Storage Spaces Direct: building a fault-tolerant 4-node setup

Storage Spaces Direct picks up the baton from Microsoft Clustered Storage Spaces, meaning it is a true SDS technology for Windows Server 2016. The testing of S2D is in full swing right now, and in this research, we provide a systematic guide on a practical deployment of a fault-tolerant 4-node setup. Enterprises seek for ultimate performance, total fault-tolerance and availability to secure their business continuity. Thus, the 4-node setup which ensures exceptional uptime even in the case of multiple node failures seems to be the right choice. The setup consists of 9 detailed steps: from Windows Server roles and features … Continue reading Storage Spaces Direct: building a fault-tolerant 4-node setup

Storage Replica: Overview

Storage Replica is a feature of Windows Server 2016, designed for the disaster recovery purposes. The replication it provides is block-level and volume-based. Storage Replica is targeted at disaster avoidance since the replication of data is done to a remote location. Before, Windows had replication only at other levels, like file-to-file replication, applications replication, and VM-level replication. There was also block-level replication in the storage market, but vendor lock-in made it too expensive. Storage Replica provides new opportunities for disaster recovery and disaster preparedness in the industry. With it, the data is synchronously protected at two separated sites, either different buildings, … Continue reading Storage Replica: Overview

Software-Defined Storage: StarWind Virtual SAN vs Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct vs VMware Virtual SAN

The article provides comparison of three leading products of the Software-Defined Storage market: Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, VMware Virtual SAN and StarWind Virtual SAN. There are several use cases considered, based on the deployment scales and architectures. Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct and VMware Virtual SAN are a perfect choice for bigger SMBs and entry-level enterprises because their licensing is reasonable for typical of these businesses infrastructure types. These solutions are not good with smaller SMBs and ROBOs, being too expensive and a performance overkill for them. The per-host licensing is too expensive for the hyperconverged environment of very big enterprises. Microsoft can … Continue reading Software-Defined Storage: StarWind Virtual SAN vs Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct vs VMware Virtual SAN

ReFS V2 Research Overview (Windows Server 2016)

We’re making a series of tests, dedicated solely to the work of Resilient File System (ReFS – https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/hh848060%28v=vs.85%29.aspx). It is a relatively new proprietary file system, introduced by Microsoft in Windows Server 2012 as a successor of NTFS. Among its advantages over the predecessor, Microsoft lists enhanced protection from data corruption, common and silent alike, if provided with a redundant storage. The ReFS is also aimed at modern understanding of high capacity and large size. It supports files up to 16 million terabytes and maximum volume size (theoretical) of 1 trillion terabytes. The tests are associated with workloads typical for … Continue reading ReFS V2 Research Overview (Windows Server 2016)

SMB3.0 Fileserver on Free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012R2

Development of any technology requires ideas, which need a lot of testing, before then can actually work. The problem is that testing and POC typically happen before the idea can make any money, relying heavily on free and open-source solutions. There is no decent free SMB3 fileserver. Those available are critically unreliable or just aren’t working properly. In case you need one right now and there is no other way of acquiring it, there is a way – the Free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012R2. However this method violates license agreement, so it’s not in any way a permanent solution for … Continue reading SMB3.0 Fileserver on Free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012R2

Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct

Microsoft has always been targeting mainly SMB and ROBO space and now they’ve decided to aim at Enterprise, namely datacenters, Internet Service Providers, Cloud Hosting, etc. How well do they fare? Problem was, up to Windows Server 2016, Microsoft had no real Software-Defined Storage, meaning it relied completely on SAS hardware. Not much “software defined” there. Enterprises couldn’t go with poor scalability of SAS with their several feet long cables and a literal headache of stretching the infrastructure as far as the next building.          A shared JBOD Scale-Out File Server (Image Credit: Microsoft) In Windows Server … Continue reading Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct

Here’s what LSFS (WAFL, CASL) is About: Where Log-Structuring Concept Came From, What It’s Good for and Why

Log-Structured File System is a relatively new idea and the technology is obviously effective. However, it is a tool specially crafted for virtualization workload, thus it only works in certain cases. It won’t work out as a common file system for everyday tasks. The idea came from “transaction logs”, which aggregated small random writes into a log to copy them eventually to the “final destination”. Then ZIL (ZFS Intent Log) adopted the same principle in a file system. Converged deployment of Storage Spaces Direct for private clouds                           … Continue reading Here’s what LSFS (WAFL, CASL) is About: Where Log-Structuring Concept Came From, What It’s Good for and Why

RAID 5 was Great, until High-capacity HDDs Came into Play, but SSDs Restored its Former Glory

RAID 5 was great, until high-capacity HDDs came into play, but SSDs restored its former glory.(+) New tech becomes obsolete and forgotten at an astonishing speed. However, sometimes it’s enough to develop another approach and all the old technology may become relevant again. This happened to RAID 5, because HDD capacity grew, but spindle speed had mechanical limits, which eventually made RAID5 too volatile. With modern high-capacity HDDs, RAID 5 became unreliable, because it remains in a failure-prone state for a long time. Seek speed remains the same, while capacity grows, so rebuild time grows as well. This means the … Continue reading RAID 5 was Great, until High-capacity HDDs Came into Play, but SSDs Restored its Former Glory

LACP vs. MPIO on Windows Platform – Which One is Better in Terms of Redundancy and Speed in this Case?

LACP and MPIO have the same purpose, but work in different ways. The results cannot be exactly the same, so the idea is to compare them in a certain environment. LACP unifies physical ports into a single bigger channel, while MPIO provides up to 32 paths for the same data. So, which one is better in Microsoft environment with iSCSI Target and Initiator? We actually tested everything on a suitable setup with checked network throughput: 1х Server Intel core i7 /16Gb RAM/HDD 1TB SATA for OS/ 2x 2 Ports 1Gb NIC for client. 1х Server Intel core i7 /16Gb RAM/HDD … Continue reading LACP vs. MPIO on Windows Platform – Which One is Better in Terms of Redundancy and Speed in this Case?