Windows Server 2012 (formerly referred to as Windows 8 Server) was released in early September 2012. It introduces several new features and updates over Windows Server 2008 R2, including SMB improvements, a new Task Manager, an updated Hyper-V and revamped storage features.
For this post, we’ll be looking at two new storage-related features found in Windows Server 2012: Resilient File System (ReFS) and Storage Spaces.
Resilient File System (ReFS)
NTFS was first introduced with Windows NT 3.1 in 1993 and has been the file system of choice ever since. Windows Server 2012 will continue to support the nearly 20-year-old file system, while introducing Microsoft’s new Resilient File System (ReFS) as NTFS’s successor.
ReFS is different than NTFS in that it utilizes checksums for metadata in order to sidestep NTFS’s susceptibility to corrupted metadata. Microsoft also introduces Integrity Streams, which adds a checksum to data in addition to metadata.
While ReFS is certainly an improvement over NTFS, there are a few things to be aware of. First, ReFS is not bootable. Second, you can’t convert NTFS to ReFS–you’ll have to wait for the data to copy from the old volume to the new ReFS volume. And third, ReFS can’t be used on a removable drive.
Windows Server 2012’s new Storage Spaces functionality could save you money if you’re looking to implement a RAID in your network configuration. Instead of requiring a RAID disk controller, Storage Spaces allows you to create storage volumes or virtual disks using any combination of hard disks installed in your server.
Storage Spaces allows you to create simple, mirror or parity volumes, which are similar to RAID 0, 1 and 5. You can also create a virtual volume that’s larger than the actual physical disk space you currently have available. This will allow you to increase the physical disk space (e.g., add more hard drives) in the future with minimal downtime.
Is your small business thinking of migrating to Windows Server 2012? Minneapolis-based OAC Technology can help. For more than 10 years, we’ve been helping businesses with Server Support, ensuring that their systems are up-to-date and secure. Give us a call at 952-548-5558 and we would be happy to sit down with you for no charge and assess your business’s needs.