Storage Spaces Direct cheapens itself, hardware-wise, adds NVDIMM support

Good news – assuming software-defined storage is still viable after Meltdown/Spectre

Microsoft’s released a new Windows Server Insider Preview Build – number 17074, to be precise – and the most notable new bits are in the Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) software-defined storage code.

Redmond’s coders have managed to add support for storage-class memory to S2D because, as Microsoft put it, doing so “unlocks a new class of extremely low latency storage which is incredibly interesting in particular as a caching device.” We're told this is NVDIMM support, not Optane as we reported in a previous version of this story.

Also new to this build is the removal of a requirement that S2D hardware offer SCSI Enclosure Services. Another addition is support for direct-connect SATA devices to an AHCI controller, which should make S2D devices cheaper to build,

Redmond said it’s “also enabled the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) Cache is enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance.”

Which is timely news because at least one effort to see what Meltdown and Spectre did to S2D suggests the performance hit is somewhere between colossal and terrifying.

The new Windows Server preview has also added “enhancements to Azure enlightened Failover Clusters, with enhanced eventing on host maintenance events and nodes about to be in host maintenance are excluded from placement.” Redmond said this matter because “By making high availability software running inside of an Azure IaaS VM be aware of maintenance events of the host, it can help deliver the highest levels of availability for your applications.”

The changes are due to emerge in the semi-annual version of Windows Server, the next version of which is due to emerge in April 2018.

The new preview’s yours for the downloading here. ®

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