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Don’t Fear but Respect Redirected IO with Shared VHDX
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on August 25, 2016
5/5 (2)

Introduction

When we got Shared VHDX in Windows Server 2012 R2 we were quite pleased as it opened up the road to guest clustering (Failover clustering in virtual machines) without needing to break through the virtualization layer with iSCSI or virtual Fibre Channel (vFC).

First of all, you need to be aware of the limits of using a shared VHDX in Windows Server 2012 R2.

  1. You cannot perform storage live migration
  2. You cannot resize the VHDX online
  3. You cannot do host based backups (i.e. you need to do in guest backups)
  4. No support for checkpoints
  5. No support for Hyper-V Replica

If you cannot live with these, that’s a good indicator this is not for you. But if you can, you should also take care of the potential redirected IO impact that can and will occur. This doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, but you need to know about it, design and build for it and test it realistically for your real life workloads.

active guest cluster node is running on the Hyper-V host

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vSphere Auto Deploy
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 22, 2016
5/5 (1)

The Auto Deploy is one of the underestimated vSphere features. I have seen many vSphere Designs where using Auto Deploy was outlined as overcomplicating and manual build of ESXi servers was preferred. That is pretty frustrating as we, as IT professionals, strive to automate as much as possible in our day to day work.

Configuring Auto Deploy is definitely not as simple as VSAN for instance, but using Auto Deploy really pays off when you manage hundreds and thousands of ESXi hosts.

ESXi Offline Bundle

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Musings on Windows Server Converged Networking & Storage
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on August 19, 2016
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Why you should learn about SMB Direct, RDMA & lossless Ethernet for both networking & storage solutions

fully converged Hyper-V Qos Courtesy of Microsoft
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Is NVMe Really Revolutionary?
Posted by Jon Toigo on August 19, 2016
4/5 (1)

To hear advocates talk about NVMe – a de facto standard created by a group of vendors led by Intel to connect flash memory storage directly to a PCIe bus (that is, without using a SAS/SATA disk controller) – it is the most revolutionary thing that has ever happened in business computing.  While the technology provides a more efficient means to access flash memory, without passing I/O through the buffers, queues and locks associated with a SAS/SATA controller, it can be seen as the latest of a long line of bus extension technologies – and perhaps one that is currently in search of a problem to solve.

I am not against faster I/O processing, of course.  It would be great if the world finally acknowledged that storage has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Von Neumann machine.  Bus speeds and CPU processing speeds have always been capable of driving I/O faster than mechanical storage devices could handle.  That is why engineers used lots of memory – as caches ahead of disk storage or as buffers on disk electronics directly – to help mask or spoof the mismatch of speed.

latency comparison

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How to Deploy and Manage Storage Spaces Direct Cluster using SCVMM 2016?
Posted by Charbel Nemnom on August 18, 2016
4/5 (1)

Hyper-converged stack

Windows Server 2016 – Storage Spaces Direct Hyper-converged [image credit: Microsoft]

Introduction

With the release of Windows Server 2016, Microsoft is introducing Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), which enables building highly available Software-Defined Storage systems with local attached storage. This storage can be leveraged by VMs running on the same cluster (in hyper-converged mode) or the storage can be presented as a File Share (in disaggregated mode). The hyper-converged deployment scenario has the Hyper-V (compute) and Storage Spaces Direct (storage) components on the same cluster. Virtual machine’s files are stored on local CSVs. Once Storage Spaces Direct is configured and the CSV volumes are available, configuring and provisioning Hyper-V is the same process and uses the same tools that you would use with any other Hyper-V deployment on a failover cluster.

For more details on Storage Spaces Direct and Hyper-Converged solution can be found in the whitepaper that I wrote with my fellow MVP Romain Serre, which can be downloaded from TechNet gallery here.

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Why moving from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2016 for Hyper-V
Posted by Romain Serre on August 16, 2016
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Windows Server 2016 will be released the next month said Microsoft the last month. Windows Server 2016 brings a lot of new features compared to the last Windows Server version for Hyper-V, networking and storage. In this topic I will try to convince you to move from prior Windows Server edition to Windows Server 2016 with eight reasons.

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Seagate introduces 60TB SSD drive
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on August 16, 2016
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Seagate shows off two new SSD products: an 8TB NVMe drive and a spacious 60TB SSD prototype in a 3.5-inch form factor.

This 60TB consists of more than a 1,000 Micron 3D NAND dice fitted into a full-size, 3.5-inch disk form factor package. Apparently, it has dual port 12Gbit/s SAS interface and 150,000 random read IOPS, with undisclosed write IOPS. The sequential read/write numbers should be 1.5 and 1.0GB/sec.

Nytro XP7200

       Nytro XP7200  with heat sink on top

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Ubuntu: Manage your SQL Server from Linux
Posted by Florent Appointaire on August 15, 2016
5/5 (2)

ubuntu

We will see how to install and use tools to manage your SQL Servers. We will use the version 13, who is compatible with Ubuntu. You can use these drivers from SQL Server 2008 to 2016, and it’s compatible with Azure SQL Database too.

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Choosing ideal mini server for a home lab
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 11, 2016
5/5 (4)

Yesterday I saw a blog post in Homelab subreddit discussing what Intel NUC to choose. I have spent quite some time recently to choose the right server for my homelab expansion and I have considered a lot of options.

I was also looking at Intel  NUC as many other fellow IT professionals, but luckily last month I read on Tinkertry.com that Supermicro had just released new Mini-1U SuperServers – SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D.  I had some discussions with my colleagues and other people on Reddit and TinkerTry and I came to the conclusion that if you are aimed to run home lab for virtualization Intel NUC shouldn’t be considered. I believe SuperMicro is a new king on the market of mini servers for home lab.

SYS-E200-8D
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Shared virtual hard disks in Hyper-V 2016
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on August 9, 2016
4.67/5 (3)

Datacenter

A new feature called VHD Set for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 has been introduced by Microsoft. It allows sharing virtual hard disks between several servers in order to implement guest cluster easily without using complex technologies such as NPIV, virtual HBA, or virtual SAN.

As VHD Set, Shared VHDX enables sharing a virtual hard disk between multiple virtual machines. This feature is useful for implementing a guest cluster where shared disks are required (e.g., SQL Server AlwaysOn/FCI or File Servers).

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