Adding Physical disks to Windows 2012 Server

Since I have a terrible memory for such things, I have to keep notes for myself on How-Tos. A video is at the bottom that illustrates the process (if I can’t read it, at least I’ll see it) 🙂

This blog will walk through the process flow of adding Physical disks to Windows 2012 Server. I have already provisioned three disks via VMware (we won’t be covering this)

• Initialize new disks
• Create storage spaces, disks, and volumes with Server Manager
• Create volumes with the Disk Management snap-in

You use two different tools to bring three new disks online and initialize them in preparation for creating storage volumes.

Use the File and Storage Services submenu in Server Manager

1. In Server Manager, in the File and Storage Services submenu, click Volumes.
2. When Volumes home page appears, choose Disks. The Disks page appears. In our example, its showing one online disk and three offline disks.

3. Right-click the offline disk number 1 and, from the context menu, select Bring Online. A message box appears, warning you not to bring the disk online if it is already online and connected to another server.
4. When click Yes, the disk’s status changes to Online.
5. Right-click the same offline disk number 1 and, from the context menu, select Initialize. A message box appears, warning you that any data on the disk will be erased.
6. Click Yes. The disk is partitioned and ready to create volumes.
7. In Server Manager, click Tools > Computer Management. The Computer Management console appears.
8. In the left pane, click Disk Management. The Disk Management snap-in appears .

Using the Disk Management snap-in

9. Right-click the Disk 2 tile and, from the context menu, select Online.
10. Right-click the Disk 2 tile a second time and, from the context menu, select Initialize Disk. The Initialize Disk dialog box appears.
11. Select the GPT (GUID Partition Table) option and click OK. The Disk 2 status changes to Online.
12. Repeat steps 9 to 11 to initialize Disk 3.

You can use two methods to create simple volumes, using Server Manager and the Disk Management snap-in.
Server Manager and Disk Management both provide wizards for creating simple volumes, with similar capabilities.

1. In Server Manager, in the File and Storage Services submenu, click Volumes. The Volumes home page appears.
2. Click Tasks > New Volume. The New Volume Wizard appears, displaying the Before you begin page.
3. Click Next. The Select the server and disk page appears.
4. Select Disk 1 and click Next. The Specify the size of the volume page appears.
5. In the Volume size text box, type 10 and click Next. The Assign to a drive letter or folder page appears.
6. Click Next. The Select file system settings page appears.
7. Click Next. The Confirm selections page appears.
8. Click Create. The Completion page appears.
9. Click Close. The new volume appears in the Volumes pane.
10. Switch to the Computer Management console. The new volume you just created appears in the Disk 1 pane of the Disk Management snap-in.
11. Right-click the unallocated space on Disk 2 and, from the context menu, select New Simple Volume. The New Simple Volume Wizard appears, displaying the Welcome page.
12. Click Next. The Specify Volume Size page appears.
13. In the Simple volume size in MB spin box, type 10000 and click Next. The Assign Drive Letter or Path page appears.
14. Click Next. The Format Partition page appears.
15. Click Next. The Completing the New Simple Volume Wizard page appears.
16. Click Finish. The wizard creates the volume, and it appears in the Disk 2 pane.
17. Create a 10 GB simple volume on disk 3 with the drive letter G: using Windows PowerShell.

Creating a Storage Pool – Storage pools are a new feature in Windows Server 2012, which enable you to create a flexible storage subsystem with various types of fault tolerance.

Use the Server Manager console to create a storage pool, which consists of space from multiple physical disks.

The Storage Pools home page
1. In Server Manager, on the File and Storage Services submenu, click Storage Pools. The Storage Pools home page appears.
2. In the Storage Pools tile, click Tasks > New Storage Pool. The New Storage Pool Wizard appears, displaying the Before you begin page.
3. Click Next. The Specify a storage pool name and subsystem page appears.
4. In the Name text box, type Pool1 and click Next. The Select physical disks for the storage pool page appears.
5. Select the check boxes for PhysicalDisk1 and PhysicalDisk2 in the list and click Next. The Confirm selections page appears.
6. Click Create. The wizard creates the storage pool.
7. Click Close. The new pool appears in the Storage Pools tile.
8. Select Pool1.
9. In the Virtual Disks tile, click Tasks > New Virtual Disk. The New Virtual Disk Wizard appears, displaying the Before you begin page.
10. Click Next. The Select the storage pool page appears.
11. Click Next. The Specify the virtual disk name page appears.
12. In the name text box, type Data1 and click Next. The Select the storage layout page appears.
13. In the layout list, select Parity and click Next. A warning appears, stating that the storage pool does not contain a sufficient number of physical disks to support the Parity layout.

14. In the layout list, select Mirror and click Next. The Specify the provisioning type page appears.
15. Leave the default Fixed option selected and click Next. The Specify the size of the virtual disk page appears.
16. In the Virtual disk size text box, type 10 and click Next. The Confirm selections page appears.
17. Click Create. The wizard creates the virtual disk and the View results page appears. Deselect the Create a volume when this wizard closes option.
18. Click Close. The virtual disk appears on the Storage Pools page.
19. In the Virtual Disks tile, right-click the Data1 disk you just created and, from the context menu, select New Volume. The New Volume Wizard appears.
20. Using the wizard, create a volume on Disk 4 (Data1) using all of the available space, the NTFS file system, and the drive letter J:

AddPhyDisk_2_Pool_WinSrv2012.mp4

Setting Round-Robin Multipathing Policy in VMware ESXi 6.0

Storage Array Type Plugins (SATP) and Path Selection Plugins (PSP) are part of the VMware APIs for Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA). The SATP has all the knowledge of the storage array to aggregate I/Os across multiple channels and has the intelligence to send failover commands when a path has failed. The Path Selection Policy can be either “Fixed”, “Most Recently Used” or “Round Robin”.

If a VMware VM is using RDM with All Flash Arrays, then the Round Robin policy should be used. Furthermore, inside the Linux kernel (VM), the noop IO scheduler should be used. Both need to executed for proper throughput.

As a best practice, the preferred method to set Round Robin policy, is to create a rule that will allow any newly added FlashArray device, to automatically set the Round Robin PSP and an IO Operation Limit value of 1. In this blog I’ll refer to the PureStorage array for setting Round Robin policy as well as setting IO limit.

The following command creates a rule that achieves both of these for only Pure Storage FlashArray devices:

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s “VMW_SATP_ALUA” -V “PURE” -M “FlashArray” -P”VMW_PSP_RR” -O “iops=1”

This must be repeated for each ESXi host.
This can also be accomplished through PowerCLI. Once connected to a vCenter Server this script will iterate through all of the hosts in that particular vCenter and create a default rule to set Round Robin for all Pure Storage FlashArray devices with an I/O Operation Limit set to 1.

$hosts = get-vmhost
foreach ($esx in $hosts)
{
$esxcli=get-esxcli -VMHost $esx
$esxcli.storage.nmp.satp.rule.add($null, $null, “PURE FlashArray RR IO Operation Limit
Rule”, $null, $null, $null, “FlashArray”, $null, “VMW_PSP_RR”, “iops=1”, “VMW_SATP_ALUA”,
$null, $null, “PURE”)
}

It is important to note that existing, previously presented devices will need to be either manually set to Round Robin and an I/O Operation Limit of 1 or unclaimed and reclaimed through either a reboot of the host or through a manual device reclaim process so that it can inherit the configuration set forth by the new rule. For setting a new I/O Operation Limit on an existing device, use the following procedure:

The first step is to change the particular device to use the Round Robin PSP. This must be done on every ESXi host and can be done with through the vSphere Web Client, the Pure Storage Plugin for the vSphere Web Client or via command line utilities.

Via esxcli:
esxcli storage nmp device set -d naa. –psp=VMW_PSP_RR

Note that changing the PSP using the Web Client Plugin is the preferred option as it will automatically configure Round Robin across all of the hosts. Note that this does not set the IO Operation Limit to 1. That is a command line option only, and must be done separately.

Round Robin can also be set on a per-device, per-host basis using the standard vSphere Web Client actions. The procedure to setup Round Robin policy for a Pure Storage volume. Note that this does not set the IO Operation Limit it 1 which is a command line option only—this must be done separately.

The IO Operations Limit cannot be checked from the vSphere Web Client—it can only be verified or altered via command line utilities. The following command can check a particular device for the PSP and IO Operations Limit:

esxcli storage nmp device list -d naa.

To set a device that is pre-existing to have an IO Operation limit of one, run the following command:

esxcli storage nmp psp roundrobin deviceconfig set -d naa. -I 1 -t iops