This content is part of the Essential Guide: Should you migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2?

Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Spaces addresses storage growth demands

Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Spaces offers an alternative to traditional SAN storage and includes updates for virtualizing shared storage.

What is Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Spaces? What capabilities does Storage Spaces bring to the data center and storage management?

Storage Spaces is Microsoft's answer to storage virtualization and software-defined storage, allowing enterprise data centers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 to virtualize shared storage for provisioning and management.

Storage Spaces Storage Spaces relies on inexpensive disk arrays like Just a Bunch of Disks, as opposed to SAN architectures that are often proprietary and expensive. The goal is to address the growth of storage demands that new applications and services require, the proliferation of virtual endpoint devices, enormous growth in big data and the growth of cloud tasks with simpler storage resources.

Storage Spaces works with shared serial-attached SCSI (SAS) JBOD arrays, using dual-port SAS drives for redundant backplanes and multipath I/O capabilities. It also can support large capacity, low-cost conventional magnetic hard drives and solid-state drive (SSD) devices for high-performance enterprise storage tasks.

Storage Spaces virtualizes the shared storage into pools. Virtual disks (actually called storage spaces) are then provisioned from the available storage capacity of the virtualized pools. Storage can be added to the pool over time, as capacity needs change, and resulting virtual disks can be tiered, protected and managed through the Windows Storage Management API in Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and Windows PowerShell or through the File and Storage Services role in Server Manager.

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