Windows 8's file system, ReFS, detailed in new blog post

Windows 8 users will have an all new file system, known as ReFS, when Microsoft's next operating system officially launches later in 2012. In a new post on Microsoft's official Windows 8 developer blog site, Surendra Verma, one of the development managers on the company's Storage and File System team, offers up more information on how ReFS (which stands for Resilient File System) will work. The current version of Windows uses NTFS  (New Technology File System) which has been used since Windows NT 3.1 back in 1993.

In the highly technical post Verma writes:

"... Windows file systems are accessed by the widest array of application and system software anywhere. ReFS takes that learning and builds on it. We didn’t start from scratch, but reimagined it where it made sense and built on the right parts of NTFS where that made sense. Above all, we are delivering this in a pragmatic manner consistent with the delivery of a major file system—something only Microsoft has done at this scale."

Verma says that some of the older file code has been reused, specifically for  " ... implementing the Windows file system semantics. This code implements the file system interface (read, write, open, close, change notification, etc.), maintains in-memory file and volume state, enforces security, and maintains memory caching and synchronization for file data. This reuse ensures a high degree of compatibility with the features of NTFS that we’re carrying forward."

ReFS will be introduced to Windows 8 users in different phases. Verma announced, " ... we will implement ReFS in a staged evolution of the feature: first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume. This is the same approach we have used with new file systems in the past."

Earlier in January, Microsoft talked a bit about Storage Spaces, which will allow users to recover from a crash more quickly. In today's blog post Verma states:

We designed ReFS and Storage Spaces to complement each other, as two components of a complete storage system. We are making Storage Spaces available for NTFS (and client PCs) because there is great utility in that; the architectural layering supports this client-side approach while we adapt ReFS for usage on clients so that ultimately you’ll be able to use ReFS across both clients and servers.

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