Windows 8 To Offer A Next-Generation File System

Windows 8 will run on a newly engineered file system that Microsoft said will work with a new generation of storage technologies and offer "extreme" scalability.

Microsoft disclosed plans for the new Resilient File System (ReFS), the follow-on to the New Technology File System (NTFS) that has powered every release of Windows going back to Windows NT, in a blog post Monday.

While calling NTFS "the most widely used, advanced and feature-rich file system in broad use," Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, said ReFS "has been architected and engineered for a new generation of storage technologies and scenarios."

ReFS is "built on the foundations of NTFS" and will maintain compatibility with the older file system, Sinofsky said in an introduction to the blog. At the application level, ReFS-stored data will be accessible from client devices "just as NTFS data would be," he said. And ReFS will be delivered as part of Windows Server 8, the same approach Microsoft has used for every file system introduction.

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Most of the technical blog was authored by Surendra Verma, a development manager on the Storage and File System team that's developing the ReFS technology.

The key goals of ReFS are optimizing the technology "for extreme scale," maintaining a high degree of compatibility with NTFS, and providing a resilient architecture when used with Storage Spaces, a feature in Windows 8 that organizes physical disks into storage pools that can easily be expanded by adding more disks, Verma wrote. ReFS also will provide advanced "verify and auto-correct data" capabilities.