7 ways Windows Server 2012 pays for itself

These new and improved 'supersaver' features offer the biggest return on your Windows Server 2012 investment

By Paul Ferrill, InfoWorld |  Data Center, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012

Heavy users of virtualization or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) implementations stand to see the biggest gains here. Microsoft quotes numbers of 2:1 for general file server storage and 20:1 for virtualization (VHD) libraries. Individual files are replaced with stubs pointing to data blocks stored within a common "chunk" store. Data compression can also be applied to further reduce the total storage footprint. All data processing is done in the background with a minimal impact to CPU and memory.

The data deduplication feature is also tightly integrated with BranchCache, helping to save on overall bandwidth consumption when distributing data over a WAN. In addition to dramatically speeding up file transfers, deduping data that travels the WAN can greatly reduce costs for dedicated or metered network circuits.

Windows Server 2012 supersaver No. 6: SMB 3.0Microsoft has invested a substantial amount of engineering effort in the modernization of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. What started out as a point release to version 2.2 ended up being a major release that deserves the 3.0 label. SMB 3.0 delivers big value in making it possible to use commodity disk drives to deliver high-end storage features. SMB 3.0 shares in Windows Server 2012 support both Hyper-V and SQL Server workloads that previously required block-based storage.

SMB 3.0 includes a number of new components to improve its ability to detect and recover from a lost connection. In the past this relied on a TCP/IP timeout that would typically take up to 20 seconds. SMB transparent failover utilizes a new feature called the Witness service to detect connection failures, then redirect the client to another node. This feature requires clustering in order to fully support the failover and is a part of the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) functionality.

Windows Server 2012 and SMB 3.0 include support for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) network adapters. SMB Direct supports most of the latest RDMA adapter types, including iWARP, InfiniBand, and RDMA over Converged Ethernet. SMB Direct works in conjunction with SMB Multichannel to deliver both increased performance and failover capabilities not previously possible over SMB.

SMB Multichannel works behind the scenes to create multiple connections between SMB 3.0 client and server to increase throughput with no user intervention. This feature is enabled by default and has the ability to greatly accelerate everything from simple file copy operations to high-transaction-rate SQL applications. SMB Multichannel does require both systems involved to be running either Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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