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Is there an optimal number of drives for WHS or how many is too many? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Now I understand that with the right case and or external storage the number of hard drives that could be added to WHS would be quite large. But looking at the HP box, the Intel storage box, Velicity's box and a couple of Tranquil boxes, these are all 2-4 drives. I read an article where one users thought that 4-6 drives would be about the max you'd want to run based on the drive extender software.

     

    So I'm curious is there a max number of drives WHS can support? Is there a recommended number of drives? How much does performance change with the number of drives?

     

    Personally I can see myself having mutiple terabyes of data with my ripped movie collection and wondering if one server with ~10 drives is going to perform better or works than 2 machines with 5 drives?

     

    This is all in trying to figure out what case to get and just how big to get it as I'd like to get something smallish, Velocity Micro sized.

     

    -Josh

    Monday, February 25, 2008 6:37 PM

Answers

  • There may be a theoretical limit on the number of drives WHS will support, but it's not documented anywhere (that I've seen). As for an "optimal" number of drives, I don't find that the number of drives has a significant impact on overall system performance for moderate numbers of drives (say under 10; I've had as many as 7 at a time during testing). In general you will be best off if you add drives to the storage pool in pairs, as you reach the point where the space available in the pool is near the size of your system disk. So you would start with one drive (the system drive) and add two immediately, then add two more when the first two fill up, etc. This allows WHS to take full advantage of the space on the secondary drives, and it allows WHS to keep the system drive clear as well.
    Monday, February 25, 2008 8:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Ideally, you'll add drives in paris, yes. The OS drive should be large; Microsoft's recommendation is that it be your largest drive at the time you build your server. In practice, there's a point of diminishing returns as you increase the size of the system drive, but drives are inexpensive enough that using a drive in the price/GB sweet spot as your system drive is not going to hurt you. Smile

    The OS drive doesn't have to be the same brand; there's no real requirement that any of the drives be the same brand. I'd buy two identical drives (brand, interface, size, etc.) if I were doing it, though.
    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:16 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • There may be a theoretical limit on the number of drives WHS will support, but it's not documented anywhere (that I've seen). As for an "optimal" number of drives, I don't find that the number of drives has a significant impact on overall system performance for moderate numbers of drives (say under 10; I've had as many as 7 at a time during testing). In general you will be best off if you add drives to the storage pool in pairs, as you reach the point where the space available in the pool is near the size of your system disk. So you would start with one drive (the system drive) and add two immediately, then add two more when the first two fill up, etc. This allows WHS to take full advantage of the space on the secondary drives, and it allows WHS to keep the system drive clear as well.
    Monday, February 25, 2008 8:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken:  I am in the process of building a WHS and have a simular question.  From your last post, to this thread, It would seem the the optimum number of drives is an odd number.  Two data drives and a drive for the OS.  The data drives being a like capacity and (I think I read) same brand.  My question is: how big does the OS drive need to be, and should it also be the same size and brand?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 3:46 PM
  • Ideally, you'll add drives in paris, yes. The OS drive should be large; Microsoft's recommendation is that it be your largest drive at the time you build your server. In practice, there's a point of diminishing returns as you increase the size of the system drive, but drives are inexpensive enough that using a drive in the price/GB sweet spot as your system drive is not going to hurt you. Smile

    The OS drive doesn't have to be the same brand; there's no real requirement that any of the drives be the same brand. I'd buy two identical drives (brand, interface, size, etc.) if I were doing it, though.
    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:16 PM
    Moderator
  • But why Ken?  Most users will be using the machine for music, video and pictures, so the 4K tombstone objects will be insignificant comparred to the size of the files themselves.  Hence, a small system drive should suffice.  100Mbps ethernet is approx 40GB/hr so, allowing a 40GB landing zone and 20GB system partition, a 250GB system drive should be good for approx 50,000,000 files which should be enough for most folk?
    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 10:08 PM
  • Jimbo, if you mean "why use a large system drive" there's no one answer. Some possible reasons include a home wired with gigabit ethernet, a home PC with a single huge partition to back up every night, and a large number of HD (BluRay or HD-DVD) discs you're ripping in batches and will need to copy to your server. And there's also the possibility that your server will wind up fairly full at some point. A larger system disk will minimize the pain associated with a storage pool that's reaching capacity.

    And of course my originally stated reason, which is that the price increment from 250 to 500 GB is about $30-$40. It's a cheap insurance policy. You might not need it today, but what about next year?
    Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:40 AM
    Moderator