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Sonicmojo

What if I wanted to upgrade the OS on servers that use Drivepool?

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Finally have my new home server (SERVER A) stable and Drivepool is working very well.

 

But - as a restless spirit - I cannot leave well enough alone - so here's what's cooking in the next week or so.

 

In an effort to purge a huge pile of old parts from my stash (circa 2009-2012) I have now cherry picked the best couple of motherboards, CPU etc etc to build a secondary file server (lets call it SERVER B )

 

The intent of this second box is as a backup zone to our primary home server AND I also wanted to create a couple of VMs (Using Windows Server 2012R2 with the Hyper-V role enabled).

 

But as I read more about the CPU I intend to use (Q9550) on the motherboard I intend to save (GigaByte EP45-UD3R) with the RAM I have available (8GB DDR2) - I am getting a sense that certain virtualization extensions for Hyper-V 2012 may not be fully supported given the age of these parts. I am also wary of the available RAM if I want to create several more VMS later. SERVER A has 16GB while SERVER B will only ever have 8GB. (DDR2 RAM is non existent now)

 

So - I got to thinking - it may be much better to use my brand new Xeon based Server A for my Hyper-V experiments (as it has all modern Virtual extensions ready to roll) and instead transition the NAS drives from the new server over to this secondary build and make it the "primary file server".

 

But what exactly would need to happen if I did decide to take the drives out of Server A and stick them in Server B? What exactly do I need to do on SERVER A to make a transition? Do I go into Disk Manager and simply "delete/remove" all the drives? Do I simply shut down the box and pull the drives out? Do I need to deactivate my DrivePool and Scanner licenses on Server A first - before removing drives?

 

I am very keen on knowing the correct "order" of operations before I attempt anything as I cannot have the server drives compromised in any way. Just want to make sure I do it by the book - the right way - the first time.

 

Any info on how to accomplish the following would be most appreciated.

 

Cheers!
 

Sonic.

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But - as a restless spirit - I cannot leave well enough alone - so here's what's cooking in the next week or so.

I totally understand, I'm the same way! :)

 

 

As for HyperV, there is are a couple of things to test. 

First, download GRC's Securable utlity:

https://www.grc.com/securable.htm

You want everything to "light up" (64, Yes, Yes). 

 

If that works ,then you will want to check for SLAT support: 

http://www.howtogeek.com/73318/how-to-check-if-your-cpu-supports-second-level-address-translation-slat/

 

 

 

But it looks like the Q9550 doesn't support SLAT, so you'd need to use HyperV Server 2008R2 with that CPU.  You can test, but just a heads up. 

Though, the Xeon CPUs may support it. 

 

 

As for the drives, there isn't really anything special to do. The software is designed to be rather flexible and handle moving disks very well.

As long as the new system can see the drives file (eg, that they're NTFS drives and open the drives), the software will see the pool folder strucutre and attempt to rebuild the pool automatically.  

 

So the procedure for moving the disks over? 

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license, if needed.
  2. Shut down the system
  3. physically remove the drives
  4. Put the disks into the new system
  5. power on the new system
  6. install and activate the StableBit DrivePool software on the new system
  7. Wait for it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new system.

The drive letter will be different most likely, and balancing settings (such as the balancers and the file placement rule) will not be retained.  But the duplication settings will be. 

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I totally understand, I'm the same way! :)

 

 

As for HyperV, there is are a couple of things to test. 

First, download GRC's Securable utlity:

https://www.grc.com/securable.htm

You want everything to "light up" (64, Yes, Yes). 

 

If that works ,then you will want to check for SLAT support: 

http://www.howtogeek.com/73318/how-to-check-if-your-cpu-supports-second-level-address-translation-slat/

 

 

 

But it looks like the Q9550 doesn't support SLAT, so you'd need to use HyperV Server 2008R2 with that CPU.  You can test, but just a heads up. 

Though, the Xeon CPUs may support it. 

 

 

As for the drives, there isn't really anything special to do. The software is designed to be rather flexible and handle moving disks very well.

As long as the new system can see the drives file (eg, that they're NTFS drives and open the drives), the software will see the pool folder strucutre and attempt to rebuild the pool automatically.  

 

So the procedure for moving the disks over? 

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license, if needed.
  2. Shut down the system
  3. physically remove the drives
  4. Put the disks into the new system
  5. power on the new system
  6. install and activate the StableBit DrivePool software on the new system
  7. Wait for it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new system.

The drive letter will be different most likely, and balancing settings (such as the balancers and the file placement rule) will not be retained.  But the duplication settings will be. 

 

Wow. Awesome overview. Just what I needed.

 

Now - some comments on SLAT - I did some digging and the only thing I could find is - looks like the CPU (on server) only needs SLAT if :

 

"SLAT is required on the server if the RemoteFX role service is enabled"

 

Since I am planning to create two stock SERVER VMs (one for a DC and one for WSUS - both running Server 2012 R2) I do not think I need SLAT for that.

 

Will test this fact tomorrow during the build

 

I wanted to thank you so much for the "ordered" list of what to do should I find out that this Q9550 is not up to the task of hosting a couple of basic VMs.

 

One more Q: I did not use any drive letters on the current (SERVER A) build - all drives use mount paths. I would of course - use the same pathing logic on the new server - with the exact same drives mounted to the exact same paths. Will this make the transition a bit more seamless - if I really have to move DrivePool over to this secondary server?

 

Will report back once I have gotten my hand dirty :)

 

Cheers!

 

Sonic

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You are very welcome. :) 

 

I run hyperV personally, so I'm very familiar with it. :)

 

As for SLAT, that *is* true for the 2008 and 2008R2 version.s However, it *may* be required for the Server 2012 version.  It's not entirely clear though.  Windows 8/10 *do* require it to run HyperV at all, but Server 2012 and up *may* not.  But it would be a better idea to check anyways. 

 

And let me know how that goes!  Pretty much all of my hardware supports all of this, so I've never verified otherwise. 

 

And you're welcome for the pool migration "instructions". :)

 

One more Q: I did not use any drive letters on the current (SERVER A) build - all drives use mount paths. I would of course - use the same pathing logic on the new server - with the exact same drives mounted to the exact same paths. Will this make the transition a bit more seamless - if I really have to move DrivePool over to this secondary server?

 

That depends. If the drive that you mounted the folder paths to is not the same one being used (or if you're reinstalling), the drives shouldn't be assigned a letter or anything. You'll need to manually mount the disks to new folders.

 

TIIRC, this is because there is some info stored on the file system that marks these folders. 

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On 4/28/2016 at 1:02 PM, Christopher (Drashna) said:

So the procedure for moving the disks over? 

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license, if needed.
  2. Shut down the system
  3. physically remove the drives
  4. Put the disks into the new system
  5. power on the new system
  6. install and activate the StableBit DrivePool software on the new system
  7. Wait for it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new system.

The drive letter will be different most likely, and balancing settings (such as the balancers and the file placement rule) will not be retained.  But the duplication settings will be. 

Drashna,

I found this older thread where I asked you for some specifics on migrating disks from one server to another.

I am back for more confirmation on what to do with existing disk sets (16TB in Server A and 6TB in Server B) if I plan to install a new OS.

Within Q1 2018 - I want to upgrade both of these servers from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Server 2016. I have read a bit about "in-place" server upgrades - but I think I will start from scratch and install the OS clean on each - meaning I will need to power down the storage disks - disconnect them and then power them back up when Server 2016 is installed and ready to go.

On both of my systems - I am using drive mountpoints to ensure each Pool - is displayed via a single Drive letter (D:\ in this case). Using your suggested procedure:

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license, if needed.
  2. Shut down the system
  3. physically remove the drives
  4. Put the disks into the new system
  5. power on the new system
  6. install and activate the StableBit DrivePool software on the new system
  7. Wait for it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new system

What other steps do I need to do (and when) within this list with regards to mountpoints etc on the drives without upsetting any data on them - and hopefully being able to recreate the pool and get them back on the network with minimal downtime?

Appreciate your insight as always.

Cheers!

Sonic.

 

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That should be good. 

You can add/change the mount points at ANY time.  StableBit DrivePool may display these, but the software doesn't actually use them.  We use UNC/device/kernel paths to access the drives, and these never change (at least without rebooting) 

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1 minute ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

That should be good. 

You can add/change the mount points at ANY time.  StableBit DrivePool may display these, but the software doesn't actually use them.  We use UNC/device/kernel paths to access the drives, and these never change (at least without rebooting) 

So something like this?

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license on existing server build
  2. Shut down the system
  3. Disconnect data drives (but leave them in the box)
  4. Power up
  5. Install Server 2016 (wiping C during install)
  6. Do basic config of new server install and shut down
  7. Reconnect existing data drives
  8. Power up and ensure data drives show in Disk Manager
  9. Create new mountpoints for data drives
  10. Install/Activate the StableBit DrivePool (And Scanner) software for new build
  11. Let it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new build
  12. Continue with rest of server config.

Anything else I should be aware of?

Sonic.

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That would be it, exactly.

You can do #9 later, if you want, but that's entirely up to you. 

As for "aware of", you may run into permission issues on the pool,  just like when moving a drive to a new system. 

If this happens, then you may want to do this: 
http://wiki.covecube.com/StableBit_DrivePool_Q5510455
This sets the permissions back to the default state.

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Chris,

Bumping up this old thread as I have finally reached the point of upgrading my server OS. :)

However - this week I am also considering activating the LSI 2308 SAS controller that I have on both of my file servers and wanted to understand how to get this working with Drivepool (and scanner).

Ever since I have owned my two Supermicro X10SL7-F server boards - I have only used the standard SATA ports for drive usage. Seems to have worked just fine but I would like to move to the SAS controller on these boards for (hopefully) more stability and (hopefully) even a performance boost if possible.

My understanding is that this controller should ideally be in "IT Mode" in order for it to allow the connected disks to act like JBOD - so I plan to flash the firmware on it later today. Assuming that works fine - I would then install the latest LSI driver during my server install and then move to reconnecting my three drives for Drivepool.

Before I tackle anything however - I need to understand the risks of any possible data loss etc with respect to my existing "pool". As you mention above - Drivepool should "recreate" the pool automatically once I reconnect the drives but what if it does not work? My fear is that any monkeying around with the drives may suddenly corrupt the pool and leave me hanging with major problems.

Are there any real dangers I need to be aware of when switching from the standard ports over to the LSI SAS? 

I see my new order of things going something like this:

  1. Deactivate the StableBit DrivePool license on existing server build
  2. Shut down the system
  3. Disconnect data drives (but leave them in the box)
  4. Upgrade firmware on LSI and confirm it is in IT mode
  5. Power up
  6. Install Server 2016 (wiping C during install)
  7. Ensure that LSI controller driver is working in Server 2016
  8. Do basic config of new server install and shut down
  9. Reconnect existing data drives
  10. Power up and ensure data drives show in Disk Manager
  11. Create new mountpoints for data drives
  12. Install/Activate the StableBit DrivePool (And Scanner) software for new build
  13. Let it to "automagically" (automatically) recreate the pool on this new build
  14. Continue with rest of server config.

Thoughts?

Cheers!

Sonic

 

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Yes, you want them in "IT Mode" as that sets it as a "dumb" HBA (controller) with no RAID functionality. 

 

And yes, that process sounds about right. Especially the "automagically" part. ;)

As for the pool, if something "goes wrong", as long as the drives are accessible and you can see the hidden PoolPart folders on all o the disks, then you can recover the pool. It just may take a bit more work.

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1 hour ago, hakank22 said:

Reading this makes me assume scanner and pool licenses are compatible, mine are currently on WHS 2011, with 2016 essentials, right?

My upgrade worked perfectly - with the disclaimer that "upgrade" in this case meant a complete clean install of Server 2016 to a new system drive. I did however have a critical need to maintain my existing data drives.

Both Drivepool and Scanner installed flawlessly - and especially for Drivepool - it picked up the pool (once I reattached my existing drives) like nothing had happened - saving me days of time backing up and restoring up to 10TB of data.

Regarding Essentials 2016 - I would assume you should be good as well.

Sonic.

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4 hours ago, hakank22 said:

Reading this makes me assume scanner and pool licenses are compatible, mine are currently on WHS 2011, with 2016 essentials, right?

Yup.  It's a lifetime license that belongs to you, and includes all upgrades, and can be moved to a new system/OS.

2 hours ago, Sonicmojo said:

My upgrade worked perfectly - with the disclaimer that "upgrade" in this case meant a complete clean install of Server 2016 to a new system drive. I did however have a critical need to maintain my existing data drives.

Both Drivepool and Scanner installed flawlessly - and especially for Drivepool - it picked up the pool (once I reattached my existing drives) like nothing had happened - saving me days of time backing up and restoring up to 10TB of data.

Regarding Essentials 2016 - I would assume you should be good as well.

Sonic.

I'm glad to hear it! 

And yeah, the automatic rebuild of the pool is very nice!

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