Windows Server 2016

In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft has made many improvements and added new features, including Storage Spaces Direct.

Storage Spaces Direct improves on Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces and enables organizations to deploy hyper-converged infrastructures. Along with new software-defined networking and existing features like Hyper-V, Windows Server 2016 has truly become a software-defined datacenter.

What’s New in Windows Server for the Software-Defined Datacenter
Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct
Storage Spaces Direct: Be an IT Hero with Software-Defined Storage
Windows Server Software-Defined: The Fastest Route to the Benefits of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
Windows Server 2016 Datasheet

Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)

Storage in a modern enterprise used to consist of traditional Fibre Channel or iSCSI storage arrays with shelves of drives. Windows Server 2016’s new storage enhancements bring revolutionary new features within reach of every organization with its software-defined feature set.

Storage Spaces Direct
Build highly available and scalable SDS at a fraction of the cost of a SAN or NAS. Use standard servers with local storage to create converged or hyper-converged storage architectures.
Storage Replica (SR)
Create affordable business continuity and disaster recovery among data center with synchronous storage replication.
Storage Quality of Server (QoS)
Ensure that users of business-critical applications have priority access to storage resources.

Storage Spaces Direct – What does it do

Storage Spaces Direct, a feature included in Windows Server 2016 and 2019, enables organizations to create converged and hyper-converged infrastructures. It simplifies the deployment and management of software-defined storage systems and unlocks the use of new classes of disk devices, such as SATA SSD and NVMe disk devices. This enables customers to combine server, compute and storage (in a hyper-converged infrastructure) eliminating the need for costly storage area networks (SANs). Unlike SANs, HCIs are highly scalable. When organizations run out of storage, they can simply add another node. Which is a huge cost savings compared to buying another SAN.

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Go from industry-standard servers running Windows Server 2016 to your first Storage Spaces Direct cluster in under 15 minutes. For System Center users, deployment is just one checkbox.
Unrivaled Performance
Whether all-flash or hybrid, Storage Spaces Direct easily exceeds 150,000 mixed 4k random IOPS per server with consistent, low latency thanks to its hypervisor-embedded architecture, its built-in read/write cache, and support for cutting-edge NVMe drives mounted directly on the PCIe bus.
Fault Tolerance
Built-in resiliency handles drive, server, or component failures with continuous availability. Larger deployments can also be configured for chassis and rack fault tolerance. When hardware fails, just swap it out; the software heals itself, with no complicated management steps.
Resource Efficiency
Erasure coding delivers up to 2.4x greater storage efficiency, with unique innovations like Local Reconstruction Codes and ReFS real-time tiers to extend these gains to hard disk drives and mixed hot/cold workloads, all while minimizing CPU consumption to give resources back to where they're needed most - the VMs.
Use Storage QoS Controls to keep overly busy VMs in check with minimum and maximum per-VM IOPS limits. The Health Service provides continuous built-in monitoring and alerting, and new APIs make it easy to collect rich, cluster-wide performance and capacity metrics.
Go up to 16 servers and over 400 drives, for up to 1 petabyte (1,000 terabytes) of storage per cluster. To scale out, simply add drives or add more servers; Storage Spaces Direct will automatically onboard new drives and begin using them. Storage efficiency and performance improve predictably at scale.
Storage Spaces Direct – How does it work

A Windows Server 2016 and 2019 hyper-converged deployment runs Hyper-V virtual machines or SQL Server databases directly on the servers providing the storage, storing their files on the local volumes. This eliminates the need to configure file server access and permissions, and reduces hardware costs for small-to-medium sized businesses or remote office/branch office deployments.

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Storage Spaces Direct is the evolution of Storage Spaces. First introduced in Windows Server 2012, it leverages many of the features you know today in Windows Server, such as Failover Clustering, Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) file system, Server Message Block 3.0 (SMB 3.0), and of course, Storage Spaces. It also introduces new technology, most notably the Software Storage Bus.

Here’s an overview of the Storage Spaces Direct stack:

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A converged, or ‘disaggregate’ deployment option, layers a scale-out file server (SoFS) atop Storage Spaces Direct to provide network-attached storage over SMB 3.0 file shares. This allows for scaling compute/workload independently from the storage cluster, essential for larger-scale deployments such as Hyper-V infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for service providers and enterprises.

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Storage Replica

Storage Replica is a new feature in Windows Server 2016 with which you can set up storage-agnostic, block-level, synchronous replication between clusters or servers for disaster recovery. You also can use it to stretch a failover cluster across sites for high availability.

The DataON S2D family of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure appliances are an ideal Storage Replica solution. Tested by Microsoft, DataON S2D nodes provide users a seamless deployment in an all-in-one 2U form factor. Administrators can swiftly initialize configurations, enable user accounts to specify cluster and storage parameters in less than 30 minutes. Native SMB3 (Server Message Block), accelerates I/O delivery, increases throughput, and provides lower latency. Effectively, DataON S2Ds allow users to deploy Storage Replica with a single appliance.

Check out what Storage Replica features have improved in Windows Server 2019.

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