Storage Spaces Direct with 3 VMs using Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5

In this blog post let’s looks at creating a Storage Spaces Direct Hyper Converged solution using three virtual machines. For production deployment, it is recommended to use physical servers instead of virtual machines. I will be using Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 version which was just released few days back for this blog post.

Before I move any further, I would like to highlight some of the key features introduced part of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5

– Automatic Configuration

– Storage Spaces Direct Management Using Virtual Machine Manager

– Chassis and Rack Fault Tolerance

– Deployment with 3 Servers

– Deployments with NVMe,SSD and HDD

Overview of Storage Spaces Direct

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Storage Spaces Direct enables building highly available and scalable storage systems using local storage. We can utilize storage locally attached to individual nodes such as HDD, SSD and NVMe drives for creating Storage Spaces Direct volumes.

There are two deployment scenarios with Storage Spaces Direct. Hyper-Converged scenarios and disaggregated scenario. In this post, I will be demonstrating Hyper-Converged scenario.

In this blog post let’s look at how we can create, Storage Spaces Direct with 3 Virtual Machines with mirrored resiliency. This deployment is resilient for a single node failure.

Step 01 – Create 3 Virtual Machines with 2 Networks and 3 Hard Drives (1 for OS and the other two for Storage Spaces Direct). Add all 3 Virtual Machines to a domain.

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Step 02- is for us to go and install Failover Clustering features and File Services. You can do so by using PowerShell command below.

Install-WindowsFeature –Name File-Services, Failover-Clustering –IncludeManagementTools -ComputerName $VMname

Step 03 – Before go ahead and create the cluster, let’s go ahead and validate our cluster configuration.

Test-Cluster –Node ‘ws164cls1′,’ws164cls2′,’ws164cls3’ –Include “Storage Spaces Direct”,Inventory,Network,”System Configuration”

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Validate Test comes back with a failure for Disk Configuration. This is due to Technical Preview 5 not recognizing Virtual Hard Drive storage media type. This will be fixed in the next release, but for now we need to proceed ahead and skip some of the validation for this to work within Technical Preview 5.

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Step 04 – Let’s go ahead and create a new cluster without any storage.

New-Cluster –Name ‘ws164cluster1’ –Node ‘ws164cls1′,’ws164cls2′,’ws164cls3’ –NoStorage

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Step 05 – I will configure Cloud Witness for this cluster

Set-ClusterQuorum –CloudWitness –AccountName <AccountName> -AccessKey <AccesKey>

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Step 06 – Now that we have created a cluster, next option is for us to go ahead and enable Storage Spaces Direct. Please note that we cannot use the commends we used part of Technical Preview 04 since the enable option will fail as it cannot detect required storage disks. This is due to Technical Preview 5 not recognizing Virtual Hard drives and due to this reason we need to skip eligibility checks.

Enable-ClusterS2D -CacheMode Disabled -AutoConfig:0 -SkipEligibilityChecks -Confirm

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Step 07 – Once we have enabled Storage Spaces Direct, we need to go ahead and manually create Storage Pool. If we were using Physical Server, we could use auto configuration but this will not work at the moment for Virtual Machines.

New-StoragePool -StorageSubSystemFriendlyName *Cluster* -FriendlyName S2D -ProvisioningTypeDefault Fixed -PhysicalDisk (Get-PhysicalDisk | ? CanPool -eq $true)

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Step 08 – Create Storage Tiers

$pool = Get-StoragePool S2D

New-StorageTier -StoragePoolUniqueID ($pool).UniqueID -FriendlyName Performance -MediaType HDD -ResiliencySettingName Mirror

New-StorageTier -StoragePoolUniqueID ($pool).UniqueID -FriendlyName Capacity -MediaType HDD -ResiliencySettingName Parity

Step 09 – Create a Volume

New-Volume -StoragePool $pool -FriendlyName Mirror -FileSystem CSVFS_REFS -StorageTierFriendlyNames ‘Performance’,’Capacity’ -StorageTierSizes 50GB, 200GB

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Within Cluster Manager we can now see that we have a new CSV disk available, which can be used by Hyper-V for hosting Virtual Machines.

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As mentioned before, if a single node fails, we still have access to storage

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Turnoff WS164CLS3

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CSV disk is still online and we can see that it has moved in to WS165CLS2. We can still do read/write

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However, if we have two node failures, then we will lose access to storage

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References for more information

Technet-Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview

Technet-Storage Spaces Direct Hardware Requirements

Hyper-converged solution using Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 & System Center 2016 Technical Preview 4

Microsoft released Technical Preview 4 for Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 on 19th November.
Note that the Technical Preview is not a supported production release and should not be used in a production environment.
Please find below some of the new / enhanced capabilities on Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview
  • Nano Server (DNS Server / IIS Server roles and also previously included scale out File Server & Hyper-V Role)
  • Windows Containers
  • Site-Aware Failover Cluster, Workgroup and Multi-domain Clusters
  • Hyper-V Virtual Machine Resiliency
  • Cloud Witness
  • Cloud Operating System Rolling Upgrade
  • Storage Spaces Direct
  • Storage Replica

 

Please use link below for obtaining Technical Preview install media
Windows Server Technical Preview 4
System Center 2016 Technical Preview 4

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-system-center-technical-preview

System Center Configuration Manager & Endpoint Protection Technical Preview 4

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-system-center-configuration-manager-and-endpoint-protection-technical-preview

I will be writing on new capabilities introduced in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview for in future posts starting with Nano Server, meanwhile have a look at below resources for information around new capabilities introduced with the product.
Regards
Nirmal
Additional Resources on Technical Preview 4 
What’s New in Failover Clustering in Windows Server Technical Preview
  
What’s New in File and Storage Services in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview
  
Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade
  
Storage Replica in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview
  
Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview
  
Storage Quality of Service
Make innovation easier with Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 Technical Preview 4
 
Designing Windows Server in the cloud-first world
 
Announcing the release of Hyper-V Containers in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4
Stand-alone version of the “Introducing Hyper-V Containers” video on Ch.9:
 
Moving forward in the cloud world with software-defined storage
 
4 Datacenter challenges and how Windows Server 2016 software defined networking can help
 
Moving to Nano Server, the new deployment option in Windows Server 2016
 
Protecting your datacenter and cloud: November update
 
Three “Tell me about IT” videos on WS.2016 by Jeffrey Snover:
 
Early look at containers in Windows Server, Hyper-V and Azure – with Mark Russinovich

TECH2014 Houston Sessions by Cluster Team

Cluster Product group presented multiple sessions at TECH2014 which took place in Houston from 12th to 15th May 2014. please find below list of sessions which were presented at the event.

1) DCIM-B354 Failover Clustering: What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2

2) DCIM-B364 Step-by-Step to Deploying Microsoft SQL Server 2014 with Cluster Shared Volumes

3) DCIM-B349 Software-Defined Storage in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

4) FDN06 Transform the Datacenter: Making the Promise of Connected Clouds a Reality

All these sessions can be now downloaded from Channel9 and I have attached hyper-links for each of the sessions. For more additional details please have a look at official post from Cluster Team

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/clustering/archive/2014/05/17/10526378.aspx

Windows 8.1 / Server 2012 R2 RTM Now Available on MSDN & TECHNET

Microsoft announced yesterday that they will be making Windows 8.1 RTM / Windows Server 2012 RTM & Visual Studio 2013 RC made available for developer community based on feedback received. This was a slight deviation from previous communication when both products hit internal RTM milestone. however I’m extremely pleased for being able to obtain RTM bits for both Windows Client & Windows Server prior to GA milestone which is 18th October.

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At this point in time current RTM release is only available for TECHNET / MSDN Subscribers. There will be an Enterprise Version of Windows 8.1 which will be made available later this month to Enterprise Customers via Volume Licensing Service Center.

more information relating to official statement from Microsoft regarding RTM release please refer

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/stevengu/archive/2013/09/09/download-windows-8-1-rtm-visual-studio-2013-rc-and-windows-server-2012-r2-rtm-today.aspx

Visual Studio 2013 RC can be downloaded from link below

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=306566

Previous announcement relating to RTM/GA for Windows Server / Windows Client

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/08/14/mark-your-calendars-for-windows-8-1.aspx

Installing Windows Server 8 Beta

Finally most eagerly anticipated Windows 8 next release has been announced by Microsoft. This is the second public release of Windows 8 after releasing Windows 8 Develop Preview edition was announced on 29th February 2012.

I have already downloaded Windows 8 Beta and I’m going to have a look at installation process in this blog post. if you haven’t yet downloaded Windows 8 beta, you can download from TechNet Evaluation Center by accessing following link

Download windows 8 Beta –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh670538

After downloading required media files, let’s get started with the installation. When you boot from Windows 8 Beta media you will first see new Windows 8 Boot logo

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After it loads up you will see Windows Server 8 Beta Setup

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You can select Language / Time format and the keyboard method and proceed with the installation

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Next installation prompt, we can select available editions. At the moment, there’s only Datacenter Edition available in the beta which provide you with two options to select either GUI version of the Operating System or Core version. I have selected GUI version of the Operating System. we will look at later how we can switch back and forth from GUI to Core using Windows 8.

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Next prompt we have Licensing terms which needs to be accepted to proceed further

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There are two types of installation options available which is Upgrade and Custom Installation. since I don’t have any operating system installed, I will select Custom Installation method

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Next we need to select a partition for installation. once we are done selecting a partition then the setup process will begin installation

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Once installation completes, we need to set administrator credentials before logging-in to the system.

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Once we have set Administrator credentials, we can now log-in to the system

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we can now see our very first preview on Windows Server 8 Beta Desktop Experience

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When you login using Administrator account, it will automatically run Server Manager which allows you to configure your server.

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We will evaluate and look at more features on Windows Server 8 Beta on future posts