Managing Storage Pools, Spaces on Win Server 2012

Follow the training course on how to manage and configure windows server 2012 storage pools and spaces which will further help in facing IT interviews and for system admins to configure live file servers.

Storage pools and storage spaces is another way we can provide fault tolerance and redundancy in windows server 2012, free training on windows server 2012 high availability.

Fault tolerance and redundancy are 2 two main things to look at an event of failure. Storage pools and spaces are important in the event the hard disk fails. Many companies do hesitate to buy or creating good hardware RAIDs, Iscsi or NAS, the storage pools and storage spaces work as a workaround for all these.

What are storage spaces?

Ability to combine disks to create a fault tolerant storage environment, take multiple physical disks and pool them into fault tolerant storage environment. By doing this the service are up and running in the event of a disk failure

Use of storage spaces:

  • Two way mirroring: requires at least two physical drives
  • Three way mirroring: requires at least 5 physical drives
  • Parity: requires at least 3 physical drives
  • Thin provisioning: allocate storage space on a just in time basis
  • Thick provisioning: pre-allocate storage space at time of creation
  • Trim storage: reclaim storage that is no longer needed

Benefits of storage pools and spaces:

  • Utilize simple inexpensive storage with or without external storage
  • Add storage as needed from pool’s you have already created
  • Grow storage pools on demand
  • Can use different types of storage on the same pool: SATA, SAS, USB, SCSI
  • Use existing tools for backup/restore as well as VSS for snapshots
  • Designate specific drivers as hot spares
  • Automatic repair for pools containing hot spare with sufficient storage capacity to cover what was lost.

Limitations of storage pools and spaces:

  • Not supported on boot, system, or CSV volumes
  • Drivers must be 10GB or larger
  • When you add a drive into a storage pool, the content of the drive being added will be lost.
  • Add only un-formatted/un-partitioned drivers
  • Fiber channel and iSCSI are not supported
  • Virtual disks to be used with a fail-over cluster that a part of a storage pool must use the NTFS file.system.
  • ReFS or third party files systems may be used for other purpose

Creating and configuring:

Open the File server, take disks of various sizes and create one large storage pool to use as multi capacity drivers

Under files and storage’s services you will find servers, volumes, disks, storage pools

Under storage pools we have one default pool that is called a primordial pool, the primordial pool is the default pool that gets created during installation and configuration on windows server 2012, its where all the available disks are going to be, this is not the pool where we are going to store any data, this just there to show us the available drivers

Any volume you have already created is not going to show us under physical disks, because its not available for us to use.

When we are going to create a storage pool we need to have an unformatted disk, basically a plain disk with no volumes,

Creating a storage pool:

The first step we need to do is actually create a storage pool, we can do this in 4 separate ways we can add storage pool in the console:

  • 1st way to create is right click on the primordial pool and create new storage pool,
  • 2nd way is to highlight the primordial pool and click on the tasks and you will have an option to create new storage pool
  • 3rd way is down under the physical disk select a disk and right click and select a new storage pool
  • 4th way is under the physical disks; you will find tasks, select a disk and under tasks select create a new storage pool

When you click on new storage pool using any of the 4 ways, name the storage pool, give a description and select a server on which the storage pool should be created, in the next windows we need to select the disks which should form the huge storage pool, select the disks you want to make a part of the created pool, under allocation you can select automatic, the other option you have is to select the hot spare.

If any of the disks fail the hot spare is going to become active and acts in the place of the failed disk.

How to create a virtual disk:

We create virtual disks to make volume, this the place where volumes reside, this will help us with fault tolerance and resilience, click on the created pool and select the create virtual disk

The virtual disk wizard starts, click next and select the storage pool where the virtual resides. In the next screen we need to give a name to the virtual disk and a short description and in the next screen you need to configure the storage layout: Simple, mirror and parity.

The other 2 things you need to configure are resiliency settings and provisioning.

Creating volume:

Right click on the vdisk and create a new volume—the wizard beings with the first screen asking to select the server and disk, in the next screen specify the size of volume, in the next screen assign driver letter or folder, which was referred to as mount points previously.

Then you need to configure the file system which are NTFS and ReFS, leave the unit size to default and assign the volume label

How to add new storage disks?

Right click on the pool and select “add physical disk”