Disk Pooling Announced for Windows Server 8

by Paul Carvajal on September 14, 2011 · 7 comments

in News

Microsoft has been conducting their developer conference for Windows 8 this week, they also have been making announcements regarding their next version of Windows Server 8.  One item many people have been disappointed in Windows Home Server 2011 was the removal of disk pooling.  Well, all is not lost for those who can be patient.

Virtualization Review has reported that Microsoft has announced disk pooling is back and will be incorporated in Windows Server 8, called Storage Spaces.

While the details are sketchy, here is the paragraph below from the article reporting this:

A new Windows Server 8 capability highlighted on Wednesday is “storage spaces,” which will let users  take  just-a-bunch-of-disks (JBOD) collections and carve out a space or pool that  shows up as drive using the new Server Manager. Users can use this feature to  simply attach JBODs to Windows Server 8, explained Brian Surace, a senior  program manager on the Windows team. No external storage array was used to  create the pool. The improved Server Message Block 2.1 (SMB 2.1) protocol was  used to help make this pooled storage available, he said.

You can read the entire article here.

PC World also reported the same, however, they have reported it with slightly different specifications:

In a new feature called Storage Spaces, administrators can manage multiple drives connected by SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) without the need for additional storage management software. Microsoft program manager Bryon Surace showed how a machine could pool 16 separate hard drives as a single storage pool, from which multiple virtual drives can then be partitioned.

“Traditionally, it has required a specialized skillset to deploy and manage storage arrays,” Surace said. With Windows Server 8, “You can just attach a bunch of disks to Windows and have them all managed and deployed right there.”

The storage technology utilizes the Samba SMB 2.2 protocol.

The entire PC World article can be found here.

For those of you disappointed that Microsoft removed this from  WHS 2011, it seems they listened and that it will be returning.  Time will tell.

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Damian September 15, 2011 at 5:46 am

Drive pooling added back will definitely be a nice feature. I wonder if they will add back the duplication feature as well? Give me pooling, duplication, and dare I say, TV Tuner integration and W8 Server will undoubtedly be my next server upgrade.

Comp1962 September 15, 2011 at 6:12 am

I will be right behind you Damian. I did read some of the W8 Server Writeup and I was happy to see also how to increase network speed by using multiple NICs. While I do enjoy the improved speed for media streaming in WHS2011 which is mostly because of the hardware I am running and because its 64 bit its not an OS I can recommend to others. As such I still lean towards WHS v1 but if MS puts out a WHS version based on W8 with a Drive Pool, Duplication and the ability to support multiple NICs and still perform Client Backups then its a game changer for me although the 16 drives mentioned in a pool is of concern but if you can have multiple 16 drive pools and have one pool backup to another then it would not be all that bad either.

Time will tell and its still early but lets hope that MS does listen to the community of WHS end users and puts out a WHS version of W8 Server.

Paul Carvajal September 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Haven’t heard anything on duplication – yet. T
here was an announcement of “deduplication” which is where you can eliminate duplicate files stored on the server. Hopefully we’ll get more details in the next few days on what data redundancy features will there.

Noel Coward September 16, 2011 at 12:47 am

I’ve heard this described by some WHS bloggers as “drive extender reborn”, but nothing in the 3 e-zine articles I’ve read has given any detail to indicate that it performs the same function as DE. If all that it amounts to is creating a single spanned volume from multiple disks, that can already be done in Windows 2003 using using Disk Manager — the differentiator for DE was that the spanned volume was only visible as a network share (not a drive letter from the WHS itself) and the component disks were individually replaceable and recoverable in the event of a failure.

I’d love to see the return of DE in a future WHS, but I haven’t seen anything yet to make me hopeful.

Mark S March 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

manage multiple drives connected by SAS (Serial Attached SCSI)

Does this mean that to make it work I will need to use only SCSI drives and all my SATA drives are uncompatable? That would be a pain and expensive too.

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