Tag Archives: working

How to Create and Manage Hot/Cold Tiered Storage

When I was working in Microsoft’s File Services team around 2010, one of the primary goals of the organization was to commoditize storage and make it more affordable to enterprises. Legacy storage vendors offered expensive products, often consuming a majority of the budget of the IT department and they were slow to make improvements because customers were locked in. Since then, every release of Windows Server has included storage management features which were previously only provided by storage vendors, such as deduplication, replication, and mirroring. These features could be used to manage commodity storage arrays and disks, reducing costs and eliminating vendor lock-in. Windows Server now offers a much-requested feature, the ability to move files between different tiers of “hot” (fast) storage and “cold” (slow) storage.

Managing hot/cold storage is conceptually similar to computer memory cache but at an enterprise scale. Files which are frequently accessed can be optimized to run on the hot storage, such as faster SSDs. Meanwhile, files which are infrequently accessed will be pushed to cold storage, such as older or cheaper disks. These lower priority files will also take advantage of file compression techniques like data deduplication to maximize storage capacity and minimize cost. Identical or varying disk types can be used because the storage is managed as a pool using Windows Server’s storage spaces, so you do not need to worry about managing individual drives. The file placement is controlled by the Resilient File System (ReFS), a file system which is used to optimize and rotate data between the “hot” and “cold” storage tiers in real-time based on their usage. However, using tiered storage is only recommended for workloads that are not regularly accessed. If you have permanently running VMs or you are using all the files on a given disk, there would be little benefit in allocating some of the disk to cold storage. This blog post will review the key components required to deploy tiered storage in your datacenter.

Overview of Resilient File System (ReFS) with Storage Tiering

The Resilient File System was first introduced in Windows Server 2012 with support for limited scenarios, but it has been greatly enhanced through the Windows Server 2019 release. It was designed to be efficient, support multiple workloads, avoid corruption and maximize data availability. More specifically to tiering though, ReFS divides the pool of storage into two tiers automatically, one for high-speed performance and one of maximizing storage capacity. The performance tier receives all the writes on the faster disk for better performance. If those new blocks of data are not frequently accessed, the files will gradually be moved to the capacity tier. Reads will usually happen from the capacity tier, but can also happen from the performance tier as needed.

Storage Spaces Direct and Mirror-Accelerated Parity

Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) is one of Microsoft’s enhancements designed to reduce costs by allowing servers with Direct Attached Storage (DAS) drives to support Windows Server Failover Clustering. Previously, highly-available file server clusters required some type of shared storage on a SAN or used an SMB file share, but S2D allows for small local clusters which can mirror the data between nodes. Check out Altaro’s blog on Storage Spaces Direct for in-depth coverage on this technology.

With Windows Server 2016 and 2019, S2D offers mirror-accelerated parity which is used for tiered storage, but it is generally recommended for backups and less frequently accessed files, rather than heavy production workloads such as VMs. In order to use tiered storage with ReFS, you will use mirror-accelerated parity. This provides decent storage capacity by using both mirroring and a parity drive to help prevent and recover from data loss. In the past, mirroring and parity would conflict and you would usually have to select one of the other.  Mirror-accelerator parity works with ReFS by taking writes and mirroring them (hot storage), then using parity to optimize their storage on disk (cold storage). By switching between these storage optimizations techniques, ReFS provides admins with the best of both worlds.

Creating Hot and Cold Tiered Storage

When configuring hot and cold storage you get to define the ratio of the hot and cold storage. For most workloads, Microsoft recommends allocating 20% to hot and 80% to cold. If you are using high-performance workloads, consider having more hot memory to support more writes. On the flip-side, if you have a lot of archival files, then allocate more cold memory. Remember that with a storage pool you can combine multiple disk types under the same abstracted storage space. The following PowerShell cmdlets show you how to configure a 1,000 GB disk to use 20% (200 GB) for performance (hot storage) and 80% (800 GB) for capacity (cold storage).

Managing Hot and Cold Tiered Storage

If you want to increase the performance of your disk, then you will allocate a great percentage of the disk to the performance (hot) tier. In the following example we use the PowerShell cmdlets to create a 30:70 ratio between the tiers:

Unfortunately, this resizing only changes the ratios of the disks but does not change the size of the partition or volume, so you likely also want to change these using the Resize-Volumes cmdlets.

Optimizing Hot and Cold Storage

Based on the types of workloads you are using, you may wish to further optimize when data is moved between hot and cold storage, which is known as the “aggressiveness” of the rotation. By default, the hot storage will use wait until 85% of its capacity is full before it begins to send data to the cold storage. If you have a lot of write traffic going to the hot storage then you want to reduce this value so that performance-tier data gets pushed to the cold storage quicker. If you have fewer write requests and want to keep data in hot storage longer then you can increase this value. Since this is an advanced configuration option, it must be configured via the registry on every node in the S2D cluster, and it also requires a restart. Here is a sample script to run on each node if you want to change the aggressiveness so that it swaps files when the performance tier reaches 70% capacity:

You can apply this setting cluster-wide by using the following cmdlet:

NOTE: If this is applied to an active cluster, make sure that you reboot one node at a time to maintain service availability.

Wrap-Up

Now you should be fully equipped with the knowledge to optimize your commodity storage using the latest Windows Server storage management features. You can pool your disks with storage spaces, use storage spaces direct (S2D) to eliminate the need for a SAN, and ReFS to optimize the performance and capacity of these drives.  By understanding the tradeoffs between performance and capacity, your organization can significantly save on storage management and hardware costs. Windows Server has made it easy to centralize and optimize your storage so you can reallocate your budget to a new project – or to your wages!

What about you? Have you tried any of the features listed in the article? Have they worked well for you? Have they not worked well? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Author: Symon Perriman

For Sale – Zotac Mini GTX 1050ti 4gb, Viewsonic 23″ monitor

Brilliant little graphics card for sale. Perfect working order, 18 months old, runs silently for the most part, only been used for light gaming (occasional Fortnite, Fallout 4 etc) and web browsing. Very powere efficient; runs off the PCIe slot – no extra connection required. Will be sent well packaged in the box of the card I bought to replace it.

£65 inc

Also:

Viewsonic 23″ monitor VX2363 in good working order, in original box with power cable.

£40 plus delivery

Price and currency: 65
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT or cash on collection
Location: Newcastle
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Gaming Laptop – PC Specialist Recoil III 17.3″ RTX 2070 (non-MaxQ) – £1200

For sale, PC Specialist Recoil III 17.3″ RTX 2070 (non-MaxQ) Laptop. Selling to fund a new TV, perfect working order, only 5 months old.

Purchased in February 2019 with transferable PC Specialist 3 Year Gold Warranty
(2 Year Collect & Return, 2 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour) and 1 Year Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs.

CPU: Intel Core i7 8750H

RAM: 16GB Corsair 2666MHz DDR4 (2 x 8GB)

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Full laptop version, non-MaxQ)

Screen: 17.3″ Matte Full HD 144Hz

Storage: 512GB ADATA SU800 M.2 SSD

Networking: GIGABIT LAN & KILLER WIRELESS-AC 1550 M.2 GAMING 802.11AC + BLUETOOTH 5.0

Memory Card Reader Integrated 3 in 1 Card Reader (SD / SDHC / SDXC)
AC Adaptor 1 x 230W AC Adaptor
Battery Recoil II Series 46WH Lithium Ion Battery
Power Cable 1 x 1 Metre Cloverleaf UK Power Cable
Thermal Paste COOLER MASTER MASTERGEL MAKER THERMAL COMPOUND
Sound Card 2 Channel High Def. Audio + SoundBlasterTM Cinema
PER-KEY RGB BACKLIT UK QUIET MECHANICAL KEYBOARD

Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 PORT (Type C) + 2 x USB 3.1 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT

Prefer collection from Birmingham so you can see it working too, best for all parties I’d imagine. Otherwise postage can be arranged if buyer covers costs and pays in advance.

Any questions or details I’ve forgotten to include, please let me know.

IMG_20190718_082858.jpg IMG_20190718_082933.jpg

Price and currency: £1200
Delivery: Available if buyer pays in advance
Payment method: Paypal/Bank Transfer
Location: Northfield, Birmingham
Advertised elsewhere?: Yes
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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For Sale – GeForce GTX 1080 – Inno3D X3 iChill

I am selling my GeForce GTX 1080 – Inno3D X3 iChill graphics card. It is in perfect working order but has been replaced by a new card.

Here’s a link to the release review:

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 iChiLL X3

As you will see, it was one of the better aftermarket performers of it’s day. Still handles most games at high 1440p and will breeze through 1080p.

It will be supplied in the original box. Let me know if you have any questions.

Price and currency: £250
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal, Bank Transfer or cash on collection
Location: Chatham, Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2014 2.6GHz Logic Board

Apple Logic Board pulled from a working Mid 2014 MacBook Pro 13”

Tested and shipped with care in anti static bag. Ships free in the USA.

2.6GHz CPU
8GB RAM

Comes with heatsink (not pictured) but not SSD

No returns. All sales final. Message me with questions walkthroughs.

$180 shipped free in the USA!

Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2014 2.6GHz Logic Board

Price and currency: 180
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Through my Etsy store (accepts PayPal, CC, Debit, Gift Cards)
Location: Sacramento, CA
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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For Sale – 500GB Hard Drives 2.5″, 3.5″ & 4GB Laptop DDR3 Ram

Have the following items for sale. All in perfect working order and all hard drives have been secure zero byte erased ready to re-use.

Laptop Hard Drives:

3 x 500GB Western Digital Black 2.5″ WD5000LPLX SATA3 7200rpm 32MB cache – £20 each

Laptop RAM:
1 x Samsung 4GB DDR3 1600 SODIMM Laptop Memory (PC3 12800S) – £10

HDD + Ram.jpg

500GB Western Digital Black 3.5″ WD5003AZEX SATA3 7200rpm 64MB cache – £15 SOLD

Price and currency: £70
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal Gift or Bank Transfer
Location: Chatham, UK
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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For Sale – Apple Keyboard & USB Superdrive. Kensington USB3 Dock. Lindy USB Ethernet Extenders

As title I have the following for sale:

Apple keyboard – 2 battery model. Great working condition, no box. Looking for £30inc

Apple USB Superdrive – boxed in good condition. Looking for £30inc

Kensington SD3500v USB3 Docking station. Boxed with all bits, only opened to test & all working fine. Looking for £45 + P&P – Now £35
Kensington – Products – Connectivity – Universal Docking Stations – SD3500v Universal USB 3.0 Dual 2K Docking Station – HDMI/DVI-I/VGA – Windows

Lindy CAT5 USB Extender Premium – up to 50m. 4 x sets of these, all used by myself for years & all working perfectly. Items are without boxes & just the TX & RX unit. These are USB powered, an optional PSU can be added for power heavy devices but I have never needed to add one at all. I have 4 sets of these & some of them have been numbered with a marker pen in the past but other than that are in perfect working order. Looking for £30 per pair + P&P – Now £20
USB Extension – CAT5 USB Extender Premium (Up to 50m) – from LINDY UK

Happy for collection & really looking for PPG as payment method if possible.

Price and currency: £ Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG
Location: Berkshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Apple Keyboard & USB Superdrive. Kensington USB3 Dock. Lindy USB Ethernet Extenders

As title I have the following for sale:

Apple keyboard – 2 battery model. Great working condition, no box. Looking for £30inc

Apple USB Superdrive – boxed in good condition. Looking for £30inc

Kensington SD3500v USB3 Docking station. Boxed with all bits, only opened to test & all working fine. Looking for £45 + P&P – Now £35
Kensington – Products – Connectivity – Universal Docking Stations – SD3500v Universal USB 3.0 Dual 2K Docking Station – HDMI/DVI-I/VGA – Windows

Lindy CAT5 USB Extender Premium – up to 50m. 4 x sets of these, all used by myself for years & all working perfectly. Items are without boxes & just the TX & RX unit. These are USB powered, an optional PSU can be added for power heavy devices but I have never needed to add one at all. I have 4 sets of these & some of them have been numbered with a marker pen in the past but other than that are in perfect working order. Looking for £30 per pair + P&P – Now £20
USB Extension – CAT5 USB Extender Premium (Up to 50m) – from LINDY UK

Happy for collection & really looking for PPG as payment method if possible.

Price and currency: £ Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG
Location: Berkshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Apple Keyboard & USB Superdrive. Kensington USB3 Dock. Lindy USB Ethernet Extenders

As title I have the following for sale:

Apple keyboard – 2 battery model. Great working condition, no box. Looking for £30inc

Apple USB Superdrive – boxed in good condition. Looking for £30inc

Kensington SD3500v USB3 Docking station. Boxed with all bits, only opened to test & all working fine. Looking for £45 + P&P – Now £35
Kensington – Products – Connectivity – Universal Docking Stations – SD3500v Universal USB 3.0 Dual 2K Docking Station – HDMI/DVI-I/VGA – Windows

Lindy CAT5 USB Extender Premium – up to 50m. 4 x sets of these, all used by myself for years & all working perfectly. Items are without boxes & just the TX & RX unit. These are USB powered, an optional PSU can be added for power heavy devices but I have never needed to add one at all. I have 4 sets of these & some of them have been numbered with a marker pen in the past but other than that are in perfect working order. Looking for £30 per pair + P&P – Now £20
USB Extension – CAT5 USB Extender Premium (Up to 50m) – from LINDY UK

Happy for collection & really looking for PPG as payment method if possible.

Price and currency: £ Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG
Location: Berkshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Apple Keyboard & USB Superdrive. Kensington USB3 Dock. Lindy USB Ethernet Extenders

As title I have the following for sale:

Apple keyboard – 2 battery model. Great working condition, no box. Looking for £30inc

Apple USB Superdrive – boxed in good condition. Looking for £30inc

Kensington SD3500v USB3 Docking station. Boxed with all bits, only opened to test & all working fine. Looking for £45 + P&P – Now £35
Kensington – Products – Connectivity – Universal Docking Stations – SD3500v Universal USB 3.0 Dual 2K Docking Station – HDMI/DVI-I/VGA – Windows

Lindy CAT5 USB Extender Premium – up to 50m. 4 x sets of these, all used by myself for years & all working perfectly. Items are without boxes & just the TX & RX unit. These are USB powered, an optional PSU can be added for power heavy devices but I have never needed to add one at all. I have 4 sets of these & some of them have been numbered with a marker pen in the past but other than that are in perfect working order. Looking for £30 per pair + P&P – Now £20
USB Extension – CAT5 USB Extender Premium (Up to 50m) – from LINDY UK

Happy for collection & really looking for PPG as payment method if possible.

Price and currency: £ Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG
Location: Berkshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.