Using Windows Server Storage Spaces with Amazon EBS
SPL-97 Version 1.2
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This lab leads you through the steps to launch an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance using an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) add multiple disks to the instance and build a tiered storage pool with SSD and magnetic volumes. You will also create a virtual disk using the storage pool and perform a basic IOPS test operation on a mounted volume. At the end of this lab, you will understand how to build a virtual disk pool with different storage tiers using Amazon EBS and Windows Storage Spaces and see how to connect to Storage Spaces from another machine via iSCSI.
Storage pools may be clustered, but clustered pools must be based on Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) connected physical disks. Clustered Storage Spaces on top of Amazon EBS are not supported by Microsoft. Although Amazon EBS has higher durability than ordinary disk drives, the upshot is that even with multiple EBS volumes in a Storage Space, they still must be attached to a single Windows Server instance.
By the end of this lab, you will be able to:
- Set up a Windows Server 2016 Amazon EC2 Instance
- Add Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and magnetic disk types*.*
- Build a tiered storage pool with SSD and magnetic disks
- Create a virtual disk using the storage pool with storage tier
- Connect to the disk from a client computer (another Amazon EC2 instance) using iSCSI
- Mount and perform a basic IOPS test operation on the volume
Technical knowledge prerequisites
This lab assumes you have basic familiarity with Windows Server.
This lab assumes that you are using Windows operating system, which comes with Windows Remote Desktop Connection that you can use as your RDP client. If you are on another operating system, You can use one of the following Remote Desktop Applications:
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)
Amazon EBS allows you to create storage volumes and attach them to Amazon EC2 instances. You can then create a file system on top of these volumes, run a database or use them in any other way you would use a block device. When you create an Amazon EBS volume, you specify its Availability Zone. EBS volumes are automatically replicated in the same Availability Zone to protect you from the failure of a single component. Amazon EBS provides three volume types: General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), and Magnetic. The three volume types differ in performance characteristics and cost. You can choose the right storage type based on the needs of your applications. All Amazon EBS volume types offer the same durable snapshot capabilities and are designed for 99.999% availability.
Amazon EBS General Purpose (SSD) volumes
General Purpose (SSD) volumes are the default Amazon EBS volume type for Amazon EC2 instances. General Purpose (SSD) volumes are backed by solid-state drives (SSDs) and are suitable for a broad range of workloads, including small- to medium-sized databases, development and test environments, and boot volumes. General Purpose (SSD) volumes provide the ability to burst up to 10,000 IOPS per volume, independent of volume size, to meet the performance needs of most applications. General Purpose (SSD) volumes also deliver a consistent baseline of 3 IOPS/GB and provide up to 160 MBps of throughput per volume. I/O is included in the price of General Purpose (SSD) volumes, so you pay only for each GB of storage you provision.
If you need a larger number of IOPS than the General Purpose (SSD) volumes provide, or you have a workload where performance consistency is critical, we recommend that you use Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes.
Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes
Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes offer storage with consistent, low-latency performance and are designed for applications with I/O-intensive workloads, such as databases. Backed by solid-state drives (SSDs), Provisioned IOPS volumes support up to 30 IOPS per GB, which enables you to provision 20,000 IOPS. You can also achieve up to 320 MBps of throughput per volume.
To maximize the benefit of Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes, we recommend that you use Amazon EBS-optimized EC2 instances. When attached to Amazon EBS-optimized instances, Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes can achieve single-digit millisecond latencies and are designed to deliver the provisioned performance 99.9% of the time. For more information about instance types that can be launched as Amazon EBS-optimized instances, see Amazon EC2 Instance Types.
For more information about Amazon EBS performance guidelines, see Amazon EBS Performance Tips.
Amazon EBS Magnetic volumes
Magnetic volumes provide the lowest cost per GB of all Amazon EBS volume types. Magnetic volumes are backed by magnetic drives and are ideal for workloads where data is accessed infrequently and in scenarios where low storage cost is important. Magnetic volumes provide approximately 100 IOPS on average, with an ability to burst to hundreds of IOPS.
If you need a greater number of IOPS or higher performance than a Magnetic volume will provide, we recommend that you consider Amazon EBS General Purpose (SSD) or Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes.
Storage Tiering is the mechanism by which you can use multiple disk types, such as SSDs and magnetic drives (also called hard-disk drives, or HDDs), to create a disk pool and further create a virtual disk. This virtual disk automatically tries to categorize the data based on its frequency of use, size, etc., and puts it on the most suitable physical disk beneath the virtual disk. This helps optimize the storage and cuts costs by mixing high-performance disk drives and standard disk drives and still achieves the best possible performance.
For example, with storage tiering, you can create a storage pool by using a 1-TB magnetic drive and a 100-GB SSD drive. After you create a virtual disk using this pool, the SSD drive acts as a buffer to the magnetic drive, and the system will automatically decide where to put data based on its importance. As a result, the data that is accessed most often is automatically classified and moved to the SSD drive, and the data that is not used very often is pushed to the slower magnetic drive. The entire activity happens transparently in the background. (A magnetic drive is referred to as an HDD, or hard disk drive, in Windows Server.)
Windows Server Storage Spaces
Windows Server Storage Spaces is the technology in Windows and Windows Server that lets you virtualize storage by grouping regular hard disks into storage pools and creating virtual disks within the pool. These virtual disks are called storage spaces. This functionality was first introduced in Windows Server 2016. Windows Server Storage Spaces also lets you do storage tiering by using different types of disks. In this lab, you will use Windows Server Storage Spaces to create virtual disks that use different types of Amazon EBS volumes.
Application Machine Images (AMIs) and instances
Amazon EC2 provides templates known as Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that contain a software configuration (for example, an operating system or an application server). You use these templates to launch an instance, which is a copy of the AMI running as a virtual server in the cloud.
You can launch multiple instances and different types of instances from a single AMI. An instance type essentially determines the hardware capabilities of the virtual host computer for your instance. Each instance type offers different compute and memory capabilities. Select an instance type based on the amount of memory and computing power that you need for the application or software that you plan to run on the instance.
Your instance keeps running until you stop or terminate it, or until it fails. If an instance fails, you can launch a new one from the AMI.
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