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Prevent Drives from Sleeping if Plex is Running?


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#1 GG7

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:01 PM

Although I love my OWC 12TB four disk RAID that I use on my Plex Mac Mini Server, I do have some issues with it sleeping on me after pausing video playback. Like many external drives, this RAID hardware system does not seem to pay attention to the Energy Saver settings in System Prefs and will spin down the RAID within a few minutes of inactivity even if the NO SLEEP option is ticked in the E saver prefs. The problem with a multi-disk array like my Qx2 is that the amount of time it takes for the drives to spin back up is rather long and causes Plex to behave strangely if you leave your video paused long enough for the drives to sleep.

What happens on my system after a long pause is that after resuming playback, there is a long pause with no change to the video behavior followed by Plex resuming playback for a few seconds as it appears to be playing through a buffer, but when this buffer runs out the video freezes and plays a couple of glitchy frames followed by a return to the movie or TV show start page. The "Resume From" is then lost as if I never played the movie or episode before. I have to manually scan through the file to get back to the same location I was paused at before this happened. The workaround I first used was to HIT STOP instead of PAUSE and back out of the movie instead. This gets around the loss of the RESUME FROM location, but I would prefer to have a feature in Plex that was designed to keep the playback drive awake as long as it is being used with Plex.

There are some third party software out there that can keep drives awake, and even a program called Disksomina that keeps drives running Final Cut awake as long as Final Cut is running, but none of the other solutions are application specific. I wrote to the author of Disksomnia and asked if they would consider adding Plex support to their free app, but they said they had no plans to expand beyond Final Cut right now. That got me to wondering if perhaps the Plex developers couldn't take a look at Disksomnia and whip up something similar for Plex users that accomplishes the same thing. Basically, keeping your external media drive or RAID spinning as long as Plex is running, and turning off this feature if you quit Plex.

Right now I am using Keep Drive Spinning to prevent the RAID from sleeping, but since I am not using my HTPC constantly during the day, I would prefer to not have this large RAID left spinning all day long when when I am not using Plex.

Anyone got any other solutions for this problem that they have come up with? Ideally, a new feature in Plex to address this problem would be preferable.

I would LOVE to hear from the Plex development team on this request! I am sure that I am not alone in my desire for a Plex specific solution to the sleeping media drive issue.

Cheers.
|| Mac Mini Server w 2.66 GhZ CPU - Nividia 320m GPU - 4 GB Ram • OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 12.0TB • OWC Mercury Pro 12X Blu-Ray Pioneer BDR-206 External DVD reader/burner • 6TB Additional Storage via various FW800 external drives on 8 Mac home network • Sony Bravia 52" HDTV with 240 hZ refresh rate ||

#2 Frankie R.

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 08:16 PM

I'm going to agree with this request, even though I may tone it back a smidge in that I don't like the idea of plex stopping a drive from spinning down. I have a drobo connected to my mac mini with drives going to sleep after a couple hours. This all works fine and dandy, however since plex doesn't request a file from the external drive until you hit play there are times, when I first come back to my TV after a couple hours away or a day, that the file will not play. Its not that big of a deal because I just wait for it to time out and continue on my marry way like nothing bad happened. However, I do think this can be handled a little more gracefully.

What I propose is that when there is a call to the plex media server for metadata part of the process in it is to send a heartbeat cheek to any drive that may house connected data. This can be done asynchronously, so it won't effect the loading time from plex media server. This should spin up the drives and make things work more smoothly. Also if plex goes to sleep while the user is in a media list when it comes back from sleep it should requery its media information. This will once again cause a heart beat to spin up any sleeping drives and move things along properly.

This may seem like a bit much in the sense that you'll spin up a host of drives with every request, but you could also go another route. You can create a drive status daemon that is checking the state of all drives in a collection, made from all drives associated with that media server, when media is requested it will ask the daemon the state of the drive and put a lock in place waiting for the drive to wake up. Once the drive is awake it will release its lock and load the media.

This is all really over the top in the sense that its a lot of work for a very small number of people, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask does it?

#3 boots2x

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:32 AM

even if the NO SLEEP option is ticked in the E saver prefs.

I'd be speaking to OWC and asking them to fix their bug! It's a bit wrong-minded to 'fix' this at the application level. The unit should be tolerant of normal usage.

James

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