Whether you’re talking about closet space in your house or the capacity of your datacenter, storage is something you can never have enough of. But storage space alone isn’t the whole story. Storage for data needs to be both flexible and reliable. Microsoft recognizes the crucial importance of storage today more than ever, which is why we focused so deeply on storage in Windows Server 8. If you read my previous blog, you’ll recall that I talked about the storage and continuous availability enhancements in Windows Server 8 and discussed how we provided functionality to create a more cost-effective storage platform for our customers.
We are also addressing storage for mixed mode environments. Some of our customers have a mix of Windows and Unix/Linux client machines. Windows Server 8 multiprotocol storage technologies aren’t new to Windows Server. The IT admin can use the same Windows Server 8 system to store data from both Unix/Linux clients (via the NFS protocol) and Windows clients (via the SMB protocol). We have continued to augment this capability, including use of improved clustering to deliver a more highly-available storage platform that is also a cost-effective choice for our customers.
For example, the Services for Network File System (NFS) server and client on Windows Server have come a long way since Services for Unix (SFU) was first offered. After integrating these components into Windows (with the Windows Server 2003 R2 release), we’ve steadily focused on improving stability, reliability, and performance of our NFS stack. The NFS protocol itself has evolved from its traditional file serving roots into a viable file-based storage protocol for server applications.
So how does this progress show up in Windows Server 8? Let’s look at some key features for NFS for Windows Server 8:
In addition to NFS protocol support, Windows Server 8 will now provide an inbox iSCSI software target. The Windows iSCSI Software Target enables a Windows Server to provide remote block storage (disk devices) for applications and workloads using a converged Ethernet network. Today the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is already available as a free download for Windows Server 2008 R2, and if you‘ve tried the Windows Server 8 Developer Preview build, you may have noticed iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is now an inbox feature.
As a Windows Server 8 feature, the iSCSI Software Target can be easily managed by the new integrated File Services role available in Server Manager and can be automated using over 20 Windows PowerShell cmdlets.
These attributes make the iSCSI Software Target ideal for:
With the investments and enhancements that we have made for NFS and iSCSI, Windows Server 8 will provide an even more compelling storage platform that addresses our customers’ heterogeneous IT requirements. Both NFS and iSCSI target can be deployed with Windows failover clustering to enable transparent fail over of workloads, ensuring applications continue to work without errors in case of a network or node failure.
These are exciting times with the upcoming storage features with Windows Server 8, and I look forward to sharing more over the coming months. Thank you for reading.
General Manager, File Server Team