Implementing a Storage Infrastructure in Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 provides several new features and tools for storage management and security. You can use the DFS enhancements and FSRM to administer, manage, and configure file servers. The enhanced features of DFS provide you with the ability to restructure DFS namespaces, delegate, and set a different target priority for different servers hosting the same information. The DFS replication feature has increased scalability and supports prestaging of servers. You can use FSRM suite of tools to control and manage the quantity of data stored on the servers within a network. You can also use FSRM console to perform various functions, such as limiting the size of the folder, preventing specific information from being saved, analyzing disk space usage, and configuring e-mail notifications.

You can use features such as Encrypted File System (EFS), globally unique identifier (GUID) partition tables, and BitLocker to provide effective security for data storage. You can use EFS to encrypt files and folders. You can store user certificates and recovery certificates for EFS on smart cards by using Windows Server 2008. You can use the GUID partition table disk partitioning style to support volumes up to a size of 18 exabytes (EB) and up to 128 partitions per disk. You can use BitLocker Drive Encryption to encrypt the contents of the boot volume of a computer running Windows Server 2008.

DFS combines multiple file shares into a single file. You can also use DFS to replicate information between servers and increase the availability of files. DFS namespaces provide folder structure that is visible to users when they browse through the DFS file structure. You can host a namespace on multiple servers for fault tolerance.

DFS provides various benefits to users, such as a simplification of access to files and folders stored on multiple file servers, simplification of the maintenance process, reducing of the use of network bandwidth, and uninterrupted access to file share even after a server failure. You can use DFS to publish and collect files and to ensure loose collaboration.

There are two types of DFS namespaces, namely domain-based namespace and stand-alone namespace. You can create a DFS namespace by selecting the shared folders that need to be added to the namespace. You also need to create additional folders within a namespace. Then, you need to define a folder target to direct users to data.

You need to deploy and manage DFS namespace by using the DFS management utility. You can select a domain-based namespace or a stand-alone namespace, depending on the scalability requirements. After creating the namespace, you can create folders inside the namespace to create a directory structure.

You can use DFS to support replication scheduling and to control use of network bandwidth. DFS replication uses a new compression algorithm called RDC to synchronize files between computers. To begin the DFS replication process, you need to first replicate the topology and DFS replication settings across all domain controllers. Only file updates and new files are replicated to minimize network utilization.

You can control the replication of DFS content by using the DFS Management console. You can pre-configure different folders within the namespace. When you create the shared folder, you can specify the path of the shared folder and the permissions that the users are going to have to the folder. After all the tasks for replication have been completed, replication begins after the replication moves throughout the Active Directory domain.

You can install FSRM as an optional Role Service when you add the File Services role in Windows Server 2008. You can use FSRM to create quotas, apply auto quotas, file screening, define quota and file screening templates, and generate scheduled or on-demand storage reports. Some of the important management components include quota node, file screening node, and storage reports management node.

You can install the File Server Resource Manager component by using the File Server Role. On the Storage Reports tab, you can modify and configure the default parameters for incident reports that are generated when a user exceeds a quota threshold or attempts to save an unauthorized file. By using quota templates, you can pre-define various quota properties. Quota templates also help to simplify the implementation of storage policy changes by providing one central point where you can make all updates.

You can use Quota Management to create quotas to limit the amount of space allowed for a volume or folder and generate notifications when the quota limits are approached or exceeded. You can use the Quota Management to define quota templates that can be easily applied to new volumes or folders that are used across your storage infrastructure. You can use FSRM quotas to track and control disk usage based on per-folder or per-volume. Disk quotas are used to track and control disk usage based on per-user/per-volume.

You can configure file screens in a File Server Resource Manager. Under the File Screening Management node, you can create file screens, configure file screen templates, and configure file groups. You can configure file groups to either include specific file types or exclude specific file types. You can generate storage reports in the Storage Reports Management node of FSRM. You can use storage reports to monitor the pattern of disk usage, identify duplicate files and dormant files, track quota usage, and audit file screening.

iSCSI is an industry standard that enables organizations to deliver both messaging traffic and SCSI block commands over the existing IP network by using the TCP/IP protocol. Windows Server 2008 provides features such as iSCSI initiator, MPIO, and iSNS that support iSCSI-based SAN implementations.

You can configure the iSCSI initiator on a server that initiates the connection to the iSCSI device, which is called a target. You can perform any operation by using the iSCSI initiator by using the GUI. Multipathing provides failover by the use of redundant physical path components, such as adapters, cables, and switches, between the server and storage device. iSNS is an optional feature that provides naming and resource discovery services for storage devices on the IP network. iSNS builds upon both IP and Fibre Channel technologies.

Windows Server 2008 provides several MMC snap-in tools such as Storage Explorer and SMfS. You can use these tools to create, manage, and monitor Fiber Channel and iSCSI disk drive subsystems. You can use the Storage Explorer to configure storage targets and initiators for iSCSI-based SANs. To use SMfS for managing Fiber Channel or iSCSI SAN solutions, you need to ensure that the server and storage subsystems fulfill the certain requirements, such as use of WHQL qualified VDS hardware provider for each storage subsystem.

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