snapraid runs once every night. But each person has there own level of confort for protection. For me one update each night is enough for me and i have content added to DP pool every day I only have one parity and that is good enough for me. I moved away from Flexraid because there licensing plan didnt suite my needs.

 

I would give Snapraid a shot before committing to Flexraid. In flexraid you will want to use raid-f in Expert mode and not Cruise Control if your going for only the raid feature

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How much HDD space? I know when my data is in the pool I was sitting at 15-17TB. So with running x2+ duplication I wouldn't have enough to space right?

 

Did Scanner not work because of the drives being in a USB or eSATA enclosure?

 

If you want x2 duplication, you need twice the space: I have about 22TB of files (most of them are 2x, others are 3x), then the total used space is about 44GB. With FlexRaid I used to have 40GB available (10x4TB DRUs) and only 1x4TB parity drive. So I "sacrificed" ~18GB of HDD space. :-)

 

For the disks and Scanner, I am using 2xLian-Li EX-503 enclosures. SMART status and data can't be read for 2 disks: 1 WD/1TB in USB, 1 WD/4TB in eSATA. But all the other disks (8 out of 10) in these enclosures are correctly detected.

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Techtonic, that's a lot of reading! :)

 

 

Since ... I'm being a bit lazy here (skimming, and primarily answering you linearly and directly), I apologize if I miss anything. 

 

 

Duplication is a file based mirroring. It means that the software keeps a 1:1 copy of the file on another drive.  This way, if a drive dies, you can remove it from the pool, and StableBit DrivePool will automatically reduplicate the data. 

Duplication can be enabled for the entire pool (by enabling Pool File Duplication), and can be configured per folder. 

 

You can see more details about this here:

http://stablebit.com/Support/DrivePool/2.X/Manual?Section=File%20Protection

 

 

 

As for Parity, check out this thread:

http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/52-faq-parity-and-duplication-and-drivepool/

 

This lists some info about it, and it also lists a number of threads with user created guides on how to configure both pieces of software. However, it's not officially supported (but plenty of users have had good success). 

 

Honestly, I'm not really a fan of parity for ... a number of reasons. So I really don't have a huge amount of experience with FlexRAID nor SnapRAID. 

 

 

 

 

 

And as for space usage, the duplication uses double (or whatever the "x" is) space on the system. That's because it's storing everything as normal files on multiple hard drives. And yes, this definitely takes up more space than parity. 

 

 

 

 

As for fdt's issue with SMART data, this is (IIRC) due to the chipset used. Not all chipsets are created equal, and some don't properly pass on SMART data.  Silicon Image based chipsets are this way, and there is nothing that we can do about it. 

 

 

 

 

 

If I missed anything, or you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

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Hi,

 

I have moved away from Flexraid and now use snapraid. Snapraid does the job well and i have tested the restore process and it went smoothly. I have seem 0 impact in my pool performance since Snapraid runs once every night. But each person has there own level of confort for protection. For me one update each night is enough for me and i have content added to DP pool every day I only have one parity and that is good enough for me. I moved away from Flexraid because there licensing plan didnt suite my needs.

 

I would give Snapraid a shot before committing to Flexraid. In flexraid you will want to use raid-f in Expert mode and not Cruise Control if your going for only the raid feature

 

If I go snap/drivepool mine would be like this also because the pool wouldn't change that often. Maybe we can rename the thread to  

StableBit Drivepool or (Drivepool/Flexraid or Snap/Drivepool)

 

 

 

If you want x2 duplication, you need twice the space: I have about 22TB of files (most of them are 2x, others are 3x), then the total used space is about 44GB. With FlexRaid I used to have 40GB available (10x4TB DRUs) and only 1x4TB parity drive. So I "sacrificed" ~18GB of HDD space. :-)

 

For the disks and Scanner, I am using 2xLian-Li EX-503 enclosures. SMART status and data can't be read for 2 disks: 1 WD/1TB in USB, 1 WD/4TB in eSATA. But all the other disks (8 out of 10) in these enclosures are correctly detected.

Sorry as I have a lot running through my head I'm a bit confused by this. Unless it was a typo and the total used would be 44TB? Sorry I don't mean to be a pain.

 

 

 

Techtonic, that's a lot of reading! :)

 

 

Since ... I'm being a bit lazy here (skimming, and primarily answering you linearly and directly), I apologize if I miss anything. 

 

 

Duplication is a file based mirroring. It means that the software keeps a 1:1 copy of the file on another drive.  This way, if a drive dies, you can remove it from the pool, and StableBit DrivePool will automatically reduplicate the data. 

Duplication can be enabled for the entire pool (by enabling Pool File Duplication), and can be configured per folder. 

 

You can see more details about this here:

http://stablebit.com/Support/DrivePool/2.X/Manual?Section=File%20Protection

 

 

 

As for Parity, check out this thread:

http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/52-faq-parity-and-duplication-and-drivepool/

 

This lists some info about it, and it also lists a number of threads with user created guides on how to configure both pieces of software. However, it's not officially supported (but plenty of users have had good success). 

 

Honestly, I'm not really a fan of parity for ... a number of reasons. So I really don't have a huge amount of experience with FlexRAID nor SnapRAID. 

 

And as for space usage, the duplication uses double (or whatever the "x" is) space on the system. That's because it's storing everything as normal files on multiple hard drives. And yes, this definitely takes up more space than parity. 

 

As for fdt's issue with SMART data, this is (IIRC) due to the chipset used. Not all chipsets are created equal, and some don't properly pass on SMART data.  Silicon Image based chipsets are this way, and there is nothing that we can do about it. 

 

If I missed anything, or you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Drashna, Thanks so much for answering me and allowing this thread up to help as many people as possible. I have finally read both of the links and there great but I think drivepool with something else for parity would work perfect. I still wish I would have had patience and asked this before blindly buy Flexraid with little to almost no research before being sure of the purchase. I'm glad on the SMART data response you had as I thought I might have that problem with my Mediasonic ProBox 8bay. Using USB 3.0 over eSATA I figured that eSATA would give all the information on the drives but not so much on the serial number part. I could be wrong on this though because that was only seeing the information through Disk Management.

 

 

 

 

I really appreciate everyone's input on this matter but I don't think I will have enough space for x2 duplication. So I will most likely have to pick between either Flexraid or Snapraid like saitoh183 was talking about.

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Awesome! Now just to talk to Saitoh183 on the forum that know how to setup Snapraid/Drivepool and we'll be good to go. Drashna I'm going to respect Stablebit and not post a thread on asking how to setup a Snap/Dp setup. I have no intentions to drive anyone away from Stablebit products and the awesome support and great community you have here. Thanks everyone for you help!

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Well, if you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

 

Though, if you have more questions about the FlexRAID/SnapRAID stuff, asking about them in the relevant threads would be a good idea, as you're more likely to get help about it there. 

 

And you're very welcome.

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