Windows Server Adds Storage Capabilities

Microsoft has added more storage-related capabilities to Windows Server 2003 to makes SANs less complex to deploy and manage.

April 2, 2004

2 Min Read
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Microsoft has added more storage-related capabilities to Windows Server 2003 to makes SANs less complex to deploy and manage.

Among the new features that will be unveiled at next week's Storage Networking World tradeshow is Microsoft's Fibre Channel Information Tool. The tool identifies storage components and gathers component information across multiple storage fabrics and from multiple vendors, according to Claude Lorenson, Microsoft's technical product manager for storage technologies for Windows Server 2003. The tool gets information about drivers and firmware in use, and reduces the need for third-party tools, he added.

Microsoft is also releasing storage tracing support on Windows 2003, which consolidates tracing and logging mechanisms and downloads them to a single file. This in turn is supposed to be an easier way to debug or troubleshoot. It's also preferable than trying to do a live debugging of SAN, which can impact network performance, Lorenson explained.

Tracing support will be available on Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 and will be supported by Adaptec, Emulex, Intel, LSO Logic and QLogic, Microsoft said.

The vendor is also adding to its IP-SAN support with a data center edition of its iSCSI architecture for Window Server 2003. Microsoft has already certified13 vendors for the data center edition.Microsoft is also releasing Multipath I/O to provide multiple links between Windows servers and storage components for improved failover and reliability, which till now has been largely Fibre Channel's domain.

"A lot of customers have isolated servers not attached to their SAN, and they'd like them to be," said Lorenson. "But the cost of running a Fibre Channel link or a host bus adapter is not very economical for one or two servers."

All this tracks very closely with what Microsoft has been doing in the storage sector during the last 18 months--making it easier to use Windows 2003 in SAN environments, said Nancy Marrone-Hurley, senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. "None of them are momentous new technologies, just new features that make it easier to implement SANs and manage in the Windows OS," she added.

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