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How do I create a Virtual Drive in WINDOWS 2003 SERVER?

Posted on 2007-03-27
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I need to create a virtual drive in Windows 2003 Server.  I have two harddrives one with 20 Gigs and the other with 40 gigs.  I need to create a harddrive with more space in order to install another program and add files.  Heeeelllp
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Question by:friskee
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18805649
You can't create a drive larger than you have - MAYBE you could map a network drive to a workstation or server with more space.
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by:Soutie
ID: 18807009
you could always mount the 40Gb as a folder on the 20GB drive in effect giving you a 40 GB subfolder on the c: drive

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307889

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by:Soutie
Soutie earned 25 total points
ID: 18807045
another thought, you could always create a spanned volume

http://www.examcram2.com/articles/article.asp?p=332154&seqNum=3&rl=1

A spanned volume consists of disk space from more than one physical disk. You can add more space to a spanned volume by extending it at any time.

To create a spanned volume, perform the following steps:

Open Disk Management.
Right-click the unallocated space on one of the Dynamic disks where you want to create the spanned volume and then click New Volume.
Using the New Volume Wizard, click Next, click Spanned, and then follow the instructions on your screen.

Here are guidelines for spanned volumes:

You can create spanned volumes on Dynamic disks only.
You need at least two Dynamic disks to create a spanned volume.
You can extend a spanned volume onto a maximum of 32 Dynamic disks.
Spanned volumes cannot be striped.
Spanned volumes are not fault-tolerant.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18808869
Yes, you could use Spanned folders - of course if one drive dies you lose EVERYTHING...
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by:friskee
ID: 18809933
I double checked  the drives, the space on one of them is actually 18.6 GB and the other is 19.1.  Sorry, I WISH I had 40 to work with.  
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18820017
       If i didn't get you wrong, you need a partition which is 40 GB. Solution is resizing+spanning
          You have free space but how can you combine them? Answer is here  
          I assume you have your OS installed on one drive and other for files/backup. You need at least 1-1.5GB free space in partition which you installed your OS. Download a partition manager program like Acronis, partition magic for resizing operation. Do some resizing practises in an unimportant PC to get used to it.
            Lets say that your OS is installed in 40 GB partition and has 19.1 GB free space. Now resize this partition to 23 GB. Now you have 18 GB free/partitionless space in this drive. Never resize the disks to the data rates, leave some empty space especially for the paging file.
            And your other disk is 20 GBs has 18.6 GB free. Now resize this disk to 4 gb. Now you have 16 GB free/partitionless space in this drive.
           Now convert your disks to dynamic disk in disk management. "DO NOT perform this action if there is an OS loader or more than 1 OS installed in one of the drives.
           Now right-click one of the free spaces we got by resizing in one of the disks in disk management, then click New Volume. Click spanned volume. Choose other drive too and click add. Set the 16+18=34 GB as your new partitions space.
           You are done. Now assign a drive letter and you have a 34 GB partition.
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by:friskee
ID: 18839065
I have been doing additional testing with the second harddrive- I will post a response hopefully tomarrow.  I appreciate everyone's input.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18840120
I STRONGLY discourage you from using SPANNED volumes.  As I mentioned earlier, this is a sure way to lose ALL your data if one drive dies.  Rather, considering the cost of drives nowadays, buy a new drive.
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18842894
                 *I have been using 3 HDDs spanned in my cameraserver and nothing happened for about a year. Of course there are risks, but the risk is same in a 1 HDD standalone and in servers which run RAID1. If your data is very! important, then apply a RAID0 for both spanned or standalone volume.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18842973
The risk is NOT the same as a standalone hard drive - Spanning together 3 drives triples your risk because any of the three could fail resulting in catastrophic data loss.

And I REALLY hope you are just mixing up your numbers... RAID 0 is as bad as SPANNING - RAID 1 (Mirroring) is what you do for redundancy.
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18843757
          I meant RAID1 sorry.
           Calculating the risk in this case is subject to discuss in my opinion. Some of IT professionals say that as the width of RAID increase (HDD amount), the risk increases and some say that the probability is always same. Lets say that one of the drives in spanned volume got corrupt in 3 months. Wouldn't that drive be the standalone? So as i said, its a subject to discuss.
         
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by:friskee
ID: 18844917
Really glad to see this discussion on Spanned drives vs RAID.  I've been trying to dig into this, and my fears are data loss, so I'm just trying to find the best solution.  I was going to divide up some of the applications between the two harddrives, but would rather do something virtual instead.

I'll respond again soon.
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Lee W, MVP earned 50 total points
ID: 18845393
A corrupt RAID is always a possibility... BUT, that said, I've not seen many corrupt RAIDs (I can't specifically recall with certainty EVER having seen one) but I've definitely had my share of hard drives die on me - RAID and not RAID.

And I'm not following your example... RAID drives don't generally get corrupt - if you use a hardware RAID (which every competent professional will tell you on a windows system is almost always the best choice), if a disk fails, even with a bad sector, the RAID controller either knocks the whole RAID offline or it rebuilds it onto a hot spare or it drops the disk and runs in a degraded state (depending on the quality of the RAID controller - and assuming RAID 5 and/or some combination of RAID 0 and 1).

There are several ways of losing data - failed disk, corruption, accidental deletion.  Make no mistake, RAID is NOT backup - RAID is REDUNDANCY.  It protects against the hardware failure of a single disk (in some cases, more than one disk).  
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
Alan Huseyin Kayahan earned 50 total points
ID: 18849600
             Also S.M.A.R.T technology will inform you if a HDD in array is close to imminent failure or not. When you receive this message in POST screen, then you would change related HDD.
             I have managed with many servers with many kinds of RAID types for 12 years, and have never seen a drive immediately failed and caused data loss without S.M.A.R.T warning.
            Unless you physically hit the HDDs somehow our cause power surges which will directly affect HDD, it is safe to go on with spanned drives or RAIDs since most of the normal mainboards and all of the server boards have S.M.A.R.T capabilty.
             This is not a discussion spanned & RAID. Because spanned volumes are so simple against RAID. Spanned volumes; switches to other HDD when no place left. But RAID0 (stripe) divides the data as stripe size defined, by the RAID width and definitely improves performance. To be more clear with an example;
           Lets say that you are transferring 1MB data to a standalone or spanned drive in 1 second. And you ve set stripe size as 256KB and you have 4 identical disks (RAID width) in your RAID array. This 1MB will be divided by 4 (raid width) and will be seperated to disks as 256 kb parts. And that means 1/4 seconds.
           In RAID5, about %35-%50 of every disk in array is allocated for parity. If you use 3x73 GB disk for a RAID5 you will have about 110-130GB of usable space. And if one of the drives fail, system goes on running!. You replace the faulty drive and parity is re-written to new disk. Absoultely the best RAID type. Only disadvantage is loosing some space.
         Also in RAID, if you used 3x 73GBs with 16MB cache you will have a RAID disk with 48MB cache.
         If you dont want to risk yourself, always +1 (mirror) your RAID config. RAID0+1
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18851205
Consider yourself lucky.  I have seen PLENTY of drives - SCSI and PATA/SATA fail without SMART warnings.  For example, how can SMART warn you of an impending electrical surge?  Sure, everyone SHOULD be using a GOOD UPS, but some people aren't - PLENTY of people in small and midsize businesses, in fact.

But lets assume you're right - how often do you reboot your servers - my windows boxes, that are not exposed to the internet got patched quarterly (and had to be up, in general 7x24).  It's not impossible for SMART to detect an impending failure 2 months out... but if the drive starts failing two weeks after reboot, when exactly do you see that warning before the drive fails?

Yes, spanned volumes extend the size of the drive... but have you ever yanked a drive (or lost a drive) in a spanned volume?  you're not able to access ANY data on EITHER disk.  Sure you can send it to a data recovery company... or POSSIBLY buy software that can recover most of the data, but god save you if there was a large database split between the two drives.  And as much as your right in theory (about data being put on one drive before another) don't forget fragmentation.  That could cause multiple files to be lost.

Now, I'm not sure where you get your numbers on RAID 5... to me, it really sounds like you don't know the technology, at least RAID 5, that well.  You don't lose 35-50% on a RAID 5.  You lose 33% or less.  A raid 5 can be, depending on the hardware supporting it, from 3 to 31 (maybe 32) disks. I had a fiber channel SAN that allowed for RAID 5 volumes of up to 31 drives.  In a RAID 5, one disk worth of space (not one specific disk) is lost for parity information.  If you have a 3 disk RAID 5 (the minimum required disks) you have 33% "wasted" space - 1 of the 3 disks worth of space is used by the RAID.  In a 7 disk RAID 5, you have 14.3% wasted space - one of the seven disks worth of space is used for parity.  

RAID 1 (Mirroring) uses 50% of total disk space for redundancy.  And RAID 0 is not, by it's own definition, really a RAID.  

My whole point is that SPANNING is NOT SAFE with regards to hardware failures and thus with any important data, it SHOULD NOT be used.  

I'm continuing this in large part because the person asking the question said:
"Really glad to see this discussion on Spanned drives vs RAID"
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18871893
             "Unless you physically hit the HDDs somehow you cause power surges which will directly affect HDD"  As you see i mentioned powere surges. Anyway, using a good UPS is not the duty of some people or PLENTY of people. It is the duty of technician. These are VERY basic steps of a server technician, providing UPS for servers, fastening cabinet to walls with extra equipment against earthquakes or hits, locking racks.... these are the cheap but CRUCIAL precautions for protecting thousands $ worth servers and maybe hundered thousands $ worth data. Thats why I am not considering myself lucky. I am an engineer who knows what he does. If a company cant afford a UPS when I demand,  i immediately cancel our our agreement and tell them to find a new tech stuff. No work with luck.
               In companies ,of which I am the Technical Supervisor, downtimes are 1 or 2 times in 3 months periods unless a critical condition occurs. It really sounds like you don't know the technology about SMART and especially the fact that SMART status is readable by software, which should be run as a service or application continuously and has an active AMS (Alert Management System) which even should SMS to your mobile phone for critical conditions in case.
              I never said that spanning is safe.          
              I RDPed one of the servers,  which has 3x73 GB SAS 15K HDD RAID5 256K Stripe size, and saw that It has a total of 130GB usable space ,another one with 1MB stripe size (also different HDD brand) and saw that it was 127GB and got these numbers. You are right about the formula
Lost Space=1/Raid Width but I was talking about a 3 HDD RAID and these numbers for this issue, maybe I made punctuation mistake and couldnt tell what I meaned. And by the way, outputs of this formula is not always exact.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18871918
I never said you didn't mention power surges.  And technically, they should be a non-issue.  But some companies can't afford and/or don't consider proper UPSs a priority.  And while I tell all my clients how important a UPS is, some just don't want to heed that advice.  And the more servers you have, the more expensive it can be maintaining a UPS system.  But even with UPS systems, THINGS FAIL.  I worked in a data center with hundreds of servers and THINGS FRY.  DRIVES FAIL.  even UPS systems FAIL.  Heads crash.  And it's great you install monitoring software - everyone should... but not everyone can afford it.  Maybe you use something that's free... in which case, why not SHARE the name of the product?  

No, I wouldn't call myself a "SMART" expert, but I do know I often see it disabled in Dell and other name brand systems.  And I often enable it when I see it on white box systems.  And I've seen it report failures at boot a couple of times... But I still think you're foolish if you rely on SMART to tell you when a drive is going to fail and ONLY rely on SMART (and UPSs).  The unexpected happens - if you've been doing this long enough, you know that.
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 18872027
         You are right m8. Some companies cant afford such kind of crucial equipments. And I have only 1 sentence for them. "Then use pen, paper and rubber" . I sign an agreement in which I and my crew take the responsibilty and I cant risk myself to earn more money, with such clients. Of course things fail :). Electronics fail, mechanics fail, human fail. But i learned in that long time, we (IT) have many things to take care of before the fatal occurs.
         I think monitoring is the most essential duty of a domain admin. It shouldnt be "dcpromo and you are done". I use Active SMART which is not free, just googled for a free version but saw that they were crap. But you know how to find "Free" version of Active SMART :).
         Yes, we usually see SMART warning during bootups, even in old personal computers. Of course it is foolish to expect SMART to inform "Your HDD is going to die in xx hours", its like going to a fortune-teller and he says "You will die. 3 months left for you to live " . But this is more like going to a doctor , and doctor has some info, x-rays, analyses about  and etc and he says "You will die. 3 months left for you to leave". Even doctors fail, patient may live longer or shorter.
       1 word for unexpecteds, Murphy's Laws :)
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by:friskee
ID: 18952160
Excellent contributions! Thank you all so much ;0)
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