Windows Server 2012 R2 SOFS with tiering require some disks..
I was at a meeting last friday and they where in the process of deploying a Scale Out File Server environment on Windows Server 2012 R2 and that with a Dell jbod box.
One important thing to consider when designing this is that if you want to use all the features in the new 2012 R2 with storage spaces there are some limits that could imply and affect your design.
If you want the new cool performance intelligent storage tiering in 2012 R2 that can only be used with either simple or mirroring protection on the physical level which result in quite an overhead on disks in your jbods to get some TB for the actual data. If only the deduplication feature would have been supported with server workloads and not just VDI setups, then this would not have been such a big deal.
Setting up your environment based on this would require some planning and creating several different storage selections where not everything stored on your superperformance auto-tiering parts of your SOFS. Maybe your budget would allow you to fill the JBOD with only SSD´s and then this is no problem 🙂 but if not you should at least consider creating several different shares where the virtual disks either have storage tiering with mirroring or a plain disk with parity.
I would love to see some development in the SOFS storage integrated with Hyper-V in the same manner that VMware has with their Storage-DRS that could, based on different workloads and their load on different VHDX, be moved between the different datastores not just the tiers. This could be even more refined when adding a StorSimple box and the data that has not been accessed for a while would be offloaded to Azure.
Yes I know the StorSimple hardware needs a refresh in their NIC connectivity (in the current boxes there is a 2*1 Gbit active) but hopefully we will see some new hardware in a not to far future. And in an solution where the StorSimple box would be used and connected in a SOFS cluster together with JBOD´s the network bandwidth would not have such a large impact.