Storage Spaces Direct hardware requirements

Applies to: Windows Server 2016, Windows Server Insider Preview

This topic describes minimum hardware requirements for Storage Spaces Direct.

For production, Microsoft recommends these Windows Server Software-Defined hardware/software offers from our partners, which include deployment tools and procedures. They are designed, assembled, and validated against our reference architecture to ensure compatibility and reliability, so you get up and running quickly. Learn more at https://microsoft.com/wssd.

logos of our Windows Server Software Defined partners

Tip

Want to evaluate Storage Spaces Direct but don't have hardware? Use Hyper-V or Azure virtual machines as described in Using Storage Spaces Direct in guest virtual machine clusters.

Base requirements

Systems, components, devices, and drivers must be Windows Server 2016 Certified per the Windows Server Catalog. In addition, we recommend that servers, drives, host bus adapters, and network adapters have the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Standard and/or Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Premium additional qualifications (AQs), as pictured below. There are over 1,000 components with the SDDC AQs.

screenshot of the Windows Server catalog showing the SDDC AQs

The fully configured cluster (servers, networking, and storage) must pass all cluster validation tests per the wizard in Failover Cluster Manager or with the Test-Cluster cmdlet in PowerShell.

In addition, the following requirements apply:

Servers

  • Minimum of 2 servers, maximum of 16 servers
  • Recommended that all servers be the same manufacturer and model

CPU

  • Intel Nehalem or later compatible processor; or
  • AMD EPYC or later compatible processor

Memory

  • Memory for Windows Server, VMs, and other apps or workloads; plus
  • 4 GB of RAM per terabyte (TB) of cache drive capacity on each server, for Storage Spaces Direct metadata

Boot

  • Any boot device supported by Windows Server, which now includes SATADOM
  • RAID 1 mirror is not required, but is supported for boot
  • Recommended: 200 GB minimum size

Networking

Minimum (for small scale 2-3 node)

  • 10 Gbps network interface
  • Direct-connect (switchless) is supported with 2-nodes

Recommended (for high performance, at scale, or deployments of 4+ nodes)

  • NICs that are remote-direct memory access (RDMA) capable, iWARP (recommended) or RoCE
  • Two or more NICs for redundancy and performance
  • 25 Gbps network interface or higher

Drives

Storage Spaces Direct works with direct-attached SATA, SAS, or NVMe drives that are physically attached to just one server each. For more help choosing drives, see the Choosing drives topic.

Here's how drives can be connected for Storage Spaces Direct:

  1. Direct-attached SATA drives
  2. Direct-attached NVMe drives
  3. SAS host-bus adapter (HBA) with SAS drives
  4. SAS host-bus adapter (HBA) with SATA drives
  5. NOT SUPPORTED: RAID controller cards or SAN (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE) storage. Host-bus adapter (HBA) cards must implement simple pass-through mode.

diagram of supported drive interconnects

Drives can be internal to the server, or in an external enclosure that is connected to just one server. SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) is required for slot mapping and identification. Each external enclosure must present a unique identifier (Unique ID).

  1. Drives internal to the server
  2. Drives in an external enclosure ("JBOD") connected to one server
  3. NOT SUPPORTED: Shared SAS enclosures connected to multiple servers or any form of multi-path IO (MPIO) where drives are accessible by multiple paths.

diagram of supported drive interconnects

Minimum number of drives (excludes boot drive)

  • If there are drives used as cache, there must be at least 2 per server
  • There must be at least 4 capacity (non-cache) drives per server
Drive types present Minimum number required
All NVMe (same model) 4 NVMe
All SSD (same model) 4 SSD
NVMe + SSD 2 NVMe + 4 SSD
NVMe + HDD 2 NVMe + 4 HDD
SSD + HDD 2 SSD + 4 HDD
NVMe + SSD + HDD 2 NVMe + 4 Others

Note

This table provides the minimum for hardware deployments. If you're deploying with virtual machines and virtualized storage, such as in Microsoft Azure, see Using Storage Spaces Direct in guest virtual machine clusters.

Maximum capacity

  • Recommended: Maximum 100 terabytes (TB) raw storage capacity per server
  • Maximum 1 petabyte (1,000 TB) raw capacity in the storage pool