Storage Spaces, by all meanings, is a new technology in Windows 8 that reliably handles your ever-growing collection of USB drives and prevents the data loss from the occasional hardware failure. It’s going to solve a big missing piece of how to manage large volume of storage at home or at work.
Not like the existing solutions out there that can hardly expand, Storage Spaces organizes the physical disks into storage pools, which can be easily expanded later on by simply adding more disks. The disks can be connected through different storage interconnect, USB, SATA, or SAS, and can be different sizes in capacity. The Spaces, also known as virtual disks, behaves just like physical disks but with the more powerful capabilities associated with them, such as thin provisioning, and resiliency to failure of underlying physical media.
Thin provisioning is the magic that allows us to create a 10TB mirrored space on 4TB of total raw data capacity shown above. It basically ensures that actual capacity is reserved for the space only when you decide to use it. When needed, you can easily buy more disks and add them into the existing pool.
To protect the data from loss due to the disk failure, Storage Spaces has two type of resiliencies to offer. Resiliency through mirroring ensures the data safety by storing two copies of data into two different physical disks within the pool while Resiliency through parity stores some redundancy information alongside user data contained within the space to enable automatic data reconstruction in the event of disk failure. Parity resiliency utilizes disk spaces more efficiently than mirrored one but with much higher random I/O overhead. To add more safety, you can reserve one or two disks as hot-spares within the pool to be used automatically as replacement for failed disks.
You can invoke PowerShell to create the pool and spaces, as well as a new GUI component called Storage Spaces in the Control Panel. This new GUI will be available in next Beta version. Here are a few sneak peak screenshots.
It’s a heck of feature that sure will help us greatly handle our own storage much more efficiently.