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Determining Storage Requirements for Users, Local Workstation, and Servers

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To plan for disk space allocation, you need to determine the typical disk storage requirements of the users and computers in your organization.

User Storage Requirements

User settings typically require about 10–20 MB of storage space per user, and they are simple to plan for. User data size is typically more varied, and planning its management involves multiple factors.

Local Workstation Storage

The IntelliMirror technologies provide a wide range of options for configuring your data storage. The options you select have associated costs in hardware and computing overhead as follows:

  • Some Group Policy configurations leave copies of roaming user profiles on workstations. This reduces logon delays, but as the number of users who share a workstation increases, the disk space that is devoted to user profile storage increases. The performance improvement typically outweighs the additional workstation storage requirements, but you have to plan for residual profile storage space.

  • Redirecting large folders (My Documents, for example) out of the user’s profile reduces the local disk space that is required by the user’s profile. Redirecting My Documents to a shared folder on the network and leaving My Pictures in My Documents is the best option for most users.

  • Implementing Offline Files on a workstation requires space for the offline file cache and the Offline Files database. Manual selection of specific files or folders for offline caching improves reliability of access to critical information while ensuring offline caches are no larger than necessary.

Server Disk Storage

Estimating the amount of server storage space to allocate for user data and profiles depends in part on understanding local workstation disk storage requirements. First, determine how much disk space is currently occupied by users’ data and, separately, by users’ profiles.

You can use the Diruse.exe command-line tool that is included with the Windows Support Tools to gather disk usage information, such as how much disk space each folder uses in a directory tree on a disk volume. For information about how to use the Diruse command, type diruse/? at the command line. You can install the Windows Support Tools from the Windows Server 2003 CD. In the \Support\Tools folder, double-click Suptools.msi and follow the instructions that are displayed on the screen.

To prevent large folders from being unnecessarily copied across the network along with the rest of the roaming profile when a user logs on, redirect My Documents and My Pictures. This reduces the roaming profile size substantially because redirected folders are not stored or copied as part of the roaming profile.

To exclude additional folders from the user’s profile, you can use the Exclude directories in roaming profile policy setting. This setting is in the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles node of the Group Policy Object Editor. This policy blocks specified folders from roaming.

You also need to estimate the amount of server disk storage that you need for user data and profiles.

Estimating server disk space for user data and profiles example

You have 5,000 users who can benefit from Redirected Folders. Of these, 4,000 users also need roaming user profiles. You have determined that the average amount of disk space used for each user’s personal files is 80 MB. You have also viewed the technologies available for roaming user profiles and found that a typical roaming user profile uses 15 MB. In this situation, you need approximately 400 GB disk space for user data and 60 GB disk space to store roaming user profiles. To provide a small margin, add 50 percent to these numbers, for a total disk storage requirement of approximately 600 GB for user data and 75 GB for user profiles.

Investigate profile sizes in your organization to determine average and maximum sizes for your own users’ profiles. A typical disk-quota setting for users is about 200 MB. Due to the wide variation in disk-space requirements of users, disk quotas often require a lot of adjustment. For more information about establishing disk quotas, see "Configuring Disk Quotas on NTFS Volumes" later in this chapter.

You can control the maximum size of a user’s profile by using Group Policy. If a user profile exceeds the allocated size, the user must reduce the size of the profile to log off. Restrictions for profile size apply to both local and roaming profiles. For more information, see "Setting Quotas on User Profiles" later in this chapter.

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