Companies today spend a large and growing percentage of their IT budget on storage infrastructure. As the size of data increases at an exponential rate, so does the need for highly available, highly reliable, scalable, and cost-effective storage solutions. Windows Server 2012 offers broad choices for you to deploy storage solutions, whether you choose to use industry standard hardware to achieve the highest levels of availability and reliability, or storage arrays for maximum performance.
Deliver Highly Available Services on Industry Standard Hardware
Windows Server 2012 offers a range of improvements specifically geared toward commodity hardware so that you can realize benefits similar to those that you enjoy with a storage array network. With Storage Spaces, Windows Server 2012 takes virtualization to the storage layer. You can now pool different storage devices, including solid-state drives and hard disk drives, and expose them to your workloads as if they were a single entity, providing benefits like mirroring, thin and trim provisioning, scalability, and others.
Server message block (SMB) file shares that have traditionally been used to store documents can now store live SQL databases and Hyper-V workloads. When combined with clustered share volumes, they can deliver performance and reliability comparable with that of high-end solutions. With SMB Direct, you can offload data transfers to network adapters and enable better performance from your host machine. SMB Multichannel provides you the ability to use multiple paths to transfer data between machines, thereby increasing fault tolerance.
Experience Higher Reliability and Cost Savings
Windows Server 2012 introduces a new file system called Resilient File System (ReFS). ReFS was designed with the assumption that the underlying storage subsystem can be unreliable, but when used in conjunction with Storage Spaces, ReFS provides the highest level of scalability, reliability and availability. The NTFS file system has also improved significantly and includes features like online corruption scanning, improved self-healing, and reduced repair times. All these improvements have reduced the need to run ChkDsk, and when it is necessary ChkDsk now runs in a matter of seconds, making sure that the system is available with virtually no downtime.
Additionally, Windows Server 2012 now includes Data Deduplication capabilities. With Data Deduplication you can significantly optimize your capacity by storing more in less physical space. Data Deduplication used in tandem with improvements in BranchCache can lead to faster download times in branch offices.
Enable a Heterogeneous Environment
We understand that most of our customers have a heterogeneous environment in terms of both the software they run and the storage infrastructure they use. Windows Server 2012 helps you to make the most out of the choices you have made. Offloaded Data Transfers (ODX) helps you to accomplish more with your existing external storage arrays by enabling faster transfer of large files and virtual machines directly between storage arrays, and reducing host CPU and network resource consumption. With Fibre Channel in Windows Server 2012, you can virtualize workloads that use direct access to Fibre Channel storage, cluster guest operating systems over Fibre Channel, and offer an important new storage option for servers hosted in your virtualization infrastructure.
Windows Server 2012 includes an updated server for network file system (NFS) that supports NFS version 4.1 for deploying VMware ESX/ESi virtual machines, and can leverage many other performance, reliability, and availability enhancements available throughout the Windows storage stack.
Simplify Infrastructure Management
In the management layer, Windows Server 2012 brings together a powerful and easy-to-use set of comprehensive management tools and capabilities that give you the ability to manage storage for multiple servers, or even entire IT infrastructures, from a single management interface or to automate storage management tasks with powerful new Windows PowerShell cmdlets. Windows Server 2012 management capabilities extend beyond Windows servers by leveraging industry-standard Storage Management Initiative Specification compatibility along with a new storage management provider that can put all storage management at your fingertips and bring you to new levels of management ease and efficiency.