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back to article Array slinger X-IO jumps on Windows Storage Server filly, digs in heels

Array supplier X-IO will run Windows Storage Server 2012 inside its data vaults in hope of a Redmond-assisted sales boost. The operating system software and X-IO's Integrated Storage Element (ISE) disk box have been brought together to power the new File Storage Controller (FSC) 2200: a sealed, five-year maintenance-free …

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Windows

Would you want your storage array running windows ?

This is by no means a pop/cheap dig at MS. I live in a world populated by EMC, 3PAR for enterprise and the occasional QNAP device for office and home, but I'd like to ask a question of anyone actually running storage server 2012 ( or even 2008 ).

As the base operating system is Win 2012 ( or 2008 ) aren't you perpetually having to reboot nodes on Patch Tuesday and does this fill you with dread ?

I'm naturally aware that HP and EMC's offering also have patches, firmware updates etc but the frequency is far lower. Also are you deploying HIDS and other agents to these nodes ( i.e. obligatory windows security products ) and would you consider the the risk vector higher by running your storage server on windows..

I'm not trolling, just genuinely curious as I have no experience in the Windows Storage Server space at enterprise level. Does anyone ?

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Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

Also not trolling, but is the lower frequency of HP/EMC patches because they have less, or because they release them less often? Less frequent patch release can mean a more secure product, or it can mean a product that's insecure for longer (n.b. not trying to have a go at Windows or HP/EMC here, just saying).

Also, bear in mind that if you're using this, you're probably a big Windows server shop anyway, so most of the infrastructure is being rebooted on patch Tuesday anyway.

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Bronze badge

Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

I think ease of integration - HP also uses windows storage server as their base for the "file services" module for the 3PAR (and other HP) arrays (they do this even though they have IBRIX - there is an IBRIX module for 3PAR as well but the "official" file services module is windows-based - I'm sure it is because IBRIX SMB support sucks).

I'd expect that patches are far fewer (vs general windows) because it is a much less exposed operating system, and the clustering probably eliminates (most) of the downtime.

It's hard to get SMB right, a lot of other NAS boxes over the years have tried by just including Samba, and well results usually aren't that pretty. It's usually fine for (the most) basic stuff but for anything remotely advanced the implementation seems to fall apart pretty quick.

X-IO has been trying to stay in bed with Microsoft for years now, windows is plastered all over their website and software. Kind of surprised it took as long as it did for them to come up with this.

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Bronze badge

Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

EMC CLARiiON arrays used to run windows(maybe VNX still does in some form I am not sure). I remember many years ago CX700 ran XP Embedded and we had a CX600 that ran NT embedded I think. Patches were less frequent than general windows because the systems were less exposed, less ways to exploit problems and they were hardened much more than a typical system (though I do remember you could get to a windows desktop on those EMC arrays, I wasn't the one responsible for them at the time).

Most other arrays run some form of Linux or BSD or similar, though even there patches are few and far between because again avenue of exploits are much more limited(3PAR for example runs on some form of Debian, but of course the customer cannot access the underlying Linux OS - I believe most other arrays behave similarly).

There's also a general expectation that a storage system will reside in a network segment that is more secure than a general purpose network, and certainly not directly exposed to the internet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

With Windows storage server you have far fewer components of Windows installed, so the frequency of updates which you need to install is much lower. It's very similar to running Linux on your array, there are updates and in a highly available environment you should probably reboot, even if you don't have to, if you're changing critical system components. The reasoning for this is that if you're making critical updates to core components of your system, you are doing it in scheduled down time, far better to reboot to make sure it comes back in scheduled downtime than find out that it doesn't in unscheduled downtime, then have to work out what changed and when, in order to fix it.

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Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

Pure FUD I'm afraid, and the kind I'm getting less and less inclined to tolerate. Do you have any *specific* Samba bugs you're complaining about, or are you just repeating what your NetApp or EMC rep. told you ?

You do realize Samba powers IBM Sonas storage, which is used by some of the most demanding NAS customers in the world ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would you want your storage array running windows ?

EMC's VNX runs Windows on its storage controllers. What are you talking about?

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Thanks

Appreciated.

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