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wa15
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ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by wa15 » Feb 21, 2019 11:14 pm

This is more of a ReFS specific question but looking at a 200TB Veeam repository on a Dell R740xd server and am wondering what the best practice is regarding RAID controllers. Do RAID controllers need to be certified for ReFS or will any RAID card do?

If I recall correctly, hard drive pass through was required at one point, but it seems that I can actually format a volume with ReFS even if it's on hardware RAID. Any advantages/disadvantages?

Will appreciate some pointers!

DaveWatkins
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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by DaveWatkins » Feb 22, 2019 1:41 am 1 person likes this post

RAID is fine. Originally some MS documentation incorrectly suggested you couldn't use RAID but that has been corrected. What version of RAID you use will be driven more by the required I/O and available space

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by HannesK » Feb 22, 2019 7:06 am 1 person likes this post

Hello,
I have not seen any requirements for internal RAID controllers for ReFS. This article states that RAID is a perfect fit.
Deploying ReFS on basic disks is best suited
Basic disks include local non-removable direct-attached via BusTypes SATA, SAS, NVME, or RAID.
There was only a time when MS said that it is not supported on SAN (iSCSI /FC) but even that was changed again (see article above).

So RAID is the way to go :-)

Best regards,
Hannes

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by GreenAlpha55 » Feb 22, 2019 2:27 pm

If it will be a Windows server; Why RAID over Storage Spaces?

I'm planning to purchase an R720xd and run Storage Spaces w/ReFS.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nmdange » Feb 22, 2019 2:47 pm

Performance on Storage Spaces will be pretty poor unless you have 4 servers and can do storage spaces direct. For a single server, I would stick with a hardware RAID controller, with the biggest write cache you can get.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nitramd » Feb 22, 2019 3:12 pm 1 person likes this post

Everything I've read about software RAID over the years has been less than positive, i.e. the software RAID array eventually became corrupt, unusable, and not salvageable.

I agree with @nmdange that hardware RAID is the way to go. Depending on your budget, get a controller that has a large cache (1GB to 4GB) and battery backup.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by GreenAlpha55 » Feb 22, 2019 4:34 pm

nmdange wrote:
Feb 22, 2019 2:47 pm
Performance on Storage Spaces will be pretty poor unless you have 4 servers and can do storage spaces direct. For a single server, I would stick with a hardware RAID controller, with the biggest write cache you can get.
I've seen tests where Storage Spaces (not direct, 1 server only) was faster all around than traditional RAID10. I guess I will have to do my own testing. However, if you use ReFS without Storage Spaces you will lose self-healing functionality.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nmdange » Feb 22, 2019 4:59 pm

RAID 10 is pretty wasteful on a backup server. I'd usually stick to RAID 6/60 and parity storage spaces performance is not good. Also, self-healing requires 3-way mirroring which has even higher overhead than RAID 10.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by DonZoomik » Feb 22, 2019 5:27 pm 1 person likes this post

Parity spaces *should* be usable if you use very wide columns and have a good WBC (Optane?). I've wanted to try this out for a long time but still haven't had a chance to get my hands on a big spare server. This shows some useful numbers: http://doc.dataonstorage.com/solution-b ... Spaces.pdf

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nitramd » Feb 22, 2019 6:52 pm

If you want some benchmarks you can use the utility Crystal Disk Mark. Another benchmark tool is Atto's Disk Benchmark.

Good stuff.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nezzer » Feb 25, 2019 6:21 am

Hey! I would recommend running REFS on storagespaces.

I will also add that speeds on 2019 is highly positive but it's not slow on 2016 either.

We run 3 Veeam repos (standalone) with 2019 and storagespaces mirror with paralell rebuild. We are seeing performance of about 1500MB/s on 35 7200rpm nl-sas. QD is about 25 in that scenario.

Running this with a raid controller on the same machine resulted in about 600mbs. It was actually the exact same controller but with a Raid firmware.

Just my 2 cents! 8)

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by patrickbeau » Feb 25, 2019 6:55 am

GreenAlpha55 wrote:
Feb 22, 2019 2:27 pm
If it will be a Windows server; Why RAID over Storage Spaces?

I'm planning to purchase an R720xd and run Storage Spaces w/ReFS.
Why? Because of SSD caching.
I have a R740xD on Windows 2019 Server.
There is 16x10Tb 7200tpm NL-SAS and 2x2Tb SSD SATA Mix Use. There is a Perc H730 in it with battery pack.
SSD are a mirror and HDD are Raid6. Storage space is a simple -mediatype HDD -Columns 1 -WriteCache 50Gb. No parity nothing.
Deduplication works at 900Mbps. Copying is 700Mbps while backuping. Veeam average is 400Mbps (compellent source).

And with all issues that run into ReFS, mine is NTFS. Ask Microsoft why they are no more able to make a filesystem to answer why.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by ejenner » Feb 25, 2019 9:45 am

Patrick, I think if you view in the context of how long it took Microsoft to perfect NTFS... ReFS is still very new. I'm not using StorageSpaces but ReFS on 2016 is giving us a lot of extra space via deduplication.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by mkaec » Feb 25, 2019 4:44 pm

I think that's not possible. Deduplication was not available for ReFS on Windows Server 2016. Perhaps you mean you are using Veeam block cloning.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by Vek17 » Feb 26, 2019 4:03 pm 1 person likes this post

mkaec wrote:
Feb 25, 2019 4:44 pm
I think that's not possible. Deduplication was not available for ReFS on Windows Server 2016. Perhaps you mean you are using Veeam block cloning.
Deduplication with ReFS on Server 2016 has been available for a few months now. (Since 1709)
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/window ... s-overview

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by mkaec » Feb 27, 2019 3:48 am

I've never seen it, but I didn't think 1709 would be branded Windows Server 2016. To me Server 2016 is the 1607 LTSB version.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by ejenner » Feb 27, 2019 12:59 pm

they had to back-port functionality from Server 2019 to solve some problems with the 2016 version.

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Re: ReFS on Hardware or Software RAID?

Post by nmdange » Feb 27, 2019 10:33 pm 1 person likes this post

1709 is not Server 2016, they are different. There are fixes to ReFS backported to 2016/1607, but new features like Deduplication are not backported. You have to be on Server 2019 for that.

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