What are the main storage-related changes expected in Hyper-V 3 with the release of Windows Server 2012?
Hyper-V 3.0, which is expected to be released this fall with Windows Server 2012, will feature a number of storage-related improvements. One such improvement is that Windows Server 2012 will support the SMB 2.2 protocol. What this means for storage is that because the protocol is more efficient than previous versions of SMB, it will be possible to store virtual machines on file servers rather than having to use direct-attached storage or Fibre Channel/iSCSI-attached storage.
Another new Hyper-V 3.0 feature is file system deduplication, which has tremendous potential. There is usually a lot of redundancy among virtual machines. For instance, each virtual machine might have the same operating system files. Deduplication will allow virtual machines to consume far less physical storage space, leading to a smaller overall storage footprint. This creates higher consolidation rates and lower storage costs, and in some cases it makes using solid-state storage affordable.
Live Storage Migration, another new feature, has big promise. The current version of Hyper-V has the ability to move a virtual machine's components between volumes on a host server using a process called Quick Storage Migration. The problem is that doing so causes a service disruption. Live Storage Migration will allow virtual machine storage to be moved without interruption.
And, finally, there's Shared Nothing Live Migration, which is the most exciting of all of the new Hyper-V 3.0 features. It will eliminate the need for shared storage in Hyper-V and will be most beneficial to small and midsize companies. Larger organizations will probably continue to use shared storage for performance reasons.
This was first published in October 2012