Making very large file systems in windows with multiple RAID volumes

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QUESTION :

I have an ipSAN that supports 64 3Tb Hard drives. The SAN limits the volume size of each RAID to be 16HDD’s Per volume(16+1 for RAID5). I must split my total HDD space in to 4 volumes. I have a Windows 2k8R2 servers that will be connecting to the 4x RAID 5 volumes.

The problem is the software that will be running on the server. only supports one drive letter for its path. I have looked at striping the 4 iSCSI volumes with windows dynamic disk, but it just seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

What is the best way to combined 4 iSCSI volume in to one single file system in windows 2k8R2?

ANSWER :

I would say that even if you could create such a huge volume, this would be a disaster waiting to happen no matter how you create it (think chkdisk times in case something goes wrong).

If your software needs everything under one drive letter, maybe you can get away with mounting sub-volumes as directories under a master volume (and not as a separate drive letter). Also, you can get creative with NTFS junction points to organize your data.

If your data is stored in one huge file, though, I think it’s time to re-think the whole strategy, there is no way to make it work reliably with such huge sizes.

64 * 3TB = 192TB, that’s dangerously close to NTFS filesystem limits (256TB for both volume size and file size on Windows Server 2012). And on earlier versions of Windows, you can have 16TB files maximum. So, I think you’ll need to split into multiple volumes (and many files), and need to plan accordingly.

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