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back to article Windows 8 Storage Spaces: Can you trust it with your delicates?

I have been watching a few Storage Spaces discussion threads on Microsoft’s support forums with interest. Storage Spaces is a new way to manage disk storage in Windows 8 and Server 2012. It allows you to create a pool from two or more drives, create virtual drives on them with an option for RAID-like resilience, and add or …

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What did you expect?

Software Raid 5 is simply hopeless for any kind of performance and since it is striped parity it was bound to default to the lowest sized spindle.

Although someone seems to have made a gaff and given the whole volume the size of one spindle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What did you expect?

doesn't seem to be what microsoft expected - if this was just meant to be a raid 5 setup it wouldn't take microsoft long to work it out

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FAIL

WOM

Microsoft have finally build Write-Only-Media

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WTF?

And this is labelled as a "Release Candidate"?

Sounds more like an Alpha or early Beta to me, perhaps we ought to blame developers such as Google for labelling things incorrectly (Google do tend to leave the label of Beta on things for many years after release).

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FAIL

Software RAID is a mess on any OS but worse on Microsoft

.. because on Microsoft it just loses data like nothing..

It's a bad implementation of ZFS Raid Z.. and Microsoft couldn't even copy it properly so it seems.

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WTF?

Re: Software RAID is a mess on any OS but worse on Microsoft

"It's a bad implementation of ZFS Raid Z.. and Microsoft couldn't even copy it properly so it seems."

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about how one goes about finding out if a binary contains stuff from other applications.

Is it possible to decompile the binary and run something like DIFF on the the two to see if they contain identical code?

Or do you mean that MS have taken the concept of ZFS Raid Z and tried to write something that copies the functionality of Raid Z, but have failed?

Given the overheated feelings in the IT world over "copying" at the moment would not the first situation mean a possible law suit heading towards Redmond from Oracle?

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Stop

Re: Software RAID is a mess on any OS but worse on Microsoft

It's not really a rip-off of ZFS (although it does use some of the same ideas), it's more of a rip-off of Drobo.

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Bronze badge

Re: Software RAID is a mess on any OS but worse on Microsoft

It's a bad implementation of ZFS Raid Z

It doesn't look like an attempt to implement ZFS to me; it looks like the logical volume management that some other OSes have had for decades. Linux has had LVM since 1999 (the 2.2 kernel); AIX has had it since 1989 (AIX 3.0). Mainframes and minis had it before then.

As others have noted, server versions of Windows supported RAID-0 and disk spanning back in the '90s too; that's apparently not all of what's in Storage Spaces, but it's a good part of it.

In short, it's hard to see Storage Spaces as anything exciting, and it seems like many of the issues people are having with it are due to user confusion, probably because the UI tries too hard to be easy to use.

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Not sure of the purpose of Storage Spaces?

If anyone wants a reliable storage facility using multiple drives for redundancy then they should really be using a proper RAID solution. I've never found software RAIDs reliable. By providing these solutions, Win 8/2012 is encouraging people to use them. My advice is never to do storage on the cheap - not if you care about the safety of the data.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Not sure of the purpose of Storage Spaces?

Isn't it more useful for abstracting the size of your 'drive' from the physical drives you've got plugged in... you add another 500Gb and your drive is magically 500Gb bigger?

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Anonymous Coward

I hate

that type of abstraction. It's like abstracting how many tires on your car have tread or are inflated. ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Is this supposed to be like Disk Extender in the old Windows Home Server?

Disk Extender was a pretty neat deal - but Microsoft dumped it when they came out with the new WHS (code named Vail IIRC). It wasn't RAID.

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works well for me...

Ive been using the storage pools on server2012 which is much the same as the 2008 code... there is no magic bullet with redundancy, the disks all do drop down to the lowest denominator.... its impossible to store parity for a 2TB dsik on a 320GB drive...

Write speeds on my test array - 2x3TB and 1x2TB are good (all7200rpm drives) Ive not run HD tune but reading and writing over the network to the box produces read write in the region of 50-60MB/s

The storage array has perfomed surprisingly well in my testing - surviving a simulated two disk failure and OS install (with the OS reinstall the space needed to be reattatched with a powershell script to connect at startup)

The space does just disconnect and vanish when you hit the limit - this is a bit annoying, an alert should be posted up, or the disk just appear full.

but remember these are pre-release test bulids - the disclaimers are all full of 'Use at own risk' so the moaning minnies should just man up or wait for the code to turn gold.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: works well for me...

famous last words.

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Stop

Re: works well for me...

"The space does just disconnect and vanish when you hit the limit - this is a bit annoying, ... "

Maybe I'm a little picky about these things, but I'd call that a lot more than a bit annoying. At the polite end of the scale are words like "broken".

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Mushroom

Re: works well for me...

Why are you still using pre-release builds when RTM is available for download?

If you chose Parity, then by design it will only scale to the smallest multiple of disk size.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/05/virtualizing-storage-for-scale-resiliency-and-efficiency.aspx

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h3
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This is not like ZFS

ReFS is probably closer to ZFS.

(This is more like the Drive Extender that was in the first home server release.)

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Anonymous Coward

MS standard procedure almost followed to the letter...

...They just didn't name it Version 1.0.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

Yet another reason not to trust Windoze!

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Mushroom

Re: Hmmm

It's a pre release version he is using.

I doubt that RTM has the same issues. Pre release = build 8400. RTM = build 9200.

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Idiot -- he made a RAID 0 array

Upon reaching ~0.9 TB -- Remember that number, commentards: That's 320 GB x 3 -- the storage space vanished! Yes, vanished.

After invoking the Storage Space Manager, I discovered that the space was deemed “full” and that I was to add another disc. I also took a look at the volumes itself. Hmmh. The 320 GB disc was 100% filled, the 1 TB was at 32% and the 2 TB at 16%. And what are 32% of 1 TB and 16% of 2 TB? Why, 320 GB!

So, instead of creating a Parity storage space, it simply downsized every hard disc to the lowest denominator, i.e. 320 GB.

The idiot created a RAID 0 array, and a RAID 0 array will pick the smallest disk in the array to base the size of the array from. This was like the software RAID 0 capability that was included in Windows since Windows NT 3.5. At least in NT 3.5 the remainders of the other disks would still be available, and (having not looked at Storage Spaces on Win 8 yet) I'll guess that the remainders of the other disks are still available for other uses.

A RAID 0 array is not the same as an extended volume, which is not dependent on the sizes of the disks. That was introduced in Windows 2000 with dynamic disk partitioning.

A parity storage array would be at least RAID 5, also known as "striping with parity." And that would be 640 GB with three 320 GB disks, not 0.9 TB.

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Re: Idiot -- he made a RAID 0 array

if you read the article, it seems the manager software said the maximum size would be 2T.

Maybe the storage manager should have shown the collective disk to be 320G in size ?

I seem to recall there is at least one company that sells NAS enclosures, where you can mix and match different sized disks, and get RAID5-like redundancy, wihtout being limited to the smalles disksize.

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You mean this?

The manager talks about the storage space having a 2 TB capacity, but directly above it talks about a 3.01 pool capacity?

So is this a documentation problem? Or is it a 'I don't know what RAID is' problem?

How about someone else here (I don't have a collection of varying sized disks) attempt to reproduce the problem before jumping all over, "argh, never trust M$!!!!!11!!1!one!"

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Re: Idiot -- he made a RAID 0 array

Anyone who starts out with 3 dissimilar sized disks and imagines he will have a disk larger than the smallest size disk, in a RAID 5, is not paying enough attention to the setup.

At the very least it is at this time that you question is this thing working, not plow ahead and hope that MS has proved a great new tool that will create space out of air.

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FAIL

This sounds like exactly the kind of Microsoft designed "feature" you would be a complete fool to trust.

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Silver badge

Linux

LVM - it works

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I’m not an economic racist – honestly

I blame the coding and design team: its Indian based. Honestly those people are brought up in a Religious system that fosters illogical thinking. I honestly think – Microsoft is downright stupid for going cheap.

(I am from South East Asia - btw)

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