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Windows 8 Storage Spaces to Offer HDD Crash Recovery

By - Source: SlashGear | B 29 comments

Storage Spaces for Windows 8 will allow users to spread a backup copy of the system across two or more connected hard drives.

On Monday new Windows 8 screenshots surfaced providing additional details about a feature leaked back in September called Storage Spaces. Based on the images, it will be found within the Control Panel and require at least two hard drives, allowing consumers to quickly restore their system if the primary hard drive suddenly crashes.

"Use Storage Spaces to help protect yourself from a drive failure," reads the service's description. "You first need to create a storage pool of two or more drives, and then you can create Storage Spaces from the free pool capacity."

As described, the user first selects each drive locally attached to the motherboard and then hits the "Create" button. After that, the Storage Space can be assigned a name and a drive letter. There's also an option to set the pool's provisioned size, and a means to determine how much space can actually be reserved.

According to the images, a 2-way Mirror Space stores two copies of the user's files and can tolerate one drive failure. A 3-way Mirror Space stores three copies and can tolerate two drive failures -- this latter method is actually more fault tolerant but comes with the cost of using more pool capacity to store a third copy.

As an example, the screens depict a 2-way Mirror setup with one drive setting 930 GB aside and a second drive setting aside 595 GB of space, totaling a Storage Space size of 2 GB. Storage Spaces will also visually keep track of the drives' overall health, and offer an option to rename each if needed.

With CES 2012 just around the corner, we expect to hear more about this feature -- along with additional Windows 8 details -- next month. In the meantime, check out the full batch of Storage Spaces screenshots here.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Marco925 , December 6, 2011 12:15 AM
    So.....it's RAID 1.....Dummified?
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Marco925 , December 6, 2011 12:15 AM
    So.....it's RAID 1.....Dummified?
  • 8 Hide
    emike09 , December 6, 2011 12:19 AM
    This is nothing but a re-branded software RAID 1/5. But it will help Win8 sell nevertheless.
  • Display all 29 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    warmon6 , December 6, 2011 12:23 AM
    Kinda confusing ATM of how this all works..... It sounds like raid 1 but you can use different size drives and it's set up by windows....

    Hmmmm i'll have to look at it some more when it becomes available.

  • 0 Hide
    jwcalla , December 6, 2011 12:38 AM
    Reminds me of ZFS... except without all the awesome checksums.
  • -4 Hide
    molo9000 , December 6, 2011 12:45 AM
    I don't see the point of this.
    Don't most motherboard chipsets provide RAID 1 or even RAID 5 these days?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 6, 2011 12:58 AM
    I have no need for this, Acronis does an awesome job for me now. My hard drive could get erased and I restore it in 15 min
  • 0 Hide
    tearsana , December 6, 2011 1:04 AM
    I don't think it's exactly RAID since not everything will be mirrored.
    most likely it only focuses on backup of the system.
    A bit confusing since apparently you can use different sized drives...so maybe same sized pools? Kind of like a virtual drive spanning across 2+ drives?
  • 4 Hide
    _Cubase_ , December 6, 2011 1:04 AM
    molo9000I don't see the point of this.Don't most motherboard chipsets provide RAID 1 or even RAID 5 these days?


    Yes, but would your average user understand the first thing about implementing one of those controllers? I doubt it. This is a good basic solution for your average user, not a regular Tom's Hardware subscriber like you and me.
  • -2 Hide
    de5_Roy , December 6, 2011 1:24 AM
    didn't microsoft promise a new typw of file system with windows 7 - winfs iirc? what happened to it?
  • 9 Hide
    quixilver1 , December 6, 2011 1:42 AM
    otacon72Um 930GB plus 595GB equals 2GB?

    WOW! Now THAT'S what I call compression!
  • -1 Hide
    freddy782 , December 6, 2011 1:53 AM
    quixilver1WOW! Now THAT'S what I call compression!

    No, compression is those 32KB 1080p movies! Just got to download that legit_codec_pack.exe to reap the benefits.
  • 1 Hide
    joytech22 , December 6, 2011 2:46 AM
    Remember it's dumbed down for the "average" PC user.
    We all here are more technical and you all seem to forget it.

    It's not a replacement or alternative to RAID or anything, it's a simplified way to keep your data backed up in a re-storable state for your average PC owner.
  • -1 Hide
    pedro_mann , December 6, 2011 3:27 AM
    Wow, Win8 keeps getting more and more awesome. If it weren't for the godforsaken mandatory UI. Please keep win7 as legacy interface! Please, Please. All the improvements scream power user happiness. But, I don't want to be forced into the metro box. That one design flaw will keep this os out of mass market.
  • 0 Hide
    tanjo , December 6, 2011 3:48 AM
    How come the 2GB 2-way mirror storage space only used 3GB? From what I understand, the total space of the hard drives are pooled, then you can split it into storage spaces... Since the drives on the screenshot are different (1TB + 640GB), you can't 2-way mirror 750GB since it exceeds the smaller HDD's capacity? It's pretty stupid to store the file on the same drive twice - which doesn't help if the drive crashed.
  • 1 Hide
    agnickolov , December 6, 2011 3:50 AM
    Quote:
    As an example, the screens depict a 2-way Mirror setup with one drive setting 930 GB aside and a second drive setting aside 595 GB of space, totaling a Storage Space size of 2 GB.

    While it's very unclear how the thing is supposed to work, it definitely doesn't involve absurd math like the one in the article. The screenshot clearly says this is the used space on the the volume, not the capacity.
  • 3 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , December 6, 2011 3:53 AM
    Looks to me like it's Drive Extender from Windows Home Server, just tweaked a bit.
  • 1 Hide
    __Miguel_ , December 6, 2011 9:33 AM
    LuckyDucky7Looks to me like it's Drive Extender from Windows Home Server, just tweaked a bit.

    That was exactly my first thought. That sounds like DE at heart, with a twitch of Greyhole in it for good measure (DE was limited to one copy, GH allows at least three).

    I do wonder if they use the 1st-gen DE implementation or the 2nd-gen (only on VAIL betas) one: the VAIL implementation took an extra 20% hit compared to WHSv1, but it allowed for error/consistency checking in the pooled data.

    As for how it works, it's rather simple: the maximum pool size (that is, how much data can be fitted into the "Storage Space") is the sum of the reserved HDD space (so, with a 3-copy Storage Space and 1GB reserved for each disk, it would show as 3GB total storage), actual usable space would be 1GB (or 800MB, if they're using the 2nd-gen implementation of the DE engine), and used space would be shown as 3 times the actual data put into it (so, a 50MB file would report as 150MB used).

    This, however, seems to be an early implementation. Showing all available space made sense in WHSv1, since all drives were pooled together and you chose to duplicate them or not; but as Storage Spaces are in fact "mini" DE implementations with duplication always enabled, Microsoft might want to simplify how storage area is shown, so as not to cause confusion (as it seems to be causing right now).

    Cheers.

    Miguel
  • 0 Hide
    tomate2 , December 6, 2011 9:33 AM
    Marco925So.....it's RAID 1.....Dummified?

    maybe a more user friendly raid 1?
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 6, 2011 10:13 AM
    Hey, it might be RAID1 in disguise but it sure is helpful for newbie users.
  • -1 Hide
    claydavis , December 6, 2011 10:22 AM
    it is a great feature that is necessary for every Operating System. When it is releasing?
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