At last count, independent Windows Server expert and Microsoft MVP Anil Desai noted more than 50 new Windows Server 2012 storage capabilities. In this podcast, he gives an overview of built-in storage automation, reliability, performance and availability improvements designed to deliver data center operational efficiencies
What new storage capabilities are built into Windows Server 2012?
Anil Desai: What Microsoft is doing is bringing traditionally high-end storage features that are related to availability, performance and reliability and adding those features into the Windows Server 2012 platform core products so organizations don't need extensive third-party utilities and drivers to get those kinds of features.
Can you drill down into Windows Server 2012 storage features in relation to how they stand to improve data center operations?
Desai: The overall data center challenge that Microsoft is trying to address -- and they are pitching [Windows Server 2012] as a cloud-based OS -- [is that] a lot of things that we call a private cloud [and] public cloud -- regardless of what they're called -- [are] another evolutionary step in what we would do with virtualization anyway. Once we've used virtualization to improve the portability of virtual machines (VMs), it makes logical sense to automate the infrastructures then as well. So rather than just having the ability to move a virtual machine quickly and automatically between host servers, I also want the ability to be able to reconfigure storage and the related networking settings and I want all that to move with the VMs. It's a layer of automation.
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To enable all that, certain types of storage capabilities [are needed]. Historically, people would invest in SANs, especially in larger environments, they have investments in ISCSI, Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel over Ethernet-type architectures in order to get features [such as] multipathing, the ability to do quick automatic failovers, quick copying between storage arrays and replication between sites.
In Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has added a lot of these features to ship in the box. An example of that is built-in network interface teaming that's part of the core operating system, so you no longer require third-party drivers in order to do that. There is also a continuously available file server role. This provides support for enterprise features [such as] remote direct memory access fast transfers between systems and servers. You also have the ability to support failover clustering, highly available file servers and automatic failover. There is multipassing to make sure you don't have single points of failure, because it makes sure you can have multiple network adapters that are connected to multiple switches going to multiple storage arrays, and you have all of those features available as part of the Windows Server product.
Listen to the rest of the podcast to hear how Windows Server 2012 will help CIOs gain data center efficiencies and reduce data center operational costs, and how Microsoft has designed Windows Server 2012 to support a cloud-based environment.
About the expert: Anil is the author of more than 20 technical books focusing on the Windows Server platform, virtualization, databases and IT management best practices. He is also a frequent contributor to IT publications and conferences. For more information, please visit AnilDesai.net or email him at Anil@AnilDesai.net.
This was first published in October 2012