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Is it possible to expand a volume?

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(@ghaskins)
New Member Customer

Articles such as this:

http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news/post/storage-stories-managing-media-other-world-computing-and-g-technology-systems/607597

...imply that volume expansion may be possible. After playing around with the 5.1 trial, I can't see any obvious method of doing this so I was wondering if it is indeed possible. And if so, what are the limitations.

Ideally, what I would like to do is something like have a RAID 1+0 where I can add/remove mirror pairs (ala Linux LVM or ZFS vdev). I suspect that if volume expansion is possible at all, it is limited to replacing smaller drives with larger ones and growing the volume that way.

Does anyone know how this works?

-Greg

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 09/11/2015 11:24 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Resize volume is a command designed to make an existing volume larger or smaller.

Resize will not take a 3 drive stripe and make it a 4 drive stripe, for example.

(Or a 3 drive RAID 5 volume and make it a 4 drive RAID 5 volume)

You can take a 4 disk RAID 5 volume, and resize it from 6TB to 3TB, then create a new 3TB volume. You cannot add disks in RAID 1/4/5/10 as the way to expand the volume.

This is a possible future feature, but this technology would require moving all data around all disks, so would be relatively slow. Much easier to just backup and recreate the volume.

(You do have a backup strategy, right?)

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Posted : 09/11/2015 11:38 am
(@ghaskins)
New Member Customer

This is a possible future feature, but this technology would require moving all data around all disks, so would be relatively slow. Much easier to just backup and recreate the volume.

Understood on the mechanics, but a logical block re-org to shrink or expand the hosted volume will generally always be faster than a recreate/restore cycle and can typically be done with the data online, so there are advantages. A 4TB restore takes my system offline for at least a day, mostly gated by the GigE connection to the NAS where the local backups reside.

The problem for me right now is I had a 6 disk AppleRaid that had a disk failure that I am interested in migrating to SoftRAID. However, my short term problem is I am down to 5 disks while I wait for the RMA to process. Would like to set up a SoftRAID 1+0 temporarily with 4 disks and add the last pair in later this week so I can at least rebuild with what I have and continue to work, albeit at reduced capacity/performance. It seems it is not possible to express this in the current UI so I am probably stuck with either waiting, or going through another rebuild cycle.

Longer term, it would be nice to add more pairs, or to upgrade pairs to larger disks if I need more space. The disk management in SoftRAID is quite obviously superior to the built-in stuff from Apple. If it had logical volume management (even just integration with CoreStorage) it would be extremely useful to I suspect many customers and would make SoftRAID even more versatile than it already is.

(You do have a backup strategy, right?)
Of course, extensive (2 offsite on 24 hour period and 1 onsite on 1 hour period). My problem isn't one of redundancy but rather future expansion without downtime.

Kind Regards,
-Greg

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 09/11/2015 12:08 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

We understand. This is something we are looking at.

An issue you may encounter is we cannot take over incomplete Apple RAID volumes. The Apple RAID schema is not well documented, and this would be challenging to add.
(i.e, as in your scenario where a RAID 1+0 is missing a disk)

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Posted : 09/11/2015 1:07 pm
(@ghaskins)
New Member Customer

We understand. This is something we are looking at.

Awesome!

An issue you may encounter is we cannot take over incomplete Apple RAID volumes. The Apple RAID schema is not well documented, and this would be challenging to add.
(i.e, as in your scenario where a RAID 1+0 is missing a disk)

Understood, I have already committed to a reformat (with SoftRAID)+rebuild cycle anyway. I was just trying to avoid doing it twice ;)

Thanks for all the info.

-Greg

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 11/11/2015 7:58 pm
(@tim-rohrer)
Active Member Customer

I echo this requirement. In an enclosure, I have a single disk volume that I set up using SoftRAID and three other disks that were set up in another configuration. This was done for $$ reasons at the time. Money is still an issue, and I want to take the three disks and add them to make a 4 disk JBOD (three different disk sizes involved). Similar to the OP, this is a temporary solution; for us it needs to remain this way until the project has the money to purchase more 1T SSDs.

As a solution instead, I will make a 2 or 3 Disk JBOD and mount this at a separate mount point. Not ideal, but better than taking the current drive offline.

Thanks.

This is a possible future feature, but this technology would require moving all data around all disks, so would be relatively slow. Much easier to just backup and recreate the volume.

Understood on the mechanics, but a logical block re-org to shrink or expand the hosted volume will generally always be faster than a recreate/restore cycle and can typically be done with the data online, so there are advantages. A 4TB restore takes my system offline for at least a day, mostly gated by the GigE connection to the NAS where the local backups reside.

The problem for me right now is I had a 6 disk AppleRaid that had a disk failure that I am interested in migrating to SoftRAID. However, my short term problem is I am down to 5 disks while I wait for the RMA to process. Would like to set up a SoftRAID 1+0 temporarily with 4 disks and add the last pair in later this week so I can at least rebuild with what I have and continue to work, albeit at reduced capacity/performance. It seems it is not possible to express this in the current UI so I am probably stuck with either waiting, or going through another rebuild cycle.

Longer term, it would be nice to add more pairs, or to upgrade pairs to larger disks if I need more space. The disk management in SoftRAID is quite obviously superior to the built-in stuff from Apple. If it had logical volume management (even just integration with CoreStorage) it would be extremely useful to I suspect many customers and would make SoftRAID even more versatile than it already is.

(You do have a backup strategy, right?)
Of course, extensive (2 offsite on 24 hour period and 1 onsite on 1 hour period). My problem isn't one of redundancy but rather future expansion without downtime.

Kind Regards,
-Greg

ReplyQuote
Posted : 29/12/2015 10:24 am
(@lawrence-sportello)
New Member Customer

Echoing a request for adding volume expansion.

In setting up my current system, two RAID 0 volumes (three OWC Elite Pro Duals each), data migration took two days (via Carbon Copy Cloner). Rueing the day when I have to add another disk.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 16/01/2016 3:36 pm
(@cook-caleb)
New Member Customer

Any progress on this? I can't purchase all my drives currently, but I also can't get stuck with a ton of data and no way to expand. I have reliable cloud backup, but I need to be able to expand in the future without having to restore terabytes of data.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 02/09/2016 3:03 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

This is not something immediate. We are careful about adding features that require migrating data, so it will not be in a 5.x release. So you would need to wait for a 6.x release for such a capability.

Sorry and thanks!

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Posted : 02/09/2016 5:18 pm
(@protato)
New Member Customer

This is not something immediate. We are careful about adding features that require migrating data, so it will not be in a 5.x release. So you would need to wait for a 6.x release for such a capability.

Sorry and thanks!

Wow, I wish I had read this thread prior to setting everything up. I just finished migrating all of my data over a to new 3 disk RAID5 array in my Thunderbay. I was planning on adding the 4th disk to the array once everything was moved to the new array. I'm crushed to discover that I'm now stuck with a 3 disk array with no way to expand unless I purchase tons of additional storage, move everything back off, rebuild the RAID5 array, and migrate everything back on again. This puts me months behind where I wanted to be. Ugh.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 01/04/2017 11:46 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Sorry, but you point something out that is potentially risky. Never trust a single location for your data. Even a RAID volume. What if you get data corruption? lost files? damage to two disks at once?

If your data is valuable, have multiple locations for it. Even if that is just subscribing to somehting like BackBlaze (a cloud backup provider), so you never rely solely on a single source for your data.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/04/2017 10:51 am
(@protato)
New Member Customer

Sorry, but you point something out that is potentially risky. Never trust a single location for your data. Even a RAID volume. What if you get data corruption? lost files? damage to two disks at once?

If your data is valuable, have multiple locations for it. Even if that is just subscribing to somehting like BackBlaze (a cloud backup provider), so you never rely solely on a single source for your data.

I'm well aware. I have my data backed up on Amazon Drive, but that is really a disaster recovery solution. It would take months to download everything back off of it, so is not practical to just throw everything on the cloud and format my RAID. It's really more of a last resort solution.

I also keep essential files on spare hard drives in a fire safe, but I need to purchase more of those. I was hoping to be able to just expand the storage to a fourth drive as I have been able to add extra drives to things like NAS solutions in the past but I guess this is different.

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Posted : 03/04/2017 12:37 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Consider Backblaze. They offer a "free" service for emergencies. Buy a drive with your data on it, then return it for full credit after you restore your data. Much better than Amazon. their price is reasonable also, I think $5 a month per computer.

Yes some NAS solutions allow "adding" drives, but we have seen several quotes from data recovery services pointing out they make lots of revenue from damaged volumes on such systems, so it is not really your best option.

We are much more conservative with respect to your data.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/04/2017 4:41 pm
(@softraider)
New Member Customer

Hi,
I wish that you would have explained this inability to add new drives to the same RAID array, in your description of RAID 0 – which is what I use. Had I known that, I would have considered other RAID options that allow the addition of drives.

I DO use Backblaze, and I DO backup to Time Machine. However, it's highly inefficient to have to have Backblaze ship me drives every time I add one extra drive to my RAID 0 array.

Currently, I use a Thunderbay 4 with two 3TB drives in a RAID 0 array. I'm adding a third 3TB drive to this Thunderbay, so I guess I'll just make it a new volume on its own. I guess that's a good enough solution, though I had originally created the RAID array to provide faster speeds.

However, for my Time Machine setting I'm currently using two, 4TB external drives (OWC Mercury Elite Pro's) which I've made into a RAID 0 array. To add a new 4TB drive to this array, I'm probably going to have to delete my entire array, so that I may add the 3rd disk and create a new RAID 0 array. I don't have extra drives to copy my almost 8TB of backup data-to, so that I can then copy it back to my hypothetical, new 12TB array. What I don't like about this is that I'll be losing about 10 months of versions that were backed up in Time Machine. Backblaze only provides 3 months of older versions, I believe.

I suppose another option for my backup will be that I use the new 4TB drive on it's own to backup my new 3TB drive. However, I'm not sure you can have multiple Time Machine volumes. It looks like you can "rotate" to multiple Time Machine volumes (in this Backblaze post: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/use-multiple-hard-drives-time-machine/), but I'm not clear on whether that will actually increase my storage capacity. Unless I'm misreading, rotating only seems to create more redundancy.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 02/06/2018 10:46 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

We have no plans to add disks to RAID 0 volumes. to do so would require moving all data around the volume after adding the disk. Considering RAID 0 is not intended for mission critical data, it should be backed up regularly to another volume. (Time Machine is not a great backup strategy for fast access to files)

Get a couple spare disks to back up the RAID 0 data to.

We may enable a user to add more disks to a RAID 5 volume at some point, but not in the near future.

I recommend you rethink your backup strategy. Time Machine is OK, but not robust and relatively slow to access files. While there are occasions where you may need an older version of a file, generally, you just need archives with a few versions. Apps like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, Chronosync are all good at copying changed files to a volume.

4TB USB 3 drives can be bought for $99. While not great for demanding use, they make for inexpensive archive/backup locations.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/06/2018 11:16 am
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