Notes on IT (mainly Microsoft)

Early reflections on Windows Server 2012 (Was: “Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012”)

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I have always felt a little disappointed by the “SANs” that I have encountered, possibly because I have never gotten to use a top of the range product but also because those that I have encountered seem unable to avoid accumulating data from standard applications like file and print. It often seems that once you have spent a big chunk of money on a centralised storage system it becomes inevitable that all storage moves there due to the reluctance to buy any more direct attached storage and “ease of management” and “integration with backup”. However JBODs just keep falling in price; my experience (just mine no general reflection intended here) with Exchange had the following storage profile:

Exchange 5 /Exchange 2000 – DAS array

Exchange 2003 combined roles – SAN based : split database and logs, performance hampered by not being able to afford enough spindles, surprisingly unlucky with 1018 corruptions

Exchange 2007 clustered mailbox roles – DAS array : storage group best practice for LUN allocation etc, just worked but ESE improvements (single bit error correction) make comparison with my Exchange 2003 on SAN experience difficult. Mailboxes became very large due to business needs this started hurting performance.

Exchange 2010 combined roles – DAS : DAG, the application handles the replication/availability. Excellent support for large mailboxes.

The reason for writing about this, which has nothing to do with Exchange, is that watching recent TechEd presentations on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 I saw some of the demos on Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) and I guess this is the sort of heavy-lifting handoff that I always hoped for when having paid for a storage array. For the detail see:

Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) with Intelligent Storage Arrays

I wanted to give this feature a dedicated post as, in a way, for me it is singular in that it relates to a “high end” hardware capability whereas, as I learn more about Windows Server 2012 the truly remarkable thing to me is amount of IT infrastructure capability it delivers as standard, in the areas of storage and filesystem alone any vendor delivering just those components as present in Windows Server 2012 would be a major player. Microsoft server releases since Windows 2000 have felt to me like continuous evolution; Windows Server 2012 feels like punctuated evolution, a step change brought about it seems from Microsoft’s learning from the demands of running infrastructure at large scale with virtualization as an integrated part of that. As Novell and a need for scalability were a spur that drove innovation in Windows Server 2000, so VMware in the enterprise and Amazon AWS in the cloud, and again the need for scalability, seem to be a spur to Windows Server 2012.

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Written by adamsync

July 12, 2012 at 23:00

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