Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

Storage management enhancements in Windows Server 2019 bring efficiency to SMBs


HPE-Windows Servers-Storage Managment-SMB-blog.jpgWindows Server 2019 helps you unlock more efficient storage management in a variety of ways. Here's a look at the most important features for SMBs.

Your business probably generates a lot of data—certainly a lot more data than it did even as recently as a decade ago. Graphics, documents, videos, log files. The list of data types your business stores may seem endless. Making that information accessible to the right people at the right time is part of efficient storage, and making the wrong decisions about IT storage infrastructure can have costly consequences for small and midsize businesses.

Windows Server 2019 helps you unlock more efficient storage management in a variety of ways. For instance, it can help transfer data and associated objects from old file servers to more modern hardware, make frequently used data accessible on faster media, and replicate data to various places to keep it backed up. Let's take a look at the most important storage features that Windows Server 2019 offers SMBs.

Migration made easy

In the past, migrating data to a new Windows Server could be quite a chore. Microsoft's Storage Migration Service, which is new to Windows Server 2019, can greatly improve the experience.

The Storage Migration Service is a graphical wizard that quickly transitions files from older versions of Windows Server to Windows Server 2019. This wizard inventories the data on a particular server and moves it to the new one, along with all permissions, history, and configurations. Then, if you so choose, it will decommission the old server and reconfigure the new one to assume the identity of the older machine. This makes the whole operation invisible to your users; they're still connecting to the same server and file shares, unaware that the underpinnings of the server have been essentially transformed.

This wizard removes the ugly process of manually copying data, synchronizing new data on the old server with the transitioned data on the new server, remaking file shares, and painstakingly recreating the correct permissions. What SMBs used to have to hire a consultant to do can now be done in a couple of clicks by anyone who's computer savvy. This feature could pay for your Windows Server Standard license by itself.

Always-available storage

For SMBs, where high availability is a critical operating factor, Windows Server's Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) feature offers a way to cluster two machines so they share load. If one node goes down, the other picks up the slack so clients don't notice any downtime.

The overall cluster can have direct-attached storage, as in a "just a box of disks" (JBOD) configuration, in a variety of specifications, with a mix of fast but more expensive solid state media as well as larger and cheaper, but slower, traditional spinning hard drives. Additionally, with S2D, you can plug off-the-shelf commodity storage hardware into your server and configure it easily so it has the same performance and availability as a SAN that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In Windows Server 2019, these clusters become even more affordable and accessible. Microsoft requires only a single USB stick as a "witness" disk for the cluster, so you no longer need a separate domain-joined machine with domain credentials. This makes having clusters in branch offices and other "edge" locations even more cost-effective, since you don't have to have expensive four-node clusters and overspeced servers to benefit from S2D. In short, Windows Server 2019 makes it easier and cheaper for SMBs to have highly available storage.

Affordable data replication

No storage architecture is complete without backups, and backing up data often involves replication. To that end, Windows Server offers Storage Replica, a feature that's exactly what it sounds like: a way to replicate data in another location. Replicated data is often stored at a secondary data center, or perhaps replicated to a main office if the data was generated at an SMB branch office.

Storage Replica has two modes: synchronous replication, which essentially writes the same data to two different locations simultaneously; and asynchronous replication, which essentially mirrors data between locations at certain intervals.

Storage Replica is now available in the least expensive Windows Server 2019 license, the Standard edition. This makes this critical feature eminently accessible and usable to businesses of all sizes. Additionally, that part of your storage management can now be administered using the new graphical web console, the Windows Admin Center.

The last word

Efficiently managing storage can result in high-performance computing with lower overall costs, which is ideal for small and midsize businesses. See more reasons why Windows Server 2019 on HPE Gen10 servers are right for your business. And learn more about storage architecures to determine which storage architecture is right for your business.

Discover affordable IT solutions for your businessSMB for Dummies.jpg

Ready to take the next step? Check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies Guide. Because there are no “dumb” questions!

Or are you ready to purchase? Visit the HPE Store.




Meet Server Experts blogger Jonathan Hassell, Owner, Salt Rose Marketing LLC. Jonathan Hassell runs Salt Rose Marketing, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, N.C. He's also an editor for O'Reilly Media, specializing in content within the data space.


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