New book: Windows Server 2012 R2 Pocket Consultant: Storage, Security, & Networking


Coverage includes:

· Managing file systems and drives
· Configuring storage
· Data sharing
· Managing TCP/IP networking
· Running DHCP clients and servers
· Optimizing DNS
· Administering network printers and print services
· Security, compliance, and auditing
· Backup and recovery

To download the eBook please click here.

Dell and Microsoft clustered Storage Spaces on PowerEdge VRTX

Dell recently published a blog, where they explained Clustered Storage Spaces support with PowerEdge VRTX. Please be aware that Dell not supports Storage Spaces on VRTX because it’s uses a shared RAID Controller.

To read more about the requirements for Storage Spaces please consult MSDN and read blogpost “How to Configure a Clustered Storage Space in Windows Server 2012

Please remember, if you want to run your cluster on a shared RAID (maybe for Hyper-V) or Direct Attached Storage you need to configure it in Windows registry. You can find my PowerShell Script, to configure it here.

To read the original Dell TechCenter blogpost, please click here.

Edit note:

Thank you Paul giving me advice on my mistake 🙂

Automatic SMB Scale-Out Rebalancing in Windows Server 2012 R2 by Jose Barreto

Jose Barreto wrote a blog about my favorite changes in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Automatic SMB Scale-Out Rebalancing. Why is it cool? Easy to answer, when you use a SoFS with Windows Server 2012 and one nodes fail the CSV switches over to the other Clusternode. That is ok but becomes worst when the other Clusternode comes back, because with Windows Server 2012 the is no automated rebalacing or fallback and the Clusternode redirects all traffic throw the CSV owner. This has an enormously performance decrease.

With 2012 R2, this is history and how it works you can read on Jose’s blog. Click here.

Whats new in Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage?

eBook downloads:

Free ebook: Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model


What’s New for iSCSI Target Server in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Feature/functionality New/updated Summary
Virtual disks enhancements New Includes a redesigned data persistence layer that is based on a new version of the VHD format called VHDX (VHD 2.0). VHDX has a much larger storage capacity than the older VHD format. iSCSI Target Server also provides data corruption protection during power failures and optimizes structural alignments of dynamic and differencing disks to prevent performance degradation on new, large-sector physical disks. You can still import VHD 1.0 disks by using Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview.
Manageability enhancements Updated Uses the SMI-S provider in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) to manage iSCSI Target Server in a hosted, and/or private cloud. Additionally, new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for iSCSI Target Server enable you to export and import configuration files, and they provide the ability to disable remote management when iSCSI Target Server is deployed in a dedicated Windows-based appliance scenario (for example, Windows Storage Server).
Improved optimization to allow disk-level caching Updated iSCSI Target Server now sets the disk cache bypass flag on a hosting disk I/O, through Force Unit Access (FUA), only when the issuing initiator explicitly requests it. This change can potentially improve performance. Previously, iSCSI Target Server would always set the disk cache bypass flag on all I/O’s. System cache bypass functionality remains unchanged in iSCSI Target Server; for instance, the file system cache on the target server is always bypassed.
Scalability limits Updated Increases the maximum number of sessions per target server to 544, and increases the maximum number of logical units per target server to 256.
Local mount functionality Updated Deprecates local mount functionality for snapshots. As a workaround, you can use the local iSCSI initiator on the target server computer (this is also called the loopback initiator) to access the exported snapshots.

Related Blogposts to this topic: Right way to configure #ISCSI #initiator in #Windows Server 2012 R2 by Robert Smit

What’s New for SMB in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Feature/functionality New or updated Summary
Automatic rebalancing of Scale-Out File Server clients New This functionality improves scalability and manageability for Scale-Out File Servers. SMB client connections are tracked per file share (instead of per server), and clients are then redirected to the cluster node with the best access to the volume used by the file share. This improves efficiency by reducing redirection traffic between file server nodes. Clients are redirected following an initial connection and when cluster storage is reconfigured.
Improved performance of SMB Direct (SMB over RDMA) Updated Improves performance for small I/O workloads by increasing efficiency when hosting workloads with small I/Os (such as an online transaction processing (OLTP) database in a virtual machine). These improvements are evident when using higher speed network interfaces, such as 40 Gbps Ethernet and 56 Gbps InfiniBand.
Improved SMB event messages Updated SMB events now contain more detailed and helpful information. This makes troubleshooting easier and reduces the need to capture network traces or enable more detailed diagnostic event logging. By default, the most relevant event channels are turned on, so you instantly capture all of the essential information. In addition, some events now include details on configuration and troubleshooting solutions.
VHDX files as shared storage for guest clustering New Simplifies the creation of guest clusters by using shared VHDX files for shared storage inside the virtual machines. You can use this feature with VHDX files that are stored in Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) or SMB Scale-Out file shares. For more information, see Deploy a Guest Cluster Using a Shared Virtual Hard Disk.
Hyper-V Live Migration over SMB New Enables you to perform a live migration of virtual machines by using SMB 3.0 as a transport. This allows you to take advantage of key SMB features, such as SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel, by providing high speed migration with low CPU utilization.
Improved SMB bandwidth management New Enables you to configure SMB bandwidth limits to control different SMB traffic types. There are three SMB traffic types: default, live migration, and virtual machine.
Support for multiple SMB instances on a Scale-Out File Server New Provides an additional instance on each cluster node in Scale-Out File Servers specifically for CSV traffic. A default instance can handle incoming traffic from SMB clients that are accessing regular file shares, while another instance only handles inter-node CSV traffic. This feature improves scalability and reliability of traffic between CSV nodes.
SMB 1.0 is now an optional feature Updated The SMB 1.0 features, including the legacy computer browser service and Remote Administration Protocol (RAP), are now separate and can be eliminated. These features are still enabled by default, but if you have no older SMB clients, such as Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you can remove the SMB 1.0 features to increase security and potentially reduce patching.

Related Blogposts to this topic: ODX Speed Up VHDX Creation Times On Windows Server 2012 (R2) by Didier van Hoye Windows Server 2012 R2 Unmap, ODX On A Dell Compellent SAN Demo by Didier van Hoye Preventing Live Migration Over SMB Starving CSV Traffic in Windows Server 2012 R2 with Set-SmbBandwidthLimit by Didier van Hoye The Effects Of WS2012 R2 Storage Spaces Write-Back Cache by Aidan Finn Storage Spaces & Scale-Out File Server Are Two Different Things by Aidan Finn Configuring Quorum on Storage Spaces For A 2 Node WS2012 (and WS2012 R2) Cluster by Aidan Finn Adventures In RDMA – The RoCE Path Over DCB To Windows Server 2012 R2 SMB 3.0 Glory by Didier van Hoye Putting The Scale Into The Scale-Out File Server by Aidan Finn

What’s New in DFS Replication in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Feature/functionality New or updated? Description
Windows PowerShell module for DFS Replication New Provides Windows PowerShell cmdlets for performing the majority of administration tasks for DFS Replication, as well as new functionality.
DFS Replication Windows Management Infrastructure provider New Provides the latest Windows Management Infrastructure (WMI)-based methods to manage DFS Replication.
Database cloning for initial sync New Provides support for bypassing initial replication when creating new replicated folders, replacing servers, or recovering from a disaster.
Database corruption recovery New Provides support for rebuilding corrupt databases without unexpected data loss caused by non-authoritative initial sync.
Cross-file RDC disable New Provides the option to disable cross-file remote differential compression (RDC) between servers.
File staging tuning New Provides the option to configure variable file staging sizes on individual servers.
Preserved file restoration New Provides the capability to restore files from the ConflictAndDeleted and PreExisting folders.
Unexpected shutdown database recovery improvements Updated Enables automatic recovery after a loss of power or an unexpected stopping of the DFS Replication service.
Membership disabling improvements Updated Stops DFS Replication private folder cleanup when disabling a server’s membership in a replicated folder.

What’s New in File Server Resource Manager in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Feature/Functionality New or Improved Description
Clear classification property values that no longer apply to an updated file New Provides the ability to clear property values that no longer apply to an updated file during reevaluation of existing classification property values.
Set maximum values for storage reports New Enables you to configure the maximum number of files per storage report, and to configure maximum values in the default parameters for specific storage reports.

Related Blogposts to this topic: Disable the Integrity Bit of VHDs Copied to an ReFS Volume Using PowerShell by Aidan Finn

New and changed functionality in File and Storage Services?

Feature/functionality New or updated? Description
Work Folders New Provides a consistent way for users to access their work files from their personal computers and devices. See Work Folders Overview for more information.
Server Message Block Updated Enhancements include automatic rebalancing of Scale-Out File Server clients, improved performance of SMB Direct, and improved SMB event messages. See What’s New for SMB in Windows Server 2012 R2 for more information.
DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication Updated Enhancements include database cloning for large performance gains during initial sync, a Windows PowerShell module for DFS Replication, a new DFS Replication WMI provider, faster replication on high bandwidth connections, conflict and preexisting data recovery, and support for rebuilding corrupt databases without unexpected data loss. See What’s New in DFS Replication in Windows Server 2012 R2 for more information.
iSCSI Target Server Updated Updates include virtual disk enhancements, manageability enhancements in a hosted or private cloud, and improved optimization to allow disk-level caching. See What’s New for iSCSI Target Server in Windows Server 2012 R2for more information.


Feature/functionality New or updated? Description
Data Deduplication New Saves disk space by storing a single copy of identical data on the volume.
iSCSI Target Server New Provides block storage to other servers and applications on the network by using the Internet SCSI (iSCSI) standard.
Storage Spaces and storage pools New Enables you to virtualize storage by grouping industry-standard disks into storage pools and then creating storage spaces from the available capacity in the storage pools.
Unified remote management of File and Storage Services in Server Manager New Enables you to remotely manage multiple file servers, including their role services and storage, from a single window.
Windows PowerShell cmdlets for File and Storage Services New Provides Windows PowerShell cmdlets to perform the majority of administration tasks for file and storage servers.

Dell PowerEdge-C C8000 – A Hyper-V and SMB 3.0 Concept Part #1|The Hardwareplatform

I’m currently thinking about some Hyper-V and SMB 3.0 concepts that include the Dell PowerEdge-C C8000 dense chassis.

But before start with the concept series I want to show you some videos and guides about the C8000. I think the will help to you to find the right concept for your environment.

Dell Product landing page:

System Manuals:

Dell PowerEdge-C C8000 in a HPC-Environment:

Overview Videos:

Chassis discription:

Computing SLED discription:

Storage SLED discription:

Power SLED discription: