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Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud

Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 | Part 7

In this part of the Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud, we are focusing on of the great solutions we introduced with Windows Server 2012 and improved in Window Server 2012 R2, Storage Spaces.

Storage Spaces Overview:

imageIn Windows Server 2012 Storage became a first class citizen, from storage deduplication to SMB 3.0 Windows became a great choice to be the storage platform in many organizations.  In many organizations storage will represent a huge part of the IT budget.  One of the key features, to help reduce the cost of storage, is the inclusion of Storage Spaces.  Storage spaces can be a fantastic alterative to SAN’s for storage in your organizations.  When you think about what three things make up a SAN:

  • Connectivity Adaptors --- Provides connectivity to external sources via iSCSI, FC, FCoE, NFS, SMB
  • Controllers --- The software of the SAN or the “brains”, which provided provision, deduplication, storage tiering, etc.,..
  • Disks --- Either flash-based (SSD) or spinning media (HDD) which provides the raw storage, and will generally provide resiliency via mirroring or parity

Windows Server 2012 R2 can provide the same functionality that a SAN can provide for you.  Starting with the disks:

  • Disks --- Windows Server 2012 leverages, low cost, low complexity JBOD shelf with SSD/HDD mix
    and multiple SAS connectivity ports
  • Controllers --- Provides support for clustered Windows Server 2012 File Servers (SOFS) which creates disk pools, then slices them into Storage Spaces.  Spaces can be Thin Provisioned & support Deduplication. Spaces can be Simple, Mirrored or Parity.
  • Connectivity Adaptors --- Windows Server File Servers have resilient connectivity to external sources using regular 1GbE, 10GbE Network Adaptors. Support for up to 56Gb RDMA Adaptors. Support via iSCSI, SMB 3.0 & NFS Connectivity

imageOnce you have the JBOD enclosure connected to Windows Server 2012 R2 you can then take the direct attached storage (DAS) and configure it into multiple storage pools, then pools can be carved up into multiple spaces which then get assigned to volumes and the knee bone is connect to thigh bone…etc.  In the screen cast below I step through this process

My buddy Keith did a fantastic post when we first released Storage Spaces located here:

Right-size IT Budgets with Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 - 31 Days of Favorite Features

What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2:

imageWe added several new features in Windows Server 2012 to improved Storage spaces:

  • Storage tiers --- Automatically moves frequently accessed data to faster (solid-state drive) storage and infrequently accessed data to slower (hard disk) storage.
  • Write-back cache --- Buffers small random writes to solid-state drives, reducing the latency of writes.
  • Parity space support for failover clusters --- Enables you to create parity spaces on failover clusters.
  • Dual parity ---- Stores two copies of the parity information on a parity space, which helps protect you from two simultaneous physical disk failures and optimizes storage efficiency.
  • Automatically rebuild storage spaces from storage pool free space ---  Decreases how long it takes to rebuild a storage space after a physical disk failure by using spare capacity in the pool instead of a single hot spare.

Here is the complete overview of the new features:  What's New in Storage Spaces in Windows Server

Working with Storage Spaces:

In this quick screencast, I show how you can quickly provision Storage Spaces:

There are some great step-by-step documents to take you through the process:

I hoped you enjoyed this post and please check out the full series here:

More Stories By Matt Hester

Matt Hester is a Senior Information Technology Professional Evangelist for Microsoft. Matt has been involved in the IT Pro community for over 20 years. Matt is a skilled and experienced evangelist presenting to audiences nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Microsoft Matt was a highly successful Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 8 years. After joining Microsoft, Matt has continued to be heavily involved in IT Pro community as an IT Pro Evangelist. In his role at Microsoft Matt has presented to audiences in excess of 5000 and as small as 10. Matt has written 4 articles for TechNet magazine. In addition Matt has published 3 books:

You can contact Matt off his blog at

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