Microsoft recently detailed how Windows 8 will have a self-healing storage solution called ‘Storage Spaces’.
Storage Spaces Virtual Storage feature Detailed
Microsoft recently made another post on their Building Windows 8 blog detailing how a new virtual storage pool feature called Storage Spaces will help users safeguard data against a physical drive failure.
Storage Spaces is a virtual pool of physical storage media and virtual disks can be created from this pool. These virtual disks are self healing, which means they will safeguard data against crashes and corruptions. This is quite similar to features found in ZFS — an alternative file system supported by Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It is also created out of a pool of physical memory and works to safeguard data.
The post was an in depth look at the feature and was written by Rajeev Nagar of Microsoft’s Storage and File System team. Windows 8 Beta will come with Storage Spaces enabled by default and the feature can also be tried out in the Developer Preview that is currently out there. The basic idea here is to provide data protection that is completely automated without any action from the user’s side. Once a drive crashes, all the user will experience is shrinkage of storage space and the need to get a replacement hard drive. And the added benefit is that the final storage space will be larger than individual disks because their spaces will be combined together.
The only drawback is that when you assign physical drives to the ‘Storage Pool’, you handover control of those disks to Windows. You will no longer have individual access to those drives as root drives for normal file and folder operations.
The physical drives should use NTFS and can be attached via USB, SATA or SAS links. They can have different capacities, speeds and sizes (3.5 and 2.5 inches). That makes for a very flexible set up. There was no clear mention whether SSD’s can also join in though.