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nebula72

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Server Array Configuration. Have I been building these wrong for the past 10 years?

OK, I have a question to see if I have been building servers wrong for the past 10 years.

I would say about 99 percent of  the servers I have built have been Compaq/HP Proliants. Here is my question.

For a simple server that would require 2 partitions (one for the OS and one for Data), I would create an array using all disks and only one logical drive (usually RAID5 plus online spare, or more recently RAID 10) utitlizing ALL free space from the Array; during the installation of the OS I would specify to use only a portion  of the free space for the OS partition. After the OS was loaded, I would go to Disk Manager and Create a D: partition using the free space from DISK0. So essentially, from Windows standpoint there is only one disk (disk 0) and from that disk there are 2 partitions (C: and D:)

My collegue uses a differnt approach, he Creates the Array and then Creates 2 logical drives in the Array Configuration utility; then windows will see them as 2 separate drives (Disk 0 and Disk 1) from there he would Format Disk 1 as the Data drive.

My logic of creating one logical drive is that I felt that there would be less burden on the hardware on keeping track of 2 separate RAID Logical disks.


Have I been wrong all these years or is this just a matter of opinion?

thanks

Tom
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armerdan
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It's a matter of opinion, I like your friends approach personally, but if it were me I would actually create 2 separate RAID arrays; create a RAID 1 array for the OS, and then do RAID 5, 10, or 5+1, for the data.

Windows would see the RAID 1 as disk 0, and the other volume as disk 1.

There is a little bit of opinion to it, and your way might relieve the RAID controller of some workload, but I don't think that the performance difference would be all that noticeable.
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armerdan
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nebula72

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Thanks for your reply

Well in this type of scenario we are talking about a server with a total of 4 disks so creating 2 array would not work (unless we are talking raid 0 or 1). In the instances that I built a server using a larger number of disks and larger data partition size, I would build 2 separate arrays as you would.

thanks again for your opinion and insight

Tom
I have always created them the same way that your colleague does as well.  From inside Windows, it gives you some freedom with choices such as basic vs dynamic for either of the volumes.  Two partitions on one volume as you have it would not provide that kind of flexibility.  It also makes it easy when doing Ghost snapshots for Ghost to see them as separate volumes altogether.
I always use two or more seperate logical disks as well. If you add another disk or two to the server you then have the option to expand either logical disk rather than use partitioning tools to shuffle things about. It also allows mixing RAID levels with RAID 1 for the OS and RAID 5 for the data on the same spindles and setting the cache and stripe size independantly.