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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. Serving the high performance computing market since 1994, RAID, Inc. has deployed end-to-end HPC solutions for leading corporations and government entities, including customized solutions with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012. The new software designed storage technologies available in Windows Server 2012 help transform an existing IT infrastructure into a modern datacenter at an affordable price point via the virtualized storage feature called Storage Spaces.
Storage Spaces – Provide virtualized storage pools and virtual hard disks that are configured with specific provisioning and allocation attributes, and can leverage failover clustering for high availability and resiliency. Enhanced SMB protocol – Enables file server support for applications needing high performance and availability. Data deduplication – State-of-the-art data chunking and compression for individual servers as well as branch office extension. Enterprise Clustering – Storage Spaces includes a failover clustering platform to achieve High Availability (HA) clustered storage. Cluster Shared Volume V2 (CSV2) – Shared file storage solution for consolidated storage and application clusters in non-Hyper-V environments. Live storage migration – Supporting high availability while moving virtual hard disks between hosts. Support for VMware and NFS 4.1 – Enabling VMware virtual machines and other third-party platforms to run with NFS while gaining Windows continuous availability. At the conclusion of its testing, ESG stated, “These technologies enable enterprise IT to simplify services and management, while quickly supporting process and application deployment, scaling, and integration. This ESG report helps to educate IT professionals and provides an analysis about storage and networking capabilities of Windows Server 2012.
With yet another beautiful example of feature creep and an overwhelming belief that Windows 8 must please all of the people all of the time, Microsoft has unveiled Storage Spaces, a new RAID-like storage solution that will be built into Windows 8.In essence, Storage Spaces allows you to group physical disks into pools of any size (pools of hundreds of disks, as found in a datacenter, have been tested by Microsoft). Both pools and spaces can be created and managed using Powershell or a Control Panel applet.
Storage Spaces are a new form of virtualised storage designed to bring resilient and easily expanded storage within reach of small organisations.
One way to achieve software-defined network security is to implement a no-touch approach to networking administration. Both containers and VMs offer different ways of meeting an organization's application deployment requirements. Buzzword bingo games these days typically include 'edge data centers,' but how much real interest is there among users?
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Since early November I’ve only had one storage spaces alert and that was the one, noted later in this paper, regarding the diminishing space available in my storage space pool after I had added a fairly significant number of virtual drives to the storage space for the performance testing in this paper. When I started working in Storage Spaces again for the series of tests in this paper I found it was much easier (in my opinion) to work in the S2012E Server Manager.
Using the same steps as above I began creating the additional drives in Storage Spaces for testing.
With five (or more) physical hard drives in the Storage Pool you’ll be given the option of a 2-way or a 3-way mirror. While I was expecting poorer write speeds with Parity drives (based on past testing) I was surprised by the relative poor write speeds for 2-way and 3-way Mirror drives with ReFS.
For good overall performance with some resiliency the 2-Way & 3-Way Mirrors with NTFS would seem to be good choices to consider and offered protection against one or more failures of the physical drives making up the underlying drive pool. A Storage Spaces Virtual Drive with 2-Way Mirror resiliency, NTFS and Thin provisioning is what I plan to continue using for the foreseeable future in S2012E. The Simple Resiliency drives in either NTFS or ReFS offered very good performance and may be useful in gaming as well as other temporary applications that need high disk IO but they offer no resiliency if any of the physical drives making up the underlying drive pool should fail. Storage Spaces offers simple spaces, mirror spaces, and parity spaces, each with unique characteristics.
Testing Storage Spaces myself, the write speed seemed to change a lot over time (I was using Refs, on a 2 way mirror). Support this podcast by shopping via affiliate links If you shop the app store consider starting here first! The core file system capabilities in Windows Server have not changed radically since the earliest version of Windows NT. Q: Can I create a software RAID volume in a Storage Space with Windows Server 2012 on a USB-connected drive? Q: What are the feature differences between Storage Spaces on Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 client?
This fully-updated master class gives you 12 hours of detailed instruction on all aspects of a Hyper-V based virtualization environment.
You'll explore current capabilities in Windows Server 2012 R2 and look to the future with Windows Server 2016. 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.
We have been a proud partner of Microsoft since 2011, witnessing first-hand the development of a truly disruptive technology. SMB Direct provides RDMA hardware support for high performance storage capabilities without high cost. Storage space integration with failover clustering also provides continuously available service deployments. These pools can be allocated as spaces, which then appear as a normal drive letter in Windows and can be used to store documents, videos, photos, and so on. It looks like the process will be easy enough to set up, but whether it will be advertised to regular consumers (Clippy: “You seem to have multiple drives installed! If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. One Windows 8 Pro Machine (VM) was joined then un-joined to the S2012E domain using the process documented by Tinkererguy here, here and explained in the video here.
One Windows 8 Pro Machine (VM) was not joined to the S2012E domain by the process documented by Paul Thurrott, TechNET, and here. They are best suited for temporary data, such as video rendering files, image editor scratch files, and intermediary compiler object files. Two-way mirror spaces can tolerate one disk failure and three-way mirror spaces can tolerate two disk failures.
Parity spaces are best suited for archival data and streaming media, such as music and videos. It would be interesting to compare to old school SW raid solution if it is still available for W2012e through drive management snap-in.
I flashed the BIOS via Diehard and installed windows 8 on an SSD drive on port 5, and have a 3.0 TB drive in port 4 in the icy dock. 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).
SMB Multichannel facilitates network bandwidth aggregation and fault tolerance for multiple paths between SMB clients and file servers. Any array of physical disks can be used to make a pool — you can use a combination of external USB and internal SATA, if you wish.
Do you want me to set up a pool?”) or kept as a power user feature remains to be seen.
They are well suited to storing a broad range of data, from a general-purpose file share to a VHD library. If you're getting power to the drives (you should be able to hear them spin up when you turn it on) then the SAS connector would be my guess.
Spaces can be configured to be redundant and provisioned.Redundancy in Storage Spaces is through either mirroring (RAID 1) or parity (RAID 3). Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff Davis, LLC. You can add and remove drives from a pool, and faulty drives are flagged by the system for replacement. When a mirror space is formatted with the Resilient File System (ReFS), Windows offers automatic data integrity maintenance. File services have had incremental changes, as has the file-sharing Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, but nothing groundbreaking. In both cases, if a mirror or parity disk fails, Spaces will notify you with a Windows pop-up, and then proceed to rebuild your volume if you have the capacity. A virtual disk is a volume created on a pool, which can optionally include Raid-like resilience based either on mirroring or parity stripes; however it is not strictly RAID, but a similar technology. This is a layer of resiliency is above and beyond the resiliency achieved from maintaining multiple data copies to tolerate drive failure.
If true, this wouldn’t bode well for the long term Write performance for any Parity drives or any Mirrored ReFS drives. File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) added capabilities around screening, quotas, reporting, and classification but didn't change the core capabilities of the file system and how file services are used.
Virtual disks support thin provisioning, where the size of the virtual disk is greater than the physical space. As the Note to Table 1 shows, D:’s ATTO performance improved slightly since the test early in November. If this server needs to be highly available, it can be clustered, with one server at a time offering the file share.
Volumes with fault tolerance can be created on dynamic disk by using Windows mirroring (RAID 1) or striping with parity (RAID 5) capabilities. However, IT administrators must manually perform both the selection of disks and any repair actions.
The other advantage of thin provisioning is that you don’t have to decide on partition sizes ahead of time (an arduous task that many of you have no doubt suffered through). Furthermore, more advanced features, such as thin provisioning of storage and the easy addition of more storage to a pool in which volumes can be created, just aren't possible without the use of a separate SAN or NAS.
But this changes in the next version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2012 (formerly code-named Windows Server 8).
Other times, you just need to be able to store information that is protected in another way.
You can open the Disk Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, examine the physical disks, convert them to dynamic disks if necessary, and then create a volume that meets your requirements. If the volume needs to grow, you might be able to extend it (depending on the physical disks), but you can't add additional disks to an existing volume, to provide easy scalability.
At the other end of the scale, power users on desktops also struggle to organize their data across internal drives and USB-connected disks.


With Storage Spaces, the physical disks that provide underlying data storage are completely abstracted from the process of requesting new volumes, now known as spaces. The Storage Spaces technology automatically performs any necessary actions to restore data redundancy if a disk fails, provided that sufficient physical disks are available.
Storage pools support USB, Serial ATA (SATA), and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) connected disks in a Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD) scenario.
With no hardware-based high-availability support such as RAID happening behind the scenes, Storage Spaces takes care of fault tolerance. The use of USB-connected drives is great on the desktop; servers focus on SATA- and SAS-connected drives. You can connect a disk enclosure to several hosts in a cluster, and the Storage Space on those shared SAS drives will be available to all nodes in the cluster and can be used as part of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV).
If you use an external disk enclosure, then Storage Spaces supports the SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) protocol, which enables failure indications on the external storage.
For example, you could enable a bad disk alert if Storage Spaces detects a problem with a physical disk. When a new storage pool is created, the disks that are added to the storage pool disappear from the Disk Management MMC; the disks are now virtualized and used exclusively by Storage Space technology. You can see the disk state in the storage pools view in File and Storage Services in Server Manager (on a Windows 8 server ) or by using the Storage Spaces Control Panel applet (on a Windows 8 client). This article focuses on using Storage Spaces on the server with Server Manager and Windows PowerShell, but all the features that I write about here are also available on the client. Select the target server from the Servers tab, and then select the Storage Pools tab, which shows information about existing storage pools and disks that can be used in a storage pool.
The first is to create the disk as fixed, meaning that all the space for the size of the virtual disk is allocated during its creation. The second is to create the disk as thin, meaning that space is taken from the pool only as needed.
Using a thin-provisioned disk, you can create a virtual disk that is much larger than your actual available storage.
Now, this capability doesn't mean that you can store more data in the thinly provisioned disk than is actually allocated to the pool. As the data approaches 2TB, I can add another 1TB of storage by adding still more disks, and so on. Alerts can be generated to notify me that a storage pool is reaching its threshold, giving me time to add the required storage. If you choose Thin as the provisioning type, you can select a larger size than the available physical free space.
You can see the actual amount of space that the virtual disk uses in a storage pool in Server Manager (or in the Storage Spaces Control Panel applet on a client).
This access is enabled by several changes, including SMB Multi-Channel, which now allows multiple TCP connections to be established over multiple NICs if available for a single SMB session. This change enables bandwidth aggregation because multiple NICs and CPUs can be used for network processing when Receive-Side Scaling (RSS) and multiple NICs are leveraged.
Multiple hosts in the cluster can simultaneously share the CSV for key workloads such as Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) stored on a file share or even Microsoft SQL Server databases.
This Active-Active file sharing allows for zero downtime and no loss of handles in the event of a failover.
After it’s installed, this service allows a Server 2012 server to act as an iSCSI target, enabling access to its storage from both a file level (using SMB) and a block level (using iSCSI). Chkdsk is very good at its job but it's a long laborious job, which must go through all the disk content looking for problems, and then perform the repair, which -- due to the nature of disks and their speed -- can take a very long time (possibly days for large volumes with many files). The result is a period of days during which the volume is offline while the repair operation is performed. NTFS itself has become more resilient, with self-healing capabilities, but chkdsk is still needed at times. Windows 8 has solved once and for all the concerns about running a chkdsk on even the largest volume.
As I already mentioned, the tool must go through the entire disk and all its content looking for problems, which takes time. As it finds the problems -- which will be on a minuscule number of actual files -- Chdsk fixes them.
The problem is that chkdsk takes the volume offline, making the content unavailable as it performs the health checking and fixing.
The reason is that CSV adds another level of indirection between the disk and how it's accessed. So, as far as users of the CSV volume are concerned, there was just a slight delay in access and no actual offline action or loss of file handles. After installing the Remote Server Administration Tools for Server 2012 on a Windows 8 client machine, start Server Manager, and create groups of servers, which you can then manage as an entire group. Dashboard views (such as the one in Figure A) make it easy to see any problems on any server in the group and to perform actions on multiple servers simultaneously. Typical management actions, such as adding or removing roles and features, are possible, as are configurations such as Storage Space actions. But as the trend to optimize management continues, managing a single server makes less sense. As more servers run Server Core instead of a full installation, management will need to be performed remotely unless you want to use Windows PowerShell for all administration.



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