In a new Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft details a new feature to Windows 8 called Storage Spaces. This new feature allows for a safe and efficient storage pool for those who have large amounts of data and fear drive failures.
“For quite some time now, I have sought a dependable, expandable, and easy to use solution that maximizes utilization of my ever-growing collection of USB drives. Further, I want guarantees that my data will always be protected despite the occasional hardware failure. Windows 8 provides a new capability called Storage Spaces enabling just that,” Microsoft states in an official blog post.
From what Microsoft says, Storage Spaces will allow for:
- Organization of physical disks into storage pools, which can be easily expanded by simply adding disks. These disks can be connected either through USB, SATA (Serial ATA), or SAS (Serial Attached SCSI). A storage pool can be composed of heterogeneous physical disks – different sized physical disks accessible via different storage interconnects.
- Usage of virtual disks (also known as spaces), which behave just like physical disks for all purposes. However, spaces also have powerful new capabilities associated with them such as thin provisioning (more about that later), as well as resiliency to failures of underlying physical media.
The company talks about “thin provisioning” and how it can augment physical disk capacity within the pool. “With thin provisioning, you can augment physical capacity within the pool on an as-needed basis. As you copy more files and approach the limit of available physical capacity within the pool, Storage Spaces will pop up a notification telling you that you need to add more capacity. You can do so very simply by purchasing additional disks and adding them to your existing pool.”
Microsoft has created a “resiliency attribute” called parity that enables data reconstruction in the event of a drive failure. “There’s another resiliency attribute, called parity, which directs Storage Spaces to store some redundancy information alongside user data contained within the space, thereby enabling automatic data reconstruction in the event of physical disk failure.”
Microsoft has added several FAQs regarding Storage Spaces that address common questions, take a look at it here.
Microsoft is planning on future blog posts that go further in detail about this new feature. Storage Spaces is currently available in the Developer Preview as well as the upcoming Beta release.