Windows Server Management (SRV), Workshops

FW02 Workshop: Pools for the Perplexed and iSCSI for the Unitiated: A Guide to Understanding and Using Windows-based Storage (SRV)

March 8th, 2013

8:30AM - 12:30PM

Level: Intermediate

Mark Minasi

IT Consultant, Author, Speaker


First, we hung drives on servers and did RAID. Then we separated the storage from the computing... but how to make it work? Fiber Channel came along, but it was expensive, and besides, Windows didn't really understand it. Then iSCSI arrived, with FC-like capabilities. Cheaper, but not CHEAP, and not as fast as FC... and Windows didn't really understand it. Many small/medium-sized shops' budgets make them opt for "JBOD" devices -- "just a bunch of disks" -- attached to a hardware RAID controller. The RAID controllers do all of the mirroring and parity-ing and show just a simple disk to Windows, and, so, well, Windows doesn't really understand it.

Then came Server 2012. And, in a few words, when it comes to storage, well, Windows UNDERSTANDS it. In-the-box Fiber Channel and iSCSI support. A disk abstraction model called Storage Spaces that lets you plug a pile of cheap disks into a Windows server and get de-duped volumes, NFS/SMB file shares and iSCSI LUNs/virtual disks, all of which you can manage not with some cryptic ROM-based tool but instead familiar Windows admin GUIs and PowerShell. (And if any of those terms don't make sense, don't worry -- we'll explain them all in this session.)

If all THAT sounds good, there's more. There's that de-dup. CHKDSK has been defanged. Lots of PowerShell. Find out about all of it when you attend this session presented by Mark Minasi, a Windows techie who remembers NT 3.1 software RAID!

You will learn:

  • To fill in any gaps and understand the big concepts in server storage, Windows-style
  • The Windows storage hierarchy from disks to pools on down to iSCSI volumes
  • The information you need to decide where Storage Spaces will (or won't) work