OK, for forever and a day, as long as I can remember in the Windows world I set-up servers with a system partition and an appropriate slice of separate data partitions. No more! Storage pools are the future!
So, setting up our first production Hyper V server with 2012. Of the 500Gb storage, we partition of 100G for the OS. Install the OS, then this is where it changes. We don’t partition or format the remaining 350G or so as partition/disk for the data. No, we fire up the storage pool MMC and create a new pool on the raid. Windows creates a new storage pool that we can then add ‘virtual’ disks to. Thinly provisioned as .vhd files I might add. This enables us to overcommit storage quite easily if we want to and add the extra storage via new physical disks at a later time. We then create a volume in that virtual disk and assign it a drive letter if we want, just as if it was a physical disk. Storage pool volumes don’t need hardware raid. They support simple JBOD, Mirroring, and Parity type set-ups with no specific hardware requirements. You can even use USB drives if you wish!
To increase space, just add new physical drives to the pool. To add redundancy (we are already running raid 10 though), add new physical drives to ensure there is some physical redundancy (drives can be added as ‘hot spares’ too) for the pool and configure your volumes appropriately. Cool!
This changes the way wave worked for a long time and for the better, I think. Administration seems a breeze and flexibility is much improved. I think I’m warming to 2012, despite the new interface.