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Windows Server 2012 Thread, New fileserver - how to do storage? in Technical; This may be in the wrong place (How do you do it...??) and the topic is probably all over the ...
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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    New fileserver - how to do storage?

    This may be in the wrong place (How do you do it...??) and the topic is probably all over the place.

    But.....

    Getting a new server to act as a fileserver. It will store user homedrives and probably 2 other network shared drives.

    It will have 2 HDD's set as mirrored for the host OS (Server 2012 R2). It will then have 10x 3Tb drives for the share storage.

    My question is... what is the best/most efficient way to setup the storage for the 10 drives?

    I don't really want to use RAID 10 due to losing half the space but other options could be RAID 5, RAID 6 or some quirky VHD/Storage Pool option in Server 2012.

    Any preferences???

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    Quote Originally Posted by themightymrp View Post
    I don't really want to use RAID 10 due to losing half the space but other options could be RAID 5, RAID 6 or some quirky VHD/Storage Pool option in Server 2012.
    On a Windows server, I'd be tempted to look at Storage Spaces - extensible and fault-tolerant, although probably not the most efficient in terms of amount of usable TBs you'll get from your 10 disks.

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    What would you say is the best way of setting that up? Would I create a VHDX on each separate HDD and then combine them into some kind of RAID-5 storage in the Storage Space? Which obviously you would then have to create ANOTHER VHDX inside that new 'pool'.

    If I'm getting this right in my head ?? Only just learning the 70-410 Server 2012 content so Storage Spaces are a new toy for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by themightymrp View Post
    What would you say is the best way of setting that up?
    I don't know - we're setting up a Ceph server here, not a Windows Storage Spaces server. They seem to be similar concepts, though, so I imagine it might be a similar setup, which in the case of Ceph means setting up a filesystem on each harddrive (BTRFS, in our case) and assigning each harddrive to a separate management process.

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    Sounds complicated to me... that's a lot of storage and lots of individual hardware that could go wrong.

    Having 10 separate disks increases the likelihood of 1 of them failing by 10 times. So make sure you use redundancy in some way. I'd probably go RAID 5 but with a mind to reducing the number of disks used.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    With disks of that size, I would follow @seawolf's earlier advice - you really shouldn't use RAID 5. The likelihood of a failure during a rebuild is basically 1 in 1. If they were small disks (eg. 300GB or less) then RAID 6 would be my choice, anything over that size and I would look at things like ZFS or Storage Spaces etc...

    In this case I'd say storage spaces is a good option, definitely. As far as I'm aware, all you do for storage spaces is have the disks as normal disks, then select them as your storage spaces array and it does everything for you. You don't need to combine it with RAID.
    Last edited by localzuk; 5th June 2014 at 01:44 PM.

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    Is that effectively like a software version of RAID then? With Windows handling everything?

    I think I agree that RAID 5 is out, I'm just weighing up between RAID 6 and the Storage Space options now. If I can get my head around it then I will go with the Storage Space. How redundant is it??

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    flexibility is what appears to be its biggest gain, coupled with the fact you can add in drives without the need to reboot (if hotswapping) and the storage can be added straight to a pool.

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    Hmmm, from what I've just been reading, Storage Spaces set up in Windows don't like sitting on top of a Hardware RAID system (you get warning messages). So I would need to create storage using bare individual disks.

    However, it would appear that the parity option (Raid 5) of Storage Spaces are very slow on write speed when compared to other options.

    This is getting tough! Does anybody use Storage Spaces on their servers who can give me some real world performance examples?

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    Quote Originally Posted by themightymrp View Post
    Is that effectively like a software version of RAID then? With Windows handling everything?

    I think I agree that RAID 5 is out, I'm just weighing up between RAID 6 and the Storage Space options now. If I can get my head around it then I will go with the Storage Space. How redundant is it??
    It is redundant as you want it to be - you tell it how many disks to use for striping etc... during setup. You can tell it to mirror or stripe or double stripe etc...

    Also, performance is much better with 2012 R2 than it was in earlier versions. So, don't discount it on performance.
    Last edited by localzuk; 5th June 2014 at 12:30 PM.

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    Assuming you've got a decent RAID card in there with battery backup'd write cache, I'd go for Raid 10, or if you can't tolerate the loss of space, Raid 6 with a hot spare.

    It would be worth benchmarking storage spaces before you decide to go with it.

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    Taking the above advice into consideration (and that I haven't fully had chance to play with Storage Spaces yet), I'm going to go with RAID 6. Tried and tested and gives me 2 drive failure to work with.

    Thanks all!!

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    Some numbers for you regarding RAID5 - if you use standard SATA disks (WD Blue or Red I believe), which come with a 1 per 10^14 URE, you would have about a 90.9% chance of a rebuild failing.
    If the disks are 1 per 10^15 URE spec (WD RE4), then that probability drops to a 21.3% chance of failure.
    1 per 10^16 (SAS type usually) has a 2.6% chance of failure.

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    We have HP G8 server with 8 x 300Gb HP SAS disks. I went with 2 mirrored for the OS (2012 R2) and RAID 5 on the remaining 6 disks. The VMs (which hold all user docs and shared drives) are on the RAID, with each VM replicated to another server

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