Server 2003 LSI MEGARaid 9260-4I Best Configuration

wfninpa
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In the middle of building a server to replace a failed production server.
I have a Supermicro server board with an AMD Opteron and 4gb ecc registered memory with an LSI MEGARaid SAS9260-4I controller and 4 2TB hitachi 7200rpm SATA III drives.

I setup Virtual Drive 0 as RAID 1 (2tb x 2 disks).
I setup Virtual Drive 1 as RAID 1 (2tb x 2 disks).

By the way this is a database server.  I chose what I chose because it was the right way to do it as far as setting up the RAID level I needed for the particular type of software that will be running on it.

The VD0 is the OS Server 2003 R2.
The VD1 will be used to store databases.

My question is:  Is it worth it to create multiple partitions on VD1 for USER FILES, DATABASE, MISC STORAGE or just 1 giant partition and everything in folders?

I keep hearing it's safer to have separate partitions in case of NTFS errors, etc???

Please compare and contrast the pro's and con's of both methods, multiple partitions vs. single partition.
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DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
In the grand scheme of things, it won't matter all that much.  Do, however, create a NTFS file system with chunk size of 64KB.  That is because this is the native I/O size of SQL server.  Any NTFS size other than 64KB is going to be, by definition, less efficient.

So if you want to minimize I/O then the "best" answer would be to slice up the NTFS into one file system for just the database at 64KB NTFS size, and resize the rest for whatever won't be part of the database.

Author

Commented:
I understand what you are saying about about SQL server I/O and that makes sense.

Please explain "In the grand scheme of things, it won't matter all that much."  Why?
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Because it just doesn't make that much of a difference with RAID1.  There is no huge inherent penalty you get with RAID1 per type of I/O that you would get with RAID5 or RAID6.

Author

Commented:
I am questioning the differences between multiple partitions vs. single partition with multiple folders.  I've heard comments that with multiple partitions repairing a filesytem is easier/faster as opposed to one giant partition.

Is there any validity to this?
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Yes it is easier as faster with multiple partitions. It also has a penalty in terms of inefficiency. Take this to a logical conclusion.  Say you had 1 million files and 1 million partitions, each with only one file.  Of course it will take less time to repair.  But then to repair all partitions, you have to repair 1 million of them.
What are the models of the drives?
You need to be running Ultrastars and not Deskstars if you are going to use RAID.
You might be able to use Deskstars if you are running RAID 0+1.
But if you are using desktop class drives,beware of the issues.

Read and remember:

http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/sb/enterprise_class_versus_desktop_class_hard_drives_.pdf

Author

Commented:
I made no mention of drive models, just provided some theoretical information for proper filler for my question.  I'm not using 5400rpm desktop hard drives.  I'm using WD VelociRaptors 600GB.  I am running RAID1.

So really can anyone point me to data that favors either 1 large logical drive partition or multiple logical drive partitions.  I'm talking about logical drive partitions at the operating system file level, not raid sets, or LUNS, or spindles.

My end result will be 1 large logical drive partition or multiple logical drive partitions on a RAID 1 consisting of 2 x 600GB VelociRaptors.

Where can I find pro's and con's so I can make my decision.  I'm looking for factual comparisons or an overwhelming favoritism toward one or the other so I can make my decision.

Thanks.
I made no mention of drive models,then where did 4 2TB hitachi 7200rpm SATA III drives come from in your post?


More spindles = more speed

Separate partition for OS and data partition for everything else simply because if you need to reinstall OS or data partition,it is much easier.

If this were me,I would set up RAID 0+1 with 4 drives.
Fast on reads and writes.

And,as was mentioned before ,use diskpart to align partitions for SQL and server 2003.

You don't have to do this for Server 2008.

see:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd758814%28v=sql.100%29.aspx

Author

Commented:
pgm554 - You're right I did mention specific models but just as an example/filler for my question.  So yes I was incorrect in saying I never mentioned specific models.  My apologies.

Thank you.

Author

Commented:
Clear explanation I was looking for.  Thank you.

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