Microsoft and Intel showcase Storage Spaces Direct with NVM Express at IDF ’15

This week I am at Intel Developer Forum 2015 in San Francisco, where we are showing a performance demo of Storage Spaces Direct Technical Preview with Intel NVM Express disk devices.

Storage Spaces Direct enables you to use industry standard servers with local storage and build highly available and scalable software-defined storage for private clouds. One of the key advantages of Storage Spaces Direct is its ability to use NVMe disk devices, which are solid-state disk devices attached through PCI Express (PCIe) bus.

We teamed up with Intel to build out a demo rack for Intel Developer Forum 2015 with a very colorful front panel:

Fig 1: Colorful front panel

The demo rack consists of the following hardware:

Fig 2: Front of rack

Fig 3: Back of rack

The demo rack uses a hyper-converged software configuration, where Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct are the same cluster. Each server is running Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3. Storage Spaces Direct configuration:

  • Single pool
  • 16 virtual disks
  • 3-copy mirror
  • ReFS on-disk file system
  • CSVFS cluster file system

Each server is running eight virtual machines (128 total) as load generators. Each virtual machine is configured with:

  • 8 virtual cores
  • 7.5 GB memory
  • Compute equivalent to Azure A4 sizing
  • DISKSPD for load generation
  • 8 threads per DISKSPD instance
  • Queue Depth of 20 per thread

We are showcasing the demo rack with a few different workload profiles: 100% 4K read, 90%/10% 4K read/write and 70%/30% 4K read/write. We are happy with the results given where we are in the development cycle.

Load profile

Total IOPS


100% 4K Read


268K IOPS per server

90%/10% 4K Read/Write


218K IOPS per server

70%/30% 4K Read/Write


143K IOPS per server

The performance demonstration at IDF ’15 captures where we are with Storage Spaces Direct Technical Preview and demonstrates great collaboration between Intel and Microsoft. We also identified several areas where we can improve our software stack, and are looking forward to sharing future results as we work towards addressing these on our Storage Spaces Direct journey.

We recorded a few videos so you can see the performance demonstration even if you do not attend IDF '15.

Introduction to Storage Spaces Direct

100% 4K Read

100% 4K Read with Storage Quality of Service (QoS)

70%/30% 4K Read/Write with Storage Quality of Server (QoS)



Links and stuff:

twitter: @ClausJor

Storage Spaces Direct deployment guide:

Storage Spaces Direct feedback:

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey folks, Ned here again. The inimitable Claus Jorgenson just posted a blog entry on the Microsoft and

  2. William - Cluster MVP says:

    Great results Claus, I can’t wait till we see the RTM numbers

  3. Anonymous says:

    Before doing anything, please be sure to read the DOCUMENTATION before deployment!

    The following sections