Difference between partition, logical drives and volumes

Posted on 2007-10-18
Last Modified: 2013-11-14

Quick question for all...

I have a server with 3 x 72 GB hard drives in a RAID 5. Being in the RAID 5, it 'loses' a disk for parity.

This array is split into a C, D, and E drive (the sizes are irrelevant).

Now, my question is - I have always called these C, D an E' drives 'Partitions'. However, some people also call them Volumes, and others call them Logical Drives....

Which is correct?
Question by:kam_uk
    LVL 87

    Accepted Solution

    You can call them what you like. Partitions are more specific to single drives, while volumes can include more drives (like in your case). Logical drives don't have to be harddisks (like USB sticks or CD drives etc). But no one will really care what you call them.
    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    It is pedantic but there is a definition, generally people will understand what you are talking about..

    1. Drive - obvious

    2. Partition
    A partition created on a drive or a drive split into one or more partitions.

    3. Volume
    logical or mounted  e.g. C:. D:

    The reason that 2<>3 is that a partition can be 'extended' meaning it can contain more than 1 entry.


    LVL 55

    Assisted Solution

    All are correct depending on the manufacturer, for example Infortrend call them partitions, HP call them logical drives, IBM call them volumes. I often call them slices if I don't know which manufacture is being referred to.

    When you look it from the OSs point of view they are genarally called disk drives even though they are not individual disks.
    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    Thanks All!
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    There is a big difference between whether you are slicing the array up under the OS or in hardware under the RAID controller, mikem has answered from the OS manufacturer (MS) point of view, I and Rindi from the hardware manufacturer point of view.

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