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Does WHS support a GPT disk? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

     

    Let me rephrase the question.  If I add an GPT disk can WHS add it to the storage pool.?  Given that WHS is based on Windows 2003 server then it should be able to see these partitions.

     

    Thanks

     

     

    Roger

    Sunday, August 12, 2007 9:40 PM

Answers

  •  

    Hi,

     

    It is possible to add a RAID array of more than 2TB.  This has to done BEFORE any data is placed on the array.  Do this at your OWN risk.  You will need a separate system disk to install WHS.

     

    Installed WHS to you designated system disk ( in my case 160GB WD ).

    Install the RAID Controller ( Highpoint-tech 2340  with 5x750GB attached )

    Create the array from the BIOS of the RAID controller

    Logon to the WHS locally.

    Add the RAID Controller driver.

    Install the RAID controller app. Make sure the array is initialized. So that WHS can see one disk.

     

    Run the home server console and add the new disk to the storage pool.

    It will now format the array to an 2TB MBR basic partition.

     

    Now open Explorer, goto C:\fs copy the C folder to your desktop. Do not copy the System Volume Folder.

    Close the explorer window

    Goto Services and stop drive extender and virtual disk services (this will stop other WHS services).

    Open disk management and delete the partition that was created on the array disk (this will take a bit of time and select yes when it says that other processes/services may be using the partition)

    You will  now see two unallocated regions of the disk.

    On the left side right click on the disk and click convert to GPT volume.

    Right click in the same place and click dynamic disk.

    no you see the whole disk as one unallocated volume ( in my case I saw 2.97TB )

    Right click on the unallocated space and click new partition/volume 

    The volume label needs to be set to DATA

    Check quick format (if you are sure the disks are ok)

    The volume needs to be mounted to a folder and select "c:\fs\c" as the folder.

     

    Now copy the contents of the c folder that is on your desktop back to the c:\fs\c folder.

    Restart the system.

     

    Logon locally again.

    If you launch the home server console you will now have the total amount of space available that is on the array is now available to the storage pool.

    In you get the message that the backup service is not running.

     

    open an command prompt

    change to D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4} and run the following command
    fsutil reparsepoint delete Commit.dat

    delete everything in D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}

    restart the system.

     

    You should now be running.  Voila!!!

     

     

    Thanks

     

    Roger

     

     

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007 2:57 PM

All replies

  • When you add the disk to the storage pool, it wipes the disk, so the partitions on the disk won't matter.

    Sunday, August 12, 2007 10:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Tom,

     

    Ok, if that disk is 3TB will WHS use the whole 3TB or be limited to the 2TB.  Is it going to create a basic partition or will it automatically make it a GPT disk so I can use the whole 3TB?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Roger

     

    Sunday, August 12, 2007 11:41 PM
  •  

    Hi,

     

    It is possible to add a RAID array of more than 2TB.  This has to done BEFORE any data is placed on the array.  Do this at your OWN risk.  You will need a separate system disk to install WHS.

     

    Installed WHS to you designated system disk ( in my case 160GB WD ).

    Install the RAID Controller ( Highpoint-tech 2340  with 5x750GB attached )

    Create the array from the BIOS of the RAID controller

    Logon to the WHS locally.

    Add the RAID Controller driver.

    Install the RAID controller app. Make sure the array is initialized. So that WHS can see one disk.

     

    Run the home server console and add the new disk to the storage pool.

    It will now format the array to an 2TB MBR basic partition.

     

    Now open Explorer, goto C:\fs copy the C folder to your desktop. Do not copy the System Volume Folder.

    Close the explorer window

    Goto Services and stop drive extender and virtual disk services (this will stop other WHS services).

    Open disk management and delete the partition that was created on the array disk (this will take a bit of time and select yes when it says that other processes/services may be using the partition)

    You will  now see two unallocated regions of the disk.

    On the left side right click on the disk and click convert to GPT volume.

    Right click in the same place and click dynamic disk.

    no you see the whole disk as one unallocated volume ( in my case I saw 2.97TB )

    Right click on the unallocated space and click new partition/volume 

    The volume label needs to be set to DATA

    Check quick format (if you are sure the disks are ok)

    The volume needs to be mounted to a folder and select "c:\fs\c" as the folder.

     

    Now copy the contents of the c folder that is on your desktop back to the c:\fs\c folder.

    Restart the system.

     

    Logon locally again.

    If you launch the home server console you will now have the total amount of space available that is on the array is now available to the storage pool.

    In you get the message that the backup service is not running.

     

    open an command prompt

    change to D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4} and run the following command
    fsutil reparsepoint delete Commit.dat

    delete everything in D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}

    restart the system.

     

    You should now be running.  Voila!!!

     

     

    Thanks

     

    Roger

     

     

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007 2:57 PM
  • I followed these steps because I'm trying to use a very similar config.

    It does appear to work.  However, in Storage Status, it shows that the 3TB array is part of the storage pool but it does not know its status.  Overall, it shows 2.7TB free, as expected.

     

    Does anyone know the downsides to this?  What happens when you copy data onto the server that passes the 2TB threshold?

     

    -shoek

    Friday, November 2, 2007 9:12 PM
  • Just a note to say that this method worked very well for me (so far!)

     

    I have a 5x750 RAID-5 array on an Areca 1120 PCI-X card.  I don't want to give up the improved read perf of a RAID array, and the inherent protection on _all_ data stored on it.

     

    The only thing I did different than "rwicks61" did was that I didn't convert the GPT volume to a Dynamic volume... I left it GPT.  WHS seems fine with that (it should, as all of its architecture should be above this layer).

     

    One additional note... my controller card offers SCSIPort and StorPort driver models.  For some reason, the StorPort drivers would not allow me to keep it as a GPT drive... I had to convert the GPT to dynamic.

     

    I really hope Microsoft adds native support for GPT volumes in the coming months... it won't be long before the 2TB single drive barrier is broken... probably by this time next year is my guess.

     

    -shoek

     

    Monday, November 5, 2007 6:54 PM
  • Hi rwicks61,

    I'm trying to implement a WHS with RAID5 using the steps you had outlined, got through all of the steps successfully.

    However, I'm up to the point where I need to get the backup service started again.  I'm stuck in the following section:

    ==

    "In you get the message that the backup service is not running.

    open an command prompt

    change to D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4} and run the following command
    fsutil reparsepoint delete Commit.dat"

    ==

    I have tried this exact step on 2 different test WHS machines, and in both cases, the cmd returns with either:

    "The handle is invalid"
    *or*
    "Access is denied"

    I tried going ahead and just deleting everything in D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}, but it says it's still in use.  I assume that this step is done to have the system "let go" of this folder so that it can be deleted?

    Any suggestions are welcome - thanks!

    ~Steven

    Monday, December 15, 2008 12:25 AM
  • Steven, I would recommend breaking your array and letting Windows Home Server manage your disks. Windows Home Server is not intended for use with, and not supported on, RAID arrays, for reasons detailed here.

    That said, if you want to use a large (>2 TB) array, and let Windows Home Server have access to the entire thing, why not use your array management tools to create two or more logical volumes on the array? Then you can give the volumes to WHS individually for management.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 15, 2008 4:11 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm wondering if this solution would work for multiple RAID5 arrays.

    My goal is to get a 16 port RAID card and fill those slots 4 drives at a time (when space is needed). So, first I'd start off with 4 drives (3 usable as RAID5) and use this technique and hopefully get it to work.

    In a year or whatever, I'd add 4 more drives, make it another RAID5 array, and then try to attach it to WHS. Would this work without wiping data on the original 4-disk RAID5 array?
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:29 PM
  • I don't see why that wouldn't be possible, as long as your RAID HBA supports that functionality. It really doesn't have anything to do with Windows Home Server.

    I still recommend not using RAID, and letting Windows Home Server manage your disks for you.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:34 PM
    Moderator
  • Microsoft needs to realize not everyone is a techno-dunce when it comes to basic technologies such as RAID.  With wikipedia there is no excuse to not understand RAID concepts if one is really concerned about fault tolerance.  Setting up and configuring RAID is no more difficult than installing nVidia video card drivers.  My issue with the drive duplication settings for redundancy is that it is extremely inefficient, you need 8 TB of disk space to duplicate 4 TB of data.  With RAID 5 I can maintain redundancy with the loss of little more than one disk in the array so if I have 4x1TB drives in RAID 5, I get 3TB of space with 2793.96GB after formatting.  This is much more efficient and much better performing than a JBOD with essentially RAID 1 mirroring.

    I know there are plenty of users that save HD and non-HD DVR recordings but I suspect many only watch those recordings from one system at any one time.  Put a home server into a family situation with multiple users viewing content and the MS WHS JBOD option just isn't going to cut it.  The performance constraint with RAID is moved from the individual JBOD disk spindle speeds and SATA BUS to your network connection.  Even an inexpensive RAID (Promise, Silicon Magic etc...) card that support RAID 5 Disk I/O in the hundreds of MB's per second which you will never see with WHS Drive Extended Technology.

    The only thing the MS JBOD technology accomplished was enabling random drives sizes and mixing and matching connection types that include internal and external drives with a dash of data-deduplication for client backups.  Whoop-dee-do, sound more like a server a-la-ghetto to me, whatever drive I can scrape up?  This is great if all I wanted to stream were MP3's and DIVX DVD rips but try streaming more than one HD recording off of a single disk or worse, an external USB drive or eSATA drive.  You have essentially defeated the purpose of a home server if you limit it to pictures and music.  Many mainstream and even low-end RAID cards have mix and match drive sizes and array expansion without data loss for adding more capacity but the real advantage is performance, fault tolerance efficiency and dedicated ASICs for offloading CPU resources.

    The link you provided is a nice PR rant about the Drive Extender Technology however I believe the article should be titled more like this, "Why we chose to remove RAID and Domain controller support so businesses wouldn't buy the $99 WHS and are force to buy the $300 SBS edition".  Regardless of how "innovative" the WHS team claims it is, you cannot escape the single disk spindle speed limitation and the CPU load of drive duplication and data restoration.  I also call into question the claim of "kicks butt" without seeing some real benchmarks.

    For a better discussion on the RAID vs Drive Extender discussion go here.
    Monday, March 23, 2009 1:34 AM