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partitions greater than 2 TB

    Question

  • I've read that Windows Server 2008 supports partiton sizes greater than 2 TB for fail over clustering. Well, I'm not doing fail over clustering, but... I have a new Dell server with (6) 700 GB SATA drives.

     

    Initially, I didn't understand how the 2 TB limit worked. I configured a hardware RAID container with all 6 drives and installed Windows Server 2003 on a 30 GB partition., When I attempted to a partition the remaining 3 + TB of space, the partion could not be configured larger than 2 TB , which left roughly 1.5 TB inaccessible. My research revealed that this was because the RAID array contained the boot partiton.Because of the 2 TB system partition limit I had to create 2 RAID (hardware) containers for RAID 5 for Windows Server 2003.

     

    I'd like to do a single hardware RAID 5 container, 30 GB system boot partition, and a 3.5+ TB second partition with the remaining space. Does Windows Server 2008 support this configuration? I've read about support for a 'GUID partition table'. Does this have to be supported by the system BIOS?

     

    Thanx in advance.

    Friday, February 15, 2008 5:07 AM

Answers

  •  

    What you guys need to do is under the raid control in bios, you have to configure the whole RAID into two virutal disk,

    One virtual disk = OS boot  (keep it small)

    One virtual disk = storage   = (any size)

     

    and convert the 2nd virutal disk into GTP, thats the only way and only solution to this.

    Thats how I configure my dell file server.

     

    Also, I am on Perc 5 raid card.

    1st VD = 200gb

    2nd VD = 4TB.

    • Edited by OxYI Wednesday, March 03, 2010 3:51 PM
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:59 PM
  • This may be a Dell issue.

     

     

    I found the following from the Dell support site:

     

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/CERCbest.pdf

     

    Virtual disks or arrays larger than 2 Terabyte (TB) cannot be created on any Dell CERC

    controller. The SATA specification supports 2 TB Virtual Disk (array). However, the 2TB limitation

    on CERC SATA is imposed due to BIOS, driver, and Application Programming Interface (API)

    restrictions. Currently, Dell does not have any plans to support Virtual Disks larger than 2TB on

    the CERC SATA 1.5/6ch or the CERC SATA 1.5/2s. Due to this limitation, certain CE or RLM

    operations beyond the 2TB limit may not work.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 8:01 PM

All replies

  • Actually, you could create partitions greater than 2TB on Windows Server 2003, too.  This is possible by changing from MBR disks (the default) to GPT disks.

     

    See http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT-on-x64.mspx for more information on how to get started with GPT disks.

     

    tgc

     

    • Proposed as answer by V Dalia Friday, July 27, 2012 12:13 PM
    Friday, February 15, 2008 2:14 PM
  • From your link:

     

    Notes:

    Unlike Windows support for the Intel Itanium platform, Windows x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 SP1 operating systems support the use of GPT drives only as data volumes. Because the x64 and x86 architectures do not provide support for an EFI boot partition, you cannot use a GPT drive to boot an x64-based computer or an x86-based computer with a legacy BIOS. Therefore, computers running these operating systems must be equipped with more than one physical driver to allow the use of the GPT disk format.

    On Intel Itanium platforms, Windows supports the use of GPT drives as boot drives or data volumes.

     

    In the senario I described (one RAID 5 volume of 6 drives), the boot partition is on the same volume as the data partition. My experience is that this volume cannot be converted to a GPT disk. From my reading of the info, this is because the volume contains the boot partition. From my reading of the above note, a system with a legacy BIOS (one that doesn't explicitly support EFI?) "must be equipped with more than one physical driver". I can't say I really understand what this means. This seems to imply that it has to be on a seperate controller, which is not my configuration (single controller with 6 drives).

     

    -Bob

    Friday, February 15, 2008 4:01 PM
  • This may be a Dell issue.

     

     

    I found the following from the Dell support site:

     

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/CERCbest.pdf

     

    Virtual disks or arrays larger than 2 Terabyte (TB) cannot be created on any Dell CERC

    controller. The SATA specification supports 2 TB Virtual Disk (array). However, the 2TB limitation

    on CERC SATA is imposed due to BIOS, driver, and Application Programming Interface (API)

    restrictions. Currently, Dell does not have any plans to support Virtual Disks larger than 2TB on

    the CERC SATA 1.5/6ch or the CERC SATA 1.5/2s. Due to this limitation, certain CE or RLM

    operations beyond the 2TB limit may not work.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 8:01 PM
  • It´s true that one single logical volume is limited to 2 TB. But we can have multiple 2 TB logical volumes on one single storage array. In your case, you have 6 hard drives in a raid array with 3 partitions, one 30 GB, one 2TB and one 1.5TB. What you can do is to use windows "disk management" and use "spanned" volumens and "get together" the 2TB and the 1.5TB partitions in order to have one single 3.5TB partition. Then, with time, when you have no space left in your 3.5TB, you can add another storage and "extend" as many partitions of 2TB as you want to the original 3.5TB partition and always having one single "BIG" partition.

     

    Monday, February 25, 2008 3:28 PM
  • I'm having the exact same issue except for the fact that this is not my Boot Disk..... I have 8x500GB drives showing in WS2k3's disk manager as one partition of 2TB and one at an unallocated 1.5TB but cannot do anything with the latter of the two. I've tried Disk Director Sever Ed. but to no avail, infact DD doesnt even see the 1.5TB just the 2TB in the primary partition. From what I have read SP1 should have fixed the 2TB barrier for non bootable drives. but I'm still stuck with an unusable 1.5TB.

    before anyone suggests converting to GPT or Dynamic, let me say that I cant switch to either one at this point the options in disk manager are grayed-out. I kinda have the feeling that 2k3 is seeing this array as a boot disk..... Any ideas???

    sorry for the hijack and thanks for the help in advance.
    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:23 AM
  •  

    What you guys need to do is under the raid control in bios, you have to configure the whole RAID into two virutal disk,

    One virtual disk = OS boot  (keep it small)

    One virtual disk = storage   = (any size)

     

    and convert the 2nd virutal disk into GTP, thats the only way and only solution to this.

    Thats how I configure my dell file server.

     

    Also, I am on Perc 5 raid card.

    1st VD = 200gb

    2nd VD = 4TB.

    • Edited by OxYI Wednesday, March 03, 2010 3:51 PM
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:59 PM
  • Hello OxYI  - I'm having the same issue - can you tell me when you say convert the second vitual disk into GTP - how do you do this?

    Thanks
    • Proposed as answer by Alfi819 Friday, July 24, 2009 4:38 PM
    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 2:23 PM
  • Jane Yan said:

    Virtual disks or arrays larger than 2 Terabyte (TB) cannot be created on any Dell CERC

    controller. The SATA specification supports 2 TB Virtual Disk (array). However, the 2TB limitation

    on CERC SATA is imposed due to BIOS, driver, and Application Programming Interface (API)

    restrictions.

    This is misleading. There's no way the BIOS could impose a 2TB limit in the partition size, all BIOS needs to do is load the MBR.  Then the bootloader will use the BIOS facilities to load the system kernel and drivers, which are just a few MB and fit perfectly well under the 2TB barrier.  If you don't believe me, check how other OSes (e.g. Debian) do it.  I really hope this is going to be solved with Windows 7, because the problem is going to affect even regular workstations in a not too distant future :-/.

    Saturday, March 14, 2009 11:13 PM
  • I followed your advice and created a 6 drive 5 TB RAID5 set with 2 virtual disks. The first virtual disk is 200GB and the second is 4.7 TB disk. The first is a MBR regular partition holding the OS. The second is a GPT data partition which is 4.7 TB. I tried making the whole disk space one GPT partion but could not get HyperV or System7 to install the OS on a GPT partition. It gave me an error message unable to install on a GPT partition.
    Friday, June 05, 2009 3:27 AM
  • You first need to destroy all volumes/partitions on the drive you want to convert to GPT, using Windows DiskManager.  You could also use diskpart as follow:

    start command shell

    C:\> diskpart.exe
    Diskpart> list disk
    Diskpart> select disk [disk#]
    Diskpart> clean
    Diskpart> convert GPT
    Diskpart> exit
    C:\> exit

    Then go back to diskmanager to create volumes/partitions on a basic or dynamic disk.
    • Proposed as answer by RenesisX Thursday, December 24, 2009 5:06 PM
    Friday, July 24, 2009 4:47 PM
  • Oxy1 is correct but not very descriptive.

    step 1. Select all disks and do a raid5 on them. This will create the first virtual disk for your OS partition. I chose 80GB
    step 2. Go back into the same disk group as the first VD. Create a second virtual disk. It will recognize the remaining space left on the raid 5. This will be your Data that you can use for your GPT.
    step 3. When windows boots up right click on My computer select manage, then storage, and disk management. At this point Windows should prompt you to select MBR or GPT. Select GPT
    step 4. Then just right click the second drive and create a new simple volume.

    I just did this successfully on a Dell Poweredge R710 with a Perc6i card. The server had 6- 1tb HDD's W/ server 2008.

    End Result
    1st VD = 78.1GB
    2nd VD = 4.46TB

    Sunday, September 13, 2009 12:08 AM
  • You first need to destroy all volumes/partitions on the drive you want to convert to GPT, using Windows DiskManager.  You could also use diskpart as follow:

    start command shell

    C:\> diskpart.exe
    Diskpart> list disk
    Diskpart> select disk [disk#]
    Diskpart> clean
    Diskpart> convert GPT
    Diskpart> exit
    C:\> exit

    Then go back to diskmanager to create volumes/partitions on a basic or dynamic disk.
    You sir, are a hero.

    I was having trouble with my Adaptec 5085. I added 4 x 1TB drives and built a RAID5 array, but Windows 7 would only let me create a volume up to 2TB in size, with the rest of it greyed out and not accessible. I followed your instructions and now I have a nice big single partition.

    Awesome! :D

    Thursday, December 24, 2009 5:07 PM
  • Thx OxYI, That was exactly what I needed.  Perc 5i, 5x750GB. 

    1st VD = 100GB MBR
    2VD = 2.8TB GPT
    Friday, January 08, 2010 9:03 PM
  •  

    What you guys need to do is under the raid control in bios, you have to configure the whole rid into two virutal disk,

    1 virtual disk = OS boot

    2 virtual disk = storage

     

    and convert the 2nd virutal disk into GTP, thats the only way and only solution to this.

    Thats how I configure my dell file server.

     

    Also, I am on Perc 5 raid card.

    1st VD = 200gb

    2nd VD = 4TB.


    Hi

    Dear OxYI , I have a server with 8 * 1.5 TB HDD and i want to use RAID 1. now Can i use this way for solving my problem ? beacuse when i make 2 virtual disk in raid setup , system can't continue installation after first restart durring installation windows server 2008. system show this message : system can't find a disk for read . but this messege appear when all of my drive have MBR format. my Raid Card is Promise EX8650

    Thanks  
    Friday, January 15, 2010 7:35 PM
  • Hello,

    After you created 2 VD in the raid, what's the size for both of them, I would tell you to make your C drive small and put on MBR, after the windows is installed, then bring the second big drive online.

    Did u solved the problem yet, since it's back at Jan 15th.
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:43 PM
  • Thanks to ALL! it realy works for me. i just created 2 VD in RAID configuration. on the OS it looks like two physical disks. so, first for 200Gb is mbr and second is remain space and no limits for partition size in GRT mode. 
    Friday, February 12, 2010 11:28 AM
  • perfect...thank you.  I was having a brain lock and didnt even think about creating separate disks in the array.
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 4:34 AM
  • I had this same Issue with a DL 160 G6 with a P410 Smart Array Controller. I have 4 x 2TB disk i wanted to use in a RAID 5 config just as an online backup server. I found 3,5 TB unusable storage in W2K8 R2.

    After finding this post, i searched for hours to a solutions. Found one on a blog somewere.

     

    Use the ACU from the easy setup CD, provided with the servers by HP. This one, and only this one, enables you to create logical drives on the Array BEFORE installing Windows. I created on small 500Gb drive and a 3,5TB drive and installed Windows accordingly. Then, using Powershell and diskpart, i converted the data drive to GTP and could use the disk.

    Just wanted to share so others saved hours of surfing.

    Cheers

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 11:16 PM
  • Is it possible to create the second VD after creating the first VD before installing the OS? I am looking to use Windows 2003 Server, 4 Seagate Barracude 1.5 TB SATAII 32 MB cache with Intel RAID Controller SRCZCR card with a SUPER X5DPR-TG2+ Motherboard. I was just wondering if that would save any time? in case the install of the OS doesn't work. 
    Thursday, January 13, 2011 3:11 PM
  • To configure a Dell Server with more than 2TB in a RAID configuration to have a single partition (C:\)

    1. Boot server into the Dell System Service (F10 on post).

    2. Follow the steps to configure RAID (generally RAID 5 with all drives selected)

    3. Choose operation system from the drop down list (example: Windows Server 2008 Standard R2)

    4. There's going to be a pop of BIOS or UEFI. Choose UEFI (BIOS is selected by default) *very important*

    5. Follow the default Windows installation steps to complete the build.

    Following these step would give you a Basic Disk with no limitation on partition size.

    Hope this helps :)

    -Jeremy.

     

     

    • Proposed as answer by Jeremy Newsum Friday, June 03, 2011 7:09 PM
    Friday, June 03, 2011 7:08 PM
  • hello guys

    I am having similiar issue.

    setup is adaptec raid controller 1430SA 4xSATA 2TB raid 10

    I should be getting 4TB array size but I am getting only 3.6 (array is being created in array bios utility)

    I was already looking for array bios update. well there is but it's only fixing support of drives larger than 2TB (which I don't need)

     

    Any suggestions?

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 5:03 PM
  • Thank you for all the info here I did manage to get it all to work the way i want it at the end just to say that the diskpart info is spot on but for any one that has a server like mine the word virtual disk can be a bit misleading on my raid controller it was called a volume set and what I had to do was to first create a raid set with a raid 5 config then 2 volume sets one 100GB then the rest was my data section volume set 2.

    I then first installed windows 2008 r2 on the 100GB volume and left the other volume unallocated, once windows was installed I just used disk management in computer management to setup and format the large 4.25TB drive and that’s it.

    My advice to anyone doing this is to get to know your raid controllers manual well.

    Thank you again everyone.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011 4:54 PM
  • Alfi819 - worked perfectly, thanks much.
    • Edited by jbonbright3 Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:01 PM
    Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:00 PM
  • thats it ...worked great!!! i have been trying out a lot of other solutions without configuring the raid again!!!! this is the perfect solution sir!!

    thank you very much

    Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:25 AM
  • If you have OS install on 1 VD already and only trying to make 2nd VD that is more than 2 tb skip the rest and just do the first line

    In windows 2000 and later, launch diskpart and do select disk [disk#], clean, convert GPT, then you can use OS disk management to do what's normal.

    Use Bios RAID setting, this is the part where it gets very complicated, I suggest you read the BIOS manual as they are different. This is mostly for desktop.  You can use RAID setting to create 2 VD. one under 2tb (for OS usually 200gb) this VD Windows will see it, install away for this. For the data VD use bring up diskpart after or before OS is install and convert it to GPT. 

     
    For server just boot to your RAID controller. 1 virtual disk = OS boot
    2 virtual disk = storage
     
    and convert the 2nd virutal disk into GTP, thats the only way and only solution to this.<var id="yiv5798514979yui-ie-cursor"></var>
    Thats how I configure my dell file server.
     
    you end up with the following 
    1st VD = 200gb
    2nd VD = 4TB.
    select the storage partition (virtual disk) because the OS VD is 200 gb so you don't need to do it.
    C:\> diskpart.exe
    Diskpart> list disk
    Diskpart> select disk [disk#]
    Diskpart> clean
    Diskpart> convert GPT
    Diskpart> exit
    C:\> exit

    jon

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:53 PM