WeddingMan

2 TB limitation on NTFS volumes

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I built a computer for my business using twelve 400GB drives on a RAID 5 controller card. Now, I was hoping to get 4.4 TB out of this setup but I'm having trouble.

First, Windows Server 2003 only allows Basic NTFS volumes of max 2 TB. So looking around, I see that I can use dynamic volumes. Well, here is where the crappy part comes in (or at least this is what I believe). I'm forced to create two RAID 5 on my controller card. Now I'm down another 400 gigs due to having a second raid setup. So, I'll have two 2 TB partitions that I can span together and have one 4 TB partition. Any ways around this to get the additional 400 gigs back?

Oh, I have one other question on dynamic disks. I'm having trouble with one of the twelve harddrives that I bought. So if I do have to go down the path of creating two Raid 5 configs, I'm wondering if I can start using one of the Raid 5 now, while waiting on the bad drive to get replaced. Once I get it replaced, will it be easy to span the other raid 5 together with the first, or will I have to reformat/partition the first and start all over? And yes, I do want to have all the space on one volume.

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I don't know about getting round the 2TB barrier, but I'm assuming if using a dynamic volume to create one partition spanning 2x2tb, it should be able to create a single 1x4tb partition anyway.

Regarding extending the volume in the case of 2 RAID arrays, yes, it is possible to run one now, and later initialise the second array and extend the volume onto it. Doing so is mostly painless, and can be done online without need for reformatting, repartitioning, or moving data.

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Thanks for the replies... So far, no luck with either of the suggestions. The controller card (3ware) reports 4 TB, but Windows only reports 2048 GB (before I even initialize it to any type of partition). Largest "SINGLE" dynamic volume it lets me create is 2048 GB (without spanning). I also tried using a GUID partition (tried creating it through windows interface and command line) and it maxes out at 2047.88 GB.

I'm running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1. CPU is an older Xeon 2.4 Gig (thus it not 64bit CPU). My OS drive is a SCSI drive with Basic NTFS.

Here's a quote from Microsoft TechNet on GUID partition table:

"The GUID partition table (GPT) disk partitioning style supports volumes up to 18 exabytes in size and up to 128 partitions per disk, compared to the master boot record (MBR) disk partitioning style, which supports volumes up to 2 terabytes in size and up to 4 primary partitions per disk (or three primary partitions, one extended partition, and unlimited logical drives). "

I must be missing something.... :(

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After doing more research, it looks like only the latest model '9500S' 3ware controller cards with the latest firmware supports > 2TB partitions. Oh well, unless a workaround comes out, it's time to sacrifice another 400 GB pig to the Raid 5 monster.

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Copied from 3ware site:

"

The 7000/8000 series controllers do not support arrays larger than 2 TBytes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arrays larger than 2 TBytes will be truncated to 2 TBytes. Booting to 2 TByte arrays is possible under Windows. For Linux related issues please see the related KB articles 11699, 11731

The 9500S does support arrays larger than two terabytes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Secondary storage (e.g. not booting from the >2TB array):

Windows - All versions of Windows except Windows 2003 with SP1 (or newer) are limited to a maximum size of 2 TBytes per array. If you are using Windows 2003 with SP1 (or newer), if you have the 9500S with the 9.2 code set (or newer) than you can have arrays larger than 2 Terabytes in capacity. The array will have to be a dynamic disk and have a gpt label under Windows.

Linux - The 2.4 kernel is limited to a maximum array size of 2 Terabytes per array. The 2.6 kernel supports arrays larger than 2 Terabytes; however, you must used parted as the disk partitioning tool, and not fdisk. See KB article 11920.

Primary storage (e.g. booting from the >2TB array):

Windows - No versions of Windows except Windows 2003 with SP1 support booting to arrays larger than 2 Terabytes. With Windows 2003 with SP1, you can boot to an array larger than 2 Terabytes, but only two terabytes maximum will be able to be accessed. If you want to boot to an array larger than 2 terabytes, and access all of the capacity, then the work around is use the 9.2 code set (or newer) and enable auto carving before creating the >two terabyte array.

Linux - No versions of Linux support booting to arrays larger than 2 terabytes. If you attempt to boot to an array larger than 2 terabytes, even if you create a small boot partition, you will see the error: 'verifying DMI pool' after system reboot and the system will hang. The work around is to either create arrays smaller than 2 terabytes or use the 9.2 code set (or newer) and enable auto carving before creating the >two terabyte array.

"

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hmm well i guess its worth a call into 3ware to ask, but i think i remeber the 2TB limit on the basic spec page. sorry i couldnt be of further help, I thought i had with the GPT. At any rate, i am envious of your setup :) .

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