Windows 10 is an operating system that delivers a lot of new features and improvements, including a new breed of apps that run across devices, a new web browser built for the modern web, a unified Store, improvements on security, and an updated, but yet familiar user interface. The operating system also includes many familiar features found in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Storage Spaces are technically virtual drives that appear in File Explorer as normal local storage, and each storage space you create can be less, equal, or greater to the amount of the physical capacity available in the storage pool. Also, you're not limited to one storage space per storage pool; you can create as many spaces as allowed by the available space. Although, there are not many scenarios where everyday users will be using this feature, "Storage Spaces" has numerous benefits. Perhaps the most important aspect of Storage Spaces isn't the ability to group different drive technologies with different sizes, but the ability to configure different types of data protection. Simple: A simple storage space writes one copy of your data and does not protect you from driver failures.
Two-way mirror: This option writes two copies of your data on the drives, which can protect your data from a single driver failure. Three-way mirror: This option works similar to the two-way mirror, but it writes three copies of your data on the drives, which will help you to protect your data from two simultaneous drive failures.
Parity: Similar to the standard RAID 5 technology, Parity for a storage space writes your data with parity information on the available driver to help you protect your data from a single driver failure.
Now that you have a little background on Storage Spaces for Windows, below we'll go through how to use and manage the feature. 5- Now, it's the time to create the storage space (virtual drive), choose a descriptive name, as it will get confusing if you don't. Now that you have created the storage space, in "Manage Storage Spaces" you can now view some useful information, such as physical storage usage, information about the storage space and from the participating physical drives. 1- If you want to create a second storage space, open Start, do a search and open Storage Spaces.
4- Click the Create storage space button to complete the process (refer to the previous image). 2- The available drives you can add will appear, select the one you want, and click the Add drives button. While "Storage Spaces" remains pretty much unchanged since Windows 8.1, Microsoft is adding a new feature to optimize drive usage in Windows 10. The optimization happens by default when you add a new drive to an existing pool, when you select the Optimize drive usage to spread existing data across all drives option.
When you have a Storage Space configured, you cannot just disconnect a drive out of the blue, as it may cause data loss and other problems. Fortunately, Windows 10 includes a mechanism to remove a drive properly from a pool, by moving the data on that drive other drives in the pool, and then you can disconnect the drive from your computer, or you can use to store something else. 5- Once again locate the drive you want to remove and click the Remove button (refer to the image in step number three). It's important to note that after you remove the drive, it won't be accessible through File Explorer. 1- Simply, right-click the Start button, and click Disk Management, locate the drive with the "Unallocated" label.
2- Right-click the drive, select New Simple Volume and follow the on-screen instructions to format the drive using NTFS file system and performing a quick format.
Once you delete the pool, the participating drive will be reinstated to your system, but again, as I have mentioned in the steps, the drives won't be visible in File Explorer until you manually reformat each drive through Disk Management. Yes, you can add more drives and upgrade a storage space on-demand without disrupting access and affecting data already in the "space". Note: If all the options appear grayed out after creating a Storage Space, this is because you need Administrator Rights. At this point, if you’re a desktop or laptop user, you are probably laughing in my face. By designing Windows 8 for tablets, Microsoft was forced to put a lot of effort into streamlining the entire OS for battery-powered, wimpy (Atom and ARM) mobile devices. Basically, when you shut down a Windows 7 (or any other kind of PC), the slate is wiped clean. While exact details of the Windows 8 kernel are fairly hard to come by, we do know that a lot of changes were made to strengthen Windows 8 against malware and rootkits. Many hackers have already gone on the record to say that Windows 8 is (and will be) very hard to break into.
Due to the inclusion of UEFI (which is basically like a very lightweight operating system that then loads Windows), there is also a boot-level malware scanner that will prevent your computer from booting if a USB thumb drive is infected. In Windows 8, Metro apps run on top of a new application architecture called WinRT, which is a low-level set of APIs that run just above the Windows kernel.
In general, Metro apps are very good at only running when they need to run – otherwise, they are very quickly shifted to a suspended state, to minimise their CPU use, and thus power use. Idle hygiene and runtime device power management will both result in slightly better battery life (and performance) for Windows 8 laptop and desktop users, though.
Runtime device power management is basically the same thing as idle hygiene, but for other hardware – such as hard drives, wireless radios, and so on.
Combined, Windows 8′s low-level changes should result in an OS that is faster, more secure, and lasts longer on battery power.
From the outset, the most obvious change to Windows 8 Desktop is the flatter, matte white user interface.
In terms of additional functionality, Explorer now has the ability to natively mount ISO and VHD files (disk images). Perhaps more importantly, though, you can use Refresh to restore your system using your own custom drive image. With Windows 8, two interesting features have made the jump from the Server side of the family: Storage Spaces (which is basically a rejigged Drive Extender) and Hyper-V (previously Windows Server Virtualisation).
Hyper-V allows you to install, manage, and virtualise guest operating systems (including Windows XP, Vista, 7, and some Linux distros).
Windows 8 will see the launch of the Windows Store, which is primarily for the distribution of Metro apps – but Desktop app developers can also list their apps.
This relies on third-party developers submitting their Desktop apps to the Store, though – and at the time of publishing, it would seem that not many have bothered. One of our favourite new features in Windows 8 is File History, which keeps incremental, versioned backups of the files in your Libraries (Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos). File History implements a primitive form of versioning – which simply means that new, updated versions of files do not overwrite the original backup. Ultimately, though, one question remains: Does Windows 8 bring enough to the table to justify the £25 upgrade?
You may have some concerns about the clunky integration between the new (Metro) and old (Desktop), but really, over time, these concerns should fade. With Windows 2012 Storage Spaces you are able to promote your Windows 2012 server with SAN functionality.
Windows 2012 Storage Spaces provides you with thin provisioning, which can help you to reduce data footprint, and help you to use your storage more efficiently. Storage Spaces also supports trim, automatically running the Storage Optimizer to help reduce the physical footprint of data by consolidating data. Even if standard RAID can have slightly better performance in some scenarios, it does not offers you flexibility and performance tiers. Windows 2012 Storage Spaces allows similar data resilience compared to standard RAID like parity and mirroring, but it also enables per-pool support for disks that are reserved for replacing failed disks (hot spares), background scrubbing, and intelligent error correction allow continuous service availability despite storage component failures.

Storage Spaces is fully integrated with failover clustering, which allows it to deliver continuously available service deployments.
In my previous posts I talked about how to use NFS and iSCSI technologies hosted on Windows Server 2012 and how to deploy those to my Home Lab ESXi servers.
One point I did not covered was: How to do the Initial setup with the physical disk, Storage pooling and the creating the Virtual Disk(s) ?
The cost to acquire and manage highly available and reliable storage can represent a significant part of the IT budget. Group of physical disks into a container, the so-called storage pool, such that the total capacity collectively presented by those associated physical disks can appear and become manageable as a single and seemingly continuous space. There are two primary types of pools which are used in conjunction with Storage Spaces, as well as the management API in Windows Server 2012: Primordial Pool and Concrete Pool.
This diagram from Yung Chou shows nicely how the different parts of Windows Server 2012 Storage work together.
In order to understand the deployment model of a Storage Space, I created the following diagram. With the conventional Server Manager, under File and Storage Services, you can browse our Volumes, Physical disks, Storage Pool and Virtual Disk. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is delivered with a really awesome PowerShell Storage module. The first thing we will need is to identify which physical disk I will be using for my Storage Pool(s). In the example below I use New-StoragePool Cmdlet to show the creation of a Storage Pool named "LUN-1TB", using all of the Physical Disks which are currently available for pooling. For more information on using advanced settings for the creation of a Storage Space, please refer to the New-VirtualDisk help using Get-Help or on the TechNet page online. Now that disk 5 is initialized, the next step is to create a partition on the Storage Space, which can be done via the New-Partition cmdlet. To create a volume on the Storage Space, I will now format the volume associated with DriveLetter D which was assigned in the previous step. Hi Folks – I’m often asked how to deploy inexpensive, reliable, cluster-connected storage using Windows Storage Server 2012—without the cost of expensive RAID adapters, external RAID arrays, and SAN switch fabric. I love idea of JBOD + Storage Spaces + SOFS but last time i checked performance was terrible especially for parity spaces.
Regarding the second image in your blog post as an example of a 4-node cluster connecting to 4 JBOD enclosures. You could significantly reduce cost and hardware count by dropping SOFS and just using Storage Spaces. I have to agree with Ken here that SOFS doesn't seem to be doing anything and certainly is NOT what I would consider a SOFS if everyone has to connect to the SAME JBOD. I would have much rather seen a true SOFS based on a HDFS type architecture or how VMware has done VSAN.
High speed 10+Gbps interconnect between nodes and then have each node use its own storage but cluster data by writing it among multiple nodes.
I have to design a large solution – have currently not sufficient equipment to test it first.
We have a Clustered Storage Spaces (Cluster 1, storage); and we have another failover cluster (Cluster 2, with several node).
Getting started with the feature only requires one or more drives, in addition to the drive where you have Windows installed. For example, if you have three drives of 100GB each, you could only use two to create a "storage pool".
However, as the drives begin to fill up, you will be notified to add more drives to accommodate more available space. For example, you can use storage spaces to create a large network drive instead of sharing multiple drives in your network, which is cleaner and more efficient. This option requires, at least, one drive, and each new additional drive adds another point of failure. If you're only interested in available space and drive speed, you could use the "Simple (no resiliency)" option.
You can always make a storage space larger, but you cannot make the available space smaller. It's important to note that all the data currently on the drives will be erased during the process. Then choose the drive letter and file system -- for most people NTFS will be fine, but you always REFS (Resilient File System), which is a new "local file system. You will also notice the Optimize drive usage to spread existing data across all drives, make sure this option is enabled as well.
This feature is useful when you add new drives to an existing pool, as it will move some data to the newly added drive to better utilize the drives in the pool and capacity.
However, if you didn't check the option or drives were added before upgrading the pool, you need to perform an optimization manually.
Keep in mind that this process in intensive, as such you may notice your PC being slow for a while.
It's important to note that that deleting a storage space permanently deletes the data it contains.
If it was a bit confusing, just remember that with Storage Spaces for Windows, you can create one or more pools with the available drives on your system.
To enable this feature simply click the Change settings button in the top-right corner of the settings page. You would even be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft has abandoned the existing two billion users of the Windows Desktop, opting instead to recklessly chase the shiny, happy, and unproven tablet market. Windows 8 does actually include a ton of tweaks and upgrades that Desktop users will very much enjoy. As a result, Windows 8 boots up faster, and the OS itself consumes less RAM and CPU cycles than Windows 7. This is partly because of the shift to UEFI (from BIOS), but primarily because of a clever tweak to the boot process. For the most part, these protections take the form of memory allocation safeguards (see below). There’s also Secure Boot, which stops the system from loading if any core system files have been altered. To cater for apps that need to periodically update for freshness, such as news or email apps, WinRT also includes functions for doing this efficiently (called Background Tasks). Moving up the stack, though, the desktop side of Windows 8 has a ton of upgrades and much-needed tweaks, too.
By killing off Aero, we again improve battery life – and preserve CPU and GPU cycles for apps that actually need them. In terms of absolute functionality, the new Task Manager is pretty similar to the Windows 7 version, but the layout and presentation of the data is much improved.
In essence, this means that every Windows 8 machine ships with Microsoft Security Essentials.
So you can install all of your apps, configure your system, use the new Recimg tool to create a disk image – then just use Refresh, if your system ever becomes unstable or gets assailed by malware. This is definitely a more server-oriented feature, but it can be handy to have a built-in virtualisation tool if you want to try out Linux, or if you want to create a really secure environment for sensitive work. In theory, instead of hitting up Google to find third-party apps and praying they work as advertised, the Windows Store should make it a lot easier to find highly-rated, safe apps.

File History is incredibly simple: Type File History into the Start screen, select Settings from the right, and then click File History.
So if you edit a photo, File History then has the original and the edited copy in your backup archive.
Also, bear in mind that File History only backs up your Libraries – but you can add new Libraries, or alternatively you can add custom folders to existing Libraries. The fact that the Metro interface cannot be disabled by system administrators is troubling.
This enables enterprise iSCSI services, which you can use to add storage volumes to other physical or virtualized server clients that supports iSCSI block protocol. Also, you are not restricted to only one disk type, so you can combine SATA, SAS, SCSI and SSD.
In Windows 2012 Storage Spaces you can improve performance of any volume by using SSD and RAM as caching method. In the event of a power failure or cluster failover, the integrity of data is preserved so that recovery happens quickly and does not result in data loss. Windows Server 2012 addresses this issue by delivering a sophisticated virtualized storage feature called Storage Spaces as part of the WS2012 Storage platform. This is just to show you where to go if you need to use the GUI, this post will not cover this part.
The Storage Space (also known as a Virtual Disk) is also exposed as a Windows disk, visible in Windows applications.
Not entirely sure how this works compared to other venders but usually you'd mirror SSD levels to minimise any write penalties but remain resilenant and this layer becomes your working set. I've seen variations of this image in both Microsoft and non-Microsoft presentations, including a couple at TechEd. You only had to pay a little attention to realize that on the 4-node example they are using the 60-bay DataON enclosures. Does anyone recommend JBOD that accepts sata and ssd drives and both servers in the cluster see the same disks ? This feature was originally introduced in Windows 8.x and let you group different types of drives, such as traditional rotating platters hard drives and Solid State Drives into a single storage pool, which then you can use to create "storage spaces". Once you have a new pool, you can create a 200GB virtual drive that represents the total amount of space available, or you can provision and create a 1000GB virtual drive (storage space). While you can create storage spaces of virtually any size, each time you create a new virtual drive, you will be using a small portion of the physically available storage, and eventually, you will run out of space as you keep creating more storage spaces. If you want to protect your data from drive failure, you can go with one of the two mirror types, but remember that the more copies of your data get written to disk, it will consume more storage. Every time you make a change it will cost you a quarter of a gigabyte of the available physical space, as such, you should plan in advance how large you want to make the storage space. It maximizes data availability, despite errors that would historically cause data loss or downtime. It doesn't matter if you don't have the available physical space as you will get an alert when it's time to add more storage. In each pool, you can create one or more storage spaces (a virtual drive) of any size as available storage.
I’ve been using Windows 8 for a year now, and I can definitely say that the Desktop experience is faster, and generally better than Windows 7. For mobile users this means more battery life and snappier performance – but for Desktop users, this means Windows 8 is simply faster than Windows 7.
If you’re still using a mechanical hard drive, your boot time will probably go from around 30 seconds to 15-20 seconds. Then, when you boot, only drivers need to be reinitialised – which is a lot faster than loading up the entire operating system. WinRT, because it is ultimately targeted towards tablet (and eventually smartphone) apps, is designed from the outset to be power efficient. In recent years, most chip makers (x86 and ARM) have made big strides towards CPUs that shut down unused parts of the chip. You can now see at a glance exactly which app is causing your hard drive to grind to a halt, the total amount of CPU time used by a Metro app since you installed Windows, or the clockspeed of your CPU.
Early benchmarks aren’t showing much of a difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 for gaming, though. The fact that Microsoft isn’t making a version of Windows 8 specifically for non-touchscreen devices, without Metro, is a bitter pill to swallow from an ideological standpoint, and I suspect many consumers will hold out for this reason.
By installing Windows 8, companies will implicitly force its employees to use a new interface that could severely dent productivity.
This gives you great advantage over standard RAID, because you can define per-volume performance tiers based on your needs.
Storage spaces can then be instantiated on individual nodes, and the storage will seamlessly fail over to a different node when necessary (in response to failure conditions or due to load balancing). This provides an alternative option for companies that require advanced storage capabilities at lower price point. Other than a couple servers running Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard, all you need are SAS host bus adapters and a certified JBOD enclosure (just a bunch of disks). However, while adding 4 HBAs to a server is easy enough, I haven't found a storage spaces enclosure that has dual controllers *and* accepts four connections per controller as pictured. Now click on the link provided for that DataON enclosure shortly below that and you will clearly see that those dual controllers have 4 SAS ports on them each. If you like a balance of available space and speed, then you should use the "Parity" option. This issue is compounded by the fact that almost all of Windows 8 Desktop’s new features are oriented towards at-home consumers, rather than office workers.
Everything else you need is built into the OS—namely, Storage Spaces and Failover Clustering, which you can use to implement highly available, clustered storage. In Windows 8, improved idle hygiene should result in less power usage, and also more CPU time for apps that need it. Also, don't forget about the RAM cache as well, though I suspect this will be write through. When a virtual disk is created, Storage Spaces will stripe the data across the physical disks.
If a drive goes out, Storage Spaces will automatically begin creating a new copy using other available disks to ensure you still have the desired number of copies.
When you replace the disk, Storage Spaces will add it to the pool and begin using it again.
You can use a RAID controller if it supports ‘pass-through’ or non-RAID mode, however, using an expensive RAID controller would be a waste of money if you are just connecting to a JBOD.
These instructions also tell you how to configure the storage using Windows PowerShell scripts. A great overview on storage pools and Storage Spaces can be found here and this FAQ highlights the new features found in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. The reasons you’ll want to use a certified enclosure is to ensure that: Its backplane chipset supports the required features and delivers adequate performance.

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