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Multiple Partitions for Performance

Hi All,

 I have seen this done multiple ways, I will let you know that I am running Windows Server 2008 with Exchange in a VMware vSphere 4 environment. Is it best to create multiple partitions for example:

Disk 0


S: (Swap)
X: (Exchange DATA)
C: Windows Server Core OS Files

Or is it just best to keep it all under C:\ for performance ? What do you all do and what is recommended by Microsoft, I have not been able to find many articles regarding this.
3 Solutions
The Exchange data should be on a different partitions from the other two.  Depending on the load on the server, you may be able to get by with putting the swap file on the same partition as the OS files, but I believe the official MS recommendation is to have a different partition for that as well.

The thing to remember though is that all of the above will not really affect performance very much unless your separate partitions are on separate physical disks.  If you just have a giant RAID 5 volume and all the partitions are located on that single volume, it doesn't do much for performance as the same disks are being used.  It may be easier to manage but that's about it.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I don't know any specific Microsoft Recommendations, but I always recommend data has it's own partition.  This is not for performance.  If the same disk heads (spindles) are doing the work, it makes little difference in terms of performance.  Instead, this is to ensure that a runaway process or problem on one service doesn't eat up disk space on the entire server and cause EVERYTHING to go down.  It could still happen if the C: drive gets full, but at least Exchange won't be the service filling the C: drive.

Likewise, putting the pagefile on another partition isn't going to really help anything.  Putting the pagefile on a separate disk entirely - THAT could help things.  In 2008, disk space requirements are a bit higher and we've reached a point where, in my opinion, the C: drive can be on it's own 73-80 GB mirror and then put the pagefile on another set of spindles.

I can also see the potential that having separate partitions might aid in preventing some degree of fragmentation.  Though that's only a POTENTIAL side benefit and I don't know how great the improvement would be.

In a virtual environment, it can be difficult if not impossible to have a separate set of spindles handling separate functions, so there, the benefit is generally just in organization and prevention of a major process killing the server by filling the space.
DMayoAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your comments I tend to agree.

But when using an iSCSI SAN in a VMWare environment like you stated its nearly impossible to separate sets of spindles.

What do you think of this partition map.

80GB Windows OS Volume
300GB Exchange Data

This is for an organization of about 60 employee's.
Darius GhassemCommented:
You should always stick even in a virtual environment to the recommendations and having the Exchange DB and logs slipt. You can't think of a Virtual Machine any differently then a physical machine.
DMayoAuthor Commented:

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