Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Features

By Paul Ferrill

It is significant, however, that this capability is now built right into the operating system. The big deal about this feature is the tight integration with all management surfaces including Server Manager and PowerShell, and the fact that it does its job with little to no user intervention.

Creating two-tiered storage requires a total of just six lines of PowerShell as in the following:

# Get physical disks available for pooling $mydisks = get-physicaldisk | ? {$_.canpool -eq $true} # Create a new tiered storage pool New-StoragePool -StorageSubSystemFriendlyName *Spaces* -FriendlyName MyTieredPool -PhysicalDisks $mydisks

# SSD Tier $ssd_tier = New-StorageTier -StoragePoolFriendlyName MyTieredPool -FriendlyName SSD_TIER -MediaType SSD

# HDD Tier $hdd_tier = New-StorageTier -StoragePoolFriendlyName MyTieredPool -FriendlyName HDD_TIER -MediaType HDD

# Create a new tiered virtual disk and enable write-back cache $vdisk1 = New-VirtualDisk -StoragePoolFriendlyName MyTieredPool -FriendlyName Tiered_Space -StorageTiers @($ssd_tier, $hdd_tier) -StorageTierSizes @(50GB, 120GB) -ResiliencySettingName Mirror -WriteCacheSize 5GB

# Lastly, initialize the virtual disk, create partition and volume and assign a drive letter Get-VirtualDisk -FriendlyName Tiered_Space | Get-Disk | Initialize-Disk –Passthru | New-Partition –AssignDriveLetter –UseMaximumSize | Format-Volume -force -Confirm:$false

When you're done you should have a new storage space named Tiered_Space as shown in Figure 3. It is worth pointing out at this point that storage tiering only works with mirrored spaces, which means you'll only have half of the total storage available. Notice this is reflected in Figure 3 in the difference between Allocated space and Used pool space.

windows server 2012

If you look closely at the PowerShell you'll see another new feature introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2, and that's write-back cache. This new feature sets aside a portion of an SSD to use as a cache for writes to rotating disk. This helps smooth out performance hits when data is written to the disk.

A side benefit of using Storage Spaces for your reliable storage comes whenever you need to rebuild a failed physical disk. In traditional RAID systems this can take a significant amount of time. With Windows Server 2012 R2 you can expect to see those times greatly reduced due to the use of a parallel rebuild technique.

Bottom Line

One of the things you won't find in most off-the-shelf servers available from the big vendors today is the ability to use Storage Spaces right out of the box. The problem is they don't ship disk controllers capable of connecting to a JBOD array. You'll have to go with a solution as described here if you want to check it out.

This article was originally published on August 26, 2013

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