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I currently have a freenas-unit as a NAS, and a Win2k8R2-unit as server. However I would like to consolidate these to units in one. What I really like about the freenas-unit is the ZFS filesystem. And the only reason I care about the ZFS filesystem is the easy way I can grow an existing filesystem just by inserting a new drive.

How would this work in Win2k8? If I setup my unit with a separate drive as C: and a 1TB drive as D:. The D: would then be segmented into d:\Videos d:\Music d:\Pictures. When everything gets close to filling the storage-drive, I would like to expand the storage, but I wouldn't want to have E:\Videos or d:\Videos2 (using the NTFS folder mount thingy). I still want all my Videos to reside in D:\Videos and I want the OS to decide which drive it's going to be stored on... Some kind of on-the-fly jbod expansion :)

Is this at all possible in Windows 2008?

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Windows 2008 supports a dynamic, logical volume format which allows you to extend a partition beyond a single disk in a sort of software JBOD. By choosing to Expand a partition from it's right-click menu in Server Manager > Storage > Disk Management, you can convert any basic-partitioned disk into a dynamic disk and extend that partition onto any other unallocated free space on any other (non-removable) drive.

This has a few caveats, though:

  1. You can convert a Basic disk to a Dynamic disk without losing data, but to convert a disk from Dynamic to Basic requires a format of (or deleting all partitions on) that disk.
  2. You can grow drives just fine, but NTFS is sometimes a gigantic pain in the rear to shrink down. ZFS, on the other hand, appears to have no such issues.
  3. Dynamic disks are not accessible in any other operating systems other than Windows 2003 Server, 2008, 2008 R2, Vista, and 7. This can make data recovery, if a drive fails (backups, backups, backups!) an excitingly expensive endeavor.
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Could exFAT be an alternative to NTFS in regards to the growing/shrinking issues? –  Christian Wattengård Aug 16 '10 at 11:20

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