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MCSA Guide to Installing and
Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
Chapter 4
Configuring Server Storage
Objectives
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Describe server storage
Configure local disks
Work with virtual disks
Use Storage Spaces
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012/R2,
Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
2
An Overview of Server Storage
• The need for faster, bigger, and more reliable
storage is growing as fast as the technology can
keep up
• The following sections cover some basics of server
storage:
– What it is
– Why you need it
– Common methods for accessing storage
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012/R2,
Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
3
What is Storage?
• Generally, storage is considered any medium data
can be written to and retrieved from
• Long-term storage includes:
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USB memory sticks (flash drives)
Secure Digital (SD) cards and Compact Flash (CF)
CDs and DVDs
Magnetic tape
Solid state drives
Hard disk drives
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
4
What is Storage?
• Server storage is based on hard disk drives (HDDs)
– Although solid state drives are gaining popularity
• Solid state drive (SSD) - uses flash memory and
the same type of high-speed interfaces as
traditional hard disks
– Usually uses SATA or SATA Express interfaces
– Has no moving parts, requires less power, and is
faster and more resistant to shock than HDD
– Do not have the capacity of HDDs
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
5
Reasons for Storage
• Operating system files - the OS itself requires a
good bit of storage
• Page file - used as virtual memory and to store
dump data after a system crash
• Log files - change size dynamically depending on
how system is used
• Virtual machines - need space to store file for
virtual hard disks
• Database storage - disk storage requirements vary
• User documents - might be the largest use of disk
space
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
6
Storage Access Methods
• Four broad categories of storage access methods:
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Local storage
Direct-attached storage (DAS)
Network-attached storage (NAS)
Storage area network (SAN)
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
7
Local Storage
• Local storage - storage media with a direct,
exclusive connection to the computer’s system
board through a disk controller
– Almost always inside the computer’s case
– Usually refers to HDDs or SDDs instead of
CD/DVDs
– Provides rapid and exclusive access
• Disadvantage: only the system where it’s installed
has direct access to the storage medium
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
8
Direct-Attached Storage
• Direct-attached storage (DAS) - similar to local
storage but can also refer to one or more HDDs in
an enclosure with its own power supply
• A DAS device with its own enclosure and power
supply can usually be configured as a disk array
– Such as a RAID configuration
• Some DAS have multiple interfaces so that more
than one computer can access the storage medium
simultaneously
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
9
Network-Attached Storage
• Network-attached storage (NAS) - has an
enclosure, power supply, slots for multiple HDDs, a
network interface, and a built-in OS tailored for
managing shared storage
– Sometimes referred to as a storage appliance
• NAS is typically dedicated to file sharing
• NAS shares files through standard network
protocols such as:
– Server Message Block(SMB), Network File System
(NFS), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
10
Storage Area Network
• Storage area network (SAN) - uses high-speed
networking technologies to give servers fast access
to large amounts of shared disk storage
• Most common network technologies used in SANs
are Fibre Channel and iSCSI
• SANS use the concept of logical unit number
(LUN) to identify a unit of storage
– LUN is a logical reference point to a unit of storage
that could refer to an entire array of disks, a single
disk, or just part of a disk
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
11
Figure 4-1 A storage area network
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
12
Configuring Local Disks
• Configuration of local disks can be divided into two
categories:
– Physical disk properties - involve disk capacity,
physical speed, and the interface for attaching a disk
to the system
– Logical disk properties - include its format and the
partitions or volumes created on it
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
13
Configuring Local Disks
• Disk-storage terminology:
– Disk drive - a physical component with a disk
interface connector and a power connector
– Volume - a logical unit of storage that can be
formatted with a file system
• A disk drive can contain one or more volumes
– Partition - an older term that means the same thing
as a “volume” but is used with basic disk
– Formatting - prepares a disk with a file system used
to organize and store files
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
14
Disk Capacity and Speed
• HDD capacities are now measured in hundreds of
gigabytes
– One and two terabyte (TB, 1000 gigabytes) disks are
common
• Factors that affect the speed of HDDs:
– Disk interface technology
– Rotation speed - servers should have an HDD with a
minimum speed of 7200 rpm (10,000-15,000
preferred)
– Amount of cache memory installed - 32-64 MB
cache sizes are common for server-class drives
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
15
Disk Capacity and Speed
• Disk capacity considerations:
– Windows installation should be on a separate disk
form data
• An SSD is a good choice for Windows installation
– The page file should be on its own disk, if possible
• An SSD is also a good choice for the page file
– Using RAID as a fault tolerance option, will combine
multiple disks to make a single volume
• Overall storage capacity is diminished
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
16
Disk Interface Technologies
• Disk interface - connects a disk to a computer
system
– Usually with some type of cable
• The faster the bus, the faster the system can read
from and write to the disk
• Most common types of disk interfaces:
– SATA
– SAS
– SCSI
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
17
Disk Interface Technologies
• Serial ATA Drives (SATA) - have mostly replaced
parallel ATA (PATA) drives
– Advantages: faster transfer times and small cable
size
• SATA drives are inexpensive, fast, and reliable
• Current standard: 3.2
– Supports speeds up to 16 Gb/s
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
18
Disk Interface Technologies
• Small computer system interface (SCSI) drives a parallel bus technology still used on some
servers but has reached its performance limits
– Latest variation is Ultra-640 which supports up to
640 MB/s transfer rates
• Serial attached SCSI (SAS) - a newer, serial form
of SCSI with transfer rates up to 6 Gb/s and higher
– SATA drives can be connected to SAS backplanes
– Backplane - a connection system that uses a
printed circuit board instead of traditional cables to
carry signals
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
19
Volumes and Disk Types
• Volume - a logical unit of storage that can be
formatted with a file system
• Two Microsoft-specific volume definitions:
– Boot volume - the volume where the \Windows folder
is located (also called boot partition)
– System volume - contains files the computer needs
to find and load the Windows OS (also called system
partition)
• Created automatically during installation if you’re
installing an OS for the first time on a system
• Not assigned a drive letter (can’t be viewed in File
Explorer)
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
20
Figure 4-2 Boot and system volumes in Disk Management
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
21
Volumes and Disk Types
• Basic Disks - accommodates only basic volumes
– Can’t hold volumes spanning multiple disks or be
part of a RAID
– Volumes on a basic disk are called “partitions”
– Can support a maximum of four partitions
• First three are primary partitions and the fourth is
called an extended partition
• Primary partition - can be assigned a drive letter, be
marked active, and contain the Windows system
volume
• Extended partition - must be divided into logical
drives
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
22
Volumes and Disk Types
• Dynamic Disks - a disk arrangement that can hold
up to 128 volumes
– Volumes can span multiple disks and be configured
for RAID
– Can hold the Windows boot or system partition, but
only if converted to dynamic after Windows is
already installed on the volume
• To convert a basic disk to dynamic:
– In Disk Management, right-click the disk and Convert
to Dynamic Disk
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
23
Partitioning Methods
• Windows offers two methods:
– Master Boot Record (MBR) - most common
method that has been around since DOS
• Supports volume sizes up to 2 TB
– GUID Partitioning Table (GPT) - support volumes
sizes up to 18 exabytes (EB, a million terabytes)
• Became an option with Windows Server 2008 and
Vista
• Offer improved reliability through partition table
replication and Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC)
protection of the partition table
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
24
Types of Volumes
• Types of volumes that can be created on a
Windows Server 2012/R2 system:
– Simple volume - resides on a single disk, basic or
dynamic
– Spanned volume - extends across two or more
physical disks
– Striped volume - extends across two or more
dynamic disks, but data is written to all disks in the
volume equally
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
25
Types of Volumes
• Types of volumes that can be created on a
Windows Server 2012/R2 system (cont’d):
– Mirrored volume (RAID 1 volume) - uses space from
two dynamic disks and provides fault tolerance
• Data written to one disk is duplicated, or mirrored, to
the second disk
• If one disk fails, the other has a copy of the data
– RAID 5 volume - uses space from three or more
dynamic disks and uses disk striping with parity
• Parity information is used to re-create lost data after a
disk failure
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
26
Disk Formats
• Formatting creates the directory structure needed
to organize files and store information about each
file
• File system - defines the method and format an OS
uses to store, locate, and retrieve files from
electronic storage media
• Windows supports three file systems:
– FAT
– NTFS (dominant on Windows Servers)
– ReFS (new in Windows Server 2012)
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
27
Disk Formats
• Modern file systems have some or all of the
following components:
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Filenaming convention
Hierarchical organization
Data storage method
Metadata
Attributes
Access control lists (ACLs)
• File systems vary in whether and how each
component is used
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
28
The FAT File System
• FAT (File Allocation Table) consists of two
variations: FAT16 and FAT32
• FAT16 (referred to as simply “FAT”) is limited to
2GB partitions (Windows NT extends this to 4GB)
with a maximum file size of 2GB
– File size limitation prevents storing a DVD image file
on a FAT system
– Doesn’t support file and folder permissions for users
and groups
– Lacks support for encryption, file compression, disk
quotas, and reliability features
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
29
The FAT File System
• FAT32 allows partitions up to 2TB in size, but
Windows 2000 and later limit size of FAT32
partitions at creation to 32GB due to performance
• FAT32 supports files up to 4GB in size
• FAT/FAT32 is the only file system option when
using older Windows OSs
• FAT is simple and has little overhead
– Still the file system of choice on removable media,
such as flash drives
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
30
The NTFS and ReFS File Systems
• NTFS - first introduced in Windows NT
• Supports file and folder permissions, an advantage
over FAT
• Features added with the release of Windows 2000:
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Disk quotas
Volume mount points
Shadow copies
File compression
Encrypting File System (EFS)
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
31
The NTFS and ReFS File Systems
• Resilient File System (ReFS) - main use is in large
file-sharing applications
– Where volumes are managed by Storage Spaces
• ReFS does not support file compression, disk
quotas, and EFS
• Windows can’t be booted from an ReFS volume
• Supports volumes up to 1 yottabyte (YB)
• ReFS works with Storage Spaces to automatically
repair disk failure caused by corruption
• Is not meant to be a replacement for NTFS
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
32
Preparing a New Disk for Use
• Hot add (also known as hot swap) - being able to
add a new HDD to a server while it is powered on
• Windows Server supports hot-adding
– As long as the server hardware supports it
• After the HDD has been attached to the server:
– Use the Disk Management snap-in or File and
Storage Services to make the disk accessible
• By default, new disks must be initialized and
brought online
– Afterwards you can create a volume and format it
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
33
Working with Virtual Disks
• Virtual hard disk (VHD) file - the format virtual
machines running in Hyper-V use for their virtual
disks
– VHD files can also be created and mounted with
Disk Management and used like physical disks
• A VHD can also be mounted by double-clicking it in
File Explorer (or right-click it and click Mount)
• Virtual disks are portable
– VHD files can be copied to any location for the
purposes of backing up data or allowing it to be used
by another computer
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
34
Using Storage Spaces
• Storage Spaces - a new features in Windows
Server 2012 that provides flexible provisioning of
virtual storage
– Creates volumes from storage pools
• Storage pools - a collection of physical disks from
which virtual disks and volumes are created and
assigned dynamically
• Storage Spaces can allocate storage by using thin
provisioning
– Which uses dynamically expanding disks so that you
can provision a large volume
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
35
Using Storage Spaces
• Storage Spaces uses the concept of just a bunch
of disks (JBOD)
– JBOD - a disk arrangement that can hold up to 128
volumes, including spanned, striped, and RAID
volumes
• Two or more disks appear as a single disk to the OS
• With JBOD, you can add a physical disk to a
storage pool
– Existing volumes can grow into the new space as
needed
– Can even add external disks to a pool
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
36
Using Storage Spaces
• Storage Spaces features:
– Disk pooling - collection of physical disks viewed as
a single storage space
– Data deduplication - finds data existing on a volume
multiple times and reduces it to a single instance
– Flexible storage layouts - three options
• Simple space - simple volume with no fault tolerance
• Mirror space - a two-way or three-way mirrored
volume
• Parity space - similar to a RAID 5 volume, can be
configured for single or dual parity
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
37
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
38
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
39
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
40
Using Storage Spaces
• Storage Spaces features (cont’d):
– Storage tiering - combines the speed of SSDs with
the low cost and high capacity of HDDs
• You can add SSDs to a storage pool with HDDs and
Windows keeps the most frequently accessed data on
the faster SSD disks
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
41
Creating Storage Spaces
• Three components of a storage space:
– Storage pool - consists of one or more physical disks
with unallocated space
• Primordial pool - a collection of physical disks
available to be added to a storage pool
– Virtual disks - create virtual disks from storage pools
and choose: storage layout and provisioning type
– Volumes - after you create a virtual disk, you create
volumes
• Every volume uses the virtual disk’s storage layout
and provisioning type
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server
2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
42
Figure 4-14 Viewing the primordial pool
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
43
Figure 4-15 A new storage pool and virtual disk
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
44
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring
Windows Server 2012/R2, Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
45
Summary
• Storage is any digital media that data can be written
to and later retrieved from
• All computers require at least some storage but
servers usually require more than client computers
• The main methods of storage access are local, DAS,
NAS, and SAN
• Configuration of local disks can be divided into two
broad categories: physical disk properties and logical
properties
• Disk types include basic disks and dynamic disks
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012/R2,
Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
46
Summary
• Windows Server 2012/R2 can mount virtual disks and
use them like regular volumes
• Storage Spaces provides flexible provisioning of
virtualized storage by using storage pools
• Storage Spaces uses the concept of just a bunch of
disks (JBOD)
– Two or more disks are abstracted to appear as a single
disk to the OS
• There are three components of a storage space
– Storage pools, virtual disks, and volumes
MCSA Guide to Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012/R2,
Exam 70-410
© Cengage Learning 2015
47

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