A new feature of Windows 8 has been detailed on the Building Windows 8 blog by Steven Sinofsky. Called “Storage Spaces”, it is equivalent to the old Windows Home Server feature Drive Extender. Allowing you to use a pool of hard drives (multiple drives in a machine) as a single or multiple logical hard drive. This can allow you to have 10 2 TB hard drives in a storage server and show up on the Windows 8 client machine as a singe 20 TB hard drive. It also allows you to have some redundancy by having Windows mirror certain files and folders across multiple drives (it will not put the same file on the same drive – it has to be on a different drive in case of a single disk failure).
This is exciting news, as I know there were many of us that dropped the newest version of Windows Home Server for the lack of Drive Extender (I went to Windows Server: Small Business Edition 2011). I’m going to give some serious consideration to Windows Server 8 because of this feature.
Windows 8 provides a new capability called Storage Spaces enabling just that. In a nutshell, Storage Spaces allow:
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.