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WHS Theoretical HDD Limits RRS feed

  • Question

  • With the release of 1.5TB drives, and 3TB HDDs on the horizon by 2010, I now have to combine a concern with my long-term plans for my home media setup.

    First, I have silently listening for years and slowly building up my massive hardware before taking the WHS plunge.  These last two weeks, at my new gig, there are two very serious media guys here - and now we all want to build our home media setups.  The first guy has gone the PopCorn Hour route, with 6TB+ of drives, and is now stuck on needing a better solution for media sharing.  Me and the other are rushing to build our systems this week.

    So, my main concern is how large can the WHS "Storage Pool" get?  My need is for 20TB+.

    From what I have been able to read, WHS is based on W2K3.  Which, I am assuming is the 32-bit (x86) version?  If so, the partition limits was 2 TB based on the old 8-bit partitioning table.  With Windows 2003 x64, Windows 2008 x64, Windows 7 (only x64), XP x64, and Vista x64 you can format the partition with GPT to get past the 2TB limit.

    I tried searching for a while, and the closest I found was this post of where he was able to get 2.96TB available.  So what is the limit of the WHS storage pools then?

    My goal is to archive my 900 DVD collections, before moving to Bluray (and the wife wants to get ride of the 900 DVD eye-sore).  Then, to archive off the Bluray collections eventually.  All the long recording TV shows, the 400 GB in music I have, etc.

    I cannot afford for my storage solution to fail, ever.  That is why my main objective was a solid Adaptec RAID 4-port solution.  Using SAS Extenders, we can get up to 16+ HDDs per port before running out of bandwidth (375 MB/s per port).  This would create a JBOD setup, meaning I would have to rely on WHS's Replication of that data.

    I would actually prefer to use the RAID solutions on the array cards themselves, opposed to relying on WHS.  From what I have read about the Storage Pools and adding HDDs, it sounds like this is possible.  I really like the SIS technology Microsoft incorporated into the backup technology, and is why I really am leaning toward WHS.  :)


    What has troubled me is to build a low-cost, high-volum solution.  I am willing to pull the trigger on WHS now, but need to know that the Storage Pool can exceed 6, 8, 10+ TBs in size.

    Thank you for your time!
    -Eric


    http://eduncan911.com
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:14 PM

Answers

  • As I understand it, WHS uses MBR on each individual disk. Thus the limit per disk (partition) is 2 TB. However the total storage pool has no limit... it is not based on one particular partition.

    I currently have 4.9 TB with many 750 GB drives. Assuming you can 14+ 1.5 TB drives, you can get 20+TB in storage.
    As you've probably read, RAID isn't support with WHS. It doesn't mean it won't work. Each partition is still limited to 2 TB. So you could have many 2 TB partitions that are in any RAID format (0/1/5/10...). 

    WHS storage pool still aggragates things so you're not limited to divisions of 2 TBs of files. And the RAID will protect one drive from instant failures. However, a RAID controller failure could take an entire set of drives offline. As I understand it, you'll often need the same RAID chipset in order to recover your RAID array.

    • Marked as answer by eduncan911.com Thursday, September 25, 2008 5:20 PM
    Thursday, September 25, 2008 4:51 AM

All replies

  • As I understand it, WHS uses MBR on each individual disk. Thus the limit per disk (partition) is 2 TB. However the total storage pool has no limit... it is not based on one particular partition.

    I currently have 4.9 TB with many 750 GB drives. Assuming you can 14+ 1.5 TB drives, you can get 20+TB in storage.
    As you've probably read, RAID isn't support with WHS. It doesn't mean it won't work. Each partition is still limited to 2 TB. So you could have many 2 TB partitions that are in any RAID format (0/1/5/10...). 

    WHS storage pool still aggragates things so you're not limited to divisions of 2 TBs of files. And the RAID will protect one drive from instant failures. However, a RAID controller failure could take an entire set of drives offline. As I understand it, you'll often need the same RAID chipset in order to recover your RAID array.

    • Marked as answer by eduncan911.com Thursday, September 25, 2008 5:20 PM
    Thursday, September 25, 2008 4:51 AM
  • Excellent information, and thank you!

    Knowing this, and the answer to my other post about running WHS within a VM, I think I have my solution.  Rather I am using virtual machines or directly loading WHS on the machine, the answer is multiple 2 TB "containers" on the one large array.  Then, allowing WHS to recognize each 2 TB container, format it, and add it to the one large Storage Pool.

    Thank you!

    As for an array failure, yeah I've been there and done that in my decade of IT.  Hence why I am going with Adaptec and RAID6 (two drives can fail), along with a hotspare (3 drives can fail).  I plan on having a dedicated 1 TB or so drive, that I will mark items as "replicate" so they are backed up onto that individual drive, just in case the entire container fails.

    If I loose my entire movie collection, with a 3 HDD fail-over protection, then there is something wrong with the entire solution - and I will go back to drawing.  lol



    http://eduncan911.com
    Thursday, September 25, 2008 5:24 PM