Raid 10 question

We are setting up a new Windows 2012 R2 server. This will serve 25 client pcs on the local network for roaming profiles - acting as a domain controller - file sharing -

We have no databases and no exchange data to be hosted locally.

we wish to have 4tb or more data capacity.

The server will be an ML 350 g9 - HP server - running windows 2012 R2 (WE WONT SET THIS UP AS A VIRTUAL SERVER) so will be physical Windows server install.

We are aware that the system raid partition cannot be larger than 2tb in order for us to install Windows 2012r2 so my question is what would be the best setup for the raid 10 if we purchased 8 x 1.2tb Hard drives ?

e.g would the server perform quickest if  we setup x 2 of the 1.2tb on a raid 1 mirror (Install the os on this partition as it will be kept below 2tb)
then setup raid 10 for the reamaining x 6 of the 1.2tb drives that could be used as the data partition ?? or is there a more ideal config?

Please advise on your thoughts

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Miguel Angel Perez MuñozCommented:
GPT partitions can not be bootable. You can setup a OS partition with 100Gb only for OS and create another GPT partition to rest of the disks.
Consider add some kind of redundancy (per example RAID 1-5...)
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
>> GPT partitions can not be bootable

Can you please post a link to support your statement?

Because any UEFI motherboard I've seen will happily boot from a GPT disk, and the G9s support UEFI:
phoenix81Author Commented:
Thanks Dan in response to your question will we be able to setup 1 raid 10 partition across the 8 x 1.2tb drives and boot windows 2012 r2 without any issues?
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Possibly, but not recommended.

You should always try to separate your OS from your data. It works wonders for OS upgrades or server changes.

In your case, a mirror (2 drives) for the system and a RAID10 array (6 drives) for data is OK, if you can afford the disk space loss.

If you go with RAID10, you'll have only 3.6TB available (3+3 drives) . Check and see if that's enough.
phoenix81Author Commented:
thank you. Would it perform better if we went for 4 x 1tb on a raid 10 for the os partition and another 4 x 1tb for the data partition? . Yes we can afford the data loss as their data capacity requirements is very low  (currently below 250gb) and we want to keep the new server running as quickly as possible?

How would you configure it in this case Dan?
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
I see no reason to go with 4 drives for the OS.

If you have the space, I would go for safety:
- RAID1 + spare for the OS (3 drives)
- RAID10 + spare for data (5 drives)

This way, when one of the drives goes bad, the spare kicks in.

You basically keep 2 drives in standby to minimize your chances of downtime.
phoenix81Author Commented:
ok thank you thats interesting I assumed (probably incorrectly) that if the os was on a raid 10 with say 4 x 500gb drives that it would perform quicker? is that not the case?

thanks again
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Yes, the IO is better on a RAID10 (by 50% or more) comparing to a RAID1.

But the OS, in case of a file server, is very tame and won't use the extra IO unless in bursts.

IMO, RAM is more important for the OS. With enough RAM the disk usage won't be high.
I would use 2 SSD's for system.
And a RAID5+hotspare for file partition.

I would strongly recomend to use hyperV and virtualize your envirement. Even if it is just one server.
You have more possibility's later on and backups are more easy.

This is what I think of it and I'm shure not everybody agrees on this.
Lets call it personal taste :)
Most good RAID controllers allow you to create volumes of your RAID arrays. If yours allows that, then I would create 2 volumes of your RAID 10 array. 1 small Volume (100GB is usually more than enough for the OS), and one large volume for the data. The 2 Volumes then appear as 2 separate disks inside diskmanagement rather than 2 partitions on a single disk, even if  they they are on the same RAID 10 array. You can then use UEFI or not, it doesn't matter. Personally I'd not use UEFI, as it always complicates things and it has no real advantages I'm aware of.
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
With 8 x 1.2Tb drives, my first thought would be a mirror set for the OS, and a RAID5 for data. With modern hardware raid, the overhead of calculating parity for writes is negligible; the bottleneck is drive transfer speed. With 6 drives in RAID5, reads will be read across 5 drives, while with RAID10, only 3 will be read at once. The RAID5 solution also offers 6Tb rather than 3.6; a drive with more free space usually runs faster than one that is close to full.
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:

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Don't use RAID 5. That is old stuff and shouldn't be used anymore  these days. RAID 5 is unreliable, if a disk fails, rebuilds take long, put a lot of stress on the remaining disks, and those can then fail too, forcing you to start over from the backups. RAID 5 had some merits a couple of decades ago when the disks had small capacities  and were very expensive. You could then maximize your space and still have some redundancy. Today's disks are very large and in comparison cheap. There is no longer any need to maximize the space. You should rather use more reliable forms of RAID.
andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
>You should rather use more reliable forms of RAID.

Such as RAID 6 which although slower for writes than RAID 5 or RAID 10 can suffer any two drives failing and keep going.

As far as having two volumes (HP call them logical disks) on a single array the RAID level is tied to the logical disk, not the array so on a single array of 8 drives you can have a RAID 10 logical disk for the OS and a RAID 6 logical disk for the data. The limit with most HP controllers is 32 logical disks, I've never created that many though.
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Windows Server 2012

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