Home > New Tech > Storage Spaces – Big Storage Options for the SMB

Storage Spaces – Big Storage Options for the SMB

Samurai SeriesIf it wasn’t obvious enough, I love learning about new tech, and when I  get really excited when I find a new feature in an operating system that benefits the SMB. Storage Spaces delights me! (Yes, I know I need to get out more). At the most basic level, Storage Spaces in Server 2012 allows us to connect drives to a server and provision storage on the fly. And why would this be exciting, you may ask? Think about your file server and what happens when you run low on disk space. Typically you would add another drive, but this would require shutting down the system, installing the drive, provisioning the drive, and in some cases it may also require reconfiguring your applications to take advantage of the additional storage. Now what if you were able to simply add a drive to your server, and with a few clicks of the mouse, add the storage and help protect your data? For the small SMB, this may be all that is needed to quickly provision more storage, but what if you were larger and were thinking a SAN was needed to provide resiliency as well as the storage? For most SMBs a SAN is out of budget, and this is where Storage Spaces comes in. Using Windows Server 2012, your operating system can provide SAN-like capability using commodity hard drives. Using trays of JBODs (just a bunch of disks) at a fraction of the cost of a SAN, we can easily add and provision storage as needed. Plus, we can take advantage of the built-in resiliency options, ensuring your data is protected.

To create a storage space, add block-based storage, then group the disks (SSDs or spindles) into storage pools. From there, virtualize the space into volumes and assign it as necessary. For example, let’s say we have 4 500 GB drives, we could create a storage pool using disks 1 and 2, creating a pool that was 1 TB in size. Then carve this TB up into various size virtual disks, apply a storage layout (Simple, Mirror, or Parity), choose our provision type (fixed or thin) and finally, create a volume. (It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s only 8 clicks or so.) If more storage is needed, simply add another disk and assign the space to either an existing storage pool, or create a new one.

This is just the tip of the Storage Spaces iceberg, using block based storage you can build cluster shared volumes, further providing SAN-like features at an SMB price point. If you would like to see a demo of Storage Spaces or would like to learn more, I’ll be doing a webinar on May 6 at 2 pm EST. Click here for details.

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