Microsoft Sees a Future for SATADOM Boot Drives in Windows Server 2016
Microsoft today announced plans to support the use of SATADOM boot drives with future Windows Server 2016 update releases, although an initial testing phase is still required.
SATADOMs, or SATA-based Disk-on-Modules (DOMs), are typically flash solid-state drives (SSDs) used for electronic storage that have only one chip and plug into a server's motherboard. The advantage of using SATADOMs as boot drives for Windows Server 2016 is that they use less power and so offer potential cost savings.
"SATADOM modules show that they can operate in a high I/O environment like Windows Server and they can offer significant savings in the cost of the boot drives, density and power," explained Erin Chapple, general manager of Windows Server, in a released statement. "Each server node that uses a SATADOM for the boot drive uses less power and enables higher storage density, which lowers the cost of the solution."
Microsoft's Windows Server Catalog already lists certified SATADOM products for Windows Server 2016. They are mostly made by Innodisk Corp., which claims pioneering efforts around this technology. So, it sounds like they are ready for use. However, Microsoft's announcement today explained that even the SATADOM boot drives listed in the Windows Server Catalog "will need to go through additional testing and validation by the server manufacturer."
SATADOM support for Windows Server 2016 currently hinges on passing some tests. For instance, Microsoft's announcement advised server equipment manufacturers to run SATADOM products through "HLK device.storage tests" and the "Private Cloud Simulator test" to check for failures. Possibly, Microsoft will add to the specifications it requires for SATADOM boot drives, the announcement indicated, so it's not clear when the drives will be ready for use with Windows Server 2016.
SATADOM boot drives for Windows Server 2016 can be "either Storage Spaces Direct or traditional SAN or NAS" types, according to the announcement. Microsoft is recommending a "minimum capacity of 128GB" for the SATADOM boot drives because flash storage tends to degrade over time and it's better to have overcapacity in the drive.
Other boot drives under consideration for use with Windows Server 2016 include "Secure Digital (SD) cards and USB-connected flash drives," Microsoft's announcement indicated. However, they aren't approved yet. SD cards in particular are lacking in terms of "endurance, performance and capacity" for use with Windows Server 2016, according to Microsoft.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.