Partitioning a 2012 essentials server

Coriron Haz
Coriron Haz used Ask the Experts™
I'm setting up a server for a customer. They are having Windows server 2012r2 Essentials. 4x2tb drives (in raid 5). They will want to install some custom software onto it, and also use it to share files.

The question is, would you create 2 partitions to separate data and OS, or just one large partition for everything? What's the consensus here?
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IT Manager/Network Administrator
I always make separate partitions for something like this. Keep the data and software on the second partition and keep the first partition for windows updates etc.
Coriron HazManaging Director


What's a suitable size for the OS? 200GB?
Having a separate partition for programs/users/data provides a modicum of protection for the case where a runaway process ends up consuming all of disk (or all of the space on its partition).

On the other hand, it raises the issue of how much space to assign to each partition. My recent experience has been that runaway disk space consumers are much less common than they used to be. The first time you have to repartition in order to reallocate space because of gradual growth blows away the savings you might have had (because who can predict which partition is going to need more space first?). So I lean more towards one partition with everything these days. Resizing is easier in virtual environments, though, so I tend to go with multiple thin-provisioned virtual disks for all but the most demanding workloads.
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ZombieAutopsy81IT Manager/Network Administrator

Depends on how much space you have, if I had a 1tb system I would make the os partition probably 300gb, and the rest for the programs files etc. but that's just me.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

ALWAYS Separate partitions.  This gives you flexibility in the future.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Rather than using partitions, I'd recommend creating 2 RAID volumes in your array, one a small 100GB or so for the OS, and the other with the rest for the data and programs.

You are much more flexible that way than when using partitions. Using Volumes they will appear as 2 separate disks within diskmanagement rather than a single disk that is partitioned. One advantage here is that you can initialize the small disk ask an MBR disk to install the OS on, you then aren't forced to use UEFI BIOS mode and things are a lot simpler to manage. Most good RAID controllers allow you to split RAID array into volumes.

A also strongly suggest no to use RAID 5. That is old technology, out of date and unreliable.

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