HP NAS 1500S Array Partitioning Issues

I currently have a HP NAS 1500S (32-bit hardware) which originally came with less than 640 GB worth of raw disk space (4 SATA HDD's) and Windows Storage Server 2003 (32-bit).  My boss is telling me that I can upgrade the OS to Windows 2008 (32-bit), replace the SATA controller with an Adaptec SATA II 2420SA (4 SATA connectors) and use 4 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD's. He keeps insisting that I can use RAID 5 on all the drive to do this.  I am running into some issues:

1.  I cannot create 1 logical RAID 5 disk and boot from it in Windows 2008 because of the MBR limitation of 2 TB.

2.  I can create one 2 TB boot logical disk and use the other 3 disks in a raid 5 using GPT partitioning, but that leaves the boot partition vulnerable and not redundant.

3.  I can create two (2) RAID 1 logical disks, but that defeats the purpose of investing in such large hard drives.

Am I wrong in thinking that this cannot be done on this hardware alone?  Do I need to use Itanium hardware and/or EFI to boot from such a large RAID 5 logical disk (which this hardware does not have)?  Are there any SATA controllers that help with this type of configuration?

Thanks for your help in advance.
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rwetmoreAsked:
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rwetmoreAuthor Commented:
FYI - I also updated the Adaptec with special firmware (from Adaptec support) to allow it to see drives over 2 TB in size.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Your boss is under the mistaken assumption that all computer hardware is a commodity and everything can universally replace each other w/o reason for concern.  The HP NAS has probably served you well because you have a supported configuration and everything was tested & verified to work together.  HP does sell a Win2K8 version, but how do you know tested & supported drivers exit?  Will the cudas have the right firmware?  

I personally wouldn't waste my time down this path, but then again, I don't have to deal with your boss.   Best way to diffuse all of this is to google the 1500 version that has windows 2008 and get bill of materials on hardware they use and compare it to what he/she wants you to do.    If it is different, drop him an email, get an audit trail, or witness to cover yourself.  Be respectful, give it your best, and follow your superior's instructions.  Make darned sure you test the heck out of it.  If you make the changes and don't pick up a data corruption problem, or data is lost when you have a drive failure, it will be your fault.

Don't even think about going to an IA64 platform.  This will bring a world of headaches for you (not that the IA64 is a bad thing, but the IA64 is not an X86 or X86_64 platform.  Unless code is compiled for an itanium, then you will have major performance problems, just to start).

Maybe you can buy an external iSCSI appliance or network appliacne, and add data to that? This won't break your existing configuration and introduce a lot of risk and waste a huge amount of time testing.  How are you going to even test that a drive failure on this new RAID5 configuration rebuilds properly, or doesn't lock up the machine?  You don't even have resources to test it properly.
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andyalderCommented:
I think that controller can split a single RAID 5 into two logical disks so that one is less than 2TB for MBR boot and the other greater than 2TB for data on GPT partition. As yo probably know it's what Windows sees as the disk size that matters and seperate logical disks on one set of spindles gets around the GPT / boot problem nicely.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
I've got two IA64s here, and I agree, there is NO upper limit on the size of the "C:\" disk.  (well, the limit is bigger than you will need today, and I tested on the IA64 version of Win2K3 .. but it will work).


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