Tips: FlexRAID Storage Pooling under Windows

There are a number of considerations to take in order to successfully use the Storage Pooling feature in FlexRAID.

  1. Avoid opening up the same files from both inside and outside of the storage pool (opening up the same files from the source drives and the storage pool at the same time). If a file is opened both outside and inside the storage pool, some operations (such as delete and rename) could lead to lock contentions.
  2. Whenever the storage pool is stopped, take care to close all application holding a handle to files in the storage pool before restarting it. Although most applications should recover just fine, some application page-read their data. Once the storage pool is stopped, most memory pages become invalid and applications attempting to access those pages would lead to page fault and often BSOD (blue screen of death).
  3. You should never need to start and stop the Disk Manager. The FlexRAID service will automatically start it if it is not yet started. Stopping it is also unnecessary and will cause more page invalidation with issues similar to bullet number 2.
  4. If you hibernate or put you computer into sleep mode, take care to close all applications having an active handle to the Storage Pool. Windows will at times restore the applications before restoring the Storage Pool. When that happens, the application will be referencing an invalid memory location which will lead to a page fault and BSOD. On Windows 2008, disabling (or setting it to run manually) the Oobe.exe (Windows Server Initial Configuration Tasks) has resolved BSOD issues after resuming from a sleep for some users.
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One Response to “Tips: FlexRAID Storage Pooling under Windows”

  1. Jeff February 6, 2013 at 10:25 PM #

    I noticed over several months of usage, my drives were going to sleep. It would take a very long time for them to wake on my first access of my drive pool in the morning…

    Then I started reading about Windows 7 performance tuning and power settings. I have never done it before, but a desktop machine first installed with the OS will have a setting to turn off drives after 20 minutes. This can cause FlexRaid to be very slow until all the drives in your pool wake from sleep settings. I would sometimes experience several minutes of delays when I would first try to access the drive pool; completely unacceptable performance no matter what the energy savings, for a server storage array.

    It was as easy as going into the control panel, Hardware and Sound, Power Settings, choosing High Performace Settings option, and then Change Plan Settings for that selection, and go to Advanced Settings, Hard Disk and setting Turn Off Hard Disk to NEVER.

    Now I experience ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERFORMANCE from FlexRaid and I would never have known this from the FlexRaid documentation. I assume the developer is not entirely involved with Windows and has not experienced this complaint. Either way, make sure you understand this if you host FlexRaid on Windows.

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