Support for >2TB Drives & GUID Partition Table (GPT) Drives RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I firmly believe that we'll have single drives > 2TB by this time next year, and the only way the Windows supports a single volume on these drives is via the GUID Partition Table (GPT) scheme.


    When adding a >2TB RAID array to WHS today, the console reformats it to a 2TB MBR and orphans the space beyond 2TB.  You can get around this by jumping through some hoops (described by rwicks61 on these forums), but it is inconvenient and not in the spirit of WHS.





    • Changed type Ken WarrenModerator Sunday, November 23, 2008 12:02 AM changed product suggestion to a comment
    Monday, November 5, 2007 7:15 PM

All replies

  • I'll start out by pointing out that "RAID is not supported on WHS". Which doesn't mean that it won't work, because RAID configured via a host bus adapter certainly will, but Microsoft feels that RAID is too expensive, consumer RAID doesn't deliver the performance that it promises, and it's too hard for the average non-technical user to understand and maintain. So they require that there be no RAID arrays in OEM WHS units.

    That said, I agree that we aren't that far from 2 TB disks (12 months is way optimistic, though). I just checked, and there's no suggestion on Connect to the effect of supporting GPT disks instead of MBR. You might want to submit one.
    Monday, November 5, 2007 8:22 PM
  • I fully agree that hard drive capacities will surely exceed 2 TB, it might take a year but this is totally irrelevant. One can already purchase external hard disks with 3 TB capacity. In addition Windows home server users are going to tend to require very large amounts of storage I am currently using well over 4 TB. It is difficult to find a motherboard with more than six  SATA connectors and the most I have ever seen is 12 but there are numerous PCI and PCIe cards that have 4 or more Sata ports but do not operate in single disk mode. Microsoft needs to solve the the GPT problem immediately if only to address users of external 3 TB raid enclosures but saying that Windows home server isn't enthusiast product is absurd. Only enthusiasts would want some such a thing and it's the enthusiasts who'll evangelize the plebes like my parents into understanding why they need a Windows home server. So not supporting raids is insane, if you like this product it seems that you do Ken, then you must see the necessity for raid support and partition tables larger than 2 TB.
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 10:43 PM
  • RAID: please read Why RAID is not a consumer technology. That blog post will give you the reasons for this design decision. I don't expect the decision to change, and I agree 100% with that analysis.

    Note that if you want to build a server for your own use with a RAID array, there's no real reason why you couldn't. "WHS doesn't support RAID" is not the same thing as "WHS doesn't work on RAID". It will work, but RAID is explicitly not a part of the Microsoft design. So RAID arrays in WHS will work as well as the RAID HBA itself does. For software or chipset-based RAID, that's not very well; it may be quite slow (and OS level software RAID won't work at all). For a hardware accelerated RAID HBA, you'll get pretty good performance. But you're on your own if you choose to go that route; driver issues are not uncommon and you could conceivably lose data as a result.

    I don't have sales figures (I keep asking, but for some reason Microsoft doesn't want to share them with me :)) but I would guess that between 60% and 70% of all WHS sales to date have been to people who I would not class in the technically proficient enthusiast category. The primary target market is a family with multiple computers now, a broadband connection to the internet, and no desire to be constantly tweaking and tinkering with a centralized data protection and sharing solution.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, November 23, 2008 12:01 AM
  • Never mind RAID. 1.5TB drives are already available with 2 TB drives imminent. Drives with capacities over 2 TB are going to appear sooner rather than later, and WHS needs to be ready to deal with them. And yes, they're going to plug them in on an eSATA connection. And they'll be very disappointed when they plug in their new 3TB external drive and not get full use of it. Techies will understand; consumers will expect it to just work, and I'd rather MS were proactive about this.
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 9:56 PM
  • If you will do a search on Connect, you will see that there are active product suggestions that WHS support GPT disks.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, December 24, 2008 2:58 AM
  • I use a NORCO 15 bay esata enclosure
    WHS pulls all the drives (individually raid zero) into the storage pool.

    If I added a larger tahn 2TB drive I could just pull it in as two smaller raid drives and WHS would be no smarter ( I think)

    I lost my WHS sys drive and rebuilt on a new box. I just plugged in the esata and WHS rebuilt with no loss of data at all.
    I use no internal storage drives on the WHS box.
    From what I can tell even my backups and non duplicated videos recovered.

    Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:57 AM