Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bye, Bye CSV's, SAN's and Manufacturer NIC Teaming, Hello Windows Server 8!!

Well, it's day 2 of the Build Windows conference in Anaheim, Calafornia and already the revelations about Microsoft's new operating systems - both Windows 8 client and Windows Server 8 - are coming fast and furious!

The attendees who were lucky enough to be present there yesterday (unfortunately I'm not one of them) for the keynote speech by Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky were shown demonstrations of the power and efficiency of all the new features that the Windows 8 client comes with out of the box. Microsoft call it the 're-imagining of Windows'!

These new Windows 8 client features include some of the following:

  • New touch screen GUI
  • New apps for developers to work on called 'Metro Style'
  • Massive performance gains - includes full cold boot up in less than 8 seconds!
  • Spell checking throughout the whole Windows 8 experience
  • Built in XBox Live
  • Enhanced search features - 'a la' iPad
  • Built in Hyper-V

To top yesterday's keynote speech and demonstrations off, all of the attendees got themselves a shiny new Samsung slate that comes with the Windows 8 client developer preview installed and ready to use!!

You can view the Keynote speech for yesterday on the Build Windows website using the URL below:

In today's keynote speech they got down and dirty with Windows Server 8 which is going to be very relevant to my line of work and I really wanted to get a look at the new features released.

The main Keynote speaker for day 2 is Microsoft's Satya Nadella and he is assisted throughout the speech by a number of other speakers including Jason Zander (Metro UI), Bryon Surace (Windows Server 8) and even a surprise apperance from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer!

My primary interest from todays keynote speech was the Windows Server 8 demo's and I have to say, I wasn't disappointed from what I saw.

Here's a summary of some of the key new features in Windows Server 8:

  • NIC teaming natively - now this is a feature that I like the sound of, no more 'unsupported' configs
  • No longer are CSV's/SAN's a pre-requisite for Hyper-V clusters  - made possible with SMB 2.2
  • Support for 32 virtual processors
  • Hyper-V replica - this will replicate Virtual Machines 'on the fly' without any downtime
  • Live migration of VHD's to a different storage location
  • Extended VHD size using the new VHDX file format to bring the size over 2040GB

OK, so the above new features don't mean the death of CSV's or SAN's but it was a nice tagline!! The new SMB 2.2 protocol allows VHD's to be mounted and run in Hyper-V from a simple file share UNC path, thus negating the pre-requisite for a Hyper-V cluster of needing shared storage. You can now 'Live Migrate' between two stand alone Hyper-V servers using file shares!

It is worth noting though that without Shared Storage/Failover Clustering, you wouldn't have High Availability, which is one of the main benefits of clustering!!

It is also worth noting now however, that your storage clustering Kung Fu doesn't need to be that strong any more to avail of the power of Hyper-V Live Migration - although any Hyper-V engineer would do well to know your iSCSI from your Fibre Channels and your MPIO's from your reservations!

With Windows Server 8, we should see an end to my pet hate of manufacturer NIC teaming and the many disagreements I have with my workmates over Microsoft's cagey support of NIC teaming in a Hyper-V environment - particulary on the storage side of things!

If you want to view todays Keynote speech, then click on the link below:

If you would like to download a copy of the Windows 8 client developer preview, then you can do so from the following URL:

Finally, I've only touched the surface of what's been happening over in Build this week and if you want to get a blow by blow account of everything that's happening, then check out Aidan Finn or Hans Vredevoort's blogs as I've found them to be an excellent source of up to date info on what's coming out of the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin,

    A bit more on Win 8 client,

    nice security touches all round.

    Liked your Kung Fu reference, very apt.

    Good article, pity I don't have the money bah!