Today Microsoft detailed some of the upcoming platform storage enhancements coming in Windows 8. Microsoft has introduced several new features that will make Windows 8 a cost-effective platform for scalable and continuously available data access.
- Improved NTFS metadata integrity on commodity storage – Beginning with Windows 8, NTFS has been enhanced to solely rely on the “flush” command in lieu of “forced unit access” (akawrite-through) for all operations that require write ordering to ensure file system metadata integrity. This enhancement decreases the possibility of metadata inconsistency due to unexpected power loss on commodity hard disk drives while enabling the disk to cache associated data as long as safely possible. Cost-effective industry standard SATA drives can, therefore, be more reliably utilized.
- Maximized NTFS availability through online file system scan and repair – very large volumes (e.g. 64TB) can now be confidently deployed without fear of service downtime associated with file system check/repair operations. Windows 8 performs online scanning for corruptions, online identification of error conditions for on-disk file system data structures, and online repair. Windows 8 now incurs file system downtime only when absolutely needed and such downtime is proportional only to the specific number of (online) detected corruptions. All of these enhancements together deliver significantly improved NTFS uptime.
- Storage Spaces – Windows Server 8 delivers powerful platform-based storage virtualization capabilities enabling utilization of cost-effective commodity storage hardware for business critical application deployments. Two new concepts are introduced:
- (a) Storage Pools: these are units of capacity aggregation, administration, and workload isolation
- (b) Spaces (virtual disks): functionally equivalent to physical disks from the perspective of all users and applications, spaces deliver additional sophisticated capabilities including just-in-time allocation as well as resiliency to physical disk failures.