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5.8 beta Feedback

Public beta (bugs, reports, suggestions, features and requests)

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5.8 beta Feedback

Postby deiruch » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:37 am

Here's the list of my observations, in no particular order:
  • Why is there a gorilla in a splash screen? And where does the hippo come from? Corporate identity, anyone?
  • Setup asks me if I want to install StarPort. Why would I want to install it? Why not?
  • When trying to create an image in non-existent folder the console should ask if it should create the folder for me
  • If I don't add a file extension when creating a new image, it should append the image file extension
  • Default credentials should be entered when connecting to a server (root/starwind)
  • The Help button in wizards does not work. The help pages don't show.
  • The full/fast synchronization entries in the context menu: The synchronization direction is not clear in UI.
  • The "create new storage" checkbox should be auto-selected when the specified file does not exist
  • Dedup: Calling the "block size" "block size" will confuse users. i thought at first you meant "sector size" when you really mean "the block size at which starwind manages it's internal data structures". Does this even have to be configurable?
  • Dedup: Why can i set the path of the metadata and image file separately? Why not give all four resulting files the same name with different extensions?
  • Plethora of seemingly similar options (Mirroring/RAID-1 & HA, CDP & snapshots, ...) is confusing (to me)
  • The StarWind service is configured as "Automatic (Delayed)" instead of relying on service triggers
  • Cannot configure cache settings after creation and not at all for a HA-partner
  • Why is there a "Target" sub-node under the server? Why not list targets directly when clicking on the server?

HA now runs way better than in 5.7! I'm still running tests and experiments, but so far everything looks & works great.

Cheers & Congrats,
Simon
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:57 am

Setup asks me if I want to install StarPort. Why would I want to install it? Why not?
It is used as a transport for replication to remote target in Mirror devices.

When trying to create an image in non-existent folder the console should ask if it should create the folder for me
accepted

If I don't add a file extension when creating a new image, it should append the image file extension
accepted

Default credentials should be entered when connecting to a server (root/starwind)
Actually I don't know... There is save password checkbox.
Should we add "Use default credentials checkbox" or something else? What do you think guys?

The Help button in wizards does not work. The help pages don't show.
Yes. It will be fixed before release. Also StarWind help content will be rewritten. The help was redesigned and the Help buttons point to the old page IDs.

The full/fast synchronization entries in the context menu: The synchronization direction is not clear in UI.
If you will initiate synchronization on node1 (the full/fast synchronization entries in the context menu), it will become the destination of the data, that will start copying from the node2.
We'll think about how to make it clear.

The "create new storage" checkbox should be auto-selected when the specified file does not exist
Sounds reasonable.

Plethora of seemingly similar options (Mirroring/RAID-1 & HA, CDP & snapshots, ...) is confusing (to me)
:(

Cannot configure cache settings after creation and not at all for a HA-partner
It will be implemented in one of the future versions, as well as dynamical modification of other options.

Why is there a "Target" sub-node under the server? Why not list targets directly when clicking on the server?
It was assumed that in future versions multi-LUN will be implemented (we already have it in our testlab, alpha state) and the "Devices" entity appear in the tree.

Thanks for your feedback!
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Alex (staff) » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:49 am

Why is there a gorilla in a splash screen? And where does the hippo come from? Corporate identity, anyone?
It's like a totem for each part of our software :)

Dedup: Calling the "block size" "block size" will confuse users. i thought at first you meant "sector size" when you really mean "the block size at which starwind manages it's internal data structures". Does this even have to be configurable?

"Deduplication block" is commonly used term. We have sectors at the disk level and blocks at the level of deduplication. This parameter affects the speed, resource requirements and deduplication ratio. Larger block size produces less overhead, but it can't properly process short chunks of duplicated data.
Generally it's better to use 4k block size, because file systems are using this size for allocation unit size by default.
If you have large chunks of duplicated data, it's better to select, for example, 64k block size and format deduplicated storage with allocation unit size of 64k.

Dedup: Why can i set the path of the metadata and image file separately? Why not give all four resulting files the same name with different extensions?
Metadata file can be placed on the separate storage. For example, on the SSD. An option to use one set of metadata for several deduplicated LUNs will be added in the next versions.

The StarWind service is configured as "Automatic (Delayed)" instead of relying on service triggers

StarWind HA devices were using MS iSCSI service in the previous versions. Some time ago we have found that setting dependency on this service doesn't always working for us. This service is not really ready to process requests at the moment when its state has changed to started.
In the 5.8 HA devices are using new transport implementation, in general StarWind service doesn't not depend on MS iSCSI anymore. But for legacy purpose MS iSCSI transport has been left as an option for HA devices. So this setting for service start has been kept.
Best regards,
Alexey.
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby deiruch » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:29 pm

Hi

wow, you guys are quick to answer! I agree with everything said, but have a couple of comments

Bohdan (staff) wrote:Setup asks me if I want to install StarPort. Why would I want to install it? Why not?
It is used as a transport for replication to remote target in Mirror devices.

I thought the new version uses it's own implementation for replication? Even if it doesn't use it's own implementation: Why would I want to install it? Why not? This is unclear.

Alex (staff) wrote:Dedup: Calling the "block size" "block size" will confuse users.
"Deduplication block" is commonly used term.

Yeah, calling it "Deduplication block size" would be a good solution. Right now it's called "Storage block size".

Bohdan (staff) wrote:Default credentials should be entered when connecting to a server (root/starwind)
Actually I don't know... There is save password checkbox.
Should we add "Use default credentials checkbox" or something else? What do you think guys?

It's just that I have to check the documentation before I can use the installation for the first time. So if the credentials were pre-configured for the localhost that'd be great. Or if a server was using no password at all and you'd ask users to provide a username & password after connecting for the first time. Or you could ask for this info during setup. Having a default username/password is no better than having no authentication at all.


I just read my post again. Just to be clear: It's a great release!

Cheers,
Simon
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Alex (staff) » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:35 pm

I thought the new version uses it's own implementation for replication? Even if it doesn't use it's own implementation: Why would I want to install it? Why not? This is unclear.

It's some mess here. There is asynchronous replication plugin - Mirror. It is using StarPort driver.
High availability is another plugin for another tasks.

Yeah, calling it "Deduplication block size" would be a good solution. Right now it's called "Storage block size".

You are right!


I just read my post again. Just to be clear: It's a great release!


Thank you for feedback, Simon!
Best regards,
Alexey.
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby deiruch » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:10 pm

I know this is no "Feature Request" forum, but I'll post here anyway, to give you a rough idea of what features one person (me) would like. Feel free to ignore me. :)

  • My dream version would have more flexibility of the storage: I'd create a LUN, then, one day, make it HA. A month later I could resize it without losing data. Features like dedup or replication should just be checkboxes. StarWind, together with Windows 8 Server storage spaces will perhaps do wonders here.
  • Performance is not quite there yet. The current 5.8 beta gives me 25%-75% of the speed (1 outstanding request, various sizes, reads & writes, HA) of a local disk. But I think I read somewhere that you're working on that one. [EDIT to clarify: Performance without HA is good]
  • Multi-node capabilities. I would absolutely love the ability to install StarWind on all my servers and it would give me a single, highly reliable storage pool where every block is stored on at least N servers. That way I could just use cheap DAS, RAID-0 and still have good reliability.

I still couldn't break 5.8, despite all the tests and things I did (Except for the obvious Split Brain problem if I deliberately configure it in a stupid, not-recommended way). Still impressed!
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:03 am

It would be nice to have more such "Feature Requests" :D Thank you!
We make the product for people and the customer impressions and wishes are very important for us.

1) +1, it will be quite soon. We are almost finished with the core modifications.
2) Some fixes were done already. I'll update the download link beta-f17/starwind-beta-t2636.html in several days.

3) Good idea. But as you understand it is complicated to implement. We'll think about how to make it possible.
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby deiruch » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:48 am

Wow, you worked a lot on the new release!!! I'm impressed.

Here's the updated list of my observations for version 5.8.1855_beta (build 20111230), new things first:
  • HA: What does "Restore Current Node" do?
  • Managing an old version results in RTFM error message. Repro: Try to add a target to an old version.
  • Naming: "Set Partner Authentication" reads strange. "Change Partner Authentication settings..." would be better ("..." usually indicates that a dialog will pop up). Similarly "Traffic priority ON sync channel" might be wrong (I'm no native speaker). I'd go with "Change Synchronization Priority...". "Switch HA partner" --> "Switch to different HA partner...", "Extend size of HA file" --> "Change size...", ...
  • Extending size of HA file-Dialog: This dialog too could be reworded ("Extend size by:", ...). It would be nice if the dialog showed the current size, the new size after the operation and the remaining free space of the drive that contains the image.
  • Groups manager: The mouse cursor is a hand. Usually selection is done with a regular (Arrow) cursor.
  • Add Device Wizard:<OCD mode="on">It'd be also nice if I could click the description to select an option, not just it's title.</OCD>
  • Add Device Wizard: Paths should probably be "C:\Dir\Dir\File" instead of "My Computer\C\Dir\Dir\File"
  • Add Device Wizard: The distinction between Basic and Advanced Virtual devices is non-obvious to me. Why is a RAM disc basic? Is the distinction needed? Wouldn't Physical or Virtual be enough?
  • The context-menu key on the keyboard does not work (between ALT GR and CTRL).
  • Spelling in the properties of a RAM disk: "Persistence Reservation" --> "Persistent Reservation" or "Persist Reservation" or "Persists Reservation", depending on what you're trying to communicate.
  • Feature request: Having stats for all servers would be nice. Also if IOPS/Bandwidth would be combined, that'd be great.
  • During the update from the first beta to this version I first updated one node. During setup the workload failed over. After the update I had no longer a LUN. It'd be great if setup recreated LUNs when updating from an old version. After I manually recreated the LUN the log was filled with
    Code: Select all
    12/31 2:52:56.394 fc4 HA: CHAPartnerNode::IsExistValidConnectionToPartner: EXITing with failure(failed), unknown or unsupported channel type (0)!
    12/31 2:52:56.410 11a4 HA: CHAPartnerNode::IsExistValidConnectionToPartner: EXITing with failure(failed), unknown or unsupported channel type (0)!
    and the icon was marked with a warning sign. Synchronization wasn't working (to be expected after this). Then I ran setup on the second node, which then was hanging forever during "Stopping the service...". I made a memory dump of StarWindService, if that is of any help. After that everything worked. Now I know that I'm talking about a Beta version to Beta version update but it leaves a weird feeling none the less.

And now the old issues, some with some added info:
  • When trying to create an image in non-existent folder the console should ask if it should create the folder for me. Currently it says that "Storage location and name are not specified!" which is obviously wrong.
  • Why is there a gorilla in a splash screen? And where does the hippo come from? Corporate identity, anyone?
  • Setup asks me if I want to install StarPort. Why would I want to install it? Why not? You could provide hints in Setup
  • Plethora of seemingly similar options (Mirroring/RAID-1 & HA & Dedup Replication, CDP & snapshots, ...) is confusing (to me)
  • The StarWind service is configured as "Automatic (Delayed)" instead of relying on service triggers
  • Cannot configure cache settings after creation and not at all for a HA-partner

Happy new year everyone!
Simon
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:28 am

Hi Simon,
thanks for your feedback!

HA: What does "Restore Current Node" do?
We are going to rename it to "Mark as synchronized" and show the warning message "this command changes the device status to 'synchronized' without data synchronization with HA partner.The device will start processing client requests immediately and will be used as data synchrnoization source for the partner device."
What do you think?


Managing an old version results in RTFM error message. Repro: Try to add a target to an old version.
Yes, the new Management Console the is incompatible with the previous StarWind versions due to the latest service and GUI modifications.

Naming...
It will be fixed soon.

Extending size of HA file-Dialog: This dialog too could be reworded ("Extend size by:", ...). It would be nice if the dialog showed the current size, the new size after the operation and the remaining free space of the drive that contains the image.
Accepted.

Groups manager: The mouse cursor is a hand. Usually selection is done with a regular (Arrow) cursor.
Accepted. It will be fixed soon.

Add Device Wizard: Paths should probably be "C:\Dir\Dir\File" instead of "My Computer\C\Dir\Dir\File"
It is caused by StarWind architecture and the ability to manage several StarWind servers by single management console. It will be changed later.

The context-menu key on the keyboard does not work (between ALT GR and CTRL).
It will be fixed soon.

Spelling in the properties of a RAM disk: "Persistence Reservation" --> "Persistent Reservation" or "Persist Reservation" or "Persists Reservation", depending on what you're trying to communicate.
Accepted.
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby deiruch » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:40 pm

Bohdan (staff) wrote:HA: What does "Restore Current Node" do?
We are going to rename it to "Mark as synchronized" and show the warning message "this command changes the device status to 'synchronized' without data synchronization with HA partner.The device will start processing client requests immediately and will be used as data synchrnoization source for the partner device."
What do you think?


Do I understand this correctly: After doing this I'll have two versions of the data and both nodes will happily serve requests (and give different answers)? When would I want to use this?
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Re: 5.8 beta Feedback

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:02 pm

No. This command is used in disaster situation when both HA nodes fail in abnormal way. Therefore you must manually mark the "synchronized" node. As soon as the other one become online, it will start copying the data.

I mean this command can be used only when (for some abnormal case) both HA nodes are "not synchronized". And there is an ability bring online only one node (for example, both nodes were down and after turning them on you found out that some hardware were damaged on the second node and you are unable to replace/fix the hardware immediately) This case you can mark the undamaged node as "synchronized" and continue the work process. As soon as the other node is fixed and become online, it will start copying (synchronizing) the data.
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