- Server Manager
- Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc)
- diskpart.exe (command line)
Disk Configuration options
In Windows Server 2012, physical disks and logical partitions can be configured in a number of different ways:
Partition Style - or Scheme
- MBR supports a maximum of four primary partitions. GPT allows for a maximum of 128 partitions. MBR does allow for the creation of more logical disks in an "extended partition" but this type of partition is apparently more prone to errors.
- MBR supports a partition size of 2 TB (terabytes). For decades, this was more than sufficient. As hard drive sizes now surpass 2 TB, MBR is becoming obsolete. GPT supports a partition size of 9.4 ZB (zetabytes) or... 9.4 billion TB. In reality, maximum size will be much lower because Windows Server 2012 supports a maximum volume size of "only" 18 EB (exabytes) and hard drives on the market are simply not that large anyway.
- GPT cannot be used for the boot partition unless the server (in this case) is a "UEFI based system" (as opposed to a traditional "BIOS").
- UEFI is not a requirement if GPT is used on a simple storage partition (a partition from which the operating system does not boot).
Disk Type (basic versus dynamic)
- Spanning volumes may resolve disk space issues but also (like striped volumes) increases the risk of data loss. The failure of any disk comprising the volume results in the loss of data. The more disks comprising the volume, the greater the risk of data loss.
- If the data is worth protecting, it would be preferable, by far, to use hardware RAID with a high quality controller on the server itself.
We can have the following volume types in Windows Server 2012:
- RAID 1 (mirrored)
- RAID 5 (striped with parity)
I've already commented on what I perceive as the limited usefulness of dynamic disks in a production environment where protection of data is paramount.
In Windows Server 2012, we have three options:
Only two - NTFS and ReFS - are serious choices.
- No EFS encryption (it is compatible with Bitlocker however).
- No compression
- No quotas
Windows Server 2012: Does ReFS replace NTFS? When should I use it?
Configuration of Disk 1 (the second hard drive)
I'll select "GPT".
The status of the disk changes to "Online" but it is still "unallocated".
We'll right-click and select "New Simple Volume".
Click on Next. This brings us to the "Format Partition" page.
We'll assign drive letter E:
We can click on next and the following summary displays:
Here is the result in Disk Management...
And in Windows Explorer: