Monday 24 October 2016

Windows Server 2016 Feature Comparison Summary

This is a direct snip of the differences between Windows Server Standard and Datacenter from this PDF: image

Game Changing

A _lot_ of folks use the words “game changing” to somehow set their productions and/or service apart from others. Most of the time when we hear those words the products and/or services are “ho-hum” with little to no real impact on a company’s or user’s day-to-day work/personal life.
We’ve heard those words in our industry _a lot_ over the last number of years. The reality has been somewhat different for most of us.
We believe, based on our experience deploying inexpensive storage (clustered Scale-Out File Server/Storage Spaces) and compute (clustered Hyper-V) high availability solutions that Windows Server 2016 is indeed _game changing_ on three fronts:
  1. Compute
  2. Storage
  3. Networking
The Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) story in Windows Server 2016 has traditional cluster, storage, and networking vendors concerned. In our opinion, deeply concerned. Just watch key vendor’s stocks, as we’ve been doing these last four or five years, to see just how much of an impact the Server 2016 SDDC story will have over the next two to five years. Some stocks have already reflected the inroads Hyper-V and recently (2 years) Storage Spaces have made into their markets. We’re a part of that story! :)
Using true commodity hardware we are able to set up an entire SDDC for a fraction of the cost of traditional data centre solutions. Not only that, with the Hyper-Converged Storage Spaces Direct platform we can provide lots of IOPS and compute in a small footprint without all of the added complexity and expense in traditional data centre solutions.

First Server 2016 Deployment

We’ve already deployed our first Windows Server 2016 Clustered Storage Spaces cluster on the General Availability (GA) bits while in Las Vegas two weeks ago:
That’s two Intel Server Systems R1208JP4OC 1U servers and a Quanta QCT JB4602 JBOD outfitted with (6) 200GB HGST SAS SSDs and (54) 8GB 8TB Seagate NearLine SAS drives. We are setting up for a Parity space to provide maximum storage availability as this client produces lots of 4K video. (EDIT NOTE: Updated the drive size)
Cost of the highly available storage solution is a fraction of the cost we’d see from Tier 1 storage or hardware vendors.

Going Forward

It’s no secret that we are excited about the Server 2016 story. We plan on posting a lot more about why we believe Windows Server 2016 is a game changer with the specifics around the above mentioned three areas. We may even mention some of the vendor’s stock tickers to add to your watch list too! ;)

Who is MPECS Inc.?

A bit of a shameless plug.
We’ve been building SDDC setups for small to medium hosting companies along with SMB/SME consultants and clients that are concerned about “Cloud being their data on someone else’s computer” since 2008/2009.
Our high availability solutions are designed with SMB (think sub $12K for a 2-node cluster) and SME (think sub $35K cluster) in mind along with SMB/SME focused hosting providers (think sub $50K to start). Our solutions are flexible and can be designed with the 3 year and 5 year stories, or more, in mind.
We run our Cloud on-premises, hybrid, or in _our_ Cloud that runs on _our_ highly available solutions.
Curious how we can help you? Then, please feel free to ask!
Have a great day and thanks for reading.
Philip Elder
Microsoft High Availability MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book
Our Cloud Service

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Some Thoughts on the New Windows Server Per Core Licensing Model

This is a post sent to the SBS2K Yahoo Group.


Let’s take things from this perspective: Nothing has changed at our level.

How’s that?

We deploy four, six, and eight core single socket and dual socket servers.

We have not seen the need for four socket servers since one can set things up today with eight processors in one 2U space (4 nodes) without too much finagling and end up with way more performance.

Until Intel has conquered the GHz to core count ratio we will be deploying high GHz low core count CPUs for the time being. Not that eight cores is a “low” count in our world. ;)

Most of us will never see the need to set up a dual socket server with more than 12 cores with 16 being not as common a setup for us.

Our sweet spot right now in dual socket server cluster nodes is the E5-2643v4 at 6 cores and 3.4 GHz. For higher intensity workloads we run with the E5-2667v4 at 8 cores and 3.2 GHz. Price wise, these are the best bang for the buck relative to core count versus GHz.

With the introduction of the two node configuration for Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) we have an option to provide high availability (HA) in our smaller clients using two single socket 1U servers (R1208SPOSHOR or Dell R330) for a very reasonable cost. A Datacenter license is required for each node. Folks may balk at that, but keep this in mind:


What does that mean? It means that we can SPLA the Datacenter license whether the client leases the equipment, which was standard fair back in the day, or they own it but we SaaS the Windows Server licenses. Up here in Canada those licenses are about $175 per 16 cores. That’s $350/Month for a HA setup. We see a _huge_ market for this setup in SMB and SME. Oh, and keep in mind that we can then be very flexible about our VM layout. ;)

The licensing change reminds me of VMware’s changes a number of years back where they received so much backpressure that the “Core Tax” changes got reverted. So far, there’s not been a lot of backpressure that we’ve seen about this change. But then, the bulk of the on-premises SMB/SME world, where we spend most of our time, don’t deploy servers with more than 16 cores.

In the end, as I stated at the beginning, nothing has changed for us.

We’re still deploying “two” Server Standard licenses, now in this case with 16 cores per server, for our single box solutions with four VMs. And, we’re deploying “four” Server Standard licenses four our two node Clustered Storage Spaces and Hyper-V via shared storage that also yields four VMs in that setting.

If, and when, we broach into the higher density core counts for our cluster setups, or even standalone boxes, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Have a great day everyone and thanks for reading. :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft High Availability MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book
Our Cloud Service