SMB 2.2 and other Windows 8 protocol documentation

With Windows 8, Microsoft is significantly pushing the envelope on Windows Server performance and high availability with Windows 8, while also enabling these features with low cost Network Attached Storage.

Recall the days when Microsoft was fined 2 million odd dollars per day for not publishing proper documentation for various protocols. What is remarkable is that while Windows 8 has not even reached a Beta stage, the documentation for the various different new protocols in Windows 8 has already been published at this MSDN link. In no particular order, here is a summary of the various storage and NAS protocols you will find at that MSDN link

  1. Windows 8 will support Hyper-V and SQL storing VHD files on an SMB 2.2 NAS share. A new File Server Remote VSS Protocol will enable shadow copy based backups (and restores) of these NAS shares.
  2. The new SMB 2.2 protocol that
    1. Allows clients to obtain leases on directories and not just files
    2. Extensions to the SMB 2 protocol that allow for a client to form multi-channel based multiple connections to a server and have the data flow in parallel across all channels, thus providing bandwidth aggregation as well resiliency by dropping down to remaining existing channels when a given channel fails
    3. Allows clients to retrieve hashes for ranges of a file – this SMB is used in branch cache scenarios
    4. A new SMB over RDMA protocol that allows for setting up and SMB 2 based client/server connection and the transferring data using an RDMA capable transport such as iWarp or Infiniband
    5. A Storage Services protocol that provides for scenarios such as creating modifying volumes and shares, creating and managing shadow copies, etc.

Notably absent so far is a new Witness Notification Protocol document that forms the basis for high availability NAS shares and is the basis of the highly significant enhancements to have clients transparently fail over to new servers/shares as needed, without needing to re-open files. Presumably, this document and other remaining documents will get posted soon.

Note that all of the documents are marked preliminary. This is not surprising, given that Windows 8 has not yet reached a Beta stage, and presumably Microsoft reserves the right to make modifications as needed

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