Windows 10 Storage Spaces

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merk

New member
Sep 19, 2020
3
0
USA
Not sure why I never noticed Storage Spaces before, but I just stumbled on it and it grabbed my attention. Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with it? Thanks!
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
275
142
Ontario, Canada
Never used it, but conceptually it's the same idea, I think, as what Unraid does with storage. It's not block based redundancy, it's file based.

 

Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
33
15
Nova Scotia, Canada
I've been using it since the Windows 10 "Creator's Edition" when you could create a Storage Pool formatted with ReFS. I have a 3 column Parity Storage Space with ReFS over five hard drives.
It's working well so far, I had a WD Blue drive start complaining of bad sectors and was able to remove the bad drive and replace it with no problems other than WD sending me defective replacement drives 2 times :(.

The GUI for setting up the Pool and then Storage Space is very limited. You need to use PowerShell if you want to specify the number of columns and interleave. I have the commands saved if you (or anyone) is interested and they're easily found on the internets. Once you set up the type of Space that you want there's no changing it except for the size if you chose Thin Provisioning. You can always make it bigger never smaller. Thin Provisioning only takes up the space on the physical drives that the data is using, FIxed allocates the total specified space on the drives.

Simple Space ~ RAID0
2 Way Mirror ~ RAID1
Parity ~ RAID5
 
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merk

New member
Sep 19, 2020
3
0
USA
I decided to give it a try with a couple random HDDs laying around. So far, it's not working out so well. First, I tried using two 2TB drives. One is WD and the other Seagate. They are old drives and had old data on them. After a lot of fiddling around (going into safe mode), I finally got a message that one drive couldn't be added to the pool (it said something about checking a cable). I canceled out and the WD drive was in a pool, so I deduced it was the Seagate drive that had the issue. It didn't surprise me, to be honest. I removed that one and swapped in a 4TB Seagate that was also just sitting around. Well, that one ended up not working either. Then, I hooked up a 4TB external Seagate drive. Guess what happened? It didn't work either. So, I'm not sure what the magic combo is for making it work, but I am not having a good go with it yet.

EDIT: After thinking about this more. Perhaps these drives were set aside for a reason.... I may have set them out because of various issues like excessive read times and SMART warnings.
 
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Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
33
15
Nova Scotia, Canada
Although it's supposed to deal with any drive and give the option to add a drive with data on it I've seen it fail too.
You could try to format the drive and maybe remove the drive letter then try to add it. That worked for me. Had to low level format a drive too to get it added; today's version of low level format.
 
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Mitchell.Piercy

New member
Oct 1, 2020
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I use it on my main desktop and one backup server. It works great except for the issue with the Windows 10 May 2020 update, and this issue is fixed with the latest patches.
 

Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
33
15
Nova Scotia, Canada
I use it on my main desktop and one backup server. It works great except for the issue with the Windows 10 May 2020 update, and this issue is fixed with the latest patches.
Ahhh, thanks for that.
I stayed away from updating because of that issue, then promptly forgot about checking back to see if it got fixed.
 

micsaund

Member
Oct 20, 2020
5
1
I've heard some bad stories of SS, but don't have experience, personally.

When I was looking at storage solutions for Windows, I found a tool called StableBit DrivePool that had a ton of great reviews and long-term users, at a fair price (I'm not affiliated, nor have I ever bought it -- it was just a very strong candidate in my short list of possible options). It's a file-level replicator with a nice GUI/etc. that may be worth your consideration.
 
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PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
275
142
Ontario, Canada
StableBit DrivePool
I had the StableBit page already bookmarked, but I've never actually tried their software. I am temped to try their drive pool software but Unraid is more tempting I think. Their cloud pool is interesting.. I remember emailing support at one time, to see if they offered a multi-PC sync, and as I recall they did not. (When @Steve was investigating sync options, I had thought that might work for him.) Also it would get expensive if you actually wanted it on multiple machines (I mean isn't that kind of the point of clouding?)

I see they have a new free service from the same backing company, https://bitflock.com/ . It reads the S.M.A.R.T. data from your system's drives and makes a nice web page about them https://bitflock.com/demo . I could see where they could potentially use machine learning or something to better understand what changing S.M.A.R.T. attributes really mean for a given drive.
 

micsaund

Member
Oct 20, 2020
5
1
I had the StableBit page already bookmarked, but I've never actually tried their software. I am temped to try their drive pool software but Unraid is more tempting I think. Their cloud pool is interesting.. I remember emailing support at one time, to see if they offered a multi-PC sync, and as I recall they did not. (When @Steve was investigating sync options, I had thought that might work for him.) Also it would get expensive if you actually wanted it on multiple machines (I mean isn't that kind of the point of clouding?)

I see they have a new free service from the same backing company, https://bitflock.com/ . It reads the S.M.A.R.T. data from your system's drives and makes a nice web page about them https://bitflock.com/demo . I could see where they could potentially use machine learning or something to better understand what changing S.M.A.R.T. attributes really mean for a given drive.
Yeah, not sure how the licensing works. I was looking DrivePool as a 'NAS' type solution back when I was considering using Windows for a 'server', where I'd only need the $30-40 payment. I use InSync for OneDrive/etc., and they only charge "per account", so maybe the StabileBit wouldn't be so bad -- But, who knows.

I have not seen the SMART tool - I'll look into it - thanks!
 

Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
33
15
Nova Scotia, Canada
I was playing with FreeNAS in a VM a few weeks ago. If Storage Spaces bites me I will be switching to that.
I'll have to get more RAM so I can run Windows 10 in a VM on top of it though.
 

AlanD

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
94
43
Rutland UK
I have used FreeNAS, or more recently Nas4Free fork, for a couple of customers. I found it very reliable. One customer had a primary NAS used by the staff, and secondary (on site backup) NAS updated up by rsync every hour, and an offsite NAS backed up overnight from the secondary. The storage was upgraded from 80GB originally, to 500GB and then 4TB drives over a period of about 12 years. The main issue was scheduling a shutdown to clean the dust out.
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
275
142
Ontario, Canada
FreeNAS was based on BSD, but the soon to be released TrueNAS product is moving to Linux. " TrueNAS Minis will ship with the latest Stable version of FreeNAS until TrueNAS CORE is released in October "
 

AlanD

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2020
94
43
Rutland UK
The TrusNAS boxes appear to be purpose built NAS's. For my customers, I have just re-used old PC's. I think a couple of them were still running Pentium 4 processors with about 2GB RAM. It still supported about 30 users! Those boxes must have been at least 15 years old before they were replaced.
 

Ian Treleaven

New member
Sep 24, 2020
2
0
Canada
I've been using Storage Spaces on Windows Server 2016 now 2019. It works quite well. I have four 4TB drives with a 500GB SSD running as a cache for the pool. The volume is set up to provide mirrored storage. It's quite reliable and I've only had self-induced issues. PowerShell is your friend for some operations. I use NTFS on it so that Azure Backup can work. It's odd that Azure Backup can't work on ReFS but I think ReFS has very targeted usage such as hosting VMs.
 

Tazz

Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
33
15
Nova Scotia, Canada
I have four 4TB drives with a 500GB SSD running as a cache for the pool. The volume is set up to provide mirrored storage.
A question, if you don't mind.
In the Server Storage Space management stuff is there a way to change out a bad ssd cache and keep the rest of the pool intact?
As we know, Storage Spaces for windows 10 is a pale shadow of what it is in the server editions. With a lot of searching you can sometimes find a way to "make it work" in Windows 10.

I found forum postings of some people who got a tiered setup (ssd cache and some hdd's) on Win10. In a VM I followed their steps and was able to get it assembled and working. I think I used the drives in Parity. I was able to remove the hdd's and then add new ones (from the VM settings) and it re-built itself the way it's supposed to. I then removed the ssd, because they sometimes go bad, and Storage Spaces threw some kind of fit. It ended with a reboot and when it came back up I had a pool that I couldn't access and the drive letter was there but with no used or free space on it. I poked around some more and ended up deleting the VM.

I left it at that and never looked any more. Your post got me thinking again.
 

Ian Treleaven

New member
Sep 24, 2020
2
0
Canada
I've only used Storage Spaces on Windows Server but there are a lot of PowerShell examples out there which should help manage drives on Windows 10 implementations. Search for Get-PhysicalDisk, Get-StoragePool and Remove-PhysicalDisk. I found this article quite helpful:

Once you get it running with the devices you're happy with, check out the PowerShell command Optimize-StoragePool. That will get Windows to rebalance the file storage among the drives.