Microsoft Partner Enablement – Storage

Disco Duro

Disco Duro (Photo credit: IgnacioDfine)

Storage Spaces

Storage Spaces is defined as an inbox solution for Windows to manage storage. Spaces is designed for Direct Attached Storage (DAS) only, which means local to the server chassis or via SAS.

The ability to virtualise disk storage by group standard disks into storage pools allows you to carve various Pools out of the disks, from these pools you are able to create virtual disks, or Storage Spaces.

Spaces have the ability to be Thin Provisioned and can be striped across all physical disks in a pool, this also allows the option to Mirror or Parity as these are supported within Spaces. At this stage Windows allows you to create volumes on the Storage Space and allows data to be placed on the volume.

Storage Tiering for Spaces

Storage Tiering for Spaces, allows the optimisation of storage performance, this is accomplished through the blending of high-cost and low-cost storage. Low-cost providing the capacity and high-cost (SSD as an example) providing the performance.

Hot data (or consistently read/written) is moved automatically to the high cost storage, whereas cold data is assigned to the low cost using Sub-File-Level Data Movement.

Utilising write-back-cache, DDs absorb random writes that are typical in virtualised environments. If required, hot data blocks can be manually assigned (or pinned) to the high cost storage to increase the performance. This option can be beneficial in driving applications to utilise the best available storage and as such achieve the best performance.

SMB 3.0 File Shares (compares to VMware – NFS)

A Scale-Out File Server allows VM’s and hosts to view a simple UNC path for file locations in structured Tiered Storage, this enables admins to grow and scale storage on demand.

The benefits of using this kind of technology include;

  • Low OPEX and CAPEX
  • Simplified provisioning and management
  • Adding multiple NICs in File Servers allows SMB Multichannel – enabling higher throughput and reliability (NICs are required to be the same type and speed)
  • RDMA NICs allow SMB Direct offloading – Network I/O Processing delegated to the NIC itself.

Storage Deduplication

Deduplication maximises capacity by removing duplicate data. The benefits of Deduplication include;

  • Reduces data – variable-size chunking and compression
  • Reduced amounts of data to improve backup/archive/migration speeds
  • Low memory and CPU impact
  • Configuration options surrounding the schedule of compression
  • Primary server workload transparency

    English: Trusted Platform Module on Asus mothe...

    English: Trusted Platform Module on Asus motherboard P5Q PREMIUM Polski: Trusted Platform Module na płycie głównej Asusa P5Q PREMIUM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Redundant metadata and critical data

Windows Server 2012 R2 – Provides the ability to deduplicate a running VDI, this both increases performance AND minimises storage requirements.

Bitlocker Drive Encryption – Built in disk encryption to protect sensitive data

Data protection is built into the Hypervisor, allowing;

  • Support for used disk space only encryption
  • Integrates with TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip
  • Network unlock and AD integration
  • Supports multiple disk types – DAS/SAN/Cluster Shared Volumes/ Windows Server 2012 File Server share

There is a slight overhead to the encryption but there are many configuration options to minimise the impact to your network, including on-demand encryption.

NIC Teaming – Network Card Resiliency

Hyper-V NIC Teaming is vendor agnostic and available out of the box.

Some of the benefits of Hyper-V NIC Teaming include;

  • Local or remote management through PowerShell or UI
  • Enables teams of up to 32 network adapters
  • Aggregates bandwidth as well as providing traffic failover
  • Large vendor support from Microsoft.

Summary –

The above features are available with Hyper-V in both 2012 & R2 versions, these features are comparable to the VMware vSphere 5.5 Enterprise Plus option.

Data deduplication and storage encryption is only available in Hyper-V, proving that Microsoft are starting to take Hyper-V forward, above and beyond the current technologies available.

Windows Server 2012 R2 SMB 3.0 Scale-Out File Server that uses Shared VHDX to create a simulated JBOD for clustered Storage Spaces

Courtesy of

Note: This is unsupported in Windows 2012 R2 and should only be used in a lab/test environment

Many thanks to Aidan Finn for sharing this with us at the Partner Practice Enablement Labs hosted by Microsoft

Follow Aidan on Twitter for more excellent Hyper-V information –

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