(this is a guest post by Tenox)
I used to use Veritas products (Volume Manager, File System and Cluster) professionally for quite a long time on Solaris and HP-UX. Except for Cluster, the software was exceptional for it’s time. Unfortunately after acquisition by Symantec and advancements of other storage technologies such as ZFS, the product suite disappeared from the radar completely.
Back to present time, I have a small x64 server that I use primarily as a NAS box plus run some applications, services and a few VMs. The machine runs Windows 2012 R2 Server which, for most parts I really like, with an exception of the storage stack, namely Storage Spaces. This is a completely botched feature both from functionality and management point of view. I don’t want to rant about it too much about it, so I just leave it as non working.
Unable work with Microsoft Bob of storage I have been looking for different alternatives, from using the Windows built-in VDS RAID-5 option, to moving entirely to a different OS. This is when I remembered that, some (OMFG!) 10 years ago Symantec has announced free Storage Foundation Basic, also available on Windows. Still continued and supported to this day, so obviously I wanted to give it a spin and evaluate whether it makes any sense to use such a dinosaur in a modern world.
I spun up a Windows 2012 R2 guest vm, added some data disks, downloaded the latest version 6.1 (released in 2014) from here and ran the installer.
Unfortunately just after after few steps I have ran in to an issue with updating the product automatically.
Whoa! This is actually the first time that I see a GUI from Veritas. I always only used command line apps memorizing hundreds of cryptic switches and options. This was fun years ago, now having a GUI is a refreshing touch.
So let’s get to business and create a Volume Group and a Volume:
The log option for RAID-5 volume is pretty interesting feature, as it protects from RAID Write Hole problem. Unfortunately it can’t be placed on something like the boot device, but perhaps a small size SSD could be used for it. Beware of wear level though.
At this point I was little surprised to find out that VxFS was not available, as I was really counting on this feature to be present. Unfortunately looks like VxFS is no longer available for Windows. Also worth noting is that I don’t see a selection for ReFS which is supposed to be available in Windows 2012 R2. Not that I care since ReFS is a great companion of Microsoft Bob.
This is how a volume looks like after it’s created:
Volume view and some available options:
Also all the command line tools of VXVM are present on Windows and bring back good memories:
Very old, tested, reliable and trusted stack.
As opposed to Storage Spaces, it actually works.Has an additional RAID-5 transaction log protecting from RWH and speeding up recovery time dramatically.
For something like $99 you can get a full support for a year for it. Unknown whether they fix bugs.
A dinosaur, probably at it’s last breath. It’s probably going to meet Norton Commander in the software heaven soon.
Doesn’t support RAID6 and the “basic” version doesn’t have all the cool features.
Will I replace Storage Spaces on my server? If it goes like it goes so far then quite likely. However Server 2016 is only a year from now, I will most likely want to upgrade to it and I highly doubt that VXVM will be compatible with it.