Data Management

Windows Server 2008 File Server Performance at Microsoft IT

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Executive Summary

For many years, Microsoft IT's FSU group is engaged in providing a highly scalable, highly available, and top of the line high-performance centralized file services utility based on Windows Server technologies to more than 50,000 clients worldwide. This service involves only 20 servers and more than 100 terabytes of data. It has been provided at a low TCO with a minimal staff administering the entire service utility remotely from a single location. By upgrading the FSU to Windows Server 2008, Microsoft IT was able to provide even higher performance and availability service levels while significantly reducing server counts and further reducing operational complexity and costs. In conjunction with Windows Vista on the desktop, a new version of the file transfer protocol SMB 2.0 provides noteworthy file transfer performance improvements, especially across WAN links. This resulted in greatly improved customer experience. Improvements to failover clustering and 64-bit support have resulted in drastic improvements in failover time, with almost no disruption in user connections upon failover. And the implementation of System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 to replace traditional backup methods greatly reduces the storage requirements and associated costs for providing backup services, which had previously been the single most expensive component of the FSU.

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