Using Server 2012 R2 Storage Spaces together with Hyper-V role

I'd like to have a Hyper-V host that uses local storage for it's VMs. At the moment I have a VMWare ESXi host with a couple of 2TB SATA disks inside and I'm looking to upgrade it.

My new server supports 4x hard drives, and has an oldish RAID card. So I was about to configure it with a RAID10 and 4x 2TB hard drives, configure a big volume on the RAID card, then install Server 2012 R2 + Hyper-V role, and call it a day. Performance isn't great, but it's also not terrible.

However... Windows Server 2012 R2 supports Storage Spaces. My understanding of this is that I could ditch the RAID card, and let Windows take the collection of physical disks (SSDs and/or HDDs), arrange them into a Storage Pool, create virtual disks from that pool with varying levels of resiliency, and I can use tiered storage to allocate a certain amount of space to the faster SSD storage from the pool. Windows is supposed to handle in software moving the most frequently used data to the SSDs.

This is really tempting to me to use together with Hyper-V. I'd like to be able to take 2x 2TB hdds, and 2x 500GB enterprise SSDs, throw that into the server, and let Server 2012 storage spaces to create storage pool from that. It would create a virtual disk from that storage pool, format it, assign it a drive letter, and then Hyper-V can store all of it's VHDX disks on there for the VMs.

But it does seem like there are too many layers of virtual disks - Hyper-V storing a VHDX file inside of a virtual disk which is part of Storage Pool.

Is this supported  / advisable?  

Or does the "Storage Server" really need to be a separate dedicated box from the Hyper-V host and I use technologies like iSCSI to connect the two?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
A separate box for a storage server is usually better if you are building high I/O boxes (think dozens of disks, not just 4) and it is servicing multiple compute nodes. For your plan, I think keeping storage local is fine. As far as there seeming to be too many layers, that was one reason Microsoft developed the VHDX format instead of continuing to use VHD. Disks inside disks inside disks it acceptable and not uncommon. Go for it.

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Muhammad BurhanManager I.T.Commented:
if any Hard drive fails, it become a headache for you without Raid controller.
have raid controller and configure it as you mentioned Raid10.
Yes Server2012R2 supports big storage with pools and clusters as well.
yes it highly preferred that you have another box which handles storage with Raid categories but if you plan with local storage it doesn't matter a lot because of cost, but must have one disk redundancy plan (Raid).
and ensure you have UEFI boot enable installation for OS (server2012R2 iso) and GPT type partitions when you are on 2TB or above.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Hyper-V storing a VHDX file inside of a virtual disk which is part of Storage Pool. no different than using a RAID but here you are using JBOD.  For other experts, Storage spaces does have redundancy if configured.. MIrrored or Parity
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
When Storage Spaces was first released in 2012 RTM there was a fair amount of hubbub about it in the SMB community as it was "built-in" to the OS thus possibly eliminating some costs to the SMB space.

What became readily apparent was that performance was limited in a smaller spindle set situation.

To get the best kind of performance one needs at the minimum 18 10K SAS spindles (3-Way mirror with Spaces configured with 2 columns) or more (in sets of 6 based on this configuration).

We have a really thorough blog post on Storage Spaces: MPECS Inc. Blog: A brief on Storage Spaces. I suggest giving a read and the resources it points to as well.

Suffice it to say that in a single box setting we deploy RAID not Storage Spaces.
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Windows Server 2012

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