I've just got a couple of 2010 Dell servers. One of them has 4x 1TB disks. I configured them in the RAID controller to use all of them in RAID5 to give me 3TB of storage + 1TB for parity. There are no other HDDs in the server. I wanted to just have one 3TB VD, and have Windows Server 2016 installed on it, too.

When I go to install Server 2016, it correctly shows me a single disk, 2.7TB in size; but when I click New, it gives me a 2048GB partition, plus 746GB of unallocated space. Trying to click New on the unallocated space results in a error code, that returns 0 results on Google.

From searching the internet, I've found that it's because MBR does not support disks >2TB — the disk instead needs to use GPT... but by the looks of it, you can only use GPT on a non-boot disk. So if I'm booting Windows Server from it, I can't use GPT.

Is that correct? So am I stuck with having 1x 1TB HDD for the OS, using MBR; and 3x 1TB HDD's to use in a 2TB+1TB RAID5 configuration? Leaving me with only 2TB usable on my main VD? :(

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    Is the server set to use UEFI boot? – Rex May 16 '17 at 21:30
  • I can't see anything to do with UEFI or Secure Boot in the BIOS settings...? This is a Dell CS24-NV7 server. It's similar to a CS24-SC or PowerEdge C1100, from what I can gather online. The Service Tag is not recognised on Dell's site (apparently they're ex-Facebook, custom-built servers). The service tag from the PowerEdge 2970 I bought from the same person, is recognised fine. – Danny Beckett May 16 '17 at 21:59

Given the age and your comment, I think there is zero chance you can have a 3TB bookable volume, but you should be able to make use of a 3TB RAID5 volume with the proper setup.

The exact details for the RAID setup depend on the specific controller installed. But basically, in you RAID setup you actually can create virtual disks that only use a portion of the RAID5 volume. Or at least you can with the DELL PERC RAID controllers I have.. So you could have your 3TB RAID5 volume, broken up into something like a 150GB volume for the OS, and the remaining (~2.6TB) space for data volume. From Windows perspective it will appear as two different physical disks. You could split any way sizes you want, as long as the OS volume is less then 2TB.

  • Thanks a lot for this; it helped a lot, and it makes sense for it to work this way. I'm using a Dell PERC RAID Controller too. Based on your answer, I created VD0 using all 4 PD's, setting it to RAID5, but altering the volume size to 250GB. Then I went to Allocated Space and created VD1 with the other ~2.5TB of space. – Danny Beckett May 17 '17 at 2:17

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