Key storage features in Windows Server 2003

Admins should know about the new storage options in Windows Server 2003: expandable partitions, improved dynamic disk upgrades and the DiskPart utility.

The most significant difference between storage options in Windows Server 2003 and those in its predecessors is

its support for Itanium machines with their GUID-based partitioning system. However, there are several other new storage features in Windows Server 2003 that admins should know about.

Expandable partitions. In Windows 2000, it was necessary to convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk to add more space to an existing volume. In Windows Server 2003, basic disk partitions can be extended. This is true even for the system partition.

Improved dynamic disk upgrades. The Master Boot Record is modified during dynamic disk conversion to remove all but the necessary partition table entries. This eliminates arbitrary restrictions on dynamic volume operations.

The Diskpart utility. A new utility, Diskpart, allows administrators to do all their disk management from the command line. This feature has been a long time coming. With it, you can script an entire installation of Windows Server 2003, including the creation of additional partitions.

A fourth feature, dropped support for classic fault-tolerant (FT) disk sets, was covered in a recent tip..

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in September 2006

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