I've been waiting to see what killer feature Microsoft will bake into Windows 8 (no, it was never the touch capability or the Metro UI). Initially I thought it might be the new reset and refresh tools baked into the operating system. While they're nice, they seemed a little too consumer-oriented to me and didn't seem like the sort of thing that would appeal to enterprise users. Well, yesterday Microsoft unveiled a killer enterprise feature - ReFS, or Resilient File System.
According to Microsoft, ReFS has been designed from the ground up to meet the challenges facing customers both today and tomorrow. The new file system is accessible through the same file access APIs on clients that are used on any operating system that can access today’s NTFS volumes, but it brings with it a whole raft of new features (some of these features will be provided in conjunction with Storage Spaces):
Metadata integrity with checksums
Integrity streams providing optional user data integrity
Allocate on write transactional model for robust disk updates (also known as copy on write)
Large volume, file and directory sizes
Storage pooling and virtualization makes file system creation and management easy
Data striping for performance (bandwidth can be managed) and redundancy for fault tolerance
Disk scrubbing for protection against latent disk errors
Resiliency to corruptions with "salvage" for maximum volume availability in all cases
Shared storage pools across machines for additional failure tolerance and load balancing
Here are the capacity limits for ReFS:
A new file system for Windows Server 8, in particularly one that puts such emphasis on resilience, integrity and the capability to fend off that ever-present threat of 'bit-rot' will be well-received by by enterprise users who see the data they hold as their greatest asset.