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

Soft Restart Feature – the Great Idea from Microsoft

Let’s talk about the term “chain reaction”. Some of you may think only an unskilled administrator allows this to happen and that normal Fault-Tolerant setups cannot crash. Well, those of you are obviously wrong. Accidents happen and in worst-case scenarios, with multiple servers going into unplanned downtime, even an esteemed IT guru can find his system dead. Remember – there is always a chance higher than zero, and as Murphy’s law states, if something bad can happen, it surely will. Microsoft came up with a nice idea, called “Soft Restart”, which is meant to shorten the time of the server’s … Continue reading Soft Restart Feature – the Great Idea from Microsoft