Remind me again, why not single partition it?

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by Walt, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Walt

    Walt Guest


    The setup:
    SBS2003 Premium with (4) 73GB SCSI HD to be configured as RAID10.
    Exchange, Sharepoint, & single SQL DB application for approximately 15 users.

    The question:
    What are the main reasons not to configure as one C: partion? I have seen
    many posts saying that it should be done, but not why. Thanks in advance.
    Walt, Nov 30, 2005
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  2. Probably one of those questions where everyone has an opinion. Mine is:

    - You can do a single partition if you wish. I don't see a compelling
    reason not to if that's your preference.
    - If you do a C for just OS, and later have backup issues (capacity or
    time), you can back up C less frequently than the data partition(s) since
    it's presumably not changing much.
    - If your OS partition runs out of space, you'll have performance issues at
    best or server down at worst. If users can't write to C, that's avoided.
    - Security. I don't have any shares or other user-accessible data on my
    servers' C drives. I don't have to worry about any particular user having
    too much access to C, because they don't have any at all.
    Dave Nickason [SBS MVP], Nov 30, 2005
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  3. You absolutely can put it all in one large partition. IMO, partitioning
    allows you to segregate and control the disk space a biut better. For
    example, by putting the Exchange DB in it's on partition, I know not to
    ever run a defrag on it. Also, often people will partition their SBS server
    because they will physically use different drives --- for example, I use a 2
    disk Raid-1 setup for my C: system partition, but put my databases and files
    on a 3 or 4 drive Raid-5 setup.
    Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP], Nov 30, 2005
  4. Hi Walt,

    I'll leave the raid type discussion for someone else.

    Partition setups are subjective. Some people like to put all their stuff in
    one pile. Some find that they're better organized with one pile for this,
    and a second pile for that. Others might even have some kind of piling
    *system*. A good bookkeeper might even replace the word pile with the word
    file ;-). Even though a filing system may make perfect sense to person who
    built it, it's not always that intuitive for another person; hence the word

    Frankly, you're better off with one pile than you would be if you overthink
    the process and make it non-intuitive for everyone - yourself included.
    There is an example of overkill in the newsgroup here somewhere. It's not

    But generally, I think most would accept at least two containers. A c: or
    system drive for the operating system and programs, and a d: or data drive
    for everything else. It's a natural separation that makes sense, on quite a
    few levels.

    a) Programs can generally be re-installed, data cannot. This starts you
    thinking about data protection and disaster recovery, and the ability to
    update your programs independently of that valuable data.

    b) Full system drives crash computers. Keeping the 'growth' items separate
    offers some protection. A misbehaving or misconfigured application can write
    a lot of data in a very short period of time. If you're not johny on the
    spot to catch it, you have a crashed box instead of a full data drive.

    There's lots of reasons ... these are just two that come to mind - others
    may have their favorites to add.
    Les Connor [SBS Community Member - SBS MVP], Nov 30, 2005
  5. ooooh. I forgot a biggie.

    Shadow copies - the thing that enables Previous Versions. You want this,
    especially for your users share (and it can come in very handy for other
    data folders as well). But you don't really want it enabled on your system
    drive. Therefore, at least two partitions.

    Les Connor [SBS Community Member - SBS MVP]
    SBS Rocks !
    "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll
    understand." - Confucius

    Les Connor [SBS Community Member - SBS MVP], Nov 30, 2005
  6. Walt

    Tony Su Guest

    As one who is a solid proponent of partitioning, here is a very brief
    thumbnail. If you are looking for my recommendation on how to best partition,
    you can search this List for a previous post I made.

    Reasons for a single partition:
    - Administrative simplicity. Everything will be in its default location, so
    scripts and management can always point to the same place if you either
    support multiple installations or a person helps you who supports multiple

    Reasons for multiple partitions:
    There are three main reasons - Performance, Maintenance and Fault Tolerance

    Performance - Segragating archive files from highly active files which are
    modified often can mean less fragmentation overall. The performance argument
    against partitioning though is that retrieving files from different
    partitions can mean excessive disk head travel. I tend to think though that
    deframentation is the greater issue. If your partitions are on different disk
    arrays, head travel no longer is an issue.

    Maintenance - Related to the reason given for Performance. How long will it
    take to defrag today's massively large and growing disks and disk arrays?
    Since archive files never fragment, wouldn't it make sense to defrag only
    files that need fragmentation and cut your Defragging down to a fraction of
    the time required?

    Fault Tolerance - Don't put all your eggs in one basket. If a disk or
    partition becomes corrupted, you won't lose everything. If you have to
    recover and can only access files within the first 8.9gb, you can ensure your
    recovery files are stored appropriately.

    Tony Su
    Enterprise Mobile Solutions Architect
    Tony Su, Nov 30, 2005
  7. and those four drives in RAID10, I'd rather a 3*RAID5 with a hotspare.
    SuperGumby [SBS MVP], Dec 1, 2005
  8. Shadow copies ... But you don't really want it enabled on your system

    That's what I always thought (and was told) as well. So I was surprised
    the other day when I attended a 2-part SBS2003 Best Practices webcast
    featuring (live, on stage!) the Microsoft PSS folks who support SBS.
    They specifically recommended turning on shadow copies on the system
    volume. Claimed they have recovered AD and Exchange databases using it.

    I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking about it.

    Just wanted to pass that along, for whatever it's worth.

    -- Owen Williams
    ClearView Technology Consulting, LLC
    Owen Williams, Dec 2, 2005
  9. :).

    Yeah, I've played with it, creating a shadow copy - trashing exchange, and
    restoring it from a previous version. It worked, but I was told that's 'not
    supported' ;-).

    Anyway, I'm not sure exactly what the issues are - something to do with
    storing copies on a volume other than the one you're shadowing. I don't
    recall if it's a perfomance issue, or what.

    There's plenty of reading on the matter with a search of the MS site for
    those who are wanting to dive deeper, though.
    Les Connor [SBS Community Member - SBS MVP], Dec 2, 2005
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