Hi Folks –
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m working my way through the list of my top 10 new features in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. In this post, I’ll examine how we made it even easier to cost-effectively scale your storage capacity. This is enabled through enhancements in two key areas:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these technologies and the new enhancements in the latest release of Windows Server 2012 R2.
Storage Spaces, a technology introduced in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Storage Server 2012, enables you to virtualize storage by grouping industry-standard disks into storage pools, and then create virtual disks (called storage spaces) from the available capacity in those storage pools. Storage Spaces is manageable through the Windows Storage Management API and Windows PowerShell, and through the File and Storage Services user interface in Server Manager. Storage Spaces is completely integrated with Failover Clustering for high availability, and it is integrated with CSV for scale-out deployments.
Enhancements to Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 (and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2) include:
I predict that Storage Spaces will be very popular. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it’s one component of a great recipe for cost-effective, highly available storage. When you combine Storage Spaces with Clustering and certified JBODs, you get a dynamic, self-healing data storage solution that’s easy to deploy and manage.
My ideal scenario is to use a Windows Storage Server cluster-in-a-box to host the disks, and to make that storage accessible to Hyper-V hosts and SQL Server using the SMB 3.0 protocol. This is compelling because it’s super-easy to setup and leverages my existing investments in IP and Ethernet-based network infrastructure.
More information on Storage Spaces can be found here.
A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on Storage Spaces can be found here.
You can find a list of certified JBODs under the Storage Spaces Category in the Windows Server Catalog.
Data Deduplication, which was introduced in Windows Server 2012 (and Windows Storage Server 2012), has quickly become one of its leading features—and a “standard consideration” when deploying file servers. After all, who doesn’t want the option to store more raw data in the same physical space by simply flipping a switch?
In various deployments, we saw decreases in required disk space of up to 90 percent. Some sample results for specific workloads include:
In Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, we made Data Deduplication even more powerful and useful by supporting a key new scenario:
To enable support for VDI workloads with adequate performance and availability, we made several lower-level improvements related to Data Deduplication:
When combined, these improvements to Data Deduplication enable massive storage cost savings for VDI deployments and makes it possible to leverage the superior I/O performance of solid-state drives (SSDs) without investing in massive storage arrays.
For more information on these enhancements to Data Deduplication and how to deploy it for VDI storage, see Matthias Wollnik’s blog articles here and here.
There is a great debate going on about the value and utility of Storage Spaces, as compared to traditional RAID systems. When you use Storage Spaces in high-throughput configurations, you will want to use mirrored configurations and fast SSD drives to absorb random writes. The cost of mirroring the drives might be more expensive than using a RAID adapter, but will probably be less than buying HBAs for each cluster node and a self-contained external RAID system.
When you use Windows Server 2012 R2 and implement Storage Spaces on an attached JBOD, you get great cost-efficiency. And when you turn on Data Deduplication, your data volumes will typically be reduced by 50 percent or more, which will mitigate the cost of additional drives for mirroring. Now you can get low cost, high density and high-performance at the same time—a great combination!
Cheers, Scott M. Johnson Senior Program Manager Windows Storage Server @supersquatchy
Where can I obtain the datasheet for the WSS 2102 R2?