Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Silverlight, Release Management , SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Reduce VMware Storage Costs with Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces

SAN-like Storage Spaces with Continuous Availability Clustering and NFS Server frees up IT Budgets

Windows Server 2012 can provide key advantages in one of the areas that is near-and-dear to every VMware administrator's budget: Storage! In this article, we'll explore the storage enhancements that Windows Server 2012 offers, and along the way, we'll see how it can help to "right-size" your VMware storage costs so that you have more budget for strategic IT investments ...

Do I need to migrate to Hyper-V to benefit from Windows Server 2012?
Not necessarily.
Sure, lots of IT Pros have migrated to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 - or Hyper-V Server 2012, our FREE bare-metal enterprise-grade hypervisor – AND, they’ve experienced the benefits that I mentioned above.  BUT, Windows Server 2012 also includes end-to-end improvements in other important areas, such as Storage, Networking, Security and Management.

image

Windows Server 2012 Enhancements – Much more than just Hyper-V!

Many of these enhancements in Windows Server 2012 provide great value to IT shops regardless of your current virtualization platform.

Did you say “Storage”? That’s one area where I could use some help!
Absolutely!
When I speak with IT Pros at community events, storage is consistently reported as one of the most significant, and growing, hardware costs within their datacenters.  For instance, to support storage demands when using VMware, many IT Pros have traditionally resorted to expensive SAN or NAS appliance solutions in order to address their capacity and IO performance needs.  These storage appliances can cost thousands of dollars per TB of usable storage, and, of course, these high costs can contribute to an inflated total cost for managing a datacenter.

Windows Server 2012, combined with commodity, enterprise SSD drives or SAS disks and inexpensive JBOD storage enclosures, provides exciting opportunities to “right-size” your storage budget.  IT Pros can leverage capabilities such as SAN-like Storage Spaces, Continuously Available Clustering and NFS Server support to easily create an attractive alternative to traditional storage appliances.  This presents the potential to reduce total VMware storage costs many-fold, from several thousand dollars per TB down to just hundreds per TB.

Using a Windows Server 2012 NFS Server Cluster, the resulting storage architecture looks very similar in design to what many SAN or NAS appliances employ “under-the-hood”, but without the high cost of proprietary hardware.

image

Windows Server 2012 – Enterprise-class Storage at Commodity Costs

In the end, all of the dollars that you save with your new Windows Server 2012 storage solution could be just enough to pay for the server hardware needed for those new scaled-up Hyper-V Server 2012 virtualization hosts that you’ve been wanting! Winking smile Since Hyper-V Server 2012 is FREE, and includes the same Hyper-V features as Windows Server 2012, you could have plenty left over from your "right-sized" storage budget to invest in some really nice virtualization host server hardware.

Sounds interesting … BUT, this can’t be very fast … Can it?
Actually, YES!
By utilizing a new native RPC-XDR transport infrastructure, Windows Server 2012 can deliver optimal NFS performance out-of-the-box without the need to tune any parameters.  The NFS server provides an auto-tuned cache and thread pools along with dynamic resource management that is designed to adapt to varying workloads.  In addition, fast failovers with new per-physical disk resources, tuned failover paths and Network Status Monitor (NSM) notifications mean that NFSv3 clients, such as VMware ESXi hosts, can have fast and transparent failovers even under heavy IO load.

Our NFS protocol team employs veteran designers of the NFS and iSCSI protocol specifications, and they regularly participate in NFS bake-a-thons to help ensure that Windows Server 2012 is providing a robust, reliable and easy-to-deploy NFS storage solution.

Is this some kind of “Virtual Storage Appliance” that costs extra?
Of course not!
All of these storage capabilities are included out-of-the-box with both Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition and Datacenter Edition.  No additional licenses are required.  If you’re already using Windows Server file servers in your shop, upgrading those servers to a Windows Server 2012 cluster can provide an easy path to support both your existing file server workloads as well as the new NFS server capabilities described in this article.

Can this solution help when migrating VM’s to Hyper-V?
Indeed, it can!
The most time-consuming task when upgrading to a new virtualization platform, such as Hyper-V, is often the time it takes to copy VMs between old and new virtualization platforms.  Any storage on a Windows Server 2012 NFS Cluster can also be shared via our native SMB 3.0 network protocol.  During an upgrade to Hyper-V, this means that the storage can simply be removed from the source VMware hosts and presented to the new Hyper-V hosts, ready for the VMs to be upgraded to VHD/VHDX format using your favorite V2V migration tools.  For more details on upgrading to Hyper-V Server 2012, see:

After I migrate VMs to Hyper-V, how does this storage solution change?
It only gets better!
After your VM’s are running on Hyper-V Server 2012, you’ll be able to take advantage of the additional storage improvements provided by the SMB 3.0 network protocol – such as SMB-Direct (RDMA), SMB-Multichannel, and SMB-Scaleout. As the Enterprise Strategy Group verified in their lab results, Windows Server 2012 with SMB 3.0 can provide storage IO throughput for tier-1 Hyper-V VM workloads that is within +/- 1% to 4% of the performance of traditional Fibre Channel storage solutions at approximately 50% less cost.

clip_image002

Hyper-V Server 2012 Tier-1 VM Storage Transactions Comparison

clip_image004

Windows Server 2012 SMB Storage Spaces Cost Comparison

For the full copy of the lab report from which these results were summarized, be sure to check out the following link:

You’ve got my attention! Where can I learn more?
To get started with next steps in evaluating Windows Server 2012 as an effective NFS storage solution for your virtualization environment, follow these guides to walk through the process …

NEXT STEPS:

  1. Configure Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012
  2. Creating a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster
  3. Install and Configure NFS Shares on Windows Server 2012
  4. VMware Setup for Windows Server 2012 NFS Server Cluster
  5. Migrate VMs from VMware to Hyper-V and Windows Azure

Once you’ve had a chance to explore these resources, please feel free to share your results below with the rest of our IT Pro community.

Happy right-sizing!

- Keith

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

@ThingsExpo Stories
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...