Use a >2TB RAID with WHS (GUID/GPT ability) RRS feed

  • Question

  • This has been touched on a few times, but not recently.  I plan to use a 10TB SAS hardware raid with WHS.  As I understan dit, i will need to be setup as a GPT/GUID partition in order to be seen as the one large drive.  But "stock" WHS wont' support a >2TB drive (MBR partition type limitation).  I know it's not a "supported" setup due to the complexity.  However, I have seen where others are doing it, and I've had it reported to me that WHS will now handle it (since SP 1 or 2).

    Question is, how to set it up?  Can someone assist in the process required to setup and enable the access the >2TB drive?

    Thanks, Scott


    Thursday, December 2, 2010 4:40 PM

All replies

  • I should add, that the system/boot drive can be a "normal" MBR physical drive.  The RAID will be where the data gets stored, no need for OS there.



    Thursday, December 2, 2010 4:45 PM
  • When you add a drive to the storage pool, it gets formatted with an MBR partition table and a single partition of up to 2 TB. There are unsupported hacks that can get around this, but I personally think they're more trouble than they're worth. Instead, create several 2- TB volumes on your array, give them to Windows Home Server, and don't use duplication (because your RAID array already protects you from single drive failure).
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:17 PM
  • Thanks Ken. It's well documented here that you disagree with the preference or need for it, and that MS does't support it. However it is apparently working and working fine for many. I'm just not sure how to do it. It may be as simple as righ clicking on the (hw raid) drive in the drive management console and choosing "GPT". But I don't know. I need it enabled becasue I have a popular software application that is specific to WHS otherwise I'd run a different MS OS. As the software limits me (and many others) to the WHS OS, and we all need >2TB raid arrays, I need to configure the GPT raid array on WHS. Can you (or someone) point me to the workaround please? The only one I ever saw published involved a more complex than necessary virtualized server setup. We understand one of the service packs (1 or 2 not sure) enabled GPT support on WHS. If you know how to do it, please let us know the procedure.
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:57 PM
  • As I said, Windows Home Server will not use a GPT disk on it's own; when a drive is added to the storage pool it gets repartitioned, and the partition table is an MBR partition table. There are various unsupported ways to force the issue, but they involve registry editing, repartitioning drives that have already been added to the storage pool, etc.

    The workaround I presented already is the easiest one, to be honest; you can use standard tools, don't need to do any reformatting of drives, etc. It's also unsupported, because RAID isn't a part of the vision, but it will work just fine.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 7:53 PM
  • My you are steadfast with the tread the line replies. 

    I didn't expect it to do it on it's own. If it did it on its own I'd not be here looking for the way to do it manually.  I'm sure you are a huge help around here, but I'd be grateful if you'd not keep telling me to do it your way.  I get it.  YOu dont' think I shoudl do it that way.  If you don't know how, please leve me to it, perhaps someone else does.

    I am looking for the method, including the registry changes required (although one person reported no registry changes were done) in order to implement the GPT volumes.





    Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:33 PM
  • My you are steadfast with the tread the line replies.

    Hardly. That would have been "RAID is unsupported; Windows Home Server is designed to give good performance for home use without it." and nothing more. I started out with a cursory warning and a good (i.e. workable, easy to implement, known to function properly without any tricking of Drive Extender) workaround.

    I still feel rather strongly that my way is easier than the alternatives. The only thing that's "unsupported" is that you have your volumes (disks, as far as Drive Extender is concerned) on a RAID array which will generally work just fine. No clever manipulation of anything is required. Unsupported in this case means only that Microsoft doesn't want to bother consumers with the added complexity and cost.

    But if you insist on doing it the hard way, a search for "GPT format" in this forum will turn up useful results. Anything you find this way will involve some risk during the operation. And no, I haven't done it, and won't.

    There is a caveat, however. There's no way to exclude the system disk from the storage pool in V1, so there's no way to absolutely guarantee that all your data will be on your array. The only way to achieve that is for the system drive to also be a volume on the array, but you can pretty much keep any new data off the system disk if you just make sure that the free space on your server is always greater than the system disk's size.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:59 PM
  • Given single 3TB are now available, hopefully someone comes up with a recommended procedure to use under WHS V1.  Understood it's unsupported, but, with VAIL taking a different direction, there will be many here that need some direction as they upgrade to 3TB drives under WHS V1.
    Friday, December 3, 2010 1:25 AM
  • But if you insist on doing it the hard way, a search for "GPT format" in this forum will turn up useful results. Anything you find this way will involve some risk during the operation. And no, I haven't done it, and won't.

    Alas, I have tried, but all I can find are piles of posts by you to every requestor explaining how it can't be done :).  I only need one explaining how it can be.  Do you or anyone happen to know where one of those Jewels are?



    Friday, December 3, 2010 3:02 AM
  • Hot Damn I take it back.  Your recommended search string got me to it.  Finally.  Thank you :)

    Here it is boys, use at your own risk....




    Friday, December 3, 2010 3:06 AM
  • Well, the main thing about this that concerns me is the apparant need to wipe the array when "attaching" it to WHS.  I'd hate to lose the RAID data if I had to rebuild the OS.
    Friday, December 3, 2010 3:31 AM
  • Your plan vs. mine: I'm pretty sure I said my plan was safer and easier. :)

    Rebuilds: There's a recovery mode in setup; it wipes and rebuilds the OS partition (or even the entire system disk, if you've replaced the disk), and leaves everything else alone. There's an issue that you'll probably hit: you will need to supply drivers for your RAID array to be seen in order to successfully recover your server. And that may prove somewhat annoying. Best advice I can give on that is "practice makes perfect". Get Windows Home Server installed, configure a client or two, then jump into the reinstallation. If you screw up and lose your shares, your server is still nearly empty, so you didn't actually lose anything. So try again. And again. :)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, December 3, 2010 4:43 AM