Q

Taking a closer look at ODX file transfer requirements

Offloaded data transfers include a number of hardware and software requirements, but they can support virtualization.

Are there hardware or software requirements for ODX file transfers in Windows Server 2012? Is virtualization supported?

Offloaded data transfer does support virtualization, but the technology carries several hardware and software requirements. From a hardware standpoint, storage arrays must be compatible with ODX on Windows Server 2012 or later while supporting cross-array ODX to achieve data transfers between arrays.

In most cases, cross-array ODX also requires that the arrays be from the same vendor to ensure that tokens are interpreted and handled in a compatible manner. ODX-compatible storage arrays include products such as HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage and Dell EqualLogic PS Series systems. The storage arrays must also be networked using a standard storage-related protocol including simple serial-attached SCSI (SAS), iSCSI, Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

There are also numerous software requirements for an ODX file transfer in addition to servers running Windows Server 2012 or later. For example, partition choices are important, and ODX is only supported on NTFS volumes; FAT and ReFS are not supported. Files being transferred should be larger than 256 KB and un-fragmented for best performance. In addition, antivirus, encryption and deduplication tasks may present problems for ODX operation, and ODX is not currently compatible with Windows data deduplication or BitLocker encryption, nor does ODX support Storage Spaces or dynamic volumes.

The applications actually calling for file transfers must be written to support ODX including File Explorer and copy commands through PowerShell or the Windows command prompt. Third-party software used for storage operations, such as NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP or Dell Compellent Storage Center tools, must also support ODX.

Hypervisors like Hyper-V are supported, but the virtual hard disk should be located on an ODX-capable LUN. As an alternative, the ODX-capable LUN should be assigned specifically to the virtual machine as either an iSCSI initiator or Fibre Channel adapter.

This was first published in March 2014

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