SOFTWARE REDEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed details about its upcoming Resilient File System (ReFS), which will make its debut with Windows 8 Server.
Microsoft's ReFS will eventually become the file system for all its Windows variants, replacing NTFS, but will make its first appearance on Windows 8 Server. Surendra Verma, a development manager on Microsoft's storage and file system team, said ReFS will maintain "a high degree of compatibility with a subset of NTFS features that are widely adopted while deprecating others".
Verma went on to claim that ReFS will be optimised for scaling and maintaining data integrity but said that parts of the NTFS codebase will be reused. Verma said, "Underneath this reused portion, the NTFS version of the code-base uses a newly architected engine that implements on-disk structures such as the Master File Table to represent files and directories. ReFS combines this reused code with a brand-new engine, where a significant portion of the innovation behind ReFS lies."
Microsoft mentioned all the important keywords when promoting ReFS with words like resilience, availability and the use of storage pools, something made popular by Sun's - and now Oracle's - ZFS.
Microsoft's previous attempt at a radical file system, WinFS, was ditched during Windows Vista's long and painful development. This time Verma outlined something of a roadmap for ReFS, saying, "We will implement ReFS in a staged evolution of the feature: first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume."
It's unlikely that Microsoft will do away with NTFS quickly. After all it has been around in one form or another for almost 20 years. But according to Verma, it might suggest that those using Windows on their fileservers might be better served with ReFS, when it becomes available. And of course that availability will mean more licenses sold for Windows 8 Server. µ
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