Microsoft Windows Server family is going to have their new most significant and awaited member to be added by the end of year 2012. This is one of the most significant releases of the Microsoft Windows Server series. The enhancements in Hyper-V will put Microsoft at par with VMware in providing virtualization. It may also have enhancements in power shell integration management and multi-server management.
Though all these enhancements are big and impressive, the most significant one in WIN2K12 is Storage Enhancement. Probably this is the most important change so far in this version.
Here we will discuss in brief the 8 most important storage enhancements in Windows Server 2012:
- Resilient File System (ReFS): NTFS was introduced in 1993 when first version of Windows Server series Windows NT server was launched. Now with Server 2012 Microsoft introduces new Resilient File System to touch new heights in file systems management. It has not only a great compatibility with NTFS but it also gives you resiliency and scalability features beyond the contemporary NTFS. Without getting off-line this file(ReFS) systems can verify and auto-correct the data at any point of time.
- Storage Spaces: Now it’s smiling time for those users who can’t afford the cost effective storage solutions e.g. SANs and NAS. The new feature storage space of Win 2012 server provides attractive storage solutions for implementation. This storage Space provides Virtualized Space. This storage space works with ReFS. Redundancy of data is managed automatically in the storage.
- Data Duplication: As a new feature, data-deduplication work at volume level in storage and stores maximum data in lesser storage. Microsoft claims that it provides optimization ratio of 2 to 1 on server file system and 20 to 1 for virtualization of data. Data deduplication uses sub-file, variable-size chunking and compression to segment files into small (32KB–128KB) variable-sized chunks.
- Thin Provisioning: This provisioning makes it way to core of the Microsoft Server Operating System. It provides provisioning of optimization of maximum usage of existing storage and also reclaims the unused space. In Windows 2012 server storage allocation is done on real time basis.
- SMB Scale Out: Another feature is SMB Scale out. By this feature, Clustered Shared files can be shared simultaneously by all the nodes connected on a clustered file server. It also provides better utilization of network bandwidth and better load balancing of the server clients.
- SMB Transparent Failover: It’s another new feature of SMB 2.2, which enhances clustering. If any hardware failure occurs in cluster node, it automatically reconnects all SMB clients to another cluster node without downtime.
- Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX): The new ODX technology provides integration with built-in SAN. The ODX provides significant improvement of moving and copying of files on SAN by taking it in offloads mode the copying and moving of the files to the SAN. So the bypassing is the need of Windows Server 2012 OS to handle the data movement on the SAN.
- VHDX Disk Format: For enhancement of storage virtualization VHDX Disk format is new powerful feature. By this feature one can extend the size of virtual hard disk (VHD) by providing the support up to the 16TB, while earlier this was only up to 2TB only.
Once the wait is over, we’ll finally have one of the most powerful versions of Windows 2K Server family, which provides huge enhancements in Storage Management.
Windows Server 2012 Storage white paper
For a full read, you can download this PDF resource from Microsoft.