Tuesday 20 September 2016

Windows Server 2016: Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and VMware Virtual SAN IOPS?

We’re not VMware experts here. Let’s make that very clear. 

However, we do have the ear of many a VMware expert so we are able to ask: Is the Windows Server 2016 hyper-converged Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) setup similar to the VMware Virtual SAN platform? Apples to Apples if you will?

The resounding answer has been, “Yes!”

That leads us to the following articles that are about Intel NVMe all-flash hyper-converged setups:

  1. Record Performance of All Flash NVMe Configuration – Windows Server 2016 and Storage Spaces Direct - IT Peer Network
    • An Intel based four node S2D setup
  2. VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 Sets New Record - IT Peer Network
    • A VMware based 8 node Virtual SAN 6.2 setup

What’s interesting to note is the following:

  1. Intel/S2D setup at 4 nodes
    • 3.2M IOPS at 4K Read
      • 930K IOPS at 70/30 Read/Write
  2. VMware setup at 8 nodes
    1. 1.2M IOPS @ Capacity Mode
      • 500K IOPS at 70/30 Read/Write
    2. ~830K IOPS @ Balance Mode
      • 800K IOPS at 70/30 Read/Write

What is starting to become apparent, at least to us, is that the folks over at the newly minted Dell EMC _really_ need to pay attention to Microsoft’s feature depth in Windows Server 2016. In fact, that goes without saying for all vendors into virtualization, high performance computing (HPC), storage, and data centre products.

We’re pretty excited about the hyper-converged S2D feature set in Windows Server 2016. So much so, we have invested quite heavily in our Proof-of-Concept (PoC).


The bill of materials (BoM) for the setup so far:

  • S2D Nodes (4)
    • Intel Server Systems R2224WTTYS with dual E5-2640, 256GB ECC, Intel JBOD HBA, Intel X540-T2 10GbE, Mellanox 56GbE NICs, Intel PCIe 750 NVMe, Intel SATA SSDs, and Seagate 10K SAS spindles
  • Hyper-V Nodes (2)
    • Intel Server Systems R2208GZ4GC with dual E5-2650, 128GB ECC, Intel X540-T2 10GbE, and Mellanox 56GbE NICs
  • Lab DC
    • An Intel Server setup including S1200BT series board and Intel Xeon E3 processor.

Our testing includes using the S2D setup as a hyper-converged platform but also as a Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) cluster destination for a Hyper-V cluster on the two Hyper-V nodes. Then, some testing of various configurations beyond.

We believe Windows Server 2016 is looking to be one of the best server operating systems Microsoft has ever released. Hopefully we won’t be seeing any major bugs in the production version!

Philip Elder
Microsoft High Availability MVP
Our SMB/SME HA Solution
Our Cloud Service


Anonymous said...

I am very interested in the outcome of your testing. I'm currently looking to replace an old SAN and would like to utilize S2D. Any information or guidance you can provide would be most appreciated. Currently I am looking into a 2 node or three node cluster.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

Well, the promise was great but the reality was a bit less than that! ;)

We will have a blog post on the matter at some point in the near future.

Michael said...

What would this perform like if all ssds were used and no SAS. We have a situation where we don't need big data.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


That depends. :)

One would need good sized set of Intel P3700 PCIe NVMe SSDs to front that kind of setup. We'd be looking at three of them with their size based on the number and GB/TB size of the capacity SSDs.

S2D would still need a high performance cache and another SSD layer for capacity in an all solid-state setting.