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I'm having some difficulty installing Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 on an Intel Server platform.

The server specs is as follows:

  • Intel Grizzly Pass Server System - R2308GZ4GC
  • 2x Intel Xeon 2620 - 2.0 GHZ - BX80621E52620
  • 132 GB of Memory REG-DIMM - TS1GKR72V6H
  • 4x Seagate Constellation ES 2TB 3.5" 7200rpm 6GB/S - ST32000645NS
  • Intel Big Laurel 4CH 6G SAS RAID 512MB - RS2BL040

On the Intel RAID Controller Setup, I have setup the HDD to be in RAID-0 - for testing purposes. (Ultimately configured in RAID-5)

So, the total size of HDD space I can use is 7.6 TB something... When I install the Server OS's, they don't seem to go beyond 2 TB (1.76 TB)

I have read up on EFI and UEFI boot, and this seems to work in 2012, but I could not install any drivers for the motherboard... So, I also tried EFI for 2008R2, and this worked while installing the OS, it did not however work with the Windows Boot Manager option in the BIOS. It kept on freezing once it tries to load the partition.

My idea was to allocate the complete 8 TB for the OS, and load a few VM's on there. I have now started with a new approach where I'll have a 256 GB OS Partition, and a secondary 7.5 TB Data partition.

Oh, and I also did a diskpart - convert disk to gpt whilst installing 2008R2. The whole disk was accessible, 7.6TB

Can anyone please clarify that EFI/UEFI is meant for larger boot volumes? Bigger than 2TB. If I were to have an ideal situation where my OS is run on a SSD, 256GB, and I can attach the 8 TB drives as normal disk to the OS? I'm I correct in saying that if I wanted to boot from a 8TB partition, I would need to force the BIOS to boot from EFI? The limit for MBR is 2 TB as far as I know now...

*FYI: The motherboard is EFI-ready

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Firstly you mean GPT vs. MBR, not EFI vs. MBR - one's a firmware, the other a partition type. The only part it plays in your question is that, in general, you need an EFI/UEFI firmware based system (rather than a BIOS based one) to boot from a GPT partition, although that can be worked around sometimes.

Anyway a few things, DON'T EVER USE RAID 0, seriously it's an appalling idea, even for testing, it's the sign of an amatuer. Now also DON'T USE RAID 5 ON LARGE DISKS, as for very dull math reasons if you ever have to replace a disk then you're almost certainly introducing unrecoverable read errors. So use RAID 6 or RAID 10, that's what professionals use.

Another thing you want to do is create an initial smaller OS disk or partition, do not create one big disk/partition for everything, always separate the OS from data, put the OS in say a 100-300GB disk/partition and leave the rest to your data (VMs in this case). I don't know the disk controller you have but hopefully once you've created your array you should be able to carve it up into logical disks to present to the system, it's at this stage that you should make this first smaller OS disk if you can, this will allow you to partition it using either MBR or GPT, then present the remainder of the array as a second larger disk which you should partition using GPT. This will get you where you need to be and allow for each expansion in the future.

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Thanks for the info! –  Riaan de Lange Sep 8 '12 at 15:41
    
I have managed to create a Drive Group with the 4 drives in it. From the DG, I created 2 Virtual Disks, VD0 = 256GB, and VD1 = 3.38TB - both in RAID-6. I'm busy installing Windows Server 2008 R2 now... Thanks Chopper –  Riaan de Lange Sep 8 '12 at 15:45

I had that error, and realized there was still a leftover linux swap partition. Once that was deleted, it proceeded without issue

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