Storage Spaces in Windows 8 is a new storage virtualization feature set to be used like a traditional RAID setup, but it was designed with the user in mind to be easy to use and maintain.
Lately Microsoft has been demonstrating a lot of interesting features for the up coming version of their operating system. This time the software giant layout details on the new Windows 8′s virtual disk feature called Storage Spaces that will add the capability to Windows users to group many physical disks together into a storage pool to create a large storage space (or virtual disk) — physical disk don’t even need to match in size or interface connection, which means that you can use SATA, USB, and SAS hard drives of 500GB, 1TB, 3TB or any other size and mix them up in any way you want.
The company noted that this new feature share similarities, but it is not equally, neither is a replacement to the Drive Extender — former functionality included in Windows Home Server.
Here is the kick with Storage Spaces, the virtual disk(s) that you create will look to Windows 8 as if they were just normal physical disks. You can partition, format, and store data like you would on any regular disk. The trick comes from thin provisioning which is a process that gives the user the ability to carve a virtual disk of any size. Take this as an example, you can create a 10TB Storage Space (virtual disk), even if the system only has installed a 1TB and a 2TB disk drive. Then when the space used is getting to the limit of 3TB, Storage Space will notify you to add another drive. This can be easily done by just getting a new hard drive and add it to your Windows PC, and then Storage Spaces will take care of the rest, as president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft Steven Sinofsky said “You do not need to explicitly inform Storage Spaces which of your USB disks should be used for each of the spaces you have created. Behind the scenes, Storage Spaces optimally manages the capacity of each of the physical disks within the storage pool, for all the spaces carved out from the pool.”
Something important to note is that you can expand any individual storage pool as is needed to fit your needs.
The built-in resiliency is obtain through the mirroring process, which basically means at least two copies of all data that is kept in at least two physical disks. That way, if one of the physical disks dies, the data can be recovered.
The cool thing about this new feature in Windows 8 is that it will take the load off of the average or even power-users configuring a new drive, every time more capacity is needed. It eliminates the need to know in which drive certain data is store, and disk redundancy; thanks to mirroring it adds extra protections to your information — of course, that is if you have a pool with more than one disk (also remember that having a backup of a backup is never too much).
If you like to learn more, you should visit Building Windows 8 website to read the extensive version of Storage Spaces in Windows 8.
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