Announcing Windows Storage Server 2008!


Wow! It is finally here! It has been a labor of love for me and I am very pleased to announce the availability of Windows Storage Server 2008. We have been working on the engineering to produce these editions of Windows for over two years and it is mind-boggling just how many details and thousands of hours of testing that go into it. This is going to be an exciting release and I can’t wait to see the new storage appliances rolling off the factory floors from our OEM partners. The bits are available now for partners that build on top of the platform. Next week we will release the RTM media to MSDN subscribers for evaluation and development.

Over the next few weeks, we will post a series of blogs highlighting the new features and some tips and tricks manufacturers can use to configure and get the system running at its full potential.


Here is quick rundown of the features that make appliances built on Windows Storage Server 2008 so compelling:

Single Instance Storage (SIS) v2
Reduce disk space consumption by eliminating duplicate files on data volumes. The savings that can be realized are completely based on the data on the volume, the quantity and size of the duplicates. I have personally seen savings from 7% all the way up to 70% for specific environments like build servers that hold hundreds of copies of the same file. The new version includes official support for 128 volumes (V1 was 6 volumes), a remote-able command-line interface, WMI support, improved clustering, ability to remove single instancing (without using xcopy) and improvements to make it more resilient to outages. We tested SIS on volumes with 5.6 million files and 2.3 million duplicates while simultaneously reading and writing 35,000 files. This is ready for prime-time. SIS has good read performance for a de-duplication product that works on primary storage and once somebody starts writing to their copy of the file, we create a new copy of the file automatically for them. The write performance has the same characteristics as a normal file after it is removed from the common store. If you use DPM 2007 to backup your Windows Storage Servers, the VSS support enables the backup to preserve the single instancing instead of trying to copy every file. Most people only use de-duplication in a backup environment, but with SIS, you can start saving space immediately. 

iSCSI Software Target 3.2
iSCSI is storage over Ethernet and it is a fantastic way to expand the reach and flexibility of your storage. The new iSCSI Software Target version 3.2 can optionally be installed on top of Windows Storage Server 2008, (Enterprise, Standard or Workgroup Editions). The improvements in this release include support for 2008 failover clustering, IPv6, Integrated UI with Server Manager, enhanced security for storing CHAP secrets, connection and session reinstatement is now fully ERL0 compliant and we’ve even added ????????? ???????? ????? (support for Russian language installations). :)

File Server Optimization
Optimized by default for the file server role for around 8% gain over standard settings. We remove file-system aliasing and the old-school 8.3 name creation routines that add overhead to the file-system drivers. Using these settings along with the others in the Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2008 can lead to improved gains. OEMs that also set their Interrupt-Affinity Policy (download the IntPolicy tool from Interrupt-Affinity Policy Tool website) and also consider setting proper disk alignment so that writes efficiently use the disk sectors can expect to make a storage solution that can be over 27% faster than a general purpose server. See the DiskPart tool website for information about the align parameter (Expand DiskPart and look for Create partition primary)

Remote Administration in Heterogeneous Environments
This is a really cool feature that enables a full-screen remote-desktop by just going to http://server/desktop. Being able to remotely manage storage appliances like you are sitting at the keyboard makes doing those storage tasks from the beach a real option. In the Windows\WebRDP directory we have included a new Web RDP package that enables anybody running Windows and Internet Explorer (Using the Active-X control) or a Linux/Unix distribution running Firefox to instantly get a full-screen remote desktop. The new SSL-enabled Java remote administration applet was written by the Microsoft Terminal Services team and was tested with Red Hat and SUSE using a Java runtime and a Firefox browser.

Improved Failover Clustering
Failover clustering in Windows Server 2008 builds redundancy into your network and eliminates single points of failure.

Windows File Sharing
High-performance SMB 2.0 for Windows and all the improvements made by the remote file protocol and NTFS teams. Checkout this speed test by Tom’s Hardware for an understanding of just how much faster it is than SMB1.0

Network File System (NFS)
Improved performance, NFS and SMB interoperability.

File Server Resource Manager
Directory quota, file screening, and reporting.

DFS Namespace and DFS Replication
Efficient file replication over WANs.

BitLocker™ Drive Encryption
BitLocker prevents a thief from breaking system protections or performing offline viewing of the files stored on the protected drive.

Windows PowerShell™
A task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration. Control and automate the administration of the Windows operating system and applications that run on Windows.

Windows Server Backup
A basic backup and recovery solution to back up all volumes, selected volumes, or the system state. Perform a system recovery onto a new hard disk, by using a full server backup and the Windows Recovery Environment.

OOBE, MMC and Server Manager
Common user experience across Windows-based products

Full Text Search
Fast and effective search on remote network shares accessed using Windows XP and later. Windows Storage Server 2008 supports Search 4.0, which end-users can download and add to their storage appliances or just load SP2 for Windows Storage Server 2008 and the latest version is included.

Product Differentiation
Windows Storage Server branding and editions can be programmatically targeted.

Competitive Licensing
OEM Embedded licensing that includes great pricing and no CALs are required to deploy these servers in any environment.

Comprehensive Setup
OEM-extensible out-of-the-box experience to guide user through initial setup and configuration.

Here are the editions and features:

(1)Basic: WINS, MPIO and DFSR were cut from a server standard build
(2)Workgroup: WINS, MPIO were cut from a server standard build
(3)Standard: WINS was cut from a server standard build.
(4)Enterprise: WINS was cut from a server enterprise build.
All SKUS had Hyper-V removed.


Here are some links to launch information;

Well, I am sure glad we have released this product and I can’t wait until the next post for Windows Storage Server 2008. If you have any requests for blog posts or you have a feature wish, drop me a note and I’ll do what I can.

Scott M. Johnson
Program Manager
Windows Storage Server
Single Instance Storage
OEM Embedded NAS Appliances