Go Hyper-converged with S2D

Windows Server 2016 is getting to it’s final RTM state within several months now. After that time we can start using Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) for production environments and start using Hyper-converged stacks.

I’m not going to explain how Storage Spaces Direct works, this is just a blog about the setup. If you want some more info about S2D check out this link for an overview and for te more tech guys or girls look here.

I have spend some lab time setting up en using Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and use Hyper-converged hosts and started this blog to share some info.

Beware that the info below is Lab stuf. I’ve taken some shortcuts to be able to setup S2D on VM’s with Virtual disks. So do not use this commands for you’re own setup, unless you are also running tests in VMs.

General Info

I have 2 VM’s running on a Windows Server 2016 TP5 physical box. The VM’s are enabled for nested virtualization to make sure a can start VM’s on the VM’s. Both VM’s have 10 disks attached to them. So no shared VHD, just 10 .vhdx files to both VM’s which makes a total of 20 .vhdx files. The VM’s are also running Windows Server 2016 TP5.

Create and attach disks

To create and attach the disks I used some powershell commands. I have 2 “Hosts” HV-01 and HV-02.

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SMB Direct with Emulex

A while a go i was involved in a project were the customer wanted to deploy a 2 node Scale out file server with storage spaces on Windows Server 2012 R2. Since this was my first actual storage spaces and scale out file server deployment (besides a training and testing it in a lab with vm’s) i ran in to some issue’s and problems.

First of all there is a lot of stuff on the internet that is not always entirely true for all scenarios. Settings or test results that are used and reported are not necessarily true in your environment. For example DCB/PFC/QOS settings with Mellanox RoCe adapters are different than with Emulex RoCe adapters. And even with Emulex and HP or Fujitsu branded Emulex cards configuration is not the same. This could be because the vendors don’t know it exactly either and are still struggling with their drivers, firmware and settings, I don’t know. But it’s makes it pretty tough to get it all right. And as I said before, this is the first implementation I did, so I am not an expert on this either, so feel very free to give feedback if needed.

This Technet article describes several does and don’ts with SMB and RDMA. A lot of info and configurations are also available on Jose Barreto’s blog for RDMA and Mellanox RoCe adapters. But since there is very little info with Emulex, I started this blog to write and share my findings.

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