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RAID 5 in windows server 2003

Posted on 2008-02-08
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Hi,

I'm planning setting up a RAID system with windows server 2003.
I'm thinking of four 1TB drives, all put together for RAID 5, so an effective 3TB volume. Will windows server 2003 (32 bit) supports that 3TB in one single partition ?

Thanks!
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Question by:valleytech
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by:bhnmi
ID: 20854471
Why would you do that?
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by:bhnmi
ID: 20854475
3TB partition I mean.
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by:valleytech
ID: 20854530
Based on RAID5 with 4x1TB hdds, then we should have 3 TB for use right?
We need 3TB to store satellite images
Any insight about this will be great :)
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rickiswpg earned 2000 total points
ID: 20854600
It should, here's what microsoft says

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/LUN_SP1.mspx

With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows XP 64-bit Edition (x64), these limits have changed.

Microsoft added support for 64-bit block numbers in the disk/class layer, using the new SCSI Commands included in the SCSI-3 Block Commands-2 command set. Microsoft also enabled GPT support for all Windows Server 2003 SP1 platforms. With this change, for example, a snapshot of a GPT partition on an Itanium-based machine can now be transported to a 32-bit machine for data mining or archiving purposes.

The new limits are as follows:

" Basic or dynamic volume size: 264 blocks = 273 bytes (too big to pronounce)
 
" Maximum NTFS file system size that can be realized on Windows: 256 TB
 

Note: Disk devices with more than 2 TB of disk space must be converted to GPT format for all of the disk space to be usable. If the device uses MBR format, the disk space beyond 2 TB will be unusable.

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by:mcconmw
ID: 20854672
It is certainly possible as has been pointed out above with the caveats also mentioned about both hardware and software concerns.  However, it is not an advisable approach.  Classic wisdom would put the OS on 2 small mirrored drives (C: drive) and the data on the Raid 5 set you suggest (D: drive).  This will improve performance by keeping your OS function disk read\writes segragated from your data storage and retrieval disk read\writes.  It will also keeps your OS functions segragated from your data functions which if you do data replication or other functions down the road it will also be easier to handle.  Cheers.
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by:valleytech
ID: 20854793
As I understand, only windows server 64 bits will support single partition over 2TB correct?
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by:valleytech
ID: 20854844
From the artical
Disk devices with more than 2 TB of disk space must be converted to GPT format for all of the disk space to be usable. If the device uses MBR format, the disk space beyond 2 TB will be unusable. ---> But only Windows 2k3 64 bit supports GPT, thus windows2k3-32bit won't work with GPT --> thus drive bigger than 2TB cannot be used with windows 2k3 32 bit?
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by:mcconmw
ID: 20854862
The following is a very good summary written by someone else in another forum here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/229369-32-problems-larger-arrays 

I recently set up a Windows Server 2003 with a 6TB iSCSI array, and learned a few things while I did it.  8)  
 
Here is a summary:
 
1. The only versions of Windows that support >2 TB arrays at all are Windows XP x64, Windows Server 2003 SP1 (x86 and x64), and Windows Vista (x86 and x64).
 
2. The only versions of Windows that can use a >2 TB array as a boot device are Windows Vista and the not-yet-released Longhorn server.  They can only do this on a system with an EFI BIOS.  Any system with a standard PC BIOS cannot boot from a >2 TB array regardless of operating system.
 
3. To support an array >2 TB, the device must be converted to a GPT disk in Windows Disk Management.
 
4. To support a device >2 TB, the controller must support some type of extended addressing mechanism (48-bit LBA for IDE/SATA devices, 64-bit LBA / 16-byte CDB for SCSI API-compatible controllers).  If the controller doesn't support this, the maximum array size it can support is 2TB.
 
5. Some controllers will assist you in hooking up a large array to an operating system that doesn't support it (such as Windows XP) by using LUN carving.  Using this, a large array appears to the computer as multiple 2TB arrays.  Each 2TB virtual array can then be formatted as a standard MBR disk.  Of course, not all of your space will be on one volume.
 
6. The FAT32 file system is not supported on arrays >2TB.  Volumes >2TB must be NTFS.  NTFS will support up to a 256TB array in its current implementation.
 
7. It is recommended that >2TB arrays be basic disks unless absolutely necessary to make them dynamic disks.  Dynamic disks are only supported on devices that are direct connected or connected on a SAN through a Fibre Channel card or iSCSI hardware card.  Dynamic disks are not supported using the Microsoft iSCSI software initiator.
 
8. Some RAID controllers and SAN units have a hack that is supposed to let them get around the 2TB limit on operating systems that don't support it.  To implement it, they increase the sector size from the standard 512 bytes up to as large as 4096 bytes.  Using this, they purport to be able to support up to a 16 TB array as an MBR disk.  Do not use this mechanism under Windows.  Windows specifically does not support any device with a sector size other than 512 bytes.  Under Linux OS's, this should work OK.
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by:mcconmw
ID: 20854877
It was added in SP1 to all versions including x86.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT_FAQ.mspx
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by:valleytech
ID: 20854896
1. The only versions of Windows that support >2 TB arrays at all are Windows XP x64, Windows Server 2003 SP1 (x86 and x64), and Windows Vista (x86 and x64 --> Windows Server 2003SP1 x86, it's 32 bit right? Just wan to make sure ;) ..
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by:valleytech
ID: 20854900
I only have lisc for windows server 2003 32bit, not 64 bit though
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by:mcconmw
ID: 20854906
X86 is the 32 bit version of the OS
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by:valleytech
ID: 20877890
thanks!!!
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