Disk Management Concepts:Volumes and partitions

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

You can improve the performance of your server if you separate the location where your operating system is installed from the location where your data is saved. You can do this during installation by creating multiple partitions on a single hard disk drive or by using multiple hard disk drives, as shown in Figure 7.


A partition is a portion of a hard disk drive that functions as though it is a physically separate drive. After the partition is formatted and assigned a drive letter, the partition is called a drive. If you create partitions when you install your operating system, you can divide your hard disk drive usage. For example, if you have one hard disk drive and you create two partitions, you can install the operating system and applications on the first partition and store user data on the second partition. If you want to create three partitions, you can use one partition for the operating system, one partition for data folders that are used by applications, and one partition for user data.

If you have multiple hard disk drives installed on your server, you should save your data on a different drive than the one on which your operating system is installed. Another option is to create fault-tolerant volumes. Fault-tolerant volumes help protect your operating system and your data. They can be mirrored volumes or RAID-5 volumes.

  1. Mirrored volume   A fault-tolerant volume that duplicates (mirrors) data on two hard disk drives. The mirrored volume is always located on a different hard disk drive than the original data. If one of the hard disk drives fails and the data on the failed drive becomes unavailable, the system continues to operate by using the unaffected drive.

  2. RAID-5 volume   A fault-tolerant volume that has data and parity striped intermittently across three or more hard disk drives. Parity is a calculated value that is used to reconstruct data after a hard disk drive failure. With RAID-5, data can be recreated even if a hard disk drive fails.

    Typically RAID-5 is configured through hardware, and it requires a RAID hard disk drive controller. If you choose this option, you must follow your hardware manufacturer’s instructions for partitioning the hard disk drives.

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