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Understanding Ordered File Placement


Targg
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Hello!

I am relatively new to the Stablebit set of programs, but am loving all three so far!  However, I do have one problem that stems from my lack of knowledge.

I have 11 drives, ranging from 500gb to 8TB.  I also have a 12th "drive," which is a 3rd generation DAS Drobo with 4x4TB disks in it.  Drivepool sees it as one large drive (which it should). 

Drivepool works great, but it sees the Drobo as a 16TB drive, and wants to put all material on it, since it appears to have the most available space.  That's a problem, since the Drobo really starts throwing alerts after 10.85 TB due to its own duplication (it's one reason I want to move away from using it, but don't have the space to completely abandon it yet).  It would be an easy fix if Drobo would allow users to disable this and use it as a JBOD enclosure, but there isn't a way to do that from what I can see.

I have looked at Ordered File Placement, but don't really understand how to set it up.  If I enable it as the only balancer, there is nothing on the right (it simply says "No Settings").  According to the documentation, I should be able to set up a fill order to the disks, but for the life of me can't seem to understand how to do this.  

Basically, I want the 11 other disks to fill up first, and leave the 16TB Drobo as a last resort.  Is there a way to do this?  From what I have been reading on these forums, it should be possible, but my lack of technical know-how seems to be the actual roadblock.

You guys have a great set of products, and I have been happy with everything thus far, so much so that I have purchased DrivePool and Scanner for both my home machines, and CloudDrive for one.  I just hope that you can help me understand the File Placement rules and/or the Ordered File Placement Plugin so that I can enjoy it even more! 

  

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Have you tried using Windows Disk Management snap-in and creating 2 logical 5TB volumes on the Drobo?  Drivepool works equally well with logical partitions, it doesn't need full physical drives.  You won't get the benefit of auto-evacuation like you would with standalone drives, but you're limited by the Drobo's hardware.

A combination of the Ordered File Placement plugin and hierarchical pools, you should be able to achieve what you want.  Create a child pool using the 11 primary drives you want to fill up first.  Then another child pool separately using the (2?) logical 5TB volumes from the Drobo.  Then create a top-level pool and add in both child pools as members.  Install & enable the Ordered File Placement plugin (a separate download) on the top-level pool and tell it to fill up the 11-drive child pool first, before starting to fill the Drobo child pool.

The images below use some small placeholder drives to achieve, but it gives you an idea of how easy the architecture is to set up:

 

0V1DwF3.png

 

bFdTxDW.png

 

There may be another option: talking directly to the drives in the Drobo enclosure and bypassing the controller (called Direct IO in Scanner), but I'm only familiar with how to do it in Scanner, and unsure if Drivepool offers the feature.

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Thanks for the reply!

From what I am seeing in your solution, the drives would have to be empty.  Currently I have 10.4 TB of information on the Drobo that I can't remove due to lack of other drives that can hold that capacity.  

I am curious as to why I don't see anything on the right when I choose Ordered File Placement (see image)?  I assume it is because I need to preset rules as to which drives to fill up first, but I really can't seem to figure out how to do so.  If I could just tell DrivePool to fill other drives first rather than the default of it choosing the Drobo as the first disk (since it sees it as having the most available space), it would fix the issue.  I just don't know how to do that (although the documentation seems to say that it is possible).

I can't wait until I can get enough other drives to evacuate the data from the Drobo and put the drives that are inside of it into a JBOD system, which would fix the issue.  Drobo's insistence that 1/3 of the space be allocated to duplication (even when you don't want it), makes me realize the limits of using such a device.

2018-09-11.jpg

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That's a little odd, and since I can't see the primary pool setup I'm going to take a wild guess and say your plugin version and Drivepool version aren't both the latest (?) or are mis-matched.  I have no idea why the plugin wouldn't display - even a 1-volume pool STILL shows me the full UI:

 

YFB74OI.png

 

I'd double-check versions on all Drivepool software (the main package and all the separately installed plugins), and uninstall/reinstall any that seem to be out of date.  Then stop/start the Drivepool service and check again.  Or for good measure uninstall all Drivepool software, re-download what you use, and reinstall it all.  It won't affect the pool.

Either way - I've tried toggling every setting in the main balancing Settings tab that I can think of that might affect a plugin's ability to run, and the UI for that plugin still shows for me every time.  Something's wonky on your end, I think.

The drives don't have to be empty for that balancer to work either - it has a setting "Control new file placement and move the existing files into the pre-defined order", which should be a retroactive setting that works on existing files (in the pool) as well as new.  BUT - if you can't get the Drobo empty, then you'd have to do a rather ugly shuffle of reducing the volume size to just large enough to hold data, create a new volume in the empty space, move over what you can, and repeat ad-nauseum until you had it all on the new volume(s).

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Hah!  Your help made me look a bit further into the plugins themselves and I figured it out. :)

The problem was that I don't connect directly to my server, but manage it remotely from my PC (they are in different rooms).  I use Drivepool on both, and use DrivePool's remote access to configure the server's pool.  

I had the Ordered File Placement plugin installed on the server's copy, but not on my local copy.  Once I installed the plugin on my local copy of DrivePool, my server's disks showed up on the right!  

This might be something to look into adding to the documentation (unless I missed it), that a plugin has to be on both systems if you are using Stablebit's remote access to connect to another machine.  

Thanks to you, Jaga, for your help in troubleshooting the problem.  I would have never looked into uninstalling the plugins if not for you, and that is what led me to wonder about having the plugins on both machines. :)

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On 9/11/2018 at 8:55 PM, Targg said:

I had the Ordered File Placement plugin installed on the server's copy, but not on my local copy.  Once I installed the plugin on my local copy of DrivePool, my server's disks showed up on the right!  

That's .... odd, because normally it should error out when trying to connect remotely, then. 

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1 hour ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

That's .... odd, because normally it should error out when trying to connect remotely, then. 

Not sure what to tell you... it's been working wonderfully since my last post.  I didn't see any errors when I had the plugin only installed on the remote computer (see my above picture), but the options simply weren't showing up until I added the plugin to my local computer.  Either way, I am happy it works! :)

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