Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Review

A great solution for fostering the natural expansion of the traditional hybrid culture


What is our primary use case?

There are specific use cases. For the time being, most of our customers use this solution to foster the natural expansion of the traditional hybrid culture. There are two versions: they can use the hybrid form and sometimes they use the development VMware form. The goal is to optimize the cost for the data expanse, to expand the expenses. That's why the VMware customers have trouble with VMware, because of the expansive high maintenance fees.

Primarily, our customers use this solution for site recovery. They are using the STD platform to form a hybrid-converged infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The flash ability, in terms of tiering and caching, is amazing. 

Traditionally, when you use other storage solutions, when you tier, you need to get a license. There are some limitations to tiering with this solution. You have got the caching media, for example. For Microsoft, as long as the hardware is still certified or in the server, you can use it. Most vendors, including Dell, IBM, and Fuji Shield include plenty of hardware that you can use which is certified for Microsoft Windows. 

What needs improvement?

Most of the VMware customers I have been engaging with say they have experienced engagement problems. VMware is trying to sell off the VMware enterprise cost and the whole solution is being sold down to a customer, whereas, usually they would try to intentionally avoid talking about the related Windows license. 

It's not very eye-catching but it's still sizable and we have implemented several Storage Spaces Direct projects for our customers. Currently, we're working hard to replace some of the special storage and hopefully even replace the harder converged storage, etc.

Documentation management could be improved. 

The reason why this product is not being widely accepted by the public is that it doesn't include intuitive streamline, which makes it far from complete.

Storage Spaces Direct is powerful and the performance is amazing, but if you need to deliver a high price-performance ratio and visible performance, you need to have expertise in tuning. Many people will not be able to enjoy this opportunity because it's not included in the training. In this case, you need to have a system integrator.  

A Complete management UI using a web-based interface would be a beneficial feature. They should also use a direct API — currently, they are only using partial API. Often, our customers need to work with other web-based solutions, so they require full API. I am writing my own API for this reason, and our customers are ok with that, but full API would be a very helpful feature that would lead to much more customer satisfaction.

Microsoft should provide support for other channels. Microsoft OS supports other channels, but when they become the S2D storage solution, it's very easy to customize the quality. Technically, you can switch channels and replace your storage, but you will need to store away all of the fiber channel equipment, the hardware, and the cables, which can be very expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct for at least three and a half years.

We have been implementing Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct for several customers. And personally, I'm the architect of Microsoft at my location.

I am the chief architect of this project. I am also the architect of the internal production house. We are in charge of implementing Storage Spaces Direct into the solution.

How was the initial setup?

In order to implement Storage Spaces Direct, you need to have a very comprehensive understanding of storage. High-speed storage networks require fine-tuning in order to function optimally. For this reason, all storage, aisles, and tiering need to be finely-tuned.

Technical companies and vendors that only have Microsoft training, will only implement the software side, ignoring the hardware side. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's a one-off price. Storage Space Direct is a bundled feature of the Windows server. There are no on-going costs and of course, you can purchase the software through it and enjoy the free upgrades. There are no underlying hidden costs, etc. because it is all included in Windows.

What other advice do I have?

This solution has an on-premise clouding bridge, but actively, there is no cloud version. 

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine. For me, it's very difficult to deal with marketing, I need to handle it for Microsoft. When we try to engage with customers, they are not interested because Microsoft doesn't have the corresponding credit, and due to this, we lose customers. If I am going to be confident enough to promote this Microsoft solution, I need my customer to have 100% trust in me. I am not comfortable promoting this solution to new customers. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

Mini-server 2019
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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