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Windows Server 2012 Storage Virtualization Explained

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Windows Server 2012Storage Space subsystem now virtualizes storage by abstracting multiple physical disks into a logical construct with specified capacity. The process is to group selected physical disks into a container, the so-called storage pool, such that the total capacity collectively presented by those associated physical disks can appear and become manageable as a single and seemingly continuous space. Subsequently a storage administrator creates a virtual disk based on a storage pool, configure a storage layout which is essentially a RAID level, and expose the storage of the virtual disk as a drive letter or a mapped folder in Windows Explorer.

With multiple disks presented collectively as one logical entity, i.e. a storage pool, Windows Server 2012 can act as a RAID controller for configuring a virtual disk based on the storage pool as software RAID. However the scalability, resiliency, and optimization that the Storage Space subsystem delivers are much more than just what a software RAID offers. Therefore Windows Server 2012 presents Storage Space subsystem as a set of natively supported storage virtualization and optimization capabilities and not just software RIAD, per se. I am using the term, software RAID, here to convey a well-known concept, however not as an equivalent set of capabilities to those of Storage Space subsystem.

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