Cost and License considerations between Always On Availability Groups and Always On Basic Availability Groups
Posted by Shashank Singh on October 17, 2017

Windows Server edition considerations

With Windows Server 2012 and above, Standard Edition now has full support for clustering, not just simple 2-node active/passive clusters, but fully configured clustering support.  Before Windows Server 2012, only Windows Server Enterprise Edition could support Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). Starting from Windows Server 2012, clustering got a huge licensing cost reduction.

The cost of Windows Server 2012 Standard is almost the same as that of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, but Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition has almost 26% price increase. There is no difference throughout feature support between Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter edition; the major difference is that Standard only supports hosting of 2 virtual machines (by default), while in Datacenter this is unlimited. You can host more than 2 VMs on Standard, but that will imply an extra cost.



Hyper-V backup challenges Windows Server 2016 needs to address
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 12, 2016


Personally I have been very successful at providing good backup designs for Hyper-V in both small to larger environments using budgets that range in between “make due” to “well-funded”.  How does one achieve this? Two factors. The first factor is knowing the strengths and limitations of the various Hyper-V versions when you design the backup solution. Bar the ever better scalability, performance and capabilities with each new version of Hyper-V, the improvements in back up from 2012 to 2012 R2 for example were a prime motivator to upgrade. The second factor of success is due to the fact that I demand a mandate and control over the infrastructure stack to do so. In many case you are not that lucky and can’t change much in already existing environments. Sometimes not even in new environments when the gear, solutions have already been chosen, purchased and the design is deployed before you get involved.

Windows Server 2008 (R2) - 2012 Hyper-V Backup

Microsoft’s Server Management Tools Now Supports Windows Server 2012
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on August 3, 2016

New Server Management Tools (SMT) suite now on supports Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, as it has been recently announced by Microsoft.

SMT includes a collection of well-known tools, such as Task Manager, Registry Editor, Event Viewer, Device Manager and Control Panel. Windows Update has been also added to that list few months ago. The difference is that now these tools actually are services housed in Microsoft’s Azure datacenters. Organizations must set up an on-premises gateway (which is called “server management gateway” by Microsoft) in order to use them.

“All SMT tools, except Windows Update and Device Manager, will now work with Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2012,”- Microsoft.



SMB3: Overview
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on May 10, 2016

This is an overview of the Server Message Block (SMB3) protocol from Microsoft. It offers a short insight into the history of SMB3 creation and development over the years (as the idea is technically around 30 years old). As of Windows Server 2012, the protocol got new features: SMB Transparent Failover, SMB Scale Out, SMB Multichannel, SMB Direct, SMB Encryption, VSS for SMB file shares, SMB Directory Leasing, SMB PowerShell. In Windows Server 2016, it also got Pre-authentication integrity and Cluster dialect fencing. The post concentrates on RDMA-capable SMB Direct and MPIO-utilizing SMB Multichannel and their benefits. Also, it is an introduction to a series of tests aimed at creating SMB 3.0 File Servers in an unusual way.



ReFS: Overview
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on April 9, 2016

This is a short overview of Microsoft Resilient File System, or ReFS. It introduces the subject and gives a short insight into its main characteristics and theoretical use. It is a part of a series of posts dedicated to ReFS and is, basically, an introduction to the practical posts. All the experiments that show how ReFS really performs, are also listed in the blog. ReFS seems to be a great replacement for the NTFS and its resilience is most convenient for cases, when data loss is critically unacceptable. The file system cooperates with Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct in order to perform automatic corruption repairs, without any attention of the user.



Automate the Hyper-V Virtual Machine deployment with PowerShell
Posted by Romain Serre on February 17, 2016

For large Hyper-V infrastructure, IT people use often Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) to automate tasks as VM deployment. VMM provides profiles (hardware, operating system and application) and then we use these profiles to build a VM Template. Most of the time, a VM Template contains a VM hardware configuration and the OS configuration (join the domain, product key and so on). Then VMs are deployed from templates which decrease the time to deploy a working VM.

The convenient about VMM is its price. VMM is expensive and it is often medium/large business which implement VMM. So for other companies which can’t buy VMM, are they forced to do without VM deployment automation? Of course no. Other tools can help us to make automation without VMM and it is called PowerShell.

Since Windows Server 2012, a lot of Hyper-V PowerShell commands (in Hyper-V module) have been added. Now easily we can create, configure and manage VM from PowerShell.

PowerShell command (more…)

Storage Spaces Direct: Overview
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on November 20, 2015

This is a short summary on Storage Spaces Direct – the first true software-defined storage from Microsoft, its history and peculiarities. Software-defined storage is a concept, which involves storing data without dedicated hardware. This is an introduction to a series of posts dedicated to theoretical and practical research of S2D. The post is not a full description of the Storage Spaces Direct technology, more info is available on Microsoft resources. Our focus here is the actual problem that S2D solved for virtualization world, being truly independent from underlying hardware, as SDS should. Its predecessor, Clustered Storage Spaces, had a very serious hardware lock-in with its requirements for SAS fabrics, SAS switches and SAS JBODS. Thus, Storage Spaces Direct is an interesting technology to research.