SMB Direct in a Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine Experiment
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on October 12, 2017


Ever since Windows Server 2012 we have SMB Direct capabilities in the OS and Windows Server 2012 R2 added more use cases such as live migration for example. In Windows Server 2016, even more, workloads leverage SMB Direct, such as S2D and Storage Replication. SMB Direct leverages the RDMA capabilities of a NIC which delivers high throughput at low latency combined with CPU offloading to the NIC. The latter save CPU cycles for the other workloads on the hosts such as virtual machines.

Traditionally, in order for SMB Direct to work, the SMB stack needs direct access to the RDMA NICs. This means that right up to Windows Server 2012 R2 we had SMB Direct on running on physical NICs on the host or the parent partition/management OS. You could not have RDMA exposed on a vNIC or even on a host native NIC team (LBFO). SMB Direct was also not compatible with SR-IOV. That was and still is, for that OS version common knowledge and a design consideration. With Windows Server 2016, things changed. You can now have RDMA exposed on a vSwitch and on management OS vNICs. Even better, the new Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) allows for RDMA to be exposed in the same way on top of a vSwitch. SET is an important technology in this as RDMA is still not exposed on a native Windows team (LBFO).

Mellanox InfiniBand Router


Storage HA on the Cheap: Fixing Synology DiskStation flaky Performance with StarWind Free. Part 3 (Failover Duration)
Posted by Vladislav Karaiev on February 17, 2017

We are continuing our set of articles dedicated to Synology’s DS916+ mid-range NAS units. Remember we don’t dispute the fact that Synology is capable of delivering a great set of NAS features. Instead of this, we are conducting a number of tests on a pair of DS916+ units to define if they can be utilized as a general-use primary production storage. In Part 1 we have tested the performance of DS916+ in different configurations and determined how to significantly increase the performance of a “dual” DS916+ setup by replacing the native Synology DSM HA Cluster with StarWind Virtual SAN Free.

Synology DS916 and StarWind


Active Directory needs a revision
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on October 11, 2016


What works for 100 users very often doesn’t work for 10,000, and vice versa. Few vendors worry about making software created for the enterprise meet the needs of the SMB. Those who try to fit both worlds, rarely succeed.