Windows Server 8 is a cloud optimized OS. You’ve probably heard that phrase or similar comments a lot recently since we introduced Windows Server 8 last month (see Bill Laing’s blog post.) Let’s drill in a bit to explain what that really means and why it matters to you. In the past, Windows Server was a great OS for a server and its devices. Windows Server 8 is a great OS for lots of servers and all the devices connecting them whether they are physical or virtual, on-premise or off-premise.
At the BUILD conference, we showcased for the first time all the new capabilities that deliver on this vision including scalability, availability, Hyper-V, networking, manageability and storage.
Whether we are talking classic architectures or private/public/hybrid cloud architectures, one thing is absolutely clear – there is a large and growing appetite for data. Customers’success is predicated on the efficient and effective management of storage. Windows Server 8 is there to help meet that challenge whether the storage is directly attached to a server or is an external storage array. Working with our storage partners, we are delivering a new set of capabilities, APIs and PowerShell Cmdlets.
Windows Server 8 introduces a new WMI-based API called the Storage Management API (SMAPI) and corresponding set of PowerShell Cmdlets. These provide storage management primitives to manage direct attach storage on the OS as well as external storage arrays. The PowerShell Cmdlets replace tools like diskpart and diskraid. The API is comprised of a WMI object model along with the corresponding set of methods and properties. Storage partners plug into the new API either by:
Many storage products already support SMI-S. We participate in SMI-S Lab Plugfests with the storage vendors to ensure interoperability so that things “just work” when you use Windows Server 8. What does “just works” mean? Simple - after you enable the Windows 8 Microsoft Storage Management Service feature, you will be able to discover and manage SMI-S storage devices without installing any additional software. Either model will work just fine and will have the same level of support by in box tools (including support for proprietary extensions) and UIs. Partners that do not already support SMI-S should evaluate both provider approaches (SMI-S and SMP) and make a decision based on their business needs. Either is a great choice but only one is required. (BTW - kudos to SNIA and the participating vendors both for developing a good standard and for holding regular plugfests to ensure interoperability. )
Storage vendors that implement SMI-S won’t have to wait until Windows 8 to reap the benefits of that investment. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (SCVMM 2012) delivers great private cloud management using SMI-S to manage storage arrays. SCVMM 2012 uses SMI-S to interoperate with a large number of arrays from multiple partners including NetApp, EMC, HP, Hitachi, Dell, IBM, and Fujitsu, to provide storage discovery & provisioning as part of virtualization management.
SCVMM 2012 uses its storage management capabilities to deliver three scenarios:
Windows Server 8 offers a rich set of storage capabilities natively through the SMAPI. Not every storage capabilitywill be available via the API surface as storage vendors each offers their own special features. We’ve thought about that as well and designed a no-compromises solution which gives you access to these features. For storage partners who want to showcase additional new features and capabilities, SMAPI offers a pass-through mechanism. The pass-through mechanism works with both the SMI-S and SMP providers and gives partners like System Center and 3rd party storage vendors the ability to light up new capabilities without having to wait for the next version of the SMAPI. (Future versions of SCVMM will use the SMAPI and be able to use both SMI-S and SMP providers.)
Call to Action for Storage Partners
Windows Server 8 is a cloud optimized OS and its new standards-based storage management capabilities deliver efficient and effective management of storage.
Distinguished Engineer and Lead Architect for Window Server