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Server with multiple 2TB partitions

Posted on 2011-03-02
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I'm got a Window Server 2008 server with 4TB of hard drive space in a RAID 5.  I currently have 200GB configured for the C: drive, 2TB (NTFS) configured as a D: drive and 1.5TB of unallocated space.  I would like to create a second partition of that 1.5TB, however when I right click on the unallocated space in Disk Management all the options are greyed out with the exception of properties and help.  

I thought about creating one large GPT partition as I don't really need 2 separate partitions.  I was just trying to work around the 2TB limit on NTFS as easily as possible.  I have also read mixed reviews about using a GPT partition.

Any ideas?  Thanks.
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Question by:SupermanTB
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by:dlethe
ID: 35024344
Nope, doesn't work that way.  The limit is placed on the physical device (well in your case it is logical, but the O/S sees the device as a physical device).  
Now if your RAID controller lets you create 2 DIFFERENT LUNs out of those 4TB, rather than a single 4TB that is partitioned, then you will be OK.

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by:dlethe
ID: 35024348
(Meaning you want to present \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0 and \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1  rather than \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0 which has 2 partitions on it.  If your controller lets you assign a different SCSI ID or LUN to each of the "partitions" the RAID created, then you will be OK, because the O/S sees 2 individual disks under that (rounded) 2 TB limit
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by:SupermanTB
ID: 35024357
If that's the case, does the RAID controller see two physical drives already, one for the C: and one for the d:?  I don't understand if there is a 2TB limit, how I can have a 2TB D: and a 200 GB C:
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by:noxcho
ID: 35025037
Your RAID controller emulates singe virtual HDD for Windows and that HDD is 4TB in size. The actual limit for MBR partitioned drive is 2048GB. And GPT disk does not have this limit.
You need either to reconfigure your RAID to make it show two HDDs in Windows Disk Management or get another single or RAID1 drive of smaller capacity - migrate the OS partition there and use 4TB drive as GPT for data.
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by:dlethe
ID: 35025422
The RAID controller just sees 1s and 0s.  It doesn't try to make sense of the contents of the drive.  It has no more idea you sliced up a volume in C and D or if the LUN is running LINUX or hooked up to a playstation.
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by:andyalder
ID: 35026342
Currently you have 2 logical disks (LUNs) presented by the controller, 200GB which you have C: on and 3.5TB that you have D: on. If you use GPT on the second logical disk you can still have D: 2TB, E: 1.5TB if you want but without GPT you'll have to split the second logical disk into two smaller ones using the controller software.

What have you heard bad about GPT? - (you say mixed reviews).
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Author Comment

by:SupermanTB
ID: 35026613
I think I may go the GPT route...I was talking GPT over with a DELL server tech and he said there can be issues w/ software installing to GPT and other compatibility issues.  Would you agree/disagree?
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by:andyalder
ID: 35026716
Boot problems if it's the system disk but that won't affect you as you have the 200GB LUN with C: on it, software problems also shouldn't occur as software would also go on C: with just the associated data on the GPT disk.
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by:SupermanTB
ID: 35026865
That's the plan is for it to just have be storage.  I've never created a GPT partition before.  If I delete the current D: drive (empty) is it as simple as going into Disk Manager and creating a new GPT partition?
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by:noxcho
ID: 35027068
Yes, GPT is done via Windows Disk Management. Right click on empty drive - convert to GPT.
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by:SupermanTB
ID: 35027567
OK, I have deleted the partition in disk management and I now have two unallocated spaces, one of 2TB and one of 1.5TB.  I have the same problem as previously described with the 1.5TB, but with the 2TB, I can select new simple volume.  When I do that, it immediately gives me the option showing the max partition size as 2TB.  Clicking through the menus, I am given the choice to format the files system with a particular type, but my only choice is NTFS?
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noxcho earned 500 total points
ID: 35027852
Can you take screen shot of Windows Disk Management and post it here?
Did you right click on HDD (not on space)? See my screen shot.
Computer-Management.png
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by:SupermanTB
ID: 35027902
That was my problem.  So now I have 3.5TB of unallocated.  I am right clicking on the unallocated and have selected new simple volume.  When I click through the max size is now 3.5TB, but when I got to format the drive, the only choice for file system is NTFS.  Thoughts?
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by:noxcho
ID: 35027997
It must be only NTFS. Microsoft does not allow formatting in FAT32 the volumes bigger than 32GB. So leave it as NTFS and continue formatting. It is ok.
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by:SupermanTB
ID: 35028034
OK, I clicked through and it is formatting.  I'll check back in after an hour or so to see if it's done.

Curious, what did you mean by "it must be only NTFS"?  I would have expected a choice there for GPT.  
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by:noxcho
ID: 35028518
Partitions bigger than 2TB and create for data storage should be NTFS (not FAT32) as NTFS is more stable due to its journaling system. I would not trust to FAT32 file system my important data.
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by:andyalder
ID: 35029171
GPT isn't a filesystem, you can see that because it applies to the whole disk, not to a partition on it, that's why it doesn't offer GPT when you format it.
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by:noxcho
ID: 35029259
Yeah, GPT disk partitioning style not file system. MBR, GPT or LVM (Linux) most common.
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