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I have 8 1TB Drives in my machine, set up as RAID 5 The raid controller is a 3ware 9650 SE 8LPML http://www.3ware.com/products/serial_ata2-9650.asp

I'm not sure if its important, but the mainboard is: http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=472

As far as i know, i've configured a 6TB array - in the menu when i pressed ALT + 3 during the boot phase.

I then tried to install Windows Server 2008 on this, to no avail It said it couldn't see any drives etc... I tried a few drivers, none of them worked. All said invalid drivers.

Eventually, I gave up, and installed Windows Server 2003 x64 - which, after messing about with drivers and a usb floppy drive, went in ok.

However - i could only see the volumes in the device manager -> disk management thing, and even then, they were split into 2 or 3 chunks.... Is this something to do with converting to GPT? if so... how do i do that?

My problem is, I would really like to install Windows Server 2008 Anyone have any idea as to what driver i need? Is it a problem with my BIOS or this 3ware raid controller?

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4 Answers 4

Alex-

Are you trying to boot to the 6TB array or just use it as a data volume? You would need to partition it with a Guid Partition Table (GPT) in order to address that much space, and you can only boot to a GPT volume if you are using EFI instead of a legacy BIOS (not sure what that Tyan board has... EFI is still pretty uncommon). Some more information here:

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT-on-x64.mspx http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT%5FFAQ.mspx

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+1 you are correct, plus booting to a disk than bit would be stupid anyway. –  Chopper3 Oct 29 '09 at 19:38
    
How should i approach this then? Should i install a drive inside the server (that is not part of the raid array) solely for the OS? make that the boot drive? –  alex Oct 29 '09 at 22:51
    
Yes. (how's that for a succinct answer!) –  Sean Earp Nov 18 '09 at 21:53

You shouldn't be using RAID 5 except as a last resort. http://www.baarf.com/ is a short read or look at some of these links.

http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/stor/2006/0731stor1.html
http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/stor/2006/0731stor2.html

First if the server needs good uptime you probably want two drives reserved for a RAID 1 array for the C: drive. If you have room to put in additional drives they don't need to be the 1TB drives you have for the data array. Anything 73GB or larger would be fine.

Assuming you had two smaller drives for the RAID 1 array and still had 8 drives left you could do RAID 10 with 8 drives for 4TB of storage, TWO raid 5 arrays of 4 drives each for 6TB of storage, or One RAID 6 array for 6TB of storage.

Assuming you use two of the 1TB drives for the RAID 1 array and only have 6 drives left you could do a 6 drive RAID 10 for 3TB, 5 drive RAID 5 with a hot spare for 4TB, or 6 drive RAID 6 for 4TB.

No matter what you should not be trying to use 8 drives in a RAID 5 array with no hot spares giving you 7TB of space. That is just asking for trouble.

Once you get away from trying to install windows on the RAID 5 array I think you'll probably find its a lot easier to get windows up on the RAID 1 and then deal with the data array(s) separately.

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Ok, So should i create 2 RAID 5 arrays - then stripe them together later? –  alex Oct 30 '09 at 16:17
    
You could do two RAID 5 striped and call it RAID 50. Considering your card can do RAID 6 it would be simpler to just do RAID 6. Further there are performance/reliability trade offs between the two options. You definitely should avoid booting from RAID 5 or 6. –  pplrppl Oct 30 '09 at 19:32

To answer you question about it being split up into multiple volumes see this link

While NTFS can support volumes greater than 2TB there are other limiting factors. The important bit from that article is this:

For now, 2 terabytes should be considered the practical limit for both physical and logical volumes using NTFS.

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You didn't exactly say which drivers you tried to use or if they were the latest ones from the manufacturer. As such, I suggest getting the latest official drivers from the manufacturer's web site and try with those. I just searched and found Server 2008 drivers for that exact model. Unfortunately, the way they use frames on the site disallows me form posting a direct URL. Also, you might want to consider flashing the firmware to the latest version as well. If all else fails, contact their support with questions. It sounds like a strange hardware interaction that they might be very aware of.

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