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Disk Drives

ATA Interface Parallel ATA (PATA), originally AT Attachment, is an interface standard for the connection of storage devices such as hard disks, floppy drives, and optical disc drives in computers. The standard is maintained by X3/INCITS committee. It uses the underlying AT Attachment (ATA) and AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI) standards. Parallel ATA cables have a maximum allowable length of only 18 in (457 mm), and only two devices are supported. As well, PATA does not support hot removal and add of drives. Because of these limitations, Parallel ATA has largely been replaced by Serial ATA (SATA) in newer systems, and for Windows Server, is only allowed to be used for CD and DVD devices.
Boot 2.2TB+ Disk Volume Controllers supporting a boot device with a capacity greater than 2.2 terabytes must comply with the following requirements:
Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) and SCSI-compatible storage controllers must comply with section 14, "SCSI Driver Model", of UEFI specification version 2.3.1.
The Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) boot initiator must comply with section 15, "iSCSI Boot", of UEFI specification version 2.3.
The storage controller must support T10 SBC3 Read Capacity (16) command in the UEFI device driver and the Windows device driver. If Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) or an Advanced Technology Attachment with Packet Interface (ATAPI) storage controller or disk drive is used, the controller firmware or driver must implement SCSI ATA Translation according T10 SAT3 specifications.
The storage controller must report the exact size of the boot disk drive in the EFI shell and in the Windows operating system.
Boot Device Option ROMs in host controllers and adapters for any interface type, including RAID controllers, that provide boot support must fully support extended Int13h functions (functions 4xh) as defined in BIOS Enhanced Disk Drive Services - 3 [T13-D1572], Revision 3 or later. Logical block addressing is the only addressing mechanism supported.
It is recommended that controllers also support booting using the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) and implement device paths as defined in EDD-3.
SD/eMMC/NAND flash controllers do not have Option ROM, so UEFI support is required.
FibreChannel Interface ANSI developed the FC Standard in 1988 as a practical and expandable method of using fiber optic cabling to transfer data among desktop computers, workstations, mainframes, supercomputers, storage devices, and display devices. ANSI later changed the standard to support copper cabling; today, some kinds of FC use two-pair copper wire to connect the outer four pins of a nine-pin type connector.

Firmware Update Capable Firmware Update Capable - Updating the firmware for disks has historically been a cumbersome task with a potential for downtime. Microsoft has made improvements in Windows Server 2016 to enable customers to more easily update disk firmware prior to placing a server in production. You can also use this new functionality to update the firmware of in-production disks if there's a critically important disk firmware advisory from your hardware vendor or OEM, and your hardware supports this. However, if you're going to update the firmware of a production drive, make sure to read our tips on how to minimize the risk while using this powerful new functionality.

Warning: Firmware updates are a potentially risky maintenance operation and should only be performed after thorough testing of the new firmware image. It is possible that new firmware on unsupported hardware could negatively affect reliability and stability, or even cause data loss. Administrators should read the release notes a given update comes with to determine its impact and applicability.

To ensure common device behavior, Microsoft began by defining new and currently optional Hardware Lab Kit (HLK) requirements for SAS, SATA, and NVMe devices. These requirements outline which commands a SATA, SAS, or NVMe device has to support in order to be firmware-updatable using these new, Windows-native PowerShell cmdlets. To support these requirements, there is a new HLK test to verify if vendor products support the right commands and get them implemented in future revisions. Here are links to the various requirements:

This functionality is not meant to work on SAN devcies and arrays. SANs usually have their own utilities and interfaces for such maintenance operations. This new mechanism is for directly attached storage, such as SATA, SAS, or NVMe devices.

This new Firmware Update functinality will work on drives that implement the correct commands in their firmware and are listed as having the "Firmware Update Capable" Additional Qualification.

You should always obtain any firmware directly from your OEM, solution vendor, or drive vendor and not download it from other parties. Windows provides the mechanism to get the image to the drive, but cannot verify its integrity.

The update can fail for various reasons, some of them are:

1) The drive doesn't support the correct commands for Windows to update its firmware. In this case the new firmware image is never activated and the drive continues functioning with the old image.
2) The image cannot be downloaded to or applied to this drive (version mismatch, corrupt image, ...). In this case the drive is expected to fail either the activate or download command. Again, the old firmware image should continue to function.
3) If the drive does not respond after a firmware update, you are most likely hitting a bug in the drive firmware itself. This is why all firmware updates should first be tested in a lab environment before putting them in production. The only remediation may be to replace the drive.

ATA Interface Parallel ATA (PATA), originally AT Attachment
iSCSI Interface iSCSI is an acronym for Internet Small Computer System Interface, an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities. By carrying SCSI commands over IP networks, iSCSI is used to facilitate data transfers over intranets and to manage storage over long distances. iSCSI can be used to transmit data over local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), or the Internet and can enable location-independent data storage and retrieval. The protocol allows clients (called initiators) to send SCSI commands (CDBs) to SCSI storage devices (targets) on remote servers. It is a storage area network (SAN) protocol, allowing organizations to consolidate storage into data center storage arrays while providing hosts (such as database and web servers) with the illusion of locally attached disks. Unlike Fibre Channel, which requires special-purpose cabling, iSCSI can be run over long distances using existing network infrastructure. iSCSI was submitted as draft standard in March 2000
Multi-Path I/O Microsoft MPIO architecture supports iSCSI, Fibre Channel and serial attached storage (SAS) SAN connectivity by establishing multiple sessions or connections to the storage array. Multi-pathing solutions use redundant physical path components - adapters, cables, and switches - to create logical paths between the server and the storage device. In the event that one or more of these components fails, causing the path to fail, multi-pathing logic uses an alternate path for I/O so that applications can still access their data. Each network interface card (in the iSCSI case) or HBA should be connected by using redundant switch infrastructures to provide continued access to storage in the event of a failure in a storage fabric component.
Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) Microsoft-developed data transfer technology - offloaded data transfer (ODX). Instead of using buffered read and buffered write operations, Windows ODX starts the copy operation with an offload read and retrieves a token representing the data from the storage device, then uses an offload write command with the token to request data movement from the source disk to the destination disk. The copy manager of the storage devices performs the data movement according to the token. Note that this feature will only work on storage devices with SPC4 and SBC3 specification implementation.
SAS Interface Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is a point-to-point serial protocol that moves data to and from computer storage devices such as hard drives and tape drives. SAS replaces the older Parallel SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), bus technology that first appeared in the mid-1980s. SAS uses the standard SCSI command set. The T10 technical committee of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) develops and maintains the SAS protocol; the SCSI Trade Association (SCSITA) promotes the technology. A typical Serial Attached SCSI system consists of the following basic components:
An Initiator: a device that originates device-service and task-management requests for processing by a target device and receives responses for the same requests from other target devices. Initiators may be provided as an on-board component on the motherboard (as is the case with many server-oriented motherboards) or as an add-on host bus adapter.
A Target: a device containing logical units and target ports that receives device service and task management requests for processing and sends responses for the same requests to initiator devices. A target device could be a hard disk or a disk array system.
A Service Delivery Subsystem: the part of an I/O system that transmits information between an initiator and a target. Typically cables connecting an initiator and target with or without expanders and backplanes constitute a service delivery subsystem.
Expanders: devices that form part of a service delivery subsystem and facilitate communication between SAS devices. Expanders facilitate the connection of multiple SAS End devices to a single initiator port.
The SAS bus operates point-to-point while the SCSI bus is "multi-drop" (electrically parallel), reducing contention. SAS has no termination issues and does not require terminator packs like parallel SCSI. SAS eliminates clock skew. SAS allows up to 65,535 devices through the use of expanders, while Parallel SCSI has a limit of 8 or 16 devices on a single channel. SAS allows a higher transfer speeds than most parallel SCSI standards. SAS devices feature dual ports, allowing for redundant backplanes/multipath I/O
SATA Interface Serial ATA (SATA) is a computer bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives and optical drives. Serial ATA replaces Parallel ATA or PATA, offering several advantages over the older interface: reduced cable size and cost (seven conductors instead of 40), native hot swapping, faster data transfer through higher signaling rates, and more efficient transfer through an (optional) I/O queuing protocol. SATA host adapters and devices communicate via a high-speed serial cable over two pairs of conductors. To ensure backward compatibility with legacy ATA software and applications, SATA uses the same basic ATA and ATAPI command-set as legacy ATA devices.
SCSI Interface Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) is a set of standards for physically connecting and transferring data between computers and peripheral devices. The SCSI standards define commands, protocols and electrical and optical interfaces. SCSI is most commonly used for hard disks and tape drives, but it can connect a wide range of other devices, including scanners and CD drives, although not all controllers can handle all devices.
Thin Provisioning (TP) Thin provisioning is the act of using virtualization technology to give the appearance of having more physical resources than are actually available, on a just-enough and just-in-time basis.. If a system always has enough resource to simultaneously support all of the virtualized resources, then it is not thin provisioned. The efficiency of thin or thick/fat provisioning is a function of the use case, not the technology. Thick provisioning is typically more efficient when the amount of resource used is very close to the amount of resource allocated. Thin provisioning is more efficient where the amount of resource used is much smaller than allocated so that the benefit of providing only the resource needed exceeds the cost of the virtualization technology used. Just in time allocation is not the same as thin provisioning. Most file systems back files just in time but are not thin provisioned. Over-allocation is not the same as thin provisioning; resources can be over-allocated / oversubscribed without using virtualization technology.
Trim Trim is the ability to reclaim storage that is no longer needed, in compliance w/ Windows certification requirements and industry standards, and allows Windows to inform a solid-state drive (SSD) which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally.
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