Why partition a single volume into C: and D: drives?

Posted on 2004-11-18
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
I just got a new server, with 400G in a single hardware RAID volume.  It came partitioned with a 12G C: Drive, and the rest in a D: drive.  I've always despised partitioning a single disk this way (C: always runs out of space) and I thought it was a dead practice now that the NTFS supports large enough partitions.  Is there any reason or advantage to partitioning separate C: & D: drive on a single RAID volume?  (Windows Server 2003)
Question by:JohnBPrice
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution


    Yes there is, it is even best practice, to my knowledge. This way you can have all data safely stored on the d drive if the operating system need to be reïnstalled (because you would only need to format the c drive). You would also have better performance, because the data can be traced a lot faster on the drives if they are seperated..

    Normally, i would sugget using 5GB + 2* internal mem for the c drive and the rest for the d drive.. If this server is also going to be a print server, i would also suggest creating a 1 GB e drive which sole purpose is to be the spool drive (again performance issues)...

    But, the final decission is up to you... If you don't want to create multiple dries, then don't do it..
    LVL 16

    Author Comment

    Thanks, Hmmm, do partitions really have a performance impact on Raid 5 arrays?  If I seek cluster 100 on C: and cluster 500 on D:, does the RAID controller see anything different than seek cluster 100 and cluster 500?  I understand that putting the most frequently used files in a limited area of the disk can improve performance through reduced seek times, but this box is going to be primarily SQL Server, and the data files might get more activity than the OS files.

    Frankly, I'm looking for a good excuse to not re-partition the darn thing because its a pain in the butt, though maybe I could just drop the D: partition and stretch the C: partition if it comes to that.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment


    I'm not quite sure if the performnace is better, i always create multiple partitions and don't reïnstall with one partition to check the performance, but my gut feeling tells me this will give you more performance... This is also stated in the W2k and W2k3 MSCE books, to create multiple partitions..

    Also, the reïnstall of the operating system is a very good reason to partition.. But eventually, the choise is up to you... Because Microsoft also states not to put a SQL database on a RAID 5 setting, although this will work...(all for perfromance, right ;))
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    it's easier to backup and has a performance impact to partition the drive.
    anyway, it's recommended for SQL servers, to use different partitions for System, Datafiles and Logfiles.

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