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The Register Guide to Windows Server 2012: Holistic storage

A short extract from our ebook

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In February we published the The Register Guide to Windows Server 2012 as a free ebook. (You can get it here via our ebooks page.)

To date there has been about 7,000 downloads, To give you a flavour of the book, co-written by Trevor Pott and Liam Proven, we are republishing our second of two extracts.

This short extract acts as a summary of the entire “storage” section of the book.

Holistic Storage

Although WS2012 is an excellent storage operating system for a physical server, it is not limited to this role. Hyper-V can virtualise fibre channel HBAs, and WS2012 comes with ODX offload, an iSCSI target and a first-class initiator. Block storage is baked into the operating system.

The idea of WS2012 as virtualised head node fronting block storage as file storage to client systems via SMB3 is not so crazy today as it was a short while ago; indeed, the role is explicitly supported in Windows Storage Server.

Adding network capacity to a VM Serving this role is simple and SMB3 will “just work” with the new throughput. Things get all the more interesting when you factor in live storage migration of your VMs. You can move your virtualised head node from one host to the other without dropping a packet, then have additional network resources added.

Thin provisioning and deduplication mean that your storage VMs will consume as little space as possible. Server 2012 is a reasonable candidate for underpinning your next generation physical storage arrays while simultaneously being an excellent choice to bring your extant storage estate together in one place for consumption by the rest of your network.

The leap in capability that Microsoft’s storage team has managed to provide is profound. WS2012 is no longer merely the gateway to your Microsoft file-based storage. Server 2012 is ready to take on storage for your entire network; block, file, physical or virtual. ®

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