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    Storage Spaces Performance-Windows 8


    Back in March, I did a post on the performance results of storage spaces in Windows 8 as well as the server product.  I think it was pretty obvious that I was really not impressed with either, however the version for Windows 8 was far worse in the area of performance.  Given that it was a beta product, I hoped that it would be improved by the time it hit RTM.  Now that the release preview is out, I was curious as to whether Microsoft had addressed the somewhat poor performance of the beta version, so I wanted to retest key benchmarks so that it could compared it to the beta version.  Below is the link to the original articles for reference.








    Walkthrough and Setup


    For those who have not seen it, here is a quick pictorial walkthrough on creating a Storage spaces volume in Windows 8.  As I did in the original article, I focused on the parity configuration as I feel this is best setup for home server users as well as anyone that needs a large volume but still wants to protect their data.






    Results and Summary


    As you can see from the benchmarks below, the performance is still terrible in most tests.  It got worse on some tests, while others got a bit faster.  The one that is most important to me is the continuous write performance and that was only marginally better.  All in all it is still a disappointment in terms of performance and does not perform on par with its sibling, Server  2012.  The thought of getting slightly better than flash drive performance tells me that this not for serious users.  Of course, it is included with windows and will not cost anything to use it, as opposed to hardware solution, however do not expect decent performance from it at least at this time.  Maybe we will see this addressed in SP1 but as it looks now, unless they have a major tweak to this before RTM it will be a major disappointment in terms of speed.  That said, if you do not care about speed because of your use case, such as a backup source or archive, then you will find this very easy to use and very straight forward.  As I mentioned in the Server 2012 article, the storage spaces volumes are interchangeable meaning that if you have a volume created in Windows 8, it will be read jus fine on Server 2012 and vice versa.  The performance however is significantly different between the two.


    Read my review on Server 2012 performance:



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    This performance is actually just fine for home server style setups. Where is parity really needed? Where you have tons of huge storage. Which comes from a) blurays (slow to rip) or b) downloads (which are quite slow, too). So to fill this pool with, say, blurayquality movies (i have about 6tb of those? to never have to get my bluray out again), it's an efficient redundant storage solution that allows quick access to everything. if i want a redundant storage for data that changes often, i would not use parity. this can be set up on the SAME disks, and both with slim provisioning. so you won't even notice it (except for using a different drive/share in explorer). faster would always be better, but those parity pools will be used for write once read many times kinda setups, anyways (which all huge home storage pools are, typically). so it's quite okay the way it is. but for performance, wait till the final RTM. there might still be debugging stuff active in there.

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    davepermen, I agree that there are different use cases and if the write speed does not bother you then you will love this feature. It took over 35 mins to copy a blu-ray which normally takes 5-6 mins so for me the price is to high. As for your comment on parity, my personal though is that everyone should be running it but then again, I used to use duplication in V1. I still want an ability to recover from a failed drive as it has happened already. It all boils down what you are looking for. I used my own use case for testing as for me I use only mirrors and RAID 5/parity for larger volumes. If someone is only using a mirror, the performance will fine. Thanks for comment and a good point. Mike

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    OK so the final RTM code is out now, and I'm revamping my home setup, so I thought I'd give Storage Spaces a whirl as it beats waiting for an Intel RST RAID set to initialise. So, I'm currently testing two systems side by side, one is running Windows Server 2012 Essentials, on a C206 chipset board, with a quad-core i5, 8Gb and 6 x 1Tb 5400RPM drives in a Storage Spaces pool. The other is running Windows Storage Server 2012 on a dual core Atom, with 8Gb and 4 x 2Tb 5400RPM drives using Intel motherboard RAID. Using CrystalDiskMark, the Atom is getting sequential reads of 220MB/s and writes of 140MB/s Given the massive disparity in CPU power, more drives and the reputed poor performance of Intel RST, one would hope that Storage Spaces would give it a good run for its money.... drum roll..... The mighty i5 used its processing muscle to power away and score... 127MB/s read and a whopping 29 MB/s write. That's beyond poor. Yes its convenient and flexible, but if that convenience comes at the cost of an 4 -5 fold drop in performance, what's the point. Its difficult to know how MS could have made the performance SO bad.

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    OK, so the Intel RST RAID 5 has just finished initialising on the server I tried Storage Spaces on, so for a direct comparison on identical hardware and software... Storage Spaces : 127MB/s read and 29MB/s write Intel RST RAID : 401MB/s read and 208MS/s write. Now unless Storage Spaces also needs a lengthy initialisation process before its actually ready to use that isn't mentioned in its management GUI, then that's quite a gulf in performance, and quite a price to pay for the ease of use and flexibility

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