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Windows 7: Drive Pool?

13 Nov 2009   #1

Drive Pool?

One of the features that I love about Windows Home Server is the drive pool. No matter how many physical hard drives there are WHS just sees C:\ and D:\. Running out of storage? Just throw in another hard drive.

On my 7 machine I already need to add a hard drive for storage. Is there an elegant method to be able to use that additional hard drive with my libraries so that all new files are saved to the new drive but when I open the library I see all the locations on both the C: and D: drives in one window?


My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home

Not yet, no ... Division M's Drive Bender is mere days away from leaving beta and being ready for release, and promises to provide pretty much all of the features present in the original Windows Home Server's "Drive Extender" pooling system for all Windows OSes, from XP upwards.

The most beautiful feature about Drive Bender is that it uses a non-proprietry, non-destructive standard file system -- if one drive in the pool dies, or you boot without Drive Bender being present, all your files are still readable!

I want this so bad
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

To those who might be interested in trying it out, the beta program right now is closed until they release.

I did some reading about it on their website and it has me somewhat intrigued. The fact that it continues to use standard NTFS and you don't have to format the drives to create the pool is pretty slick.

From reading their website, it seems that once you add drives to your "pool", they are just going to show up within a folder somewhere in the file system. So, it's more or less mounting various devices together a single folder on the existing hard drive. Thus, the reason you can remove a drive from the pool and read it elsewhere as the existing file system stays intact.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

The feature is definitely something I'm watching, as I am in the process of switching from WHSv1 to WHSv2.

However, I see little reason for it on a desktop computer. Why would you need all the drives to be under one letter? If so, that's what RAID arrays are for. I understand it can use mismatched drives, but why not just have several drives, each assigned their own letter for purpose. For example, I convert many of my old DVDs to files for home theater use. I have a TB drive labeled as Ripped, given the letter R for this purpose alone.

I think it would be a while, after much testing, before I could trust a third-party app to handle a feature like this. At least with an array, I know it is using hardware designed for the purpose.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

With regards to a desktop, not all users are sophisticated enough to have a file server box at home. And not all home users want to deal with the complexities of RAID. Heck, I'm a server admin for a living and deal with RAID day in and day out, and I don't want to deal with it at home
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I understand completely, and I didn't mean to suggest RAID was a simple solution. What I meant was...why is is a big deal to have multiple drive letters on a home system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I don't think it's a big deal either. But then again, I only have 2 drive letters. C drive is my 80GB SSD, and D is my 1TB Caviar Black.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2011   #8

Windows 7 Home

There are several advantages that smart (key word, smart) drive pooling such as Drive Extender and Drive Bender has over RAID:
- complexity is reduced to zero
- all data in the pool becomes available under a single volume and/or network resource
- physical devices within the pool can be of any size and exist on any physical connection (SATA, IDE, FireWire, USB etc, even a RAID array)
- physical devices can be added to and removed from the pool in a non-destructive manner and maintain their own file system; data on the device is still readable on a system without pooling (try that with a drive from a striped RAID!)
- the use of single-instance cluster copy or shadow copy adds the security of RAID mirroring by transparently ensuring two copies of the data exists, with each copy on a separate physical device
- if you're using it on a server, it eliminates the old problem of a storage ceiling; running out of space, merely drop in a new drive - no need to restart, change RAID configs, assign letters etc - and the system will pick it up, add it to the pool, and start using it
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Drive Pool?

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