Many Windows Home Server fans were irate over Microsoft's decision to pull the drive extender technology from the latest version of that product in 2011. But drive extender is coming back -- sort of -- with Windows 8.
In a January 5 blog post on the "Building Windows 8" blog, Microsoft officials shared more background on the Windows 8 Storage Spaces technology that works in many ways like drive extender. Rajeev Nagar, a group program manager on the Storage and File System team, who is the author of the post, noted the similarities between the "deprecated" drive extender technology and the coming Storage Spaces:
"(S)ome of us have used (or are still using), the Windows Home Server Drive Extender technology which was deprecated. Storage Spaces is not intended to be a feature-by-feature replacement for that specialized solution, but it does deliver on many of its core requirements. It is also a fundamental enhancement to the Windows storage platform, which starts with NTFS."
Storage Spaces will work with a single PC in the home, up to a very large-scale enterprise datacenter (this storage technology also part of Windows Server 8, as ITWriting's Tim Anderson noted). Storage Spaces is what will allow users to organize heterogeneous physical disks into storage pools and/or virtual disks (which Microsoft calls "Spaces"). PowerShell, Microsoft's scripting tool, can be used to manage Storage Spaces.
Other tidbits from the Storage Spaces post:
- Users can continue to use their existing storage solutions with Windows 8 if they'd prefer.
- With Storage Spaces, disks can be connected through USB, Serial ATA (SATA) or Serial Attached SCSI (SAS).
- There is no tool (or plans for one) for migrating data from the Windows Home Server's Drive Extender format to Storage Spaces. Data can be copied over to a Windows 8 PC.