Set-FileStorageTier fails on Microsoft ReFS formatted volume.

Another thing on a list of things ReFS still can’t do in 2016.

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In my last two posts I discussed my conversion to Storage Spaces 2016 and some of the issues I had along the way. Today we will discuss an issue I had when trying to use the Set-FileStorageTier Command to pin my VHDX files to to my SSD tier.

The Specific Error I kept getting when trying to do this was

Set-FileStorageTier : The specified volume does not support storage tiers.

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This seemed odd to me given that we had already proved that we had two tiers tiering was enabled, and I could absolutely see data being written to my SSD tier at 200+MBps. So what the hell was going on?

Let’s run a few commands and check some things.
First things first, let’s make sure the disk is healthy. Which it is.
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Next let’s see if we can just TierOptimize the disk.
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Nope, can’t do that. Some googling later tells us that we may have to run a defrag operation first. So let’s try that.
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What do you mean “Hardware isn’t supported for tiering?” Ok fine. Let’s just see if there are any tiers recognized by the disk to begin with.
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So no tiers, can’t optimize, can’t do anything. What the hell?

Well some googling around later I come across multiple forum posts with the same issue in 2012 R2. User’s with ReFS volumes were NOT able to tier optimize their disks even with a single SSD as the only disk. Which means all of the new Optimize-Volume options for TRIM weren’t going to work on ReFS. Since I didn’t have anything to lose, I migrated all my data back off the volume, followed the same process I did the last time, however THIS time I formatted NTFS not ReFS and…

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screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-15-08-am
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…the results speak for themselves. So here is just one more thing ReFS can’t do even in 2016. This made me really sad because I was really excited for all the enhancements that ReFS would bring to my VHDX files. But alas I guess we will have to continue to wait for MS to get everything figured out here.

Performance of NTFS formatted tiered Storage.

On the HyperVisor
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In the guest VM
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The disk latency over 100ms still concerns me, however during transfer it is considerably lower than the 1,000ms+ latency we were seeing. Additionally I am seeing a much more stable 100+MBps in transfer where as before I was seeing it only hit that briefly, then drop once the cache filled.

The other additional benefit of running a NTFS volume is that I’m able to DeDupe the volume using 2016’s Virtual machine aware dedupe which we will play more with and I’m sure that there will be more blog posts about that.