I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present the sixth webcast in the Windows Server Samurai Webcast Series for Partners on the topic of storage last week. If you missed the webcast, it can viewed online here.
I had a few questions in the question manager I was unable to answer due to time and I wanted to take the opportunity to do so now in this public forum so that everyone can benefit from the answers.
Question 1: If my Windows Server 2012 installation encounters a hardware issue, can I recover Storage Pools to another Server install?
Answer: Yes, storage pools can be imported to another Windows Server 2012 Server. It is a fairly straightforward process. I have found a step-by-step Blog post that details the process better than I could. I would like to thank Martin Lucas for his excellent post on the Ask Premier Field Engineering (PFE) Platforms blog titled Windows Server 2012: How to Import a Storage Pool on Another Server.
Note: In my webcast I demonstrated how you can tinker with Storage Pools and Spaces on Windows 8 for convenience purposes. Please understand that the implementation of Storage Spaces on Windows 8 does not have the same feature set as Windows Server 2012. You cannot import a storage pool from Windows Server 2012 to Windows 8 or vice versa, only to the same OS.
Question 2: This is more an amalgamation of several IO performance focused comments and questions regarding Storage Spaces and Pools in Windows Server 2012.
Answer: Storage Spaces can have excellent performance.
The disk IO performance achievable with Storage Spaces can be nicely comparable to more dedicated storage hardware solutions. Storage Spaces provides the ability to build storage for the right balance of performance and capacity to explicitly match needs. Instead of using expensive RAID controllers, storage processors and SAN switches to achieve high performance, Storage Spaces necessitates thinking about disk IO differently to achieve similar performance. With Storage Spaces, the storage intelligence is handled by software components, so the best thing you can do to increase overall disk throughput is to increase the # of IO channels with multiple disk Host Bus Adapters and spread IOs across a large number of fast disk spindles. I recall a discussion by Jeff Woolsey on Hyper-V simultaneous Live migrations using an SMB storage backend where this was illustrated nicely, unfortunately this was an internal presentation so I cannot provide a link.
Performance is not always of paramount importance in addressing storage needs. For example, Tier 2 or 3 storage needs tedn to be more around Value/price than performance. Archiving and DR solutions can happily uses Storage Spaces at a significant savings as well.
A search on Bing can find other examples on SQL Server performance and other workloads that further illustrate the performance potential of Storage Spaces.
Until next time,