Windows 8 to pool storage
Microsoft has revealed details of a storage pooling system in Windows 8, that will group together all available disk space.
According to Microsoft, Storage Spaces provides a more flexible architecture that can be used to manage content across numerous different disks and formats, with redundancy and other features built in.
Building on the recently shelved Windows Home Server Drive Extender, Microsoft says Storage Spaces should “dramatically improve how you manage large volumes of storage at home (and work)”.
“I have sought a dependable, expandable, and easy to use solution that maximises utilisation of my ever-growing collection of USB drives. Further, I want guarantees that my data will always be protected despite the occasional hardware failure,” said Rajeev Nagar, a group programme manager on Microsoft’s Storage and File System team, in a detailed blog post on the subject.
“Windows 8 provides a new capability called Storage Spaces enabling just that.”
According to Nagar, Storage Spaces organises physical disks into storage pools, which can be expanded by adding disks via USB, SATA or Serial Attached SCSI. A storage pool can be composed of a variety of disks with different interconnects.
As well as creating virtual disks, Microsoft said Storage Spaces also included several other functions, including thin provisioning and resilience to hardware failure.
This way, despite partial or complete disk failure, you’ll never need to worry about loss of data
“It is a fundamental enhancement to the Windows storage platform, which starts with NTFS,” said Nagar. “Storage Spaces delivers on diverse requirements that can span deployments ranging from a single PC in the home, up to a very large-scale enterprise data centre.
“The system effectively pools all storage media into virtual spaces that can be added to, with information spread across different physical disks providing protection against data loss or corruption.
“The physical disks comprising the pool are typically not even visible to other components within Windows or to applications running on your PC. By extension, the fact that some physical disks within the pool have failed, is completely shielded from other Windows components or applications.”
Microsoft said there would be at least two copies of all data contained within the space on at least two different physical disks.