Storage Replica, in Microsoft home, is a technology introduced in Windows Server 2016 that you use to replicate, synchronously or asynchronously, volumes between servers or clusters, for disaster recovery purposes. This technology also allows you to create stretch failover cluster with nodes spread over two different site, keeping in sync the storage. This article will present the news, regarding Storage Replica, that will be introduced in Windows Server 2019 and you will be shown how to enable Storage Replica by using the new management tool Windows Admin Center.
What's new in Storage Replica in Windows Server 2019
In Windows Server 2016 there is the possibility of using Storage Replica only if you use the Datacenter Edition as operating system version, while in Windows Server 2019 there will be the option to enable Storage Replica also adopting the Standard Edition, but right now, with the following limitations:
- You can replicate a single volume instead of an unlimited number of volumes.
- The maximum size of the replicated volume should not exceed 2 TB.
- The volume in replica can have only one partnership, instead of an unlimited number of partners.
By adopting a new Log format used by Storage Replica (Log v 1.1), imported performance improvements are introduced regarding throughput and latency. You can benefit from these improvements if all systems involved in the replication process will be Windows Server 2019 and will be especially noticeable on all-flash arrays and on Storage Spaces Direct cluster (S2D).
To validate the effectiveness of the replication process, is introduces the ability to perform a Test Failover. Through this new feature it is possible to mount a writable snapshots of the replicated storage. To perform this operation, for testing purposes or backup, you must have a volume, not involved in replication, on the destination server. Testing Failover has no impact on the replication process, which will continue to ensure the protection of the data and the changes to the snapshot will remain circumscribed to the test volume. Upon completion of testing it is appropriate to conduct a discard of the snapshot.
Storage Replica in Windows Admin Center
Windows Admin Center, also known as Project Honolulu, enables via an HTML5-based web console, to manage the infrastructure in a centralized way.
Through Windows Admin Center, you can install on the servers the Storage Replica feature and the related PowerShell module.
Figure 1 - Add the Storage Replica feature from Windows Admin Center
Figure 2 - Confirm the installation of Storage Replica and its dependencies
Figure 3 - Notification that the installation was successful
After the installation, the server requires a restart.
At this point you can configure, through Windows Admin Center, a new partnership of replica. The same thing could be accomplished using the Windows Powershell cmdlet New-SRPartnership.
Figure 4 - Adding new Storage Replica partnership between two replication Groups
Figure 5 - Settings required for the configuration of the Partnership
Windows Admin Center reports, at the end of the configuration, the details of the partnership.
Figure 6 - Details about the replication partnership
In addition, you can manage the replication status (suspend \ resume), switch the direction of synchronization and modify the configurations (add \ remove the replica volumes and settings of the partnership).
Figure 7 - Switch the replication direction
Figure 8 - Changing the partnership settings
Windows Server 2019 will introduce significant changes in Storage Replica service that, In addition to evolve it in terms of performance and effectiveness, will make it even more accessible. The whole is enriched by the possibilities offered by Windows Admin Center to easily, quickly and completely manage Storage Replica. Microsoft is making significant investments in storage and the results are obvious and tangible. For those wishing to test the latest new features about Windows Server 2019 can participate in the program Windows Insider.