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Microsoft Server 2012 R2 - Virtual Disk

Posted on 2014-03-19
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Last Modified: 2014-03-24
I have been instructed to create virtual hard disks on my Microsoft Server 2012 R2 due to the lack of storage, i need local space utilization. I want when users from AD that are connected into the system and into a specific GPO to be able to see a virtual hard disk, NOT a map drive. The tricky part which i could not make it work is that, i need every user within that GPO to be able to see its OWN virtual hard disk. For example user AB to be able to see a virtual disk and save his files in it, and user CD to be able to see his/her own virtual hard disk different from AB user. I have done it with a single VHD using Group Policies but all the users are able to see a single VHD and they call all share files from it. Kind like a map drive. This time i need each user when logs in the system to provide them with their own vhd. Any ideas guys ? :)
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Question by:AndreasChristoforides
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by:gheist
ID: 39940656
Like they did not have home directories?
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by:Bembi
ID: 39940714
From my point of perspective, I does not really make sense what you intent to do.
The one part is the disk itself, what is - virtual - a hardware device. With the additional lack that the virtual device is on a physical device. If there is only one virtul hardware device for several users, you go the same way than it would be a physical device, you have to seperate it into single parts for every user.

The other option, to create a virtual device for ever user is - due to the maintenance - only an idea for small environemnts.

I can not see the advantage of this construction in comparison to shares with access permisisons and storage limitations. Every user gets is home share with a limited amout of space he can use.

If you want to seperate user data from system data, create partitions where ou store the user data.
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by:irweazelwallis
ID: 39940737
how is creating VHD's on a server going to create more space? making VHD's will be inefficient from a storage usage and performance perspective.

How are the users logging onto the system - if they are on their own workstations then the only real way of doing it is to map drives

Unless you have a hosted VM (i.e. VDI) then there is no way of connecting it


In that scenario if you just use the local space on the server to host the folders, enable access based enumeration so they will only see their files and folders and use the home path to map this folder.

As you are running Server 2012 r2 just enable Data De-duplication and this will probably clear space down.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 39940900
I agree with the above--your main reason for wanting to do this is to save space but if you assign all users a virtual disk of a certain size then that will mean that space if taken whether you have data on it or not. You may be b assigning users quotas on the mapped drives so that once they reach a certain size they are required to clean up and get the space used down or contact you for more space.
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by:compdigit44
compdigit44 earned 125 total points
ID: 39940999
If I may suggest you stated you are using Windows 2012. Windows 2012 introduced Storage Spaces which allows Admin to take local storage on multiple 2012 servers and present it to servers. Think of it as a SAN where you can present storage to servers...

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2012/10/10/windows-server-2012-storage-spaces-is-it-for-you-could-be.aspx
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 39941628
Guys,

Thats why i need the vhds because i do not have enough space :) With vhds i can assign lets say 1GB os storage to the users within a GPO and thats it they have to deal with that 1GB of storage. Partitions , Map drives and share folders with GPO's will cause chaos, time consuming and you will all the time have to deal with the end user. I am not saying is not possible, i have already done that guys plenty of times but now the users here are 500+ and growing fast. By the end of the year they will be 1000+ in a single building. I have done similar thing with a single vhd and managed all the users to be able to see that vhd drive and enforce security policies within. The main idea here is again: When a user logs into the domain , and that user is part of a secific GPO (i.e Virtual HD), will be able to see for example 1GB of a virtual hard disk on his/her computer. Now when another users logs in, in that same GPO, again will see a Virtual Hard Disk , BUT, that hard disk is only visible to him/her. So each user has its own vhd !
compdigit44 i will see that link now in a mimute.
Guys i do appreciate everything you saying by the way, sometimes in these conversations i even consider changing my plans, or even learn more.
fyi: i have seen this thing working, problem is i don't know how do do it :(
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by:compdigit44
ID: 39942354
Ok so you basically want to give every user a home directory but put a cap on the size of this directory.

If this is the case why not use a Quota limit by using File Services Resource Manager in Windows 2012????
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by:lionelmm
ID: 39942974
So are you saying you want to create and manage 1000 1GB virtual disks, 1 for each user? Then if you have Bob assigned to one and he leaves, what do you then--delete it or assign it to someone else? I can't see what advantages you are getting from approach. You say you want to use vhd's because "you do not have enough space" but if you do use vhd's there is no way but to have 1000 x 1GB space available so that each user has a 1GB vhd.
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by:Bembi
ID: 39943515
I have the feeling, all of the experts have a similar position.
As I said before, the one thing is the hardware (virtual HD) and the other thing is the logical  storage quota. Microsoft introduced this exactly for this purpose.

I can not really share the opinion, that 1000 virtual HDs will produce less effort that quotas on a disk for every user. If you do not want to show all available space to the users, seperate a partition from your total disc space for the users.
Quotas are more flexible in my mind than virtual discs, and if a user really needs more space, the effect is the same as with idividual quotas.

Also, virtual disc will cnsume the space (as long as not synamic, what is not the most performant solution). Quotas can use the total space, if one user do not need the full space, it keeps available. With virtual, you have to household with the space, and if you overdrive the physical space (more dynamic disc and space than physical space) , you run into the issue, that disc may not linked anymore if the physical space is consumed.
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by:compdigit44
ID: 39943858
I think you would be better off spending the $$$ and buying a SMB NAS like:

http://www.netgear.com/business/products/storage/readynas/
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 39944662
Guys i dont need solutions, i need to know HOW TO DO IT :) i do appreciate all your comments really but the things here is i am instructed to do it like that and i have no other option. I MUST do it like that. If i was the IT Manager i was going to do it my way, with map drives , and shares , or probably like compdigit said i would buy a SMB NAS. Thing is i cannot do otherwise, i must do it this way and i need to know and learn how to do it ! :(
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by:irweazelwallis
irweazelwallis earned 125 total points
ID: 39944692
i think we have probably reached an impasse where no-one has an idea of how to achieve what you need. Happy to be corrected in case i have missed something.

On the assumption that users are connecting remotely then other than mapping a drive there is no way to present a VHD from another server.

If you are actually using the server as a terminal server then there i can't see a way to present them a VHD and there is no benefit to trying to set it up.

Your most workable solution to use the 2012 server as a file server. you can then use a permissions and quota's to ensure users only have 1GB of space and can only read/write to their own files

other solutions are there but would require financial investment.

If your Manager has said this is how they want it done then they clearly have a thought of how you could do it
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by:lionelmm
lionelmm earned 125 total points
ID: 39944966
The only way I can think of, to have 1000 1GB VHD's is to create them on server 2012 like you would for Drive C and D and E but since there are only 24 letters in the alphabet so I have no idea how you are going to get to 1000--you may have to create 50 2012 Virtual servers, each with 21 virtual hard disk drives. I don't know what else to suggest and think this would be a nightmare to be able to manage. If the IT manager is telling you you have to do it this way you may want to tell him that some of the most qualified people on the planet, the experts here on EE, are all advising against it. So the fact that no-one can tell yow to do it should tell you that it is MAYBE possible but that "solution" will cause more issues than what you are trying to solve.
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 39945011
Lionelmm i actually have the same question in my head when they told me to do something like that, how to get 1000+ VHDs because as far as i know i can only use , yes, 24 letters !!! I am expecting an email from someone else within the company now to let me know how did he do it, because he mentioned to me that he actually did that thing at the beginning of the year. I really want to see what he did, really !!! I also mention to them that it will be a nightmare but then again , thats life !
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by:lionelmm
ID: 39945026
You may also want to click the link under your question "Request Attention" and ask the moderator to help you--they will review the answers given so far and tell you whether they think others may be able to give you different answers than ours. The only other thing I can think of is to somehow create 1000 disks using either virtual SAN's (storage area networks) or NAS's (network attached storage), don't even know if that is possible or not.
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 39945140
To create a DYNAMIC vhd file on the server Microsoft Server 2012 R2. When a user will login into the AD being part of a specific GPO to be able to MOUNT that vhd on HIS/HER computer !
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gheist earned 125 total points
ID: 39945323
Come on you can mpount network share with quota to drive letter, and extend quota at no pain. Disk image is extra part that makes managing it a burden.
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