Microsoft: More on Windows 8's coming drive-extender-style storage

Microsoft: More on Windows 8's coming drive-extender-style storage

Summary: Microsoft officials have delivered a few more details on Windows 8's Storage Spaces, a technology similar to the drive extender component that was cut from Windows Home Server last year.


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.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Storage, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Placeholder

  • Seeing is believing

    1988 Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)

    2011 Windows Home Server Vail (one disk only)
    2012 "Storage Spaces will work with a single PC in the home, up to a very large-scale enterprise datacentre."

    Colour me sceptical.
    How I love to be wrong!
    • ... but it does sound great!

      If the option to secure three copies (effectively RAID 6) works ... then this could make a big hole in the enterprise storage market ...
      ... never thought I'd see it happen :-)

      Wouldn't it be nice if M$ got their mojo back?

      Let's not forget of course that Drive Extender didn't work. Fingers crossed here.
  • Got me thinking about a WHS replacement...

    Perhaps MS is considering a set of downloadable extensions to Windows 8 that will serve as a replacement for Windows Home Server in the future. This could be part of the Windows Live family of products. Think, "Live Media Server, Live Web Server, and Live My Documents." If they also created a matching dynamic DNS server, folks could dual-purpose their Windows 8 desktop computers as simple home servers which would be accessible from Win 8 tablets or laptops.
    • I think there is a market ...


      ... for a Windows 8 Personal Cloud edition, which combines a Windows 8 PC and Windows Home Server into a desktop. I think small businesses, professionals, and many homes would get it. People would be able to use it as a desktop, and have it function as a personal cloud server at the same time. Users wouldn't have to worry that much about privacy, drive capacity, etc. This product should have much more appeal than Windows Home Server, because I believe the name 'Server' in consumer products freaks people out - and consumers prefer things integrated into products.
      P. Douglas
    • RE: Microsoft: More on Windows 8's coming drive-extender-style storage

      @BillDem - I hope that Microsoft just add the necessary Home Server features to the mainstream Windows Home Premium - this way there'll be no need for Home Server and everyone who has a PC at home gets to benefit from the awesomeness that is Home Server + Storage Spaces.
      • Right, but knowing MS

        they will not view Home Server >>--extending-->> to Home Premium by way of equal footing, but more on par with their exclusive Ultimate Supremo edition. Wouldn't it be nice though, for the everyday Joes ... *wakes up* [yeah, right]
  • RE: Microsoft: More on Windows 8's coming drive-extender-style storage

    After reading the blog, I am excited to see this coming in Windows 8. Since they have this for the server version as well, then we can finally build servers with easily expandable storage space for development and testing servers (we always seem to be running out of space and it is an overly involved expensive process to add more data).
  • negative

    Microsoft has changed their product too fast lately, offering not mature solutions, changed and re-sold next day, lately. Bought my laptop with Vista ( another Win ME) and found next month that it was replaced by Windows 7 with no upgrade option. Server 2008 , 2011 and now 2012 for a short period. New product they say.
    Would you really need the drive extender under windows environment ? Just add a drive (or controller and drive) and make a new share. Something that you can achieve even with Server 2003 ( even with Win 2000 or NT server .. with some limitations).
    I hope they get your drive extender functionality right with server 2012. Forget about Win 8 – it’s not a server and it most probably has a connections limitations. You can use it at home with a single client, maybe.
    Same drive-extender functionality is available in all linux distributions through LVM since ages. Get a ZFS and you get all you were dreaming of.

    My servers are under linux or win 2003 (where it is required). Would not move to any new Microsoft solution until they deliver a stabile solution, that would not be driven obsolete next day, just because they change the kernel and they name it a Windows Future Server.