Formatting Violin Memory SAN with REFS failure

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Formatting Violin Memory SAN with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:12 pm

Hello everyone.

Im not sure where to as this question, but this is for my veeam repository, so i hope someone here have some ideas.

We recently deployed a new physical backup proxy running server 2016. We've bought a Violin Memory SAN which we will use for backup (1.000.000 Iops, overkill!! ) but i wanted to create the "ultimate backup infrastructure".
We have presented a lun to the 2016 server, but we are not able to format it as REFS. We get a error everytime. NTFS is no problem.

Just for fun, we deployed a physical server 2012 and mounted the HBA in that server, and with no issues we could format as REFS.

We also tried to create a storage pool on the 2016 server, but that also fails.
We installed another server 2016, and that is exactly the same issue. We tried enabling automount, which also fails. The disk turns up as raw afterwards.
I also tried through powershell and diskpart. I also tried to create primary partition, extendet and so on.

When i initialize the disk through disk manager, and choose REFS it fails with this error from eventlog:
Volume is formatted as ReFS but ReFS is unable to mount it; ReFS encountered status The specified request is not a valid operation for the target device..

Is anyone having similiar problems, formatting as refs on server 2016 on luns presented from shared storage eg. SAN systems?

I have no issues creating a VHDX on a NTFS partition (from Violin san) and mounting that and formatting using REFS, but that is in my opinion not the best idea..
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby foggy » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:37 pm

Hi Mikkel, I'd contact MS directly with that.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:05 pm

Well foggy, how should i do that - we are a Microsoft VSPP provider, and there's no support included with that afaik! I could ofcourse pay microsoft to open a case..
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:48 pm

We have not run into this issue in all of our ReFS integration testing, not once... and we used a lot of different storage! Which makes me fairly confident the issue in your case is with this Violin Memory SAN. I would open a case with them instead of Microsoft, and demonstrate how you can format another volume on the same server - but not their LUN.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby Andreas Neufert » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:06 pm

Strange. I would say this is storage related. Please check with your storage vendor.
I would do the following in your situation.
Destroy the volume on the storage (maybe something is written to it that avoid propper usage with refs).
Check the access profile for the initiators or WWNs of the Veeam System on the storage. Use an Windows access profile WITHOUT Cluster.
Check that no other system will see or can "automount" the volume that you will create.
Create a new volume and mount it to the Veeam Server.
Now this should work with ReFS.

As well maybe Violin uses a 4k Sector disk (emulation) and maybe this is the problem. Look at any setting on the violin.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:25 pm

Hi Andreas.

Thanks for sharing. In the VMem array it is not possible to define access profiles at all. I have tried to create new luns over and over again, but it was never possible to format.
Violin uses 4K sector size, but i can emulate 512b on a lun. We tried both. If we use 4K sector size, we get another error formatting as REFS.

I have no support on the violin system, it was bought purely for backup purposes.

Any other suggestions?
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:32 pm

This is the error i get at 4k:

Volume is formatted as ReFS but ReFS is unable to mount it; ReFS encountered status The specified request is not a valid operation for the target device..
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:46 pm

Smells a lot like some issue on the storage, I had a talk with a service provider using another brand of storage, and when he was trying to format a lun carved out of that storage the format speed was horrible, just a few MBs. After a fix in the storage (not sure if it was a hack, a private fix, something else) the format completed in a few seconds as it would be expected. I'd try to contact Violin anyway to check with them, first of all if ReFS 3.1 is supported and if they are aware of any issue like this.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby Andreas Neufert » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:07 pm

Agree, contacting storage vendor is the next logical step. (You can write with NTFS but not with ReFS).

Maybe you will find this helpful:
https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Fo ... verpreview
(the only google result for the error mentioned above).
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:52 am

Hi there.

I tried just for fun, to carve a lun fromn our 3par system, and that works perfectly with REFS.

Violin Memory refuses to help because we are without support ocntract.

I do not have any DSM loaded for this system, only Microsoft MPIO.


Previous they told me the following:
Violin is a block (Logical Unit, or LUN) based storage device which can either be direct connected over PCIe (rare) or via Fibre Channel or Infiniband. In any of these cases, the overlay file system (NTFS, etc) is not a concern to the block device. As ReFS is optimized for large disk arrays, it is not the best filesystem for a Flash block device.

Violin does not explicitly support ReFS.


In case im not getting this up and running, would you suggest that i create a VHD file on a NTFS lun, and run REFS inside that VHD?
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby Andreas Neufert » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:02 am

Maybe ask them for another Violin reference customer and ask them to test it as well to see if it is storage or windows related.
You can open a Microsoft ticket as well.

Before I would run a vhd in a NTFS I would use native NTFS.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:19 am

I believe Nikkel wants to use the ReFS blockcloning integration we have, hence the request.
I'm not sure how I'd behave in this situation, if it's worth to subscribe a support contract on a used array and the financial issues that Violin is going through...
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:27 pm

Just a heads up, I will be moving this thread to the main forum soon since it is not a VMware specific issue.
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby lando_uk » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:54 pm

It might just need a firmware update to support 2016 ReFS 3.1, can you get hold of the latest FW without a support contract?
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Re: Formatting with REFS failure

Veeam Logoby m1kkel » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:30 am

dellock6 wrote:I believe Nikkel wants to use the ReFS blockcloning integration we have, hence the request.
I'm not sure how I'd behave in this situation, if it's worth to subscribe a support contract on a used array and the financial issues that Violin is going through...


And right you are!
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