Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Amit Gupta, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning , 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
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.