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Windows Server 2016: NIC Teaming functionality
Posted by Mikhail Rodionov on May 30, 2017
5/5 (1)

NIC teaming is not something we got with Windows Server 2016 but I just find it interesting to review this functionality as we have it in the current iteration of Windows Server, as usual, touching a bit on basics and history of this feature.

NIC teaming feature reached its maturity in Server 2012 R2 and there are (almost) no major changes in this department in Server 2016, yet if you just starting out with a practical use of NIC teaming on prepping for any related Microsoft exam you may find it useful to review this feature thoroughly.

Windows Server NIC Teaming key facts

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Benchmarking Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO M.2
Posted by Taras Shved on March 24, 2017
5/5 (1)

Everyone knows that, currently, the SSDs are one of the best storage devices that allow you to upgrade your architecture and significantly accelerate the performance of the computer. SSD accelerates the loading speed of your PC, applications opening and files searching speed, and generally increases the performance of your system. Despite the fact that solid-state drives are more expensive than standard hard drives, the performance improvement can hardly be overlooked.

The modern market is represented by a variety of storage devices that differ depending on the volume, interface, memory type, and vendor. The SATA SSDs are replaced by PCIe NVMe SSDs that deliver an increase in performance by connecting directly to the PCIe bus. A few months ago, Samsung announced the release of SSD 960 PRO and SSD 960 EVO NVMe,  which will be discussed in this post. As well as 950 Pro, which was released last year,  Samsung 960 Pro and 960 EVO are PCIe 3.0 x4 drives that utilize the latest version of the NVMe protocol for data transfer, designed to reduce delays, and utilize flash memory with maximum efficiency. Therefore, Samsung 960 EVO delivers performance close to 960 PRO, but at a much more affordable price.

Samsung SSD 960 EVO

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Deploy VM Fleet to benchmark your storage system
Posted by Romain Serre on October 25, 2016
5/5 (5)

VM Fleet is a collection of scripts that enables to deploy virtual machines which perform I/O to stress the underlying storage system. To achieve I/O, the VMs leverages DiskSpd which is a Microsoft tool.

When you implement an infrastructure based on Hyper-V, you usually want to get the maximum IOPS and MB/s that your storage can deliver. This tool helps you to get this information by stressing your storage. In this topic, we will see how to deploy a VM Fleet to benchmark the storage system.

windows server administrator

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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 (3)

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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Musings on Windows Server Converged Networking & Storage
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on August 19, 2016
5/5 (2)

Why you should learn about SMB Direct, RDMA & lossless Ethernet for both networking & storage solutions

fully converged Hyper-V Qos Courtesy of Microsoft

Server, Hypervisor, Storage

Too many people still perceive Windows Sever as “just” an operating system (OS). It’s so much more. It’s an OS, a hypervisor, a storage platform with a highly capable networking stack. Both virtualization and cloud computing are driving convergence of all the above these roles forward fast, with intent and purpose. We’ll position the technologies & designs that convergence requires and look at the implications of these for a better overall understanding of this trend.
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Why moving from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2016 for Hyper-V
Posted by Romain Serre on August 16, 2016
5/5 (7)

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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Microsoft’s Server Management Tools Now Supports Windows Server 2012
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on August 3, 2016
3/5 (1)

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.

Tools

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Manage storage QoS Policies from VMM 2016
Posted by Romain Serre on June 17, 2016
5/5 (1)

The QoS policy was a feature included in Windows Server 2012 R2 that enabled to set a minimum and a maximum IOPS on a VHD(X). These policies were not centralized and you had to set the QoS policy on each VHD(X) independently.

In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft has improved this feature because the policy can now be stored in the cluster database. You can create a policy based on a minimum / maximum IOPS and/or a bandwidth. This policy can be applied to a VHD(X) (Dedicated Policy Type) or to a set of VHD(X) (Aggregated policy Type).

QoS policies
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ReFS: Log-Structured
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on April 12, 2016
4.83/5 (6)

Here is a part of a series about Microsoft Resilient File System, first introduced in Windows Server 2012. It shows an experiment, conducted by StarWind engineers, dedicated to seeing the ReFS in action. This part is mostly about the FileIntegrity feature in the file system, its theoretical application and practical performance under real virtualization workload. The feature is responsible for data protection in ReFS, basically the reason for “resilient” in its name. It’s goal is avoidance of the common errors that typically lead to data loss. Theoretically, ReFS can detect and correct any data corruption without disturbing the user or disrupting production process.

Device manager

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Hyper-V: Free “Shared Nothing” SMB3 Failover File Server
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on January 22, 2016
5/5 (3)

A part of a series, the research is dedicated to the capability of free Microsoft Hyper-V Server R2 to assume a file server role and cluster the resulting file server. Our last experiment on this matter showed that it’s possible to create SMB3 File Server on the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server R2 and now we’re about to go further and cluster it. The post shows a detailed instruction on the process and also the resulting setup. It appears to be fully working and usable, so the process may be called a success after all. Though it is absolutely real to do so, it is a violation of Microsoft’s license agreement, so StarWind urges everyone to refrain from repeating the experiment.

2 servers with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 added into domain and the client node with Windows Server 2012 R2

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