At the end of this video, the student will learn how to use thin provisioning in Storage Spaces to utilize a storage pool to create a volume that can be spread across multiple drives and servers for expandability and redundancy. The volume can be simple or added using redundancy. The storage will then expand as needed because it starts out with only the amount of storage it is using after creation.
- [Instructor] Thin provisioning allows administrators to add flexibility and redundancy to their storage using storage spaces in Windows Server 2016. Storage spaces works inside storage pools and requires at least one unused disk, not just a volume, to be made available for this feature to work. We see here we have three unused disks of five gigabytes each. When we click on the Storage Pools, we can see that we have something called a Primordial disk, and this means that we have storage available, but we're not using it, and it's primordial because it's similar to the primordial ooze of Earth's early years where anything can be created from it.
During the pool creation, we decide what type of volume we will create as we do this through the wizard. We finally get to the thin provisioning option. We can choose far more storage than we physically have. The volume will fill up as we use it, and we get to our capacity we can add more physical disks as needed, and it will continue to expand. Let's go ahead and create this in Server Manager and in our Storage Pools area.
First, we'll right-click on the Primordial disk and choose New Storage Pool. From here, we'll choose Next, and we'll just give it a name of ThinStorage just so we know what it is. Click Next. We're going to use all three of our disks. We don't have to, but for this exercise it's just easy to use three 5-gigabyte disks for demonstration purposes. Go ahead and click Next and Create.
Now we're going to go down to where it says Virtual Disks, and this should not be confused with virtual machines, because they are two different things. The reason it's a virtual disk is because we've taken three different disks and put them into one, and so it's virtually a disk. Instead, it's physically multiple disks. Let's go ahead and click on create a virtual disk, and we'll select our ThinStorage, and we'll click OK. Now, a new wizard pops up, and we click Next, and we'll click Next, Next, and we'll choose a Parity disk.
That allows us to use three disks and spreads the data out over all three disks. And now we're going to choose Thin instead of Fixed. As it says here, the volume uses space from the storage pool as needed, up to the volume size. Let's go ahead and click Next, and here's the interesting part. We can choose the maximum size, or we can choose a much larger size if we want. Let's go ahead and choose terabytes, and we'll choose one terabyte, and Create.
Now, we don't have one full terabyte of data. We only have about 15 gigabytes, and once it's in parity, we only have 10 usable approximate gigabytes of space. Let's go ahead and choose Next as the new wizard pops up for New Volume. And we can click Next, and the volume size, once again, is 1,024 or one terabyte. We'll choose the drive letter G, and we see we'll go ahead and format the file system with NTFS, and Create.
So, the beauty behind this thin provisioning is the ability to add disks to this at a future date. If we get to the point where we are running out of space, we can throw in another terabyte of hard drive space or more if we choose to, or two or three terabytes. We can also increase the size to even more terabytes of thin storage even though we don't have it yet. So, it's extremely flexible the way we can use thin provisioning, and it's something that administrators can use whenever they need it.
And it's now complete. Go ahead and click Close. And we can see we've got our three 5-gigabyte disks, and out of that we made one thin provisioned terabyte. When we open up our Windows File Explorer, we can see that we have the G drive is one terabyte and ready to be used. However, if we put, say, 30 gigabytes of data on there, then it will prompt us to add more storage, because it will not physically have that much available.
Using thin provisioning gives us excellent storage flexibility and redundancy options we never had in older versions of Windows prior to 2012.
- Working with the Computer Management interface
- Formatting disks and editing files from the command line
- Configuring advanced file services such as BranchCache, auditing, and permissions
- Configuring Dynamic Access Control (DAC)
- Data deduplication
- Storage on Hyper-V
- Setting up Distributed File System (DFS)
- Understanding Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and RAID storage options