Spanned Volumes on a Win2003 Server - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Spanned Volumes on a Win2003 Server

My question is, what is the disadvantage of setting up spanned volumes in Windows 2003? Does this create additional overhead, etc?

Details:

I have a Win2003 Standard Server. I am going to attach an external storage array. The largest an NTFS volume can be is 2.1 TB. Therefore, if I put all 14 300GB SCSI disks (4,200 GB) in one RAID 5 array I have to create two logical drives (LUNs) because of the OS limitation. This will appear as two "physical disks" in the OS.

So, since I want a 4 TB volume I would have to upgrade the disks Dynamic disks, create one volume and then span it onto the 2nd "physical disk." I am not sure if this is the best or only way to get beyond the 2.1 TB limit on NTFS volumes.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:13 PM
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With spanned and striped volumes on basic disks, you can delete the volume but you can't create or extend volumes.

Another disadvantage is that if any hard disk drive in the spanned volume set fails, the volume set can no longer be used—which means that essentially all the data on the volume set is lost.

Not a problem, really, if your backups are being done correctly.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:15 PM
 
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Sorry for this OT and useless reply but I couldn't help but think of the old DOS 32MB partition limitation.....Holy crap am I getting old.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
With spanned and striped volumes on basic disks, you can delete the volume but you can't create or extend volumes.
The disks that I create the spanned volume on would be dynamic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
Another disadvantage is that if any hard disk drive in the spanned volume set fails, the volume set can no longer be used—which means that essentially all the data on the volume set is lost.
The disk would already be in a hardware RAID 5 array.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
Not a problem, really, if your backups are being done correctly.
If you don't count the hassle and the downtime.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrock
The disks that I create the spanned volume on would be dynamic.



The disk would already be in a hardware RAID 5 array.



If you don't count the hassle and the downtime.
I would say youre golden then.

As for downtime for data restore, if your really that worried about it maybe some sort of failover for your data is what your looking for, maybe clustering with load balancing?

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
As for downtime for data restore, if your really that worried about it maybe some sort of failover for your data is what your looking for, maybe clustering with load balancing?
Thanks. I was mostly concerned with added overhead from the spanning of the volumes with the OS and if that would put a performance hit on us.

For added fault tolerance and ensure clean backups, we will be using replication exec.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrock
Thanks. I was mostly concerned with added overhead from the spanning of the volumes with the OS and if that would put a performance hit on us.

For added fault tolerance and ensure clean backups, we will be using replication exec.
I think the actual spanning overhead is negligible, probably is more dependent on the hardware cache and controller, and access speed of your disks, no?

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
I think the actual spanning overhead is negligible, probably is more dependent on the hardware cache and controller, and access speed of your disks, no?
Not really sure, but I would think so. I am going to use SAS disks and controllers. The 300 GB disks Dell has are only 10K RPM - I would prefer 15K RPM. I would like the controllers to have 256 MB of battery backed cache and to be PCI Express.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrock
Not really sure, but I would think so. I am going to use SAS disks and controllers. The 300 GB disks Dell has are only 10K RPM - I would prefer 15K RPM. I would like the controllers to have 256 MB of battery backed cache and to be PCI Express.
What kind of data?

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger
What kind of data?
.PST files. A lot of them and big ones. Our accounting department is not allowed to keep .PST files on any of the IT servers because the data is sensitive. Basically, we don't let IT touch any of our servers - in any way. So, we - the Financial Systems Operations group - have to provide a server to store them all on. We don't exactly know how much future growth to expect (they usually have a lot of attachments depending on the person). Also, you can't backup an open .PST file, so we will need to replicate them to another set of disks (network or local attached) and then backup the copy to tape.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2006, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrock
.PST files. A lot of them and big ones. Our accounting department is not allowed to keep .PST files on any of the IT servers because the data is sensitive. Basically, we don't let IT touch any of our servers - in any way. So, we - the Financial Systems Operations group - have to provide a server to store them all on. We don't exactly know how much future growth to expect (they usually have a lot of attachments depending on the person). Also, you can't backup an open .PST file, so we will need to replicate them to another set of disks (network or local attached) and then backup the copy to tape.

Yeah, and opening those is an all or nothing proposition. I would seriously consider a solution that has 15K drives, especially if the files are huge and theyre dynamic like that. I have 15K drives and 256k on my controllers on the file servers, and wish I had more and I am sure it doesnt see as much action as your application.

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