I had heard rumors of 32 drives being the limit, so I figured, why not? I had more than 32 1.5TB and 2TB disks in hot swap bays, and could easily handle the connectivity. Plus, since I am booting the new WHS from a VHD, I knew that WHS could mount VHD’s meaning I could somewhat quickly test 32+ disks with VHD’s and 32+ physical disks, and also virtualized and standard configurations. See the below picture for what this looks like:
Here are a bunch of VHD's in Hyper-V that were used for testing
For those wondering, yes, Volume H is a raid 6 volume. No, it is not best practive to store that many drives that may be used concurrently on the same volume as it can be a nightmare from an IOPS perspective. My only goal was to test 32 drives in the WHS so I let it be.
The results on both old and new WHS boxes were the same, SCARY! The quick summary is if you have the need to run over 64TiB today, build a second WHS or something! Here is a quick summary of what happened when I installed over 32 disks on both the physical and virtualized WHS machines.
First I used the old WHS with 27 VHD’s and 10 “physical” disks (10x raid 6 2TB volumes):
37 disks in a WHS (10 Physical 27 VHD) yielded an error.
Then I tried installing 37 physical drives on the new WHS, passing through the MBR formatted disks to the WHS virtual machine running in Hyper-V:
WHS apparently does not like 37 disks as I soon found out
That is not something you want to see, ever, on a WHS that has data on it. I have backups, but copying TB’s of data is not fun.
Bottom line: I won’t be experimenting with more than 32 drives again anytime soon, or at least until WHS V2/ Vail comes around. It seems like the current version of WHS does not like that many drives.
Has anyone else tried over 32 drives in a WHS? If so, does anyone have workarounds for the errors encoutnered above?
Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.