The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

Summary: Here's a Windows 8 feature about which I haven't heard before: A possible new file system known as "Protogon."

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Windows enthusiast Sandro Villinger has a nice summary of some of the known and unknown Windows 8 features that various folks have discovered since internal "milestone" builds began leaking over the past couple of months.

Villinger makes a passing mention of something I hadn't heard of in his Windows 8 Top 10:  Something named (or codenamed) "Protogon."

From his May 31 IT World article:

"I've also dug up traces of some underlying file system changes that I couldn't quite make sense of, such as an entirely new file system driver called "NT Protogon FS driver", which looks like a kernel mode driver for some sort of (yet unknown) file system called Protogon. It's unclear, whether this is a major new file system or just some minor subsystem."

I asked Rafael Rivera of "WithinWindows" fame as to whether he'd heard of Protogon. He did a quick check and said that whatever Protogon is, it  seems to incorporate database-like concepts like transactions, cursors, rows and tables. He said it includes a string, which seems to indicate Protogon could replace or at least emulate NTFS (the NT file system) as needed. Rivera also wondered if Protogon might be an update of the "Jet Blue" file system/extensible storage engine adapted for the latest version of Active Directory and Exchange Server.

There were a lot of rumors early on about Windows 8, including that it might have a brand-new file system. Now I'm wondering what this thing really is. WinFS revisited? (WinFS was a new storage engine that was supposed to be part of Windows Vista, but which was largely shelved, save some concepts that went to the SQL team.)

I doubt we'll hear anything about Protogon during Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky's appearance at the AllThingsD conference on Wednesday. (Sinofsky may show off the Windows 8 interface for tablets, according to rumors and reports.)

Windows 8 is expected to be released to manufacturing in 2012 (in spite of any/all official retractions you may read about).

Anyone have any guesses (educated or not) about Protogon?

Topics: Software, Operating Systems, Windows

About

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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  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    Hmmm.. Looking forward to D9 conference , May be it can reveal some answers !!!
    rockstarvipul
  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    I think this system is based on XAM and XFS which is a "content aware storage system" enables a lot of interesting features. Microsoft is pushing "content aware storage" for a while and this might be time to release a filesystem that can connect with cloud ( skydrive) seamlessly.
    vigya@...
    • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

      @vigya@...
      XFS? Oh, my god! If you are right it is better to have a cluster bomb drop on your house- it will be less damage.
      kirovs@...
      • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

        @I am Gorby He posts garbage all the time - isn't that enough!
        bvonr@...
      • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

        Microsoft is pushing "content aware storage" for a while and this might be time to release a filesystem that can connect with cloud ( skydrive) seamlessly. <a rel="follow" href="http://www.papermoz.com/research-papers/">Research Papers</a>
        <a rel="follow" href="http://www.papermoz.com/term-papers/">Term Papers</a>
        <a rel="follow" href="http://www.papermoz.com/essays/">Essays</a>
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        Karston1234
      • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

        @kirovs@... I do not understand the mistery. Internet it's full of information about it.<br><a href="http://www.ofertareonline.ro/ferestre-termopan.html">Termopan</a>
        termopane
    • &quot; I think this system is based on XAM and XFS; content aware storage.&quot;

      @vigya@...
      Hmmm...using Windows 7 professional would give the available downloadable packet to search within a Windows Server 2008. So, this 'Protogon' file system may make content placement given to the end user without location priorities.
      Rob T.
  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    I've often wondered if MS wouldn't move their native OS file and SharePoint's RDBMS-based storage closer to one another.
    twilliams@...
  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    I hope this is WinFS revisited. I fell in love with WinFS when I first seen it and was devistated when they trashed it.
    PriMinister
    • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

      @PriMinister - be glad they didn't release WinFS. While it was a great idea, it was plagued with MANY issues which MS didn't have the time to work out. Components of WinFS already live on in Windows' file indexing/search and in SQL server.

      I'd expect that any future filesystem from MS would bring together some of the aspects of metadata storage and retrieval along with things like logical volume management which should make up for the loss of dynamic volume management in Windows Home Server.
      bitcrazed
  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    Since they are looking at changing file systems, maybe they can overhaul SQL Server DBs as well. I think if they were to invent SQL DBs today they would be very different, and T-SQL would probably not even exist, in favour of a object oriented *style* syntax.
    PriMinister
    • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

      @PriMinister - huh? How, specifically, do you want Microsoft to overhaul SQL?

      SQL is a VERY powerful, fairly well standardized data manipulation language.

      Object Orientation and RDBMS do not fit well together for good reason - they're orthogonal constructs designed to solve different problems.
      bitcrazed
      • I think...

        @bitcrazed

        ...PriMinister is talking about T-SQL, not the structure of SQL Server databases themselves. I agree with him, T-SQL needs some serious revision, starting with the elimination of concatenation of statements by ; which is the source of *a lot* of SQL injection attacks.

        Eliminating the promiscuous whitespace wrapping of statements wouldn't hurt either!

        Finally, T-SQL is far too COBOL-like for my taste.

        Other than that, I agree with bitcrazed, SQL itself is a well understood domain and very powerful. It's just the T-SQL extensions that suck.
        wolf_z
      • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

        @bitcrazed,

        concatenated sql statements are a function of poor programming practices, not poor design from a T-SQL standpoint. Object oriented syntax, instantiating collections of objects in memory, is really not what a database is about and would be (IMO) performance prohibitive. T-SQL in recent revision have incorporated some object oriented features such as custom data types, table types and table valued parameters.
        bmonsterman
      • I'm also not sure what he means

        @bitcrazed

        Since SQL Server 2008+ can store ANY data, much like a file system, I'm not sure it really needs an overhaul.
        Joe_Raby
  • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

    More Vaporware from Microsoft.
    bitrate
    • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

      @bitrate
      I think something has to be announced or advertised before it can really be called Vapourware. Hints in a leaked build hardly counts.
      A.Sinic
    • RE: The mystery of Windows 8's new 'Protogon' file system

      @bitrate

      Your software isn't a working product until it becomes vaporware first.
      Michael Kelly
      • Message has been deleted.

        fatman65535
      • ZDNet: Fix your damned comment system

        Who is the idiot who left the unclosed tag in their comment and why is ZDNet's system so stupid it doesn't stop it from iterating?!!<br></b> There, fixed.
        DeusXMachina