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Posted by Didier Van Hoye on April 17, 2018
SMB Direct – The State of RDMA for use with SMB 3 traffic (Part II)

The Flavors of RDMA & what role DCB plays.

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Posted by Boris Yurchenko on January 11, 2018
Cluster Rolling Upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016

During its lifetime, any system reaches a point when it needs to be upgraded, either in terms of hardware or software. Today, I will talk about such changes, in particular, about upgrading Windows Failover Cluster nodes from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 with no production interruption. Thanks to Microsoft, we do have a Cluster Rolling Upgrade procedure at our fingertips, and I am going to get through it and confirm it works for virtualized disks as cluster shared volumes in Windows Failover Cluster. This procedure assumes rebuilding nodes with clean OS deployment one by one, while the production keeps running from the other cluster node.

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Posted by Mikhail Rodionov on May 30, 2017
Windows Server 2016: NIC Teaming functionality

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.

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Posted by Taras Shved on March 24, 2017
Benchmarking Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO M.2

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.

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

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

Introduction

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

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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Posted by Didier Van Hoye on August 19, 2016
Musings on Windows Server Converged Networking & Storage

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 Server 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 the 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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Posted by Romain Serre on August 16, 2016
Why moving from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2016 for Hyper-V

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

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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