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  • Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

    Hi,

    I have Six (6) 500 GB drives I am trying to put into a Raid 5 array. I just found out that NTFS / Windows Server 2008 R2 will only recognize a 2TB partition via Hardware Raid.

    I can use GPT but only in a software RAID mode.

    I'd like to run Raid 5 in the FASTEST mode possible, even if it means giving up one of my disks to make it under the 2TB limit.

    Am I better off doing it as Hardware Raid 5 (with 2TB limit), or software using GPT and taking advantage of the extra drive.

    (the extra space isn't crutial, I just had the drives so I thought it would be fun to play.)

    Thanks!

    Allen

  • #2
    Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

    In general (and AFAIK still true for 2K8, hardware is much more efficient than software.

    How about RAID 1+0 (mirror of 3 striped drives) for 1.5 TB super fast storage if your controller supports this.

    This 2TB Partition limit is becoming a real PITA! Come on, MS, 2TB drives are hear to stay!!!!
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

      My recommendation is to always keep RAID handling on a hardware level.

      For RAID-5 especially where computation of the parity is required there can be quite a lot of overhead (plus added latency) when using software based solutions.

      If you are looking for sheer performance though I'd recommend looking into RAID-10 if you can afford it as already mentioned by Ossian.

      At the end of the day even if you go hardware it doesn't matter what kind of RAID solution you have in place RAID-5 always suffers a performance penalty when writing to the array due to the computation of the parity bit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

        Ok, so in the Raid 1+0 (which my card does support). What would my config look like with 6 disks.

        If I am reading it correctly it works in increments of four. Would I just do a regular mirror (Raid1) with the other two?

        Also, where in Raid 5 it's (n-1) for loss of usable data, is the raid 1+0 a 50% loss like raid 1 is?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

          RAID-10 is basically a stripe of RAID-1's... so yeah it's similar to RAID-1 in that you lose half your usable storage space.

          Therefore six 500GB drives in a RAID-10 array would yield only 1500GB of useable storage space.

          Edit: And since you would only have 1500GB of useable storage space, you should have no problems with partitioning (:

          (Thing is though... if you are using a hardware based RAID controller you should be able to create partitions in excess of 2TB on Windows Server 2008 R2.)
          Last edited by Entrope; 5th October 2010, 13:47.

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          • #6
            Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

            Originally posted by Entrope View Post
            (Thing is though... if you are using a hardware based RAID controller you should be able to create partitions in excess of 2TB on Windows Server 2008 R2.)
            I am, and the BIOS lets me but Windows Server 2008 R2 isn't allowing me to install the OS to that array. Is there a trick I am missing?

            I am using just an on board Raid controller (not an enterprise level)

            (MB is a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P).

            So the controller sees 6 drives in Raid 5 as a 2.5 TB, but Windows Server 2008 R2 doesn't like it.

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            • #7
              Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

              Are you trying to create a single partition on the array which you are then trying to install Server 2008 R2 on?

              If I remember correctly you can not have a boot partition 2TB or larger. Which means Server 2008 R2 needs to be on a partition smaller than 2TB, but you can have other partitions larger than 2TB if you desire.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                Originally posted by Entrope View Post
                Are you trying to create a single partition on the array which you are then trying to install Server 2008 R2 on?

                If I remember correctly you can not have a boot partition 2TB or larger. Which means Server 2008 R2 needs to be on a partition smaller than 2TB, but you can have other partitions larger than 2TB if you desire.
                Ok, I think I'll just pull one drive and run Raid 5 on it so I have 2.5 for a usable 2 TB. I like the idea of 1+0 as suggested here, but don't really want to lose 50% of my drive space.

                I guess I could always add two SSD drives on the other controller and use those as a boot drive! (If I wasn't tapped out on cash that is!)

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                • #9
                  Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                  I think you can have a boot drive larger than 2TB as long as your boot partition is less than 2TB.

                  Why not try:

                  C:\ 50GB (Boot Partition, Server 2008 R2 install)
                  D:\ 2450GB

                  This should work.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                    Ahhh, good call! I'll give that a shot when I get home tonight!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                      Yup do give it a shot and let me know if it solves your problem (:

                      While I do work with some very large arrays, most of the time my boot drives tend to be pretty small while the larger arrays are either DAS or NAS.

                      So I have not tried installing Server 2008 R2 with a boot drive larger than 2TB yet... but to my knowledge as long as your boot partition is smaller than 2TB Windows should have nothing to complain about.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                        Even with creating a small partition as part of the Raid 5, it wouldn't allow me to use it as a boot drive... Pulled one drive out and kept 5 / 500 GB and it works like a champ... I'll live w/o the extra drive as I originally only had 500 GB of USABLE space (was running 2X500 in Raid 1).

                        Stinks that Microsoft still has this limitation as of Server 2008 R2. I would have thought there would be some way around it, but I am only using the on-board Raid controller vs. a nice Enterprise solution.

                        Thanks!

                        Allen

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                        • #13
                          Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                          Its a limit of the MBT not windows.

                          You need to reformat the disk to use a GPT, and there are some catchs to booting off it.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS#Limitations

                          That should give you the info you need to know.

                          My question is this.... Why do you need a 2TB C drive? This would decrease system proformance over a smaller C drive.

                          Wofen
                          If in asking for more details about a problem I seem to be rude, think about it this way, If I did not have to ask, I would not of been forced to be rude.


                          Please assume anything and everything I say to be wrong unless I have provided links and evidence, or you have done the same.
                          IE: you blow your server up following my advice, not my bad

                          A OP is bad if I can go to and answer the question by pressing 4 buttons. "Ctrl +c, Ctrl +v".

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                          • #14
                            Re: Server 2008 R2 / 2TB limit

                            I ended up using a total of 7 drives:

                            Raid 1: for boot - 2 - 500 GB
                            Raid 5: Storage - 5 - 500 GB

                            Boots fast and works like a champ!

                            Thanks for everyone's input. It really helped.

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