Understanding Disk types & its benefits in windows environment [beyond the storage]

These are the disk storage types you use to see on windows environment. As a Microsoft user we knows only to format, copy/paste & store DATA’s within the hard disk. But, we never knew what actually can we do using these disk types or what benefit does it offer for it’s users. Well, there are two types of disk storage offered on a Microsoft windows environment, which are Basic & Dynamic Disks.

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Basic Disks

Basic storage uses normal partition tables supported by MS-DOS. This disk type can be seen from Windows 95 to Windows XP but not on the latest as they’re dynamic in default. Actually, a disk initialized for basic storage is called a basic disk. And it contains basic volumes, such as primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives. Additionally, basic volumes include multidisk volumes that are created by using Windows NT 4.0 or earlier, such as volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity. Windows XP does not support these multidisk basic volumes or they will be converted to dynamic to proceed with such volume sets.

Dynamic Disks

Dynamic storage is supported from Win XP, Win 2000, Wind Server ’03 to the latest version available in the market. A disk initialized for dynamic storage is called a dynamic disk and it contains dynamic volumes, such as simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5 volumes. With dynamic storage, you can perform disk and volume management without the need to restart Windows.

Note: Dynamic disks are not supported on portable computers or on Windows XP Home Edition-based computers. Also, a user cannot create mirrored volumes or RAID-5 volumes on Win XP Home Edition, Win XP Professional, or Windows XP 64-Bit Edition-based computers. However, they can use a Win XP Professional-based computer to create a mirrored or RAID-5 volume on remote computers that are running Win 2000 Server, Wind 2000 Advanced Server, or Win 2000 Data-center Server, or the Standard, Enterprise and Data Center versions of Win Server 2003. Storage types are separate from the file system type. A basic or dynamic disk can contain any combination of FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS partitions or volumes. A disk system can contain any combination of storage types. However, all volumes on the same disk must use the same storage type.

Dynamic Disk Types

1. Non-Fault Tolerance
  • Simple Volume – A simple volume allows a user to extend or brake into partitions at any given time. Also, the extending partition will be displayed as another partition under the same drive letter. When a user extends the current volume to another disk, it will proceed by spanning the hard disk. That is why it named as a “spanned volume”.
  • Spanned Volume - This volume will allow or support a user to extend DATA’s from 1 – 32 disks. But, these A spanned volume cannot be mirrored and is not fault-tolerant. Storing DATA’s will take place from the disk 1. When the disk 1 is filled, computer starts storing DATA’s to disk 2 & then it goes.. even though the partition is combined.
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  • Striped Volume – This volume can also have 1-32 disks. But users can’t span or extend volumes unless it stripe spaces equally from all disks. This volume has a feature where it can read/write DATA’s with high performance. A striped volume cannot be mirrored or extended and is not fault-tolerant. This volume is also known as RAID-0.
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2. Fault Tolerance
  • Mirrored Volume - This is a fault tolerant volume which only support 2 disks. It allocate spaces equally from both hard disks but shows the space only for one disk. This drive stores DATA’s as mirrored since one DATA will be placed in both disks. If one of the disks fails, the data can still be accessed from the remaining disk. A mirrored volume cannot be extended. Mirroring is also known as RAID-1.
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  • RAID 5 (SCSI Disk) - This volume is a fault-tolerant volume whose data is striped across an array of three or more disks. Which means it supports from 3 – 32 disks. It acquires same size in allocation from each disks which is similar to a striped volume. In RAID 5, system will pick one disk for fault tolerant purpose by giving the other two. All disks available in the this method will replicate (will have) all DATA’s on each disk. Therefore, if a physical disk fails, the portion of the RAID-5 volume that was on that failed disk can be re-created from the remaining data and the parity. A RAID-5 volume cannot be mirrored or extended.
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Other (Optional)
  • The system volume contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to load Windows (for example, Ntldr, Boot.ini, and Ntdetect.com). The system volume can be, but does not have to be, the same as the boot volume.
  • The boot volume contains the Windows operating system files that are located in the %Systemroot% and %Systemroot%’System32 folders. The boot volume can be, but does not have to be, the same as the system volume.
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About Azker M

Tech Enthusiastic • Network Geek • BlackBerry Professional at Dialog Axiata • Android Addict • FOSS Lover • A Founder of GeekLK & AndroidLK

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