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DoctorTim

Total DBender newb Question - I don't see my pooled drive

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I have 9 drives on my Win 8.1 x64 Professional PC, my system drive and 8 data drives . To install DB, one by one for all 8 drives I clicked add drive to pool (in retrospect it may have been convert, not add) in the manager. When I go to windows explorer, all my drives are there and they each have drive letters. The total size and free space (21.8TB and 5.67TB) look right, but it's showing that for every drive. When I double click a drive I see the original contents (pre DB install). I thought it would remove the drive letters and give me one drive letter with all drives pooled together. How do I do that?

 

In my settings under general I have all three boxes checked. I thought having "drive letter management" checked would do what I am requesting, but I have drive letters/mount points for every drive. Disk Manager has each drive twice, once with the real physical drive size, DB volume name, and once with the drive letter, original volume name, and total pool size.

 

I know how to add and remove drive letters in Disk Management, but experience with FlexRaid has taught me to do everything possible through software management vs monkeying around in windows.

 

So again, how do I make it so I have one 22TB drive letter and nothing else besides my system drive?

DiskManagement.jpg

 

DiskManagement.jpg

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Second issue. I have a 4bay eSATA encloure and 3 USB hard drives that I want to use as backup. I will leave them unplugged and plug them in every few days to backup. Is the native duplication the best way to do this? I have used GoodSync in the past. If I use duplication, what is the process for duplicating the data to those externals? I assumed I would create a second pool and have Pool 1 duplicate to Pool 2. It doesn't seem like that's how it works in the manual. I want the duplicate to be offline (unplugged) except during copies so I have protection from lightning and brownouts. I am open to other backup suggestions. Most of my data is audio/video. I have all my albums (vinyl) in 24bit or 32bit which takes a TON of space.

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Under mount point options I tried adding a new mount point. I assumed I just didn't have a mount point for my pool. Now I have yet another drive letter (Z:). This one shows no files whatsoever. Clearly I have no idea what's going on here.

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The view you show in diskmgmt looks normal, I don't see drive letters for your pool drives which is normal. What does the disk farm look like in Explorer? What does the pool look like in DB Manager?

 

I don't think you can use DB to dup from one pool to the other. You will still have to use Goodsync or synctoy or Robocopy to dup from pool 1 to pool 2.

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To me it looks like you added the drives, instead of merging them into an existing pool. Therefore the files exist on the drives themselves but your mount point of all the pooled drives looks empty.

 

To access a pooled drive, you need to create a mount point... although from the looks of things you got like 8 mount points created for the same pool of drives. (L, M, N, O, R, Q, P, I... lol)

 

Best bet, remove all the drives from the pool (the data you had on the drives before, outside the pool, is still safe, any data in the pool should be copied over to a temp drive somewhere. Then re-create the pool using the add drive and Merge feature. This will copy all the files of each drive into the pool. Don't know if you need to have one drive already in a pool to add the remainder of the drives in a merge. The convert features is good for trying out DB, but if you are planning on using it with data on the drives, merge is def better.. Also, your drives are REALLY full... should set Drive Bender do to some "even" balancing to help spread that data to your 2 empty drives.

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I clicked convert drive, because that is the option that said it would maintain my data. Adding a drive and copying the data into a pool seems the riskier prospect as it is an additional read/write on a massive volume of data. That much more chance for the introduction of write errors due to buggy controller drivers, etc. Maybe it is the better option, I just don't know why that would be.

 

If I click show detailed information on one of by pooled drives, eg DB3, it shows this:

 

DetailedInfo.jpg

 

That shows that I have 273,971 total files in the pool [EDIT - hours later, clicking detailed information shows 444,703 total files in the pool - a massive increase with no file operations other than automatic file balancing - WEIRD!]. [Edit 2 - the number of files in the pool continues to rise as my drives are "read". Maybe this means that my implementation is still in progress. I don't know how that affects the rest of my issues.] So where is the pool? Where are those files and how do I mount them? The existing mount points were my original drive letters that DB preserved. If I create a drive letter for one of the pooled drives like DB2, I see folders named like this {0F83BC81-B34D-4CF9-8626-63D4F2B82B74} and files like this {0F83BC81-B34D-4CF9-8626-63D4F2B82B74}.MP.$DRIVEBENDER (there are no conventionally named files/folders in the root - this at least seems expected). The comment "any data in the pool should be copied over to a temp drive somewhere" has me truly lost because I can't tell what's in the pool. It seems everything yet nothing is pooled.

 

If I click on my old drive letters (those 8 mounting points), what I see is exactly the same as what they were before I converted them. There are no additional files that I can tell, not the file convention above ({0F83BC81-B34D-4CF9-8626-63D4F2B82B74}), nor files from other drives.This is even AFTER I did several hours of balancing. This doesn't make any sense to me at all. If I look at the pool, the most amount of free space of any drive is 1.99 of 2.73TB. However if I go to my I: drive, there is only a total of 3MB on the drive. It is empty. How can Windows and DB show different values for space utilized? WTH?

 

I am extremely hesitant to do any deleting in the pool. This feels like a botched implementation, even though literally all I did was click convert drive. Given what I've seen so far, I have little confidence that DB will not botch my data.

 

So to sum things up. It says I have ~274,000 files in my pool, but I have no pool, I only have mount points to my old drives. I don't have 21TB of empty drives around, so I can't copy out and start from scratch "just in case". With so many files "in" the pool, surely there should be a pool somewhere that I can mount. I have no idea how to do that. If I can't do that, I don't know how to start over without risking my data since there is so much confusion.

 

I really appreciate the help I have been given. I hope someone can take what I've provided and explain what's going on. The lack of guidance and documentation on best practices and implementation strategies has been frustrating. I get very few hits on google, the help file is sadly vague, and I can't find video tutorials on YouTube or elsewhere.

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I assume you have this solved or at least have been presented with additional 'clues' to what's happening under the covers. Before responding a quick disclaimer: My use of DB is rather simplistic (two drives) and I have done very little maintenance (add/remove drives) after my initial pool was stabilized. But I also experienced a rough patch getting DB set up and another with the migration to R2. I'll try to help but welcome comments from more experienced DB users.

 

First and foremost I suspect your data is safe. I have yet to see DB permanently mangle/loose files either through personal experience or forum postings. Yes, some people report losses but there is usually another factor in the mix such as RAID or a flaky drive/connection.

 

Given the number of drives and large numbers of files I suspect your pool is still under construction. Give it some time. I assume you have rebooted as this is a requirement to complete a drive conversion (as noted in the documentation).

 

At some point you are probably going to have to remove your existing mount points to individual drives and runs some type of repair to make the pool visible to one (and only one) mount point. I suggest you open a ticket with support to determine the best path forward.

 

I believe a drive conversion (vs add to pool) accomplishes its magic through operating system 'hard' links, junctions, etc. If true I'd be a little concerned with the huge number of these that were created during the conversion and the potential, however unlikely, of downstream corruption. Might want to discuss that with support.

 

Sorry I could not be more helpful.  

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In Drive Bender Manager towards the upper left there's a drop down labeled "Pool Options". If you click on that and then hover over the "Switch to pool" item, what shows in the flyout? Does it show each "Drive" as a pool or does it just show a single pool?

 

If it shows a pool for each drive then I'd say you need to open a ticket and ask DB support how to go about merging multiple existing pools to a single pool.

 

If it just shows a single pool then click on that pool and it should make that the current pool in DB Manager. If you had just a single pool in the flyout and have now switched to that pool, what "Drive letter" shows just above the "Pool options" dropdown? If there is a drive letter that is your main (root) pool mount point. (In Windows explorer that drive letter should show all folders and files in your pool) If there is no drive letter you should be able to click the blank area just to the right of "Drive letter" and get a drop down of available drive letters. Select your choice of available drive letters. You should now have a Drive letter that represents your overall pool.

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It shows I have only one pool. It has the drive letter I. If I go to I in explorer, it shows me the same contents that were on I before I created a drive pool - which is basically nothing because that is the drive that only had 3mb on it. The I drive physically is the same as DB1, and after some load balancing the DB manager says DB1 has only 1.99 of 2.73TB are free, but none of those files seem to exist on I. And I have view hidden files checked in explorer, so should see the files no matter what - if they're there.

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I'd open a ticket and ask if you delete a mount point in the pool will all the folders/files at that mount point then show on the main pool drive? Or, if one of your mount points is of little to no consequence you could try removing that mount point and see if the folders/files at that mount point then show on I:

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Yeah - I also considered multiple pools but the high (and increasing) file counts aligned with the inaccessible pool and nearly identical drive flyouts suggest a single pool that is still being built.

 

What I think may have happened is the "I:" drive links (loose term) got farkled and are pointing to an unpopulated pool. But DB doesn't know that and won't allow another MP to be created to the populated pool because it thinks I: is serving that purpose. To my knowledge there can only be one MP per pool. 

 

The remediation may be as simple as a pool repair or a little more involved process that involves carefully deleting (or renaming) some of unconventionally named folders DB generates for each pool. It's pretty easy to determine which folder contains pool data; just look at the size.

 

As others have said - open a ticket. I don't think the fix will be difficult...just need to know the best procedure. 

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Okay, just for grins I created a new mount point in my pool and used drive letter E:. I then moved a folder using Windows Explorer from my main pool drive P: to the new drive letter E:. Both these drive letters P: and E: show in my single pool named DBPool.

pool.JPG

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I then moved the folder I had moved to the E: drive back to where it went on the P: drive using Windows Explorer and deleted the E: mount point.

 

What this showed me is that you can have multiple mount points in the same pool and using Windows Explorer you can freely move folders and files between mount points and it all stays in the single pool. I believe you could go into Windows Explorer and (if I: is to be your main pool mount point) start moving stuff from your other mount points to I: and then when done you can delete the vacated mount point. I used the check box to delete the contents of the mount point just to make sure that the stuff I moved from the new point back to where it was in the pool before didn't touch the stuff back in it new (old) location.

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@w3wilkes - Agreed. It was likely my sloppy terminology that proved misleading. Your test demonstrated you can have multiple 'containers' in the same pool. These containers exist independently but reside on (share space within) same underlying pool of drives. However, I don't believe you can have more than one drive letter pointing to the same container, although you can have a drive letter and multiple folder mount points reference a single container. Thinking about it this is probably more of a Windows restriction than DB limitation.

 

So what does this have to do with the OPs problem?  I believe something happened during pool creation that is causing DB to think a drive letter has been mapped to the container where his files reside. Due to the above restrictions he can't map another drive letter to the same container. I also believe his 'I:' drive is mapped to an empty container that happens to reside with the same pool.

 

Of course all of the above is speculative and could be complete rubbish. Just my 2 cents ...

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From what the OP states in post #9 I believe he has a single pool with multiple mount points (drive letters). The other thing that seems to indicate this is that his posted DB Manager view in post #4 shows the pool named "Windows Pool" with his drive letters (too many to show all so the scroll indicators < > ). I'd say that he could just pick whichever one of those drive letters he really wanted for the single drive letter of his pool and then move everything from the other mount points (drive letters) in his pool to his chosen drive letter and then delete the vacated mount point (drive letter).

 

My little experiment that I went through in posts #12 & 13 show that folders/files can be moved between mount points (drive letters) within a single pool.

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Best open a support ticket. There are slightly differing opinions on what transpired, current status and best path forward. There is a distinct difference between pools and 'containers' (my terminology) with the former containing one or more of the latter. w3wilkes is correct there can be multiple mount points per pool but they don't all point to the same place.

 

I also believe there may be complexities due to the way the pool was created (conversion on each drive; retaining the original mount points) that should be sorted by the experts. With some experimentation the community could probably figure this out but that's what product support is for :)

 

@DoctorTIm - tough introduction to Drive Bender. If you stick around long enough to experience steady state operations I think you will be pleased with the product. Pretty much a no maintenance solution with a nice feature set. That said, there are other options which I'm sure you have encountered.

 

Please post back the final resolution so we can all learn from this experience. 

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I agree that a ticket should definitely be opened! I actually think that what I'm calling a mount point (which gets a drive letter) is the same thing as what @Davey126 is calling a "container". I believe we both see a "pool" the same. I believe that a "pool" can have 1 or many drive letters or what @Davey126 is calling a container. I believe the "drive letter" view or "container" view is maintained by the DB structure under the covers.

 

I absolutely agree with @Davey126 that once you're all set up that DB is pretty much a no maintenance solution with a great feature set!

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Yup - @w3wilkes and I on the same page with pools, containers (probably should retire that term!) and mount points. MP = container. I have speculated that two mount points can't refer to the same place but DB somehow thinks that one of the MPs in the OPs config points to the location of his aggregated files...but it actually is pointing somewhere else. That's why he can't create a new mount point to his aggregated files. It will be interesting to see if any part of that theory pans out.

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Just to follow up, support finally contacted me four days after opening a ticket. They suggested I copy my data to the pooled drive, of course I don't have a pooled drive. It's now been 12 hours since I responded, and the weekend is fast approaching. Is this the normal level of support? I entered the ticket as critical with a priority of high.

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You might want to ask "which pooled drive", or if it matters? From the way I see your pool you have what appears to be 8 pooled drives in a single pool (or what I also call "mount points"). It may be that if you just pick one of those 8 and move everything to that drive and then delete the other 7 it may be all that's needed. When you ask, you should provide a link to this thread so that the DB folks can see all the info you, me and @Davey126 have covered in this thread.

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Just dropping by to say that this never got properly sorted. Weeks after my ticket I finally had someone remote into my machine. I thought we might have had it sorted but turns out no. I eventually just deleted the pool on my own and created a new pool then copied 17TB of data back in over the course of multiple days. I certainly can't recommend converting a drive after this fiasco. Adding a fresh drive to the pool seems to work well though. Way more hassle than pooling with flexraid at least in the setup. Flexraid allowed me to use existing drives no problem. It also doesn't copy the directory structure to every drive. Which is useful if you want to look at data without using the pool. You actually have a clue what might be on that drive. That said I'm still working with DriveBender. I'm hoping it proves itself over time. FTR - FlexRaid doesn't support multiple pools. That's a DB selling point for me.

 

Anyway thanks for all the tips and comments. It's nice to have an active user community.

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