Partition Alignments

I've done a lot of reading regarding partition alignment and performance optimization.  However, I am having a difficult time applying this information to my scenario and getting the math correct.  HP is of no assistance.

I currently have an HP DL385 G6 with QTY 6 750GB sata drives, 2 in RIAD 1, and 1 in RAID 5 running Win 2k3 SP2 x64.  I used the HP Smart Start to deploy the server.

Focusing on drive0 (RAID 1), with system partition, I have the information below.  Based on that, how can I determine if my partitions are properly aligned?  In relation to DISK 1 (RAID 5), how do I properly align everything (or do the math to check)?  It's currently a dymanic disk with no partitionas, which was chosen because I would like to be able to have more than 4 partitions on the drive, and expand them if necessary.

C:\>wmic partition get BlockSize, StartingOffset, Name, Index, size
BlockSize  Index  Name                   Size           StartingOffset
512        0      Disk #0, Partition #0  83888439296    16384
512        1      Disk #0, Partition #1  666230915072   83889553408
512        0      Disk #1, Partition #0  1048576        17408
512        1      Disk #1, Partition #1  2250233436672  134235136

C:\Documents and Settings\evault>fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c:
NTFS Volume Serial Number :       0xe02c0cdc2c0cb018
Version :                         3.1
Number Sectors :                  0x0000000009c411ff
Total Clusters :                  0x000000000138823f
Free Clusters  :                  0x000000000112d864
Total Reserved :                  0x0000000000000000
Bytes Per Sector  :               512
Bytes Per Cluster :               4096
Bytes Per FileRecord Segment    : 1024
Clusters Per FileRecord Segment : 0
Mft Valid Data Length :           0x00000000024f0000
Mft Start Lcn  :                  0x0000000000040000
Mft2 Start Lcn :                  0x00000000000801f3
Mft Zone Start :                  0x00000000000a1580
Mft Zone End   :                  0x00000000000f0820

System is not yet in production, so I want to get this right before I start putting copious amounts of data on it.
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megs28Asked:
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Justin OwensITIL Problem ManagerCommented:
Let's back away from the math, per se, and try to understand what you have and what you are trying to do.  You have two Virtual drives on this server, a RAID 1 (mirror of two drives) and a RAID 5 (which MUST have at least 3 drives, as this is striping with parity check).  So, my assumtion is this:
RAID 1 (Total size is going to be around 750GB):
  • Disk 0
  • Disk 1
RAID 5 (you will lose the storage of ONE drive in a RAID 5 for Parity check, so the rule is to add up the total (all drives must allocate the same size into the RAID) and then subtract the size of one drive) (Your total size is going to be around 1.5TB, if it is closer to 2TB, you have 4 disks in your RAID 5 rather than three):
  • Disk 2
  • Disk 3
  • Disk 4
That leaves one unassigned Disk, Disk 5 (or your 6th disk, unless assigned to the RAID 5 as described above).
Now, please confirm the above speculation and then let us know how you would like to configure your partitions (Again, for the moment let's avoid the math).
Justin
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megs28Author Commented:
Close, but disk 5 is also part of the RAID 5 set, making 4 drives in total, so just over 2TB.

RAID 1 - 72-ish GB system partition (whatever is there right now is fine), and another primary partition consuming the remainder of the space

RAID 5 - For now, I will start by making a 200GB partition, but I may expand it as time goes on.  Also be adding more partitions down the road.
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Justin OwensITIL Problem ManagerCommented:
So, you are trying to confirm your partition tables are reporting the correct information?  What exactly are you trying to verify before you take your server into production?
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megs28Author Commented:
That the partitions are properly aligned for maximum performance.  SATA disks...budget wouldn't allow for SAS so the more IOPS I can push the better.
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megs28Author Commented:
Is it as simple as my partition offset divided by the number of bytes per cluster aka. disk allocation unit size (by default, it uses 4KB, so 4096bytes), and as long as the number is an integer my partition offset is good?

Seems like I'm missing something?
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Justin OwensITIL Problem ManagerCommented:
Offset is good, yes, but I tend to look less at that and more at the end goal of the server.  Here is a good blog I ran across a couple of years ago while researching how to increase my RAID performance:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=130
Justin
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megs28Author Commented:
I understand that and have done my research to setup my RAID as necessary, but my question is in regards to disk alignment for performance.  Just feel like something is off?  The drives will be storing a lot of small files. Access is expected to be random access, 80% write, 20% read.
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Justin OwensITIL Problem ManagerCommented:
Megs28,
I took your problem to a friend of mine who is a math and statistics professor.  He looked it over and said your math is right.  I am not good enough to tell you that, so I wanted to verify it with a professional first.  I hope that helps.
Justin
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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Windows Server 2003

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