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Cross Server NTFS - is it possible

Stevod
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Last Modified: 2013-11-05
I wish to present a single dynamic NTFS volume which is spread across a multitude of disks as a single mountable volume to client systems. This can be done where the disks are on a single Windows server using dynamic volumes, but how can it be done when the disks are spread across multiple servers?

On option would be to use a NAS front end on a SAN back-end, but the bandwidth requirements are vary low, meaning the SAN cost can't be justified.

Is there any other way to extend a volume across multiple servers?

Thanks
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Commented:
None that I've ever heard of - and frankly, it would be dangerous - if one segment (computer) when down - or was even turned off - you run the risk of corrupting the entire drive.  I would not recommend this.  Drives are cheap - get a few - that's what I'd recommend - even external enclosure with several drives.
Brian PiercePhotographer
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Commented:
Not possible or desirable.
If you want to make the same data available on different servers you could use DFS http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Windows2003-Distributed-File-System.html

Commented:
Under Linux (Unix) it exists and called pvfs (Parallel Virtual FileSystem) or Lustre. Google do it for their own filesystems (GoogleFS), and they are proud of the fact that they have never lost a single bit of information.

Like the answers mentioned above, I am not aware of any such system for Windows OS.

Commented:
It just came to my mind:
If you can export a virtual iSCSI LUN on all your servers except one, you can mount all these devices as LUNs in that one server. You can, using Dynamic disk, build them into some sort of a RAID array, and be able to survive any single (or multiple, it's up to you) computer reboot.

This requires, however, innovation and originality, which is not too common, as you might notice.
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Commented:
Andy,

Thanks for rightly questioning my motivation in wanting to do this. Not being a storage specialist, it wasn't clear to me that it's possible to expand the disk space so radically on a single server. I now understand that it's possible to extend any server's disk into an expansion disk cage using a SCSI interface. It's now emerging that there are SCSI-SATA bridge interfaces available too, so that I can use low cost SATA disks in the expansion cage, and just use a SCSI bridge to connect the expansion cage to the server via SCSI. Is that correct?

Thanks
Stevod
andyalderretired saggar maker
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It's all going SAS now rather than SCSI for the server to enclosure interconnect, in general the enclosures take SAS or SATA disks. you'll obviously need 3.5" disks since 2.5" don't come in high capacity.

Any particular manufacturer in mind?

Author

Commented:
I'm currently using the new Hitachi 1TB SATA drives in my existing servers, which I will probably continue to do, as they seem to be the only 1TB drives available just now.

Do you have much experience of the reliability of different makes of drives? I remember reading a google report some months ago (http://209.85.163.132/papers/disk_failures.pdf) which said that one manufacturer's drives will significantly less reliable than others. Any idea which?

Thanks,
David
andyalderretired saggar maker
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I meant what make are the existing servers, it's them that you have to match the enclosures to and it's good practice to use the same make although you can use a generic enclosure like those from www.infortrend.com

Author

Commented:
The servers are generic servers, so something like Infortrend is actually a good match; thanks for that. Are there any compatability gotchas that we need to look out for?

Stevod
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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