Author Topic: To partition or not to partition....  (Read 2127 times)

Offline kameleon

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To partition or not to partition....
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:39:26 am »
I have a win7 ultimate 64-bit machine that I am setting up as my main media server. It has 6 x 1TB drives. Of that I have the OS installed on one and about 100GB of it used. The others are going to be strictly used for my media storage which I plan to use FlexRAID with its storage pooling feature. What my question is is this:

Should I partition the first drive that the OS is installed on so that the "free space" is a separate drive and not tied to the OS in any way. I know I can set it up with a folder to store the FlexRAID stuff like C:\flex0 and just add that folder along with the other drives to the raid and storage pool. That is fine and all, however the only issue I have with this is when I try to use the built in windows backup and image software. If I have everything as one drive and only have the separation as c:\flex0 then the system image will grab all that data also. Backups can exclude this folder but I like to grab frequent system images also for that extra protection.

If I am being too anal and just need to not worry about it and fly with it as one drive just say so. But if I am on to something please let me know that too. I look forward to any and all comments.

Kameleon

Offline xliv

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 11:46:10 am »
Well, I guess that if you really partition, then you would have a C: drive with just the OS plus some stuff (100GB), and the remaining 900GB as a D:\ drive.
You would then be ok for system backup and image creation (only the 100GB of C: drive would be used.

Related to that but not completely, when you mount your drives, it's actually better to mount them as NTFS folders, than drive letters.
They could then all be mapped to C:\Drives\DriveX (your 900GB remaining partition, but also all other drives), and they would be usable for data.

I decided to keep the remaining space on the C: drive for stuff that I did not want in my pool, and that I did not want to be FlexRAIDed.
Server HW: ASUS P8B-E/4L + PIKE 2008 SAS | Xeon E3-1230 | 8GB DDR3 ECC 1333 [Kingston - KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G] | Intel 320 - 80 Go (OS)
Server OS: Win7 64b EN
FlexRAID 2.0 latest build, Cruise Control, 7 DRUs (6x3TB,1x2TB), 1 PPU (2x2TB)

Offline kameleon

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 12:00:14 pm »
So basically instead of putting the other 5 drives in as Q: R: S: T: and V: as they are now you recommend mounting them as say C:\raid\flex0 through C:\raid\flex5 or similar? Is there an advantage to doing it this way? Also wouldn't mounting all the drives this way include them and their data in a system image?

The storage pooling method I wanted to use was Balanced Space Priority to spread files across all the drives equally. Or should I look at the Balanced Folder Priority more? I have over 1.4TB of my bluray rips to .mkv and .mp4 currently and my collection keeps growing.

Eventually I plan to migrate all the 1TB drives to 2TB ones and possibly add in some more via sata expansion controller cards. This is all to hold my media for Mediaportal and maybe a few backups.

Thanks for the quick replies!

Offline jasonwc

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 01:22:49 pm »
The backup shouldn't be an issue. At least with Acronis True Image 2010, it just copies the blank folders (e.g. C:\mount\Disk01) but not the data associated with that disk.  I would bet most software would do the same. What backup tool are you using?
Norco RPC-4224 4U Rackmount Case (24 Hotswap Bays) | Asus P8B Workstation Motherboard (four PCI-E 16x slots @ 8x/8x/4x/4x and dual 82574L Intel server NICs) | Core i3-2100 | Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 SAS Controller | Corsair TX650v2 PSU | Currently 16 TB array, 2 TB parity | WHS 2011

Offline kameleon

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 02:52:47 pm »
I meant the system image when using the built in backup tool in Windows 7 Ultimate. I don't see a reason to use anything else on this machine since it is already bundled in the OS. ;)

Offline jasonwc

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 03:31:14 pm »
I haven't used the backup tool in Windows 7, but I assume it's similar to the one in WHS 2011. I don't think it should be an issue, but it should be simple to test. Simply mount one of your drives to a folder on C:/ and run the backup. Should just show an empty folder in the backup.
Norco RPC-4224 4U Rackmount Case (24 Hotswap Bays) | Asus P8B Workstation Motherboard (four PCI-E 16x slots @ 8x/8x/4x/4x and dual 82574L Intel server NICs) | Core i3-2100 | Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 SAS Controller | Corsair TX650v2 PSU | Currently 16 TB array, 2 TB parity | WHS 2011

Offline xliv

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 05:11:47 pm »
So basically instead of putting the other 5 drives in as Q: R: S: T: and V: as they are now you recommend mounting them as say C:\raid\flex0 through C:\raid\flex5 or similar? Is there an advantage to doing it this way? Also wouldn't mounting all the drives this way include them and their data in a system image?

The storage pooling method I wanted to use was Balanced Space Priority to spread files across all the drives equally. Or should I look at the Balanced Folder Priority more? I have over 1.4TB of my bluray rips to .mkv and .mp4 currently and my collection keeps growing.

Eventually I plan to migrate all the 1TB drives to 2TB ones and possibly add in some more via sata expansion controller cards. This is all to hold my media for Mediaportal and maybe a few backups.

Thanks for the quick replies!

As jasonwc says, backup will not be an issue - I use Win7 built-in system image creation, and mounting drives as folders under C: does not cause them to be included.
You can just do a quick test: just mount one of them to C:\Drives\Drive0 in addition to its letter, and do a system image creation, you'll see.

The advantages are at least 3-fold:
- lauching the explorer will not unnecessarily spin up your drives anymore, as they will not be displayed
- in "My Computer", you'll see only the pool drive, and not the set of other drives, and you will not accidentaly browse the source drives instead of the pool (which sometimes creates file lock)
- as your collection grows, you'll not be blocked by the limitation of having only 26 letters in the alphabet  :D

About your question: in my opinion, minimize folder split is the best one, as it will optimize the power consumption and spin down the drives the most.
Server HW: ASUS P8B-E/4L + PIKE 2008 SAS | Xeon E3-1230 | 8GB DDR3 ECC 1333 [Kingston - KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G] | Intel 320 - 80 Go (OS)
Server OS: Win7 64b EN
FlexRAID 2.0 latest build, Cruise Control, 7 DRUs (6x3TB,1x2TB), 1 PPU (2x2TB)

Offline kameleon

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Re: To partition or not to partition....
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 08:19:43 pm »
Gotcha. So now still the question... to partition or not... lol I guess I could put the folder for the stuff on the C drive as an exclude so nothing will be written to it but it will be there if I need it. I just hate giving up that free ~900GB. :)