FlexRAID’s Storage Pool Merge Modes

FlexRAID (as of version 2.0 preview 6) supports several merge modes. Please read through them all to choose the one that is most appropriate for you.

When you have a configuration, it matters. That is each subsequent reconfiguration needs to take into account the previous one simply because of the physical data state (specially in Explicit merge mode).
You can’t just start with one configuration, switch things around in View configuration at will, and expect everything to automatically flow as they are physical data implications.
You can switch your configuration at will in preview mode, but when you start committing data to the pool, then the pool does some data management that you need to account for.

Explicit Merge

This is the mode you are all familiar with from older versions of FlexRAID.
This mode allows for a lot of flexibilities and really intricate configurations.
It allows you to treat your source data as a database and allows you to create Views into that data (no need to mess with symbolic/hard links).
Additionally, it provides the greatest energy saving feature.

Here is an example of an explicit merge configuration:

-V:\
|-*D:\
|-*P:\
|-*R:\
|-+D:\Data\P
|-+D:\Data\config.txt
|-<My virtual folder>

-V:\My virtual folder
|-*D:\Data\D2
|-*D:\Data\D3
|-+D:\Data\R0

-V:\Data\R0
|-*D:\Data\D1
|-+D:\Data\o1.test
|-<My other virtual folder>

-V:\Data\R0\My other virtual folder
|-+D:\Data\vTest.txt
|-<My empty virtual dir>

The first view you define has to be the root view (-driveLetter:\).
After you’ve defined the root view, you can then define its sub views.

A “-” specifies the containing folder (Ex: -K:\)
A “|-*” means, merge this path into the containing folder
A “|-+” means add this path as an element of the containing folder
A “|-<…>” defines a virtual folder (which is always a child of the containing folder)

A virtual folder only exists through FlexRAID-View and is used to virtually organize your data without cluttering your filesystem.

Additional notes on the Explicit merge mode:

  • The explicit merge mode is NOT care free.
    If you make data changes outside of the pool, you need to synchronize them with your explicit View configuration.
    When making changes inside of the pool, FlexRAID will limit you based on the View configuration (e.g., deny you if you try to rename a virtual folder).
    If you delete a folder specifying a merge whether inside (better, FlexRAID will do the proper clean ups) or outside (worst, might make some data inaccessible through the pool) of the pool, part of your View configuration will become invalid.
  • In explicit mode, FlexRAID will hide certain data on the source drives but show them in the pool. To see the data in the source drive enable the showing of system folders.
  • Anytime you refer to a physical location in your merge configuration, that location must exist in Explicit merge mode.
  • Path configurations in Explicit Merge mode are case sensitive.

Auto Merge with Balanced Space Priority

With this mode the configuration is automatic and there is no FlexRAID management folder to deal with.
This mode is very similar to what you are used to with WHS with the difference being in that it balances the disk space so that the drives are used evenly.

V:\
|-*Auto-Balanced-Space-Priority

Auto Merge with Minimized Folder Split Priority

As above, the configuration is automatic in this mode and there is no FlexRAID management folder to deal with.
Rather than balancing the data based on free space, however, this mode tries to keep folder splits to a minimum, which can cause certain drives to be used more than others but is more energy efficient.

-V:\
|-*Auto-Minimized-Folder-Split-Priority
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3 Responses to “FlexRAID’s Storage Pool Merge Modes”

  1. Kalash May 25, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

    I was having trouble getting sub-folders with identical names on multiple drives to show up using Linux…
    /h2t1/Movies
    /s2t1/Movies
    They would show up empty… But sub-folders would be there – only the files would be invisible (not just hidden… not there at all – the folder properties came up as empty)
    After reading this again… do I need to
    -+/h2t1/Movies
    -+/s2t1/Movies
    In order to get them to display properly?

    I was trying to use Auto Merge – both balanced space and minimized folder split, but no luck either way.

    • Brahim June 2, 2011 at 9:57 AM #

      You are using Explicit Merge syntaxes. There is no merge to define for an auto merge.

  2. scottl2k July 1, 2016 at 11:25 AM #

    I appreciate this write-up.

    If I use an “Explicit Merge”, can I set the location where data will be written?

    In the example below, I’d like two paths to be merged into a V: drive, but if I add a new movie, I’d like it to be copied into “W:\New Movies\” (“X:\Old Movies\” is backed-up, and I’d like it to be read-only.)

    -V:\
    |-*W:\New Movies\
    |-*X:\Old Movies\

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