If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
You need to evaluate what your requirements are because the market is moving on with the cloud. You need to look at which cloud you are going with. If you're going with Microsoft cloud, it's good to go with the Storage Spaces Direct. But you need to see how it compares in the market right now. Look at the industry reviews that have already been done. If you look at industry reports, Storage Spaces Direct is not at the highest, leading level right now. Nutanix or VxRail are the market leaders for hyper-converged right now, overall. You need to see their roadmap and how they are going to proceed in the next two to three years. What I see from Microsoft is the Azure Stack coming on-prem, and that will be a refreshment for Storage Spaces Direct. The biggest lesson I have learned from using the solution is don't go with the two-node solution. I would rate it at six out of 10. It depends upon our use cases; where I'm using it. I initially went with a two-node and I had to break the cluster and build it completely from scratch to expand it.
Anyone considering this solution should make sure that they test the features that they are specifically looking for to be confident that the solution has all the capabilities that they need. This is the advice I always give all participants in the events and the training that I conduct. Users need to be comfortable with a solution that they are choosing and they have to make their choices for good reasons. You need to be exposed to it and do not just jump into any solution without being trained on it and learning more about it. Do not make excuses just for a chance to buy any solution made by any brand. That, of course, includes Storage Spaces Direct right. On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct as a seven-out-of-ten in general as a product. The reason for this rating is that there are both good things and some things that can be improved. From a cost perspective, Storage Spaces Direct is probably one of the most affordable. In terms of reliability, scalability, performance, security and so forth, it is definitely very good. The areas that I think they need to do better with are definitely in the area of the sizing tool, the documentation, and training for the customers. I feel they do not have enough training for the customers or for the partners who are also learning the solution and need to have a broad understanding. When considering a product, it is not the technology alone that people should evaluate. They should evaluate the whole package if you want to get the right solution. They should learn about the people that they have to work and interact with when using the technology. Not everyone gets to go to Ignite in the US to learn directly from the product team. Many people have to depend on learning from the locals in their own country and the exposure of these local experts to higher-level training is still very limited.
Croatia is relatively small and we don't have many big companies. The most common implementation has 10 or 20 terabytes of storage, but you don't need high performance for all of it. Often, you only need the best performance for running a database that is perhaps one terabyte in size. The ideal thing would be to have this solution work with Windows standard licensing. For larger installations, it will be very good to have access to all of the Windows data center features. On the other hand, if you only have four or five virtual machines running in a hyper-converged cluster then you don't gain much from the data center licensing. It would be very useable with the standard license. Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct definitely has its advantages, especially with robustness and scalability. The main reason that we have not implemented this solution or put it into production is because of the pricing. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Stop using mechanical spinning disks; it costs more in the long run for all the performance challenges. Consider iWarp if you don't already have advanced experience with successful RoCE (DCB, PFC) deployments.