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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Being a Network Administrator, I work in a mode I like to call Break/Fix.
If it aint broke don't fix it, but if it looks bent it might as well be broke.
So coming off the heels of my Network upgrade, and fixing my stuttering pausing issue.
I was trying to watch a Blu Ray stream over the internet from my WHS displaying at my brothers house.
It isn't working. So it's Broke....
So here's the tie in to my recent network upgrade.
I upgraded to a comcast Business grade connection, so I have gone from a residential grade upload of 2mb to a whopping 7mb on avg..
This is crucial 2mb up is not enough for HD, it's ok for basic tv but not HD.
Hardware wise, I am taking an HTPC dropping its HDMI output to 720P.
(Lower res is easier to deal with)
I will then run that through an HDMI > Component converter, that in turn will go into my Slingbox Pro HD.
Ive just about got this setup and will test it this weekend.
With the goal of being able to have netflix like playback at a remote location, from my movie system.

Update to follow, I'm sure someone else will want to stream HD to a friend or family member.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:23 pm 
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So what’s your media streaming service called....... Chasflix?
Are you offering any promotions? It kinda hard to compete with Netflix's offering of a 1 month free trial

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:01 am 
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Actually, we call it FatmanTV...

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:23 pm 
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I'm so ashamed of my messy cabinet.
Attachment:
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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:14 am 
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I've seen much worse! :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:40 am 
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I just got rid of my rack and all extra servers/switches in an attempt to clean stuff up for the wife. Servers were formated and a basic OS installed and given away to those in need of a computer, rest given to co-workers. I'm left with an office pc, norco 4220 whs, 3 laptops, security pc, and htpc with the minimal hardware for networking. Seeing your ASA fun, makes me jealous.


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:40 pm 
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Don't be.
I use an ASA5510 at work with a slightly older OS, and every time I try to use those methods on this ASA5505 which has a newer OS I get either odd behavior or error messages.
It's forcing this old dog to learn new tricks.

Either that or I may have to give into my pride and call Cisco on some of this.

Anyone got a Cisco (Ver8.3) for dummies book laying around. hahaha just joking I will figure it out.

BTW Ladino started it with his ASA, I saw that and had to have one so blame him....

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:30 am 
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Chasrobin wrote:
Don't be.
I use an ASA5510 at work with a slightly older OS, and every time I try to use those methods on this ASA5505 which has a newer OS I get either odd behavior or error messages.
It's forcing this old dog to learn new tricks.

Either that or I may have to give into my pride and call Cisco on some of this.

Anyone got a Cisco (Ver8.3) for dummies book laying around. hahaha just joking I will figure it out.

BTW Ladino started it with his ASA, I saw that and had to have one so blame him....


LOL. I've resorted to just using the old tried and true hamachi vpn. Works great for allowing me to sync systems to my whs across the country for family I help out.


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:20 pm 
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Ok time for an update, Given vails Changes there was less of a reason to wait.
As I use a two system setup to run my server needs.
I use a standard MSS ex490 as my basic catch all and web server, which I still plan to upgrade to vail when available.
But it will never have more than 1 or two drives in it, low power and quiet are the thoughts here.
Now The Beast is a whole different story.
Seeing how WHS was never a perfect fit there and I was hoping Vail would fix some of my dislikes but Microsoft has completely changed the game with recent changes.
So to that end I have purchased a copy of Windows Server 2008 STD, and a new 500G os drive, and a brand new 3TB WD30EZRS drive.
Attachment:
3TBdrive.JPG
3TBdrive.JPG [ 22.33 KiB | Viewed 4177 times ]

My plan here is to use Server 2008 to handle my heavy lifting file serving needs while the MSS acts as a front end.
I will be testing out a MASSIVE GPT volume spanned accross drives of different makes, sizes, and formats GPT/MBR/Basic/Dynamic. supposedly this will have no effect on its ability to extend a volume accross multiple drives.
Initial test will be small approx 6TB-8TB.
I will start with a 3tb drive and add, multiple 2tb, 1.5tb, 1tb drives all the while adding files to the volume to check for reliability and corruption.
I know I could run vail in a VM on The Beast, but it eats way to much power to have it on 24/7 so the Beast shuts down automatically when not in use, and my low power MSS provides remote access and common files like music, photos, MyMovies database etc.. This combo has worked wonders and you wouldnt know my movie collection was only available on demand unless I told you.

I should have this test complete in early Jan, if this goes well I plan to migrate my entire storage pool to the 2008 extened GPT volume.
Of course this does nothing for folder duplication, which will be a part two issue, however the MSS backup should work well in this arrangement.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:32 pm 
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OK, so I got some new drives and a copy of 2008 and started the GPT test.

Install Server 2008 and do basic setup.
Insert blank Drive
Attachment:
GPT1.jpg
GPT1.jpg [ 208.89 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]

Step #1 initialize the Hard Drive as GPT.
Attachment:
GPT2.jpg
GPT2.jpg [ 220.27 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]

Convert to Dynamic
Attachment:
GPT3.jpg
GPT3.jpg [ 191.87 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]

Create a simple volume
Attachment:
GPT4.jpg
GPT4.jpg [ 205.99 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]

Inserted existing donor drive with test data confirmed system see's the files
Attachment:
GPT5.jpg
GPT5.jpg [ 157.63 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]

Waiting for first drive to finish formatting
I opted to stay with the default clust size, theres some discussion if this will cause a 16TB volume limitation or not. (I don't think so)
But I wanted to stay as close to simple as possible and figure if my collection out grows a 16TB volume its time to sort by Genre anyway. One volume for Action/Thriller and another for everything else.
If this bugs you use a larger cluster size when formating the drive, just remember a 1k file will use the whole amount of the smallest cluster. i.e a 64k clust means a 1k file will use 64K of drive space.
Default is 4K and if you imagine 16TB per mountable drive letter thats roughly 384TB in my case. (Again I don't believe this is a real limit I feel it's a throwback to GPT volumes on 32bit systems)

Attachment:
GPT6.jpg
GPT6.jpg [ 203.76 KiB | Viewed 4148 times ]


Ok so the test went as expected, you can indeed easily extend a GPT volume accross multiple drives of differing type without data loss.
There is a caveate here, if you have multiple controllers they should be the exact same firmware make model etc...
Also as this is seen by the OS as one giant volume if any part of it fails the whole thing fails.
For redundancy you may want to consider doing small raid 5 volumes, then extending the GPT volume accross the raid 5 set.
So if there is a drive failure you would need to replace the dead drive, let the raid rebuild, resart and hopefully the GPT volume could be re-enabled.
DE deffinately has the advantage here a single drive failure does not cost you your entire collection.
You can also simply create two volumes and use synch toys or shadow copy to keep a duplicate of the folders.
I can see a need for a simple software raid setup, but that would require 3 matching drives for each growth spurt.
Hmmmm 2TB drive @ 130ea X 3 = $390 and would net you approx 3.6TB usable space

I will edit this post adding things as I go.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:52 pm 
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Ok, so my GPT test went well but the prospects of piling 17+TB of movies into a single non redundant volume made my posterior pucker, and being forced to add space in raid sets made my wallet run in fear.
I thought long and hard how could I have lots of expandable space yet have it appear to be a single volume while protecting the data down to single drive level. i.e. DE.
In DE if you loose a single drive that not duplicated thats all you loose the rest is still ok.
With an extended GPT volume you loose all data that resides in the volume which can contaim multiple drives.

I wanted a DE look alike with better performance, I checked out flexraid which looks promising but strikes me as an unpolished gem.
I didn't want to trust my collection to an unknown.
So here's what I found I hope this will help others.

I will use GPT volumes but keep them to an initial size of 2TB, I know who wants a whole bunch of 2TB drives thats too hard to find anything.
This is where we get interesting instead of assigning drive letters to the new volumes we will use whats called Mount points.
You can read about them here. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/datacenter/?p=383
So I will have my primary share and inside that share I will have mount points representing the individual volumes named such as Action, Comedy, Children, Music, Software etc.
And since this is handled directly through windows any drives I want duplicated I can simply mirror the volume.
Should you want folder level duplication I think DFS (Distributed file system) is an option, it also a native Microsoft app/service.

So from my client PC's I will see a single drive letter, the individual volumes will be expandable without destroying existing data.
I will have duplication where needed and I have replicated the single failure action of DE as well as the drives will be mountable on any PC running Vista or newer.

I will also write a tool to collect a text file listing of every volume hourly to keep a log of whats in each volume in case there's a failure I can re-rip the missing collection from the originals.

BTW, This method also eliminates the A-Z drive letter limitation which would limit you to 24 Drives.
All of the mountpoints from the server will appear as one single drive with folders for sorting by genre then sub sorted alpha.

So it would look like
D:\movies\action\DRV_A-C This would represent the path MyMovies would see.
the logical path shows a single drive but the physical path would be .
Server = \\Beast
Share = Share on the client map drive to \\Beast\share = D:\
Then on server creat mountpoint for a single 2TB drive set the mountpoint path to c:\share\movies\action\DRV_A-C
Then move action films that start with A-C to that drive
Repeat steps to create volumes for movies starting with D-F and so forth

OK here what this vision will look like when complete
This is the top level share from the server, and is the point thats maps on the clients.
This allows for changes to appear on the client automatically with no further tweaks.
And represents the root where all the volumes come together.
Attachment:
GPTa1.jpg
GPTa1.jpg [ 70.44 KiB | Viewed 4104 times ]

This panel shows the "Movies" root mountpoint
Attachment:
gpta2.jpg
gpta2.jpg [ 67.32 KiB | Viewed 4104 times ]

This panel shows the actual volumes each folder represents a real physical drive or volume.
Keep in mind that as we are using GPT volumes I can always extend the volume across another drive to grow that particular volume thereby never running out of drive space and being forced to reallocate space.
Attachment:
gpta3.jpg
gpta3.jpg [ 70.34 KiB | Viewed 4104 times ]

This panel shows an example of the way item would be stored
Attachment:
gpta4.jpg
gpta4.jpg [ 68.24 KiB | Viewed 4104 times ]


What are the pros of this method.
Greatly expandable without moving data around.
If there were a need to move data you can move just the portion effected.
It's not dependent on a particular vendor or speed of drive.
Once drive are indexed they have very few changes and also do not involve balancing as in DE.
It uses standard built in windows function to achieve this nothing exotic and is 100% available today.
Also compatible with any raid or JBOD arrangement.

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Ex490 E6400 4gb ram


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:15 pm 
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AAARRRGGHHH! I lost a 1.5TB drive last week.
After a server restart it simply failed to mount, and even after buying a donar drive and swapping the logic boards it still would not mount.
And Given all of my recent test I decided it was time to pull the trigger.
I was originally going to use Server2008, but had a simply awful time with driver support.
Sleep mode was causing my hardware to crash.
And I have been kicking around the idea of using "The Beast" as my workstation for some time.
So to that end I installed Windows7 Ultimate, and over the weekend have been moving the drives one at a time from the storage pool to the NEW BEAST.
Converting them to GPT and spanning them into 4TB volumes, these in turn are setup with mountpoints.
So all my client HTPC's still just see one drive.
I also make sure all my systems have matching mappings so "MyMovies" etc.. shortcuts and links/paths all match no matter from where they are run.
So far the performance has been night and day compared to WHSv1, no more random indexing and DE-Balancing in the middle of playback.
Of course I now have to manage where files go manually, but I actually preffer that.
And of course my system now supports drives of any size, Advanced formatted or not.
And best of all my sleep mode now functions properly spinning down unused drives and waking up when my client systems attach to the shares so far so good.
I will post screen shots once I get everything sorted and cleaned up it still looks like a work in progress, not to mention rebuilding the lost 1.5TB files.

BTW, using this method I now have Tuner support as well as MediaCenter integration and xbox support Yahoo!
And since it's now my workstation it gets dailey attention unlike when it was soley a server weeks would go by without me noticing log entries.
Now I see the alerts instantly I just wish add-on worked with Windows 7.
I would love some of the add-on tools in this environment.

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Current DIY server DL380 G6 2xquad core 2.8ghz 32GB rdimm ram 512mb 2xHP 410 raid with 2x sas expanders (2 X norco RPC-4220) 48 slots stacked with room to grow.
30TB (Movie/File/Music)Win 2012 essentials 64bit Storage spaces
Ex490 E6400 4gb ram


Last edited by Chasrobin on Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:24 pm 
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I have been looking into using Win 7 for the server i am building but i am looking into a solution for the remote access. I kind of like to have the remote website whs has. I am not to worried about duplication because i can always use a program to mirror the share folder. What i like the most about Win 7 is that it does not have the limit in hard drives nor the limit on the HDD size.

I agree it would be nice to have add ins that work on 7.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:32 pm 
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You can remote into windows 7.
You can use the RDC (Remote desktop Connection) it uses port 3389.
Just use port forwarding as you would for the WHS.
If that isn't good enough you can get a Avocent or similar IP KVM off ebay for around $100 and that will work.
Or if you still have you MSS, use it as your external webserver, then from it you can remote your win7 box.

All else fails load up a small whs install in VM and let it run as your external presence.


THere are tons of ways to skin that cat.

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Ex490 E6400 4gb ram


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:44 pm 
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I complete forgot port 3389 :crazy: .

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