back to article What the fdisk? Storage Spaces Direct just vanished from Windows Server in version 1709

Support for Storage Spaces Direct, Microsoft's version of VSAN, has been stripped from the latest build of Windows Server 2016, version 1709, which was released on Tuesday. Storage Spaces aggregates the hard drives in a Windows Server cluster to provide a single logical pool of capacity, which is available to applications …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Clod
      Big Brother

      Welcome, Citizen

      I've seen this coming ever since the PlayStation 3 fiasco.

      Welcome to the Brave New World of Software as a...erm...Service™.

      Where you pay monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or by the minute and second.

      Where features disappear, or simply move to a "higher tier".

      We are happy to Serve™ you, Citizen. Your account has been automatically billed for this text.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Welcome, Citizen

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFe9wiDfb0E

      2. kryptylomese

        Re: Welcome, Citizen

        This kind of thing has not happened in Linux (yet)!

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: It will probably be back...

      lessee... FORCED update that removes a critical feature, and then PAY UP if you want it back!

      Sounds JUST like a Micro-shaft marketing manipulation ploy...

      1. Lord_Beavis
        Black Helicopters

        Re: It will probably be back...

        "lessee... FORCED update that removes a critical feature, and then PAY UP if you want it back!"

        More like, "That's some nice features you have there. It'd be a shame if sumptin wew to happen to 'em..."

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Welcome to our Agile data centre

    Please refrain from planning ahead carefully.

  3. ma1010 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    You're expecting sense?

    This is Microsoft, which is warping out for the Twilight Zone, faster and faster all the time.

    Please understand that I was a Windows and MS evangelist all through the 90's and early 2000's. Then we all saw the totally insane and schizophrenic MS phone "strategy." Then there was Vista, then the Win 8 and Win X debacles. I switched to Linux, starting from ground zero knowledge of it, but I just had to do that, or give up using computers.

    Now it's time for popcorn as I watch the slow-motion train wreck, although it's rather sad. Sometimes I wonder what Bill Gates thinks of MS's current directions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You're expecting sense?

      Same here, started moving away from MS a few years back, just didn't want to work with microsoft products anymore. Changed my position at where i worked as the head of the microsoft team to the head of the infrastructure team. I advise against using any new features or products, for example SQL server, all features available in all versions, but never know those feature could be moved back to the enterprise edition at any time.

      Just given up on MS, at least with Bill in charge, the product would most likely stick around, as he would buy the products success.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You're expecting sense?

        Similar story here. I used to develop under Windows (CV is littered with old MS fads and "next big thing"s)

        The Windows 8 preview was my final straw (tiles and store icon). Retrained develop with Linux just to get away from it. Risky but paid off big time.

      2. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: You're expecting sense?

        "I advise against using any new features or products, for example SQL server, all features available in all versions, but never know those feature could be moved back to the enterprise edition at any time."

        Good job you don't work with Oracle products! It's worse, they simply enable components, bury the "requires license to use" in the docs and wait for you to have used it by accident, then suddenly come in, audit you and dump a £50k bill on the CFO's desk!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're expecting sense?

          Thats weird sounds like IBM with Domino (Although they screwed up when they found out we used two user licenses in the year they decided to audit us).

          Anon because I hate surprise audits from "Mega Corps"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're expecting sense?

          wait for you to have used it by accident

          Yep. All it takes is one click.

          That's why you need to invest in managing access. Nothing to do with security, but to stop a user from costing their company more than their annual salary just by using the wrong screen.

          Oracle wouldn't dream of removing features.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You're expecting sense?

      "Sometimes I wonder what Bill Gates thinks of MS's current directions."

      He's Chairman, so I'd imagine he's pretty happy given that he and Satya speak all the time and discuss strategy. Not to mention the increasing profits.

      1. Trilkhai

        Re: You're expecting sense?

        No… Bill Gates stepped down from being Chairman way back in 2014; he's now just listed as a "technology adviser" but doesn't appear to have much influence, given he was/is against MS becoming a hardware company.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: You're expecting sense?

          given he was/is against MS becoming a hardware company.

          You mean other than producing one of Microsofts' best bits of hardware - the Microsoft Mouse?

          Done on his watch, at his instigation..

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: You're expecting sense?

      I was a Windows and MS evangelist all through the 90's and early 2000's. Then we all saw the totally insane and schizophrenic MS phone "strategy."

      Sadly (icon), your club has many other members [including me]. Micro-shaft lost my fandom when the ".Net Initiative" started, shortly after XP's release. THAT was, for those who don't remember, the *BEGINNINGS* of "all of this", in particular, "the Microsoft Logon" (only it was called 'Passport'). For tracking and marketing to you, naturally.

      (fortunately, at that same time, OS/X had recently released, and I found out that it was based on UNIX, and so I decided to learn BSD and Linux well, since UNIX-like OS's were now the #2 OS and on the rise... and realized how much _better_ things were for the developer, on UNIX-like systems, in the process)

      1. Lord_Beavis
        Pirate

        @bombastic bob Re: You're expecting sense?

        And now you have systemd...

        1. Down not across

          Re: @bombastic bob You're expecting sense?

          And now you have systemd...

          Not on BSD you don't.

          If you have to use Linux you will need to tread more carefully. Luckily it can be excised in many cases and there is always Devuan to avoid it altogether.

    4. Lord_Beavis
      Linux

      @ma1010 Re: You're expecting sense?

      Welcome to the fold, brother.

    5. herman Silver badge

      Re: You're expecting sense?

      "Sometimes I wonder what Bill Gates thinks of MS's current directions." I don't Billybob cares. He is happy with his Android phone and his billions in the bank.

    6. Captain Obvious

      Re: You're expecting sense?

      Your story is the same as mine as well - was a real supporter of Microsoft, even went to work for them as a contractor when Vista was around the corner, and I have seen the downfall of MS ever since. I also had a good Mainframe and Unix background, but was very impressed with SQL Server.

      Now, Windows 10 is a real mess causing me grief, removing features not just from Windows Server 2016, but from other products. Deprecating functions in SQL Server 2016 I found useful such as MD5 and SHA1 (I used these for different purposes and not for security). Office 2016 crashes on me and my teammates daily. MS never sticks with a strategy so any new technology may or may not be used on the future.

      Since I do contract out as help desk support at a good rate, I still use MS at home and at other premises daily, but have switched to multiple versions of Linux and BSD (although they have a much different set of issues that need to be addressed).

  4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    What's their angle here?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Hmmm...

      "What's their angle here?"

      Usually 180 degrees.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm...

        Usually 180 degrees.

        Rapidly followed by another 180 degrees. And a re-writing of the past..

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Hmmm...

          "And a re-writing of the past.."

          "Microsoft Past" - it's a new feature

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      Try using it. While it works, some of the features you would expect to be there (based on WS2012R2) are missing and lead to some pretty crucial holes in using Storage Spaces Direct for storage. For us, missing network features were the show stopper.

      I expect it to reappear in a more mature form some time in the future.

      Note: we haven't tried all the whizzy bang features to give you lots of speed (NVMe/SSD), we were just using it for cheap, high capacity storage that wasn't that critical. The speed was nice when it worked, but there are a few buts....

  5. Joe Montana

    Pay for? Or severe bugs?

    The only reasons they'd remove something like this...

    1, they intend to make it a paid addon...

    2, it has severe bugs such that they're going to drop it completely...

    1. Griffo

      Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

      Option 3: It has a data loss bug and they've temporarily pulled it until they can fix it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

        >Option 3: It has a data loss bug and they've temporarily pulled it until they can fix it.

        That's where my money is

      2. handleoclast Silver badge

        Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

        Option 3: It has a data loss bug and they've temporarily pulled it until they can fix it.

        That is implausible, given past behaviour.

        Anyone remember the Access-corrupts-its-own-database bug? Something (may have been db too large, may have been multiple network access combined with race hazards and a non-ACID db, may have been the phase of the moon) caused it to randomly scramble data. That one was present for years.

        I watched (from a safe distance) a 2-man start-up go under because of that one. They'd sunk their life savings into it, and were hit by it shortly before they were due to launch (and shortly before they were due to run out of savings). Ever seen two middle-aged men cry? Microsoft support's answer (paraphrased): "Access is a toy. It's not for serious use. If you want a serious db you have to buy SQL Server."

        Anyone remember the Word self-corrupting documents bug? I ran into that one in 2006(ish) when somebody persuaded me to try Word to produce a complex document (footnotes, bibliographic references, cross-references, etc.) rather than the tool I'd normally use because Word had "improved so much." All went well enough, although I found it tedious and time-consuming to use Word's UI compared with LaTeX's embedded mark-up. All went well until I'd done 7 or 8 hours' work. I scrolled up to check something I'd written earlier and noticed a paragraph-sized hole in the text. Thought it was a redraw bug, scrolled up and down to find it was now two paragraph-sized holes. More investigation showed the document was melting away as I scrolled through it.

        I figured Word had got itself into a knot. Saved and shutdown. Re-opened the document and there were the missing paragraphs. Which vanished on me when I scrolled. OK, go to an earlier backup. Same problem. OK, go to an even earlier backup (what's a few hours' work here or there?) Same problem. Gave up on the whole idea.

        A year or so ago, El Reg linked to a sample chapter of a book describing this. It was mainly to do with "Master Documents." Master documents were very bad for provoking this bug, but it had 9 or 10 rules you had to follow to minimize the risk of it happening. Only minimize, because even if you followed the rules religiously, it could still happen. And not just with Master Documents, it could even happen with ordinary documents.

        That book was written in 2001, about Word 2000. I encountered the problem in 2006(ish). The problem was present for years.

        Those are the reasons I never use Microsoft stuff for anything personal. Well, I don't have a Microsoft system at home, so that's another reason. But if somebody gave me a fully-licensed Microsoft box with fully-licensed Office, I wouldn't use it for anything other than trivial, transient stuff like a shopping list or a note to the milkman (not that I ever produce either of those, anyway). Because Microsoft can take years to fix bugs they don't even admit to.

        I only use Microsoft stuff if I'm paid to, and even then I warn the employer about the dangers and suggest switching to alternatives if feasible. At home, you couldn't provide a bargepole long enough for me to use Microsoft stuff for anything remotely important to me. Or even anything unimportant to me. I would only use it for one-off, trivial stuff and not even then because I'd have to wait for the system to boot up.

        So your option 3 of Microsoft pulling it so they can fix a data-loss bug doesn't ring true. Not unless the EULA forgot the standard "Microsoft takes no liability for anything. If it all goes wrong, you're fucked" clause. Because they are either incapable of fixing bugs as soon as they are reported or they just don't care as long as it doesn't significantly affect revenue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

          MS Access scrambling data was a feature - it made developers consider using actual databases for their applications rather than something that didn't scale beyond one user running everything locally. Nothing says "you're doing it wrong" better than losing everything.

          I don't doubt that the "scrambling data feature" could have been fixed, but probably only by making the resulting database even slower when used by more than one user or across network links.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

            Yes, so we migrated to Excel.

          2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

            Considering some of the horrendous databases people have designed in MS Access its no wonder they any data at all. Its still far too easy to corrupt Access files (Just kill the process off in the middle of any query and normally ends up with corrupt vba).

            They are perfectly fine as front ends with a database behind it, just make sure there is a safe copy somewhere, its one user per copy, all data is in a external database, its compiled as a runtime and nothing in it makes takes to long to run (As people are impatient and will kill off anything running longer than a minute).

        2. boltar Silver badge

          @handleoclast

          "I watched (from a safe distance) a 2-man start-up go under because of that one. They'd sunk their life savings into it, and were hit by it shortly before they were due to launch (and shortly before they were due to run out of savings). Ever seen two middle-aged men cry? "

          I'd cry if I'd been such an utter fuckwit as to not have any backups of a core DB their company relied on. Either they were the dumbest pair ever to create a start up or this story is apochryphal.

          1. handleoclast Silver badge

            Re: @handleoclast

            @boltar

            This is not apocryphal, I witnessed it happen. I still have one of their pre-launch publicity mouse mats.

            Yes, they were not very computer literate. The company that provided the web server for their startup was the one I was employed by. That company was run by a fuckwit, albeit a fraudulently criminal one (if I ever meet him in a dark alley he's going to end up in hospital because of how he ripped me off). I wasn't involved in the Windows side of things, so I watched it all happen from relative safety.

            The start-up was going to be an on-line hardware store with everything on offer. Down to small screwdrivers and up to pneumatic drills and road rollers. They worked out it was feasible because stuff like a road-roller is dispatched to the retailer when a customer orders one from the retailer, so they could have the manufacturer deliver direct to the customer. For the smaller stuff they had an arrangement with a distributor. So gazillions of products. Think of a cross between Amazon, Screwfix and eBay before any of those had arrived on the scene (or at least impinged on public awareness, because I wasn't aware of them at the time).

            My idiot, crooked arshole of a boss set things up so the start-up updated their product list locally on Access, then painfully slowly uploaded the whole db to our server (over 56K dial-up), which spent six or seven hours importing it into SQL server so it could serve up product pages. A very, very, stupid way of doing it, but the only time I became aware of the technicalities was when it all went badly wrong and the start-up was blaming us for the problem. In a way it was our problem because we should have had them use Access as a front-end to our SQL Server (did I mention the boss was an idiot?) Even so, Access's internal db was borked, had been borked for years before that, and continued to be borked for years thereafter.

            So yes, had my boss not been a fuckwit they wouldn't have gone under. But had Access's internal db not been a buggy pile of shit, they wouldn't have gone under (at least not for that reason).

        3. Captain Obvious

          Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

          HAHAHA - great post - I also discovered the access corruption bug - WHENEVER I build a database, and process data, I ALWAYS have self-balancing reconciliation tables. Those mysteriously went out of whack one day and I discovered both data loss and corrupted data. Also got hit by the Word bug. Missed Code Red as every setup I do I avoid using default directories. Thumbs up from here :)

    2. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

      The only reasons they'd remove something like this...

      1) The storage team lost a political fight

      2) The storage team lost a political fight

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

        "The storage team lost a political fight"

        IN-FIGHTING within the hallowed halls of Redmond? Say it AIN'T SO!!!

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: Pay for? Or severe bugs?

      The only reasons they'd remove something like this...

      1, they intend to make it a paid addon...

      2, it has severe bugs such that they're going to drop it completely...

      3. It has severe bugs so they intend to make it a paid addon with a mandatory security subscription.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curious

    Question: What happens if you upgrade a server with that feature to the newer version without?

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Curious

      That's the important question.

      I assume all that they have removed is the ability to create new instances but I can safely assume away because I don't have any.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What I really like

    This update scheme is marvelous. Install the update and play Russian Roulette with your infrastructure !

    Guess which core functionality is missing this time !

    Scramble to re-architect your infrastructure in 60 minutes !

    Live on the bleeding edge of DevOps and see if you bleed to death !

    As a side note : why are we finding out about this after the update was released ? Shouldn't there have been a warning before release ? Is this a case of nobody paying attention, or did Microsoft actually forget to say something about the new version's functionalities (or lack thereof) ?

  8. Ben1892

    Would anyone actually be using it ? Even if you were a pretty small Server 2016 cluster user wouldn't you still have a NAS for your storage? Bigger companies would have a SAN. Infrastructure isn't my specialist area so I may have missed something.

    Hands up if you use this feature or have seen it being used please !

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Hmm, so you're suggesting they dropped it because no one used it? I think the paranoid ravings at the top of the thread are more entertaining, but you may be right. It's not like they don't have data to show them who's using what now. And Google regularly pull the plug on lightly used services with no obvious tech backlash so MS are probably thinking they should be able to do the same...

    2. wilhil

      It is a VSAN Technology that is meant to replace SANs, not NAS.

      So, 4x servers with 6x Hard drives, literally just use 2 SSDs/NVMEs for fast cache, 4x HDD (bulk, think 10TB?) for storage, and have near SSD performance for the entire cluster.

      The cluster will see just a single available pool across all servers, all protected/backed up across mutiple hosts and it "just works".

      you could install file services over the top to share as a NAS or similar.

      It seems perfect on paper, was trying to implement recently, but, this article has scared me a little!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    It's Microsoft...

    So I'm sure they have a very clearly thought out reason why such a feature was suddenly dropped. They've probably found that Sidekick® doesn't work with it.

  10. trevorde

    Haters gonna hate

    Before we start hating on Microsoft, we should hear their side of the story. Until then, it is all speculation and conspiracy theories.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      Conspiracy theory vs canned statement ?

      Microsoft is dedicated to their customers. The Storage Spaces Direct feature was only used by a handful of our customers* and we informed each one of them personally that this feature is now marked obsolete and will not be available in future Windows server versions. A list of third party solutions that fulfill the same functionality is available on request for our enterprise class diamond doubleplusgood customers, only.

      There, happy ?

      * according to our telemetry, nobody would want to block Windows server phoning home, right ?

      1. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        according to our telemetry, nobody would want to block Windows server phoning home, right ?

        Well, they haven't received a single piece of telemetry to suggest otherwise.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          That reminds me of a piece of javascript I once saw:

          if ( javascript_is_enabled() ){

          do_something_else()

          }

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        Actually, some of you are right, the canned staement is found here:

        https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/server-1709-relnotes

        In short, too buggy to release ...

  11. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Windows

    Sure, great, but that'll be cold comfort for system administrators wondering where their hyper-converged directly attached storage support just went. ®

    Don't trust MS, they add/remove stuff how they see fit ... I have not tried, but I am pretty sure it will happily upgrade a server with hyper-converged directly attached storage configured and brick it in the process...

    What is this BS doing in production anyway ?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "I am pretty sure it will happily upgrade a server with hyper-converged directly attached storage configured and brick it in the process..."

      Back in the MS-DOS days, running 'chkdsk' on your hard drive was likely to create a CRAP-PILE of cross-connected files while trying to "repair" a problem. It's how Norton Utilities started out, basically writing their OWN 'scandisk' to do the job properly, WITHOUT breaking/bricking things.

      So there's already a precedent.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point...

    I think the author and commenters are missing the point here... this isn't the latest full fat version of Windows Server 2016, this is Windows Server 1709, part of the bi-annual updates which is only supported for 18 months. You wouldn't want to deploy a Storage Spaces Direct cluster using a server image that needs to be upgraded every 6 months? The intent of 1709 is for container and micro-services deployment, which naturally has a much shorter, more ephemeral existence. If you want Storage Spaces Direct, deploy using Windows Server 2016 which has the normal 5+5 year support model.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point...

      Oh, so they're putting it back in a future release?

      (Not that it effects me *eats popcorn*)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Missing the point...

      "this isn't the latest full fat version of Windows Server 2016, this is Windows Server 1709, part of the bi-annual updates which is only supported for 18 months"

      ok so WHAT version of Windows Server 2016 banana-grape-mango-surprise do we need to RETAIN things and PREVENT Micro-shaft from removing them? AND, still get security patches and bug fixes?

      Just pointing that out...

      [it's like I fell into a 'power rangers' universe where you need the ultra-whack-job-hinky-super-zoid instead of the mongo-tripod-bat-guano-ultra-zoid]

      icon, because, FACEPALM

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing the point...

        "ok so WHAT version of Windows Server 2016 banana-grape-mango-surprise do we need to RETAIN things and PREVENT Micro-shaft from removing them? AND, still get security patches and bug fixes?"

        The standard Windows Server 2016 RTM version. Also described as LTS or Long Term Service. Not exactly difficult to understand.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Missing the point...

        Surely in your *nix bible (aka. Yakkety Yak) you're familiar with the LTS approach on Ubuntu, along with the funky build names?

  13. RobBR

    The real answer is in the Release Notes

    Storage Spaces Direct isn't being deprecated:

    "new [Storage Spaces Direct] features have not yet achieved the level of validation for production deployment, so we decided to keep them in preview for a little longer and skip Windows Server, version 1709" from: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/server-1709-relnotes

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019