In previous posts we’ve seen folks jump to try to identify edge cases or debug the designs. Organization of physical disks into storage pools, which can be easily expanded by simply adding disks. Usage of virtual disks (also known as spaces), which behave just like physical disks for all purposes. Before we start exploring Storage Spaces in more detail, I will digress briefly to give you a little more context: some of us have used (or are still using), the Windows Home Server Drive Extender technology which was deprecated. This virtual disk is usable just like a regular physical disk – you can partition it, format it, and start copying data to it.
Its logical capacity is listed as 10TB although the underlying physical disks in the pool have only 4TB of total raw capacity. Resiliency is built in by associating the mirrored attribute, which means that there are at least two copies of all data contained within the space on at least two different physical disks.
The magic that allows us to create a 10TB mirrored space on 4TB of total raw capacity is called thin provisioning. With thin provisioning, you can augment physical capacity within the pool on an as-needed basis.
You do not need to explicitly inform Storage Spaces which of your USB disks should be used for each of the spaces you have created.
Another core (also optional) capability associated with a space is resiliency to failure of the physical disks comprising the storage pool. It might be interesting to more closely examine how your data is mirrored on different disks.
When a pool disk fails, Storage Spaces identifies the impacted slabs for all spaces utilizing the failed disk, and reallocates them to any available hot-spare disk or to any other suitable disk within the pool (hot-spares are reserved disks within the pool, only to be used as automatic replacements for failed disks).
There’s another resiliency attribute, called parity, which directs Storage Spaces to store some redundancy information alongside user data contained within the space, thereby enabling automatic data reconstruction in the event of physical disk failure. When a disk fails, the parity space recovers equally transparently and automatically as does the mirrored space. Obviously, both spaces above are thinly provisioned and share the same backing pool (physical disks).
You can access spaces contained within a pool, as long as a simple majority of physical disks comprising the pool are healthy and connected to your PC, a concept called quorum.
I’ll explain the virtualization capabilities of Storage Spaces by walking you through a common usage scenario. Logically, your storage configuration would look exactly like the illustration provided above, wherein two spaces with different resiliency attributes are carved out from a single pool. You can invoke powershell to create the pool and spaces, as well as to complete more advanced tasks. Note that the above commands will only work on the forthcoming Windows 8 Beta and subsequent releases. We now get to take a sneak peak at an alternative easy-to-use tool to configure pools and spaces.
Note that you can assign a drive letter and format the resultant volume as part of creating the space.
There is a lot more to say about the many capabilities of Storage Spaces and how other Windows technologies can also leverage these capabilities – we will continue with this discussion in subsequent write-ups. We know that some of you will still have questions about Storage Spaces, so here is an FAQ that we hope will cover most of them.
Fundamentally, Storage Spaces virtualizes storage in order to be able to deliver a multitude of capabilities in a cost-effective and easy-to-use manner.
For both mirrored and striped spaces, read performance is very competitive with optimized RAID 0 or RAID 10 implementations. If the physical disk is contained within an enclosure that supports the SCSI Enclosure Services protocol, we will activate a red LED (if present) next to the failed physical disk. As long as you have created mirrored or parity spaces, you can always simply remove a physical disk within the pool, and add a different (perhaps larger) one. You can use Storage Spaces with any physical disk that otherwise works with Windows, connected via USB, SATA, or SAS.
If your disks are housed within an enclosure, and if Storage Spaces either does not provide you with slot information associated with the physical disks or does not light up LEDs on the enclosure, you can assume that the enclosure does not conform to Windows logo requirements. If your file resides within a NTFS volume on a two-way mirrored space, two copies of all your file data will be maintained. The slab size is an internal unit of capacity that we use for provisioning across multiple spaces within the same pool. Q) You mentioned that quorum for the pool requires a simple majority of healthy and connected physical disks. Windows 7 does not support Storage Spaces and will treat the physical disks just as it would any disk with an unfamiliar partitioning scheme.
TweetNow while your kids may want a bunk bed with a slide and other such contraptions, those might not make for the most restful of sleep areas – and chances are your kids will outgrow their novelty. Here’s a set from both ends of the spectrum – high functioning to sparse, each running in the moderate range and perfect for kids well into their teens. With a desk, drawer storage, and shelving, this bunk bed above is perfect for smaller spaces. This bed supports a considerably more minimal look and, as with all bunk beds, it is safety supported by the top bed railings for $1700. If you want to use these more sophisticated bunk beds but also keep the kids’ room child-like and playful, consider adding removable wallpaper, interesting lampshades, and wall murals. Most shelves were cut at 12" depth but next to the peg board are 8" - didn't need deep shelves there and didn't block doorway entrance flow. For my larger items - canvases, frames, finished paintings - I used19" heavy duty shelf supports (from Home Depot) secured into studs with 2'x4' melamine shelf.
Because I didn't run the 'canvas' shelves wall to wall that side space on the left allowed for extra large canvases (30"x40", 36"x48", etc).
Storage Spaces are going to dramatically improve how you manage large volumes of storage at home (and work).
My data collection continues to expand and includes some of my most precious memories, including irreplaceable photos and home videos of my children since their birth.
These disks can be connected either through USB, SATA (Serial ATA), or SAS (Serial Attached SCSI). However, spaces also have powerful new capabilities associated with them such as thin provisioning (more about that later), as well as resiliency to failures of underlying physical media. Storage Spaces is not intended to be a feature-by-feature replacement for that specialized solution, but it does deliver on many of its core requirements. Note that once physical disks have been added to a pool, they are no longer directly usable by the rest of Windows – they have been virtualized, that is, dedicated to the pool in their entirety.
Because the space is mirrored, it will continue to work even if one of the physical disks within the pool fails. Thin provisioning ensures that actual capacity is reserved for the space only when you decide to use it, for example, when you copy some files to the volume on the space. As you copy more files and approach the limit of available physical capacity within the pool, Storage Spaces will pop up a notification telling you that you need to add more capacity. Once we have added this physical capacity, we don’t need to do anything more to consume it. Behind the scenes, Storage Spaces optimally manages the capacity of each of the physical disks within the storage pool, for all the spaces carved out from the pool. For example, the space we’ve illustrated above is a mirrored space (in other words, it has the mirrored resiliency attribute associated with it). This self-healing is done automatically and transparently so as to minimize the need for manual intervention. Slabs for both spaces are intermingled, and optimally spread over all available physical disks, although each space uses different mechanisms to recover from physical disk failure.
For example, you will need four of the six disks comprising the My Home Storage pool to be healthy and physically connected to the PC in order to access either the Documents or the Multimedia space.
Imagine that you have just purchased a Windows 8 PC and wish to use this machine as a central repository for much of the digital content in your home or small business.
A preliminary version of Storage Spaces is available in the Windows 8 Developer Preview, but the above PowerShell commands will not work in that build. It will all be available to you as part of the Windows 8 Beta release in addition to the features available in the Developer Preview. As we get more questions from you in the Comments, we will try to update this FAQ to be more complete. Storage Spaces delivers resiliency to physical disk (and other similar) failures by maintaining multiple copies of data. Since all data is striped across all physical disks backing the space, you have this information. Replacing a failed physical disk is easy – after removing the failed disk you simply connect the replacement disk to the PC, and then add the disk to the pool either via PowerShell or via Control Panel .
Within a short period of time, the impacted spaces will automatically be resynchronized (the Storage Spaces design optimizes this operation to be faster than traditional RAID rebuilds).
In typical deployments, Storage Spaces will automatically select physical disks from the pool to back your spaces.
The slab size is automatically determined by Storage Spaces based on a multitude of factors to deliver an optimal experience in terms of performance and availability.
I then plug them into another Windows 8 PC in reverse order. Will the new PC think I have a broken pool or will it eventually catch up? When Storage Spaces detects a sufficient number of disks for quorum, it activates the pool and contained spaces.
Storage Spaces correctly handles two-disk pools and continues delivering resiliency to failures for a two-way mirrored space contained within such a pool, even if one physical disk fails or is disconnected. As you can see, it comes with built-in square shelving and a sliding cabinet for the upper level and the lower level.
The spare, daring frame still provides the needed upper level support while keeping the space as open as possible. Since I had no storage closet in my studio, several years ago the bright idea occurred to cut a hole in the adjoining wall and build a little 4'x5' closet.
In this picture notice the peg board by the side of the door - handy to hang often used tools. The adjustable metal strips and shelf brackets make for accommodating flexible shelf storage - even over the door way! For quite some time now, I have sought a dependable, expandable, and easy to use solution that maximizes utilization of my ever-growing collection of USB drives.
A storage pool can be composed of heterogeneous physical disks – different sized physical disks accessible via different storage interconnects.
It is also a fundamental enhancement to the Windows storage platform, which starts with NTFS.
Previously allocated physical capacity can be reclaimed safely whenever files are deleted, or whenever an application decides that such capacity is no longer needed. You can do so very simply by purchasing additional disks and adding them to your existing pool. We can simply keep copying files or other data to the space within the pool and this space will automatically grow to utilize all available capacity within the containing pool, subject to its maximum logical size of 10TB. This mirrored setting ensures that we always store at least two (and optionally three) complete copies of data on different physical disks within the pool.
Even if one of the two disks fails, Storage Spaces can continue to deliver your data because at least one copy exists on a non-failed physical disk. We’ve also optimized for speed to prevent data loss from multiple hardware failures at the same time.
Parity spaces are well suited for storing data such as large home videos, which have large capacity requirements, large sequential (predominantly append) write requests, and an infrequent-to-minimal need to update existing content.
Of course, as previously stated, the resiliency attribute associated with the space determines degree of data availability in the presence of physical disk failure – for example, if the Documents space is three-way mirrored and allowed to use all disks within the pool, you can continue accessing data despite the loss of any two disks. A reasonable setup would involve creation of two resilient spaces – one is a mirrored space for your important documents and the like (these are typically modified more often), and the other is a parity space, for your large multi-media content like home videos and family pictures, which you typically update less often, but view more often.
Since the availability of the WDP release, we have also activated many additional features within Storage Spaces. Then, you can simply copy data over from your Drive Extender-based volumes to a space within your pool.
To maximize performance, Storage Spaces always stripes data across multiple physical disks. This feature delivers easy-to-use resiliency to disk failures, and optimizes concurrent usage of all available disks within the pool. You can also see information about the failure in the Storage Spaces applet in Control Panel. In the event that Storage Spaces metadata on a physical disk becomes corrupt (which will be obvious since the disk health will indicate a problem with the physical disk), you can treat the disk just as you would any other failed disk – simply remove it from the pool. However, if you so desire, you can manually specify a specific set of physical disks within your pool to back a particular space and thereby control allocation. It makes no difference whether you specify the initial logical size to be a smaller number (say 1TB) and grow it as needed, or set it to a very large number (say 50TB) right from the beginning. For shelves I purchased two 4x8' sheets of melamine (a white formica-like material over particle board) from Home Depot and had them cut the sheets to various shelf sizes - they do not charge for cutting (isn't that wonderful!). Many of us have been using Windows Home Server Drive Extender and have been hoping for an approach architected more closely as part of NTFS and integrated with Windows more directly.
Further, I want guarantees that my data will always be protected despite the occasional hardware failure. Storage Spaces delivers on diverse requirements that can span deployments ranging from a single PC in the home, up to a very large-scale enterprise datacenter. This reclaimed capacity is subsequently available for usage by either the same space, or by some other space that is carved out from the same pool. This way, despite partial or complete disk failure, you’ll never need to worry about loss of data. By using the appropriate resiliency scheme, you can optimize for both capacity utilization as well as for best performance. The functionality delivered through Storage Spaces is more flexible and better integrated with NTFS, so it will generally be more reliable and useful. While the RAID concepts of mirroring and striping are used within Storage Spaces, the implementation is optimized for minimized user complexity, maximized flexibility in physical disk utilization and allocation, and fast recovery from physical disk failures.
Using a RAID enclosure with Storage Spaces adds complexity and a performance penalty that does not provide any improvement in reliability. When needed, Storage Spaces will also use SES to light up failure LEDs associated with physical disks (assuming that the enclosure has such LEDs). This saved a lot of money by not buying pre-finished shelves plus I got to customize my shelf sizes.
If you only keep apps which can't be moved unless rooted to internal you will have more space.. In building the Windows 8 storage improvements, we set out to do just that and developed Storage Spaces. We achieve all of this through architected cooperation between the underlying file-system (NTFS) and Storage Spaces. As a matter of fact, the physical disks comprising the pool are typically not even visible to other components within Windows or to applications running on your PC. Given these significant differences in objectives and implementation between Storage Spaces and traditional inflexible RAID implementations, the RAID nomenclature is not used by Storage Spaces. We do test pools comprising multiple hundreds of disks – such as you might see in a datacenter. For Storage Spaces to use enclosure capabilities, the enclosure must conform to the Windows logo requirements. Even if you never plug in some enclosures, as long as Storage Spaces detects the minimum number of disks needed, you can continue working with your data.
Worked great but alas over time storage area was running out and floor space just to walk in was shrinking. Of course, the existing solutions you already use will continue to work fine in Windows 8, but we think you will appreciate this new feature and the flexible architecture. By extension, the fact that some physical disks within the pool have failed, is completely shielded from other Windows components or applications. Enclosure vendors have been made aware of these requirements and we expect increasing conformance over time.
Both via PowerShell and via Control Panel, Storage Spaces informs you that a few physical disks are missing, thereby encouraging you to plug them back in.
In my later years moved into expressive abstracts that make me feel like I am finally doing what I was born to do!
As we talk all about consumer electronics next week, thinking about all the media we all have in photos (especially huge digital negatives) and videos, this feature is sure to come in handy. They continue to operate on the space, completely oblivious to the fact that Storage Spaces is working quietly in the background to maintain data availability. The freedom to do these abstracts of delightful spontaneity, playfulness, and intrigue is connected to experiencing an inner reality of fullness of Life that exploded all my religious boxes. In this post, Rajeev Nagar, a group program manager on our Storage and File System team, details this new feature.
Additionally, upon disk failure, Storage Spaces automatically regenerates data copies for all affected spaces as long as sufficient alternate physical disks are available within the pool. Since childhood I loved building things - give me a hammer, a saw, and a paintbrush and I'm a happy camper! Studs, drywall, mudding complete - here's the garage side view - note the little jut out wall behind me which made my enlarged closet "L" shaped too. The design was influenced by needed traffic flow in the garage - a compromise with my husband.
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Published at: Storage Buildings