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Hyper-V ReFS

Posted on 2013-02-06
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Background: I have a server running 2008R2 that runs 8 x VM’s (in Hyper-V) all server 2012. I am changing the Base OS (2008R2) over to server 2012 at the weekend. All VM’s are stored and run from a D volume which is currently NTFS. I will export all my VM’s on Friday and wipe the 2008R2 install on Saturday.
Question: After reading up on ReFS vs NTFS. ReFS seems a better file system for the D volume hosting the VM’s. Has anyone got any practical experience of this as I can find little mentioned on the internet and want to avoid any pitfalls or Gotcha’s.
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Question by:Dead_Eyes
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
ID: 38858809
It's designed for very large volume stores, and it's new in 2012. So handles volumes with many files better. Have you ever tried to chkdsk a volume with many files, chkdsk takes a very long time, this has been improved with ReFS. Chkdsk also takes the volume offline, traditionally, we have used smaller volumes to host Hyper-V VMs, because of the "too many eggs in one basket" just in case volumes get corrupted. So with ReFS this is better.

It provides improved resiliency of data volumes through a new B+ tree file system structure that can employ 64-bit checksums at each level of the file system along with an allocate-on-write data update strategy for robust disk updates.

Using this new file system design, ReFS can auto-detect data corruption and automatically perform needed repairs without taking a volume offline.

In extreme cases, if ReFS finds that it can't repair data corruption, it isolates the bad data away from the healthy portion of the volume to keep the volume online and available to users.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/16/building-the-next-generation-file-system-for-windows-refs.aspx

It's real benefits are volumes with many files, e.g. large file shares, but being able to check a volume, without taking it offline also has it's benefits to Hyper-V based storage and VMs.

We are currently evaluating with Windows 2012 and Hyper-V
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by:Dead_Eyes
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Thanks for your quick response. I already know a lot of the benefits of ReFS and I think a volume dedicated to hosting Hyper-v VM’s would benefit from being formatted in ReFS. Just wanted to know reasons why not to format it in ReFS (apart from the fact that I might be able to get away with an in place upgrade if I was not reformatting the D Drive). The whole server is configured with a RAID 5 (HW controller) and backups are done on a daily basis so I can restore VM’s to other servers if we have a major HW fail.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
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The only downside, we can see at present is compatibility with existing NTFS (third party tools) if you use them. -it's new!


but the benefits outway the use of NTFS, automatic checking, online checking etc
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