Recently I was asked to investigate if Windows Server 2016 would be a suitable OS on a DataON CiB platform. Some new features of Windows Server 2016 are very exciting. The one that excites me the most is Storage Spaces Direct. I set a goal by asking myself the following question:
Can I deploy a hyper-converged cluster using Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct with a CiB-9224 running Windows Server 2016?
The case study involves a CiB-9224V12 platform and I had the liberty to start from scratch on one of these babies.
To figure out if this is possible, I took the following steps:
- I deployed Windows Server 2016 Datacenter on each node;
- I verified if no device drivers were missing. A lot of Intel chipset related devices had no driver (this may be different at a different model). I installed the Intel Chipset software. The Avago SAS adapter didn’t need a new driver. NOTE: Microsoft Update can be used as well to download and install the missing drivers
- I installed the required Roles & Features on both nodes: Hyper-V, Data Deduplication, Failover Clustering and Multi-path I/O
- I enabled Multi-Path I/O for SAS. This is a requirement for the SAS adapter to make sure the available disks are presented properly
- I created a failover cluster, I used a Share Witness available at a different server
- I attempted to enable Storage Spaces Direct but I got stuck at the ‘Waiting for SBL disks are surfaced, 27%’ step. Nothing happens after that.
I started troubleshooting to determine a possible issue why this step can’t be finished. I checked the requirements again for S2D and I found the following website:
At the Drives section I noticed that an unsupported scenario for S2D exists that matches the configuration of the CiB-9224: MPIO or physically connecting drives via multiple paths. After reading the requirements I stopped troubleshooting. Having an unsupported scenario means S2D is simply not possible.
The result was I created a Storage Pool without using S2D and I presented the Virtual Disk a Cluster Shared Volume to the cluster. I was not able to choose ReFS (not available when creating a Volume) as a file system so I had to stick with NTFS with Data Deduplication enabled.
So basically I used the ‘Windows Server 2012 R2’ solution to deploy the CSV using Storage Spaces.
With the CiB-9224 I’m not able to achieve my goal of deploying a hyper-converged cluster based on Microsoft’s definition of hyper-converged.
One question still remains: Would I recommend using Windows Server 2016 at a CiB-9224?
The answer is Yes because some new features of Windows Server 2016, for example Shielded VMs, are fully supported on this hardware.
DataON does have a hyper-converged S2D platform available, more information can be gathered here: http://dataonstorage.com/storage-spaces-direct/s2d-3110-1u-10-bay-all-flash-nvme-storage-spaces-direct-cluster-appliance.html