Storage Spaces in an Azure VM: Part 2

In my previous post, I showed you how to set up a simple Storage Spaces setup in an Azure VM.  In this post, I’m going to discuss setting up the actual virtual disk and the “usable” volume.

Formatting ReFS

I mentioned in last post that the UI within Server Manager has a few limitations…we’ll we’re not done avoiding those!  When you created your virtual disk, you were likely faced with the Wizard to format your new virtual disk…which you can do BUT…. I typically do not when I want a large resilient file system.    Why?  Because the UI (for some reason) only lets me format NTFS – not ReFS!

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How things look when I Skip the Formatting Option

I’ll drop back into the old “Computer Management” UI, get to Disk Managment, and format my disk there:

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I miss out on some of the automatic features related to volume expansion by doing it this way, but it’s the only way I’ve found to get ReFS, and it’s a small price to pay.

The “hassle” comes when I want to expand my pool / virtual disk / volume – I’ll show you that after I show you how to add more disk.

Adding More Disk – Expanding Space

Adding more disk is a simple process of applying some of what we did in a sort of “rinse and repeat” sort of way.

The first step is to add more disk to your VM – more HDDs and SSDs if you want – you might have already done this when you started, as we only wanted to create our pool / virtual disk with the fewest disks initially.  Once you’ve added the disks to the VM, right-click on the pool, and add the disk:

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Notice the Media Type is not set!!!

You’ll have to set up the Media Type AGAIN, for the disk(s) you’ve just added…no big deal assuming you’ve kept your disk sizes consistent, you can use the PowerShell from the previous post:

$Pool = get-StoragePool -FriendlyName Pool
(($Pool | Get-PhysicalDisk | Group-Object {$_.Size} | Sort-Object {$_.Name})[0]).Group | Set-PhysicalDisk -MediaType SSD
(($Pool | Get-PhysicalDisk | Group-Object {$_.Size} | Sort-Object {$_.Name})[1]).Group | Set-PhysicalDisk -MediaType HDD

Once we do that, we’ll see the media type set, and we can expand the virtual disk.

We’ll need to pop back to PowerShell to expand the disk (cuz the GUI is bad):

resize-storagetier disk_Microsoft_HDD_Template -size 7.9TB

Because the virtual disk was created outside of the GUI, we’ll have to resize the volume we created in the old disk management UI:

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Expanding the disk “old school”

…and then you should be all set!

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Bigger, happier volume

You could have added LOTS of disks all at once, instead of just one…AFTER the initial configuration, the steps would be the same, except you would have selected more disk in Server Manager and added them to the pool all at once:

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lots of disks

You would  still need to update the Media Type, expand the virtual disk, and then expand the volume in a similar way.

In my next post, I’ll show you a more elegant, and (what I think) is a simpler way to tier file storage in a VM in or outside of Azure, using Azure File Sync.