back to article Microsoft raises 'state of the art' son of NTFS

Microsoft has unveiled a "state of the art" file system for the next 10 years that builds on NTFS. Named Resilient File System (ReFS), Microsoft's latest baby will be delivered with Windows 8 Server and become the foundation of storage on Windows Clients. ReFS will be used with Windows 8's Storage Spaces, a feature in Microsoft …

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Unhappy

WinFS

no resurrection for this then?

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Meh

It works very similar to WinFS, as the text states: "This is the same approach we have used with new file systems in the past."

So it will probably be hyped as a major reason to upgrade for two windows versions in a row and then be canceled.

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Silver badge

My first thought too.

Strange, though, that I'm sitting here using a browser/email client that lets me tag things to my heart's content, have multiple views on my tagged data, and not show any sign of sluggishness even if I do a full-text content search over 10 years and Gb's of email data stored in multiple accounts. Opera does it all using an on-disk SQLite database to hold all that info and even learns Bayesian-style what labels should apply to what messages.

WinFS was actually a good idea, and one that's never seen the light of day because of junk like alpha-blended clocks. The only decent thing that I've ever looked forward to in an OS and *nobody* has a working implementation on any OS that I've seen, despite evidence that it's more than do-able.

If I wanted resiliency, I wouldn't be storing my data on an OS that can take hours to copy a few Gb's of data because of all the filesystem hooks and security checks it does, or can blue-screen the OS just by tweaking the wrong bit of an NTFS entry. Stop developing the junk and deliver on your promises of over a decade ago.

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I believe alpha-blended clocks are a different department to bleeding-edge kernel file systems. Although it could all just be Billy G doing a lot of late nights :)

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Windows

Cairo?

Is this the file system to be "released in the Cairo** timescale"?

** Cairo, for younger readers, is the codename for Windows 2000. Microsoft pulled loads of features from Cairo including the file system.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Erm Nope, Nope

Memphis = Win98

Cairo wasn't any finished windows version, part of it was WinFS, so Wibble was right, but not when he said Cairo was win2k.

Win2k 32bit didn't have a code name, the 64 bit version did = Janus. and win2k SP1 was Asteroid.

Can I have my badge now :)

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It's all Greek to me

I vaguely remember reading that internal docs at M$ used Greek letter shorthand for Cairo, thus Cai (chi) became X and ro (rho) became p. No idea if it was true or not, but sounds more plausible than "Windows eXPerience".

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Devil

Win XP

I always thought it stood for Windows eXtra Problems, just like Win ME was Windows Multiple Errors...

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Anonymous Coward

That doesn't make much sense since Cairo is still Cairo in greek, not "Chairo".

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Meh

The Cairo project came out in pieces spread out since the early 90's. It never released as a real product as we know. But the WinFS filesystem that is to replace NTFS since NTFS was in version 1? We've all been waiting on that for 20 years now. I personally remember announcements that WinFS being scheduled to release with NT 3.5, NT4, Win2k, and 2008, but hasn't actually been seen yet. Maybe it will really release this time with Win8?

After 20 years, I'm finding myself caring a lot less about it now, but I was pretty excited about it in 1993 though... *sigh*

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WinME

I'd always heard that was Windows Mistake Edition.

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Linux

Is this a really round about way of saying they are implementing VFS so you can use different file systems? can i haz ext4 driver plz?

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Re: implementing VFS

Windows has always supported third-party file systems. For ext4, I think you want http://www.ext2fsd.com/.

'Course, that's a little different from Microsoft implementing it and making sure it is as thoroughly tested as their own NTFS drivers. An official implementation of ext2, for example, would be a serious threat to their "FAT patent" revenue, as discussed on these forums from time to time.

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Anonymous Coward

Heck

MS allowing UDF on non-optical media would be such a threat too. And even easier.

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Silver badge

Need to see more specs on this before I make up my mind, but I hope it is not a cosmetic change for the sake of marketing servers. Not that MS has ever done that, of course.

Thumb up to Robin Bradshaw. I thought the same thing.

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Gold badge

Some features removed

From the blog: "The NTFS features we have chosen to not support in ReFS are: named streams, object IDs, short names, compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, sparse, hard-links, extended attributes, and quotas."

Microsoft never did like hard-links, but presumably there will be complaints from the POSIX crowd about this. As for the rest of the list, "Meh!".

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Anonymous Coward

No quotas?

How is a sysadmin going to stop his lusers storing 500GB of music on their network drives?

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The old-fashioned way

Shotgun, crowbar, or 2x4 plank -- your choice.

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Meh

Wait and watch

I fear this will contain various chunks of patented bogosity so that people end up storing their data in something that cannot be read except bu buying Microsoft products, or perhaps by paying Microsoft hefty technology licensing fees.

For the same reason I very much doubt you'll ever be able to use ext4, btrfs, etc. on a Microsoft server.

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WTF?

Just like NTFS, huh?

Of course, it only took two or three LKML members being murdered in their sleep by crack teams of Microsoft hashishim, identifiable only by the signature "Windows Flag"-patterned hilts on the daggers they left behind with their victims, for the word to go out: let no one ever release a Linux driver for NTFS. And there's been none, ever since.

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Anonymous Coward

History lessons

Then I guess you don't recall how long it took to get correct writable ntfs support in linux. Sure, people will eventually reverse engineer it. Eventually.

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Anonymous Coward

Amazing, simply amazing

how micros~1 manages to tout its own horn exclusively in context of its own earlier "achievements". Everyone else's work is simply irrelevant to them. The kicker, though, is how praising ntfs ignores how their even older "achievement" is still bloody everywhere; it's got serious problems, is not up to the latest technology, and we cannot get rid of it. Oh, and occasionally some vendor gets hit by a patent suit, forcing them to pay royalties on that piece of outdated crap. That is, in a nutshell, the essence of their contributions to the state of the art of computing. Well, isn't that nice. Here's a cookie. Now stop bothering the grownups and let them do the real work, m'dear.

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Because of course

no "real work" was ever done on a Windows machine.

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Happy

"micros~1"

Brilliant! You owe me a new keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

@Linbox

Yeah, except they're dropping short filenames in this new filesystem...

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Anonymous Coward

Not wishing to kick a hornets' nest, but surely if it's "still bloody everywhere", has "serious problems", and "is not up to the latest technology" you should be shouting at the fuckwits who keep using it. Also, if they didn't use then they wouldn't have 'to pay royalties on that piece of outdated crap".

No point blaming MS because people are lazy and don't shop around.

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FAIL

"We believe this significantly advances our state of the art for storage," believing in your FS is very different from being THE state of the art for storage

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Dunno, the storage admin part of me quite likes being away from the "state of the art" when it comes to filesystems. Tired and tested > New and funky

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Coat

"The art in this case was probably pottery."

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JDX
Gold badge

<insert Linux did this since 1924 comment>

Yawn.

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FAIL

And... still no renaming of an open file

Of course, the biggest problem with NTFS (and FAT) is that you can't rename or move a file which is currently in use, and this update won't fix that problem.

"Why is it a problem?", I hear you ask.

Well, if you're doing something such as a software update and you need to replace a core library with a new copy on a running system you can't. You need to reboot the system into a state where this library isn't being used and then replace the file. If, however, you were able to move the old library out of the way, still being accessible by the programs/systems using it, and then replace it you would then not need to reboot the whole system, merely restart those services/programs which use it when it's convenient. i.e. no down-time.

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Don't think that's the problem with the filesystem itself but rather the API which is used to access it. Whatever filesystem you use, you're never going to be able to rename an open file with Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes you can

You can rename open files.

Pick some random EXE. Run it. While it's running (and hence the file is open) rename it to something else. No problem.

This works for DLLs too. So you can update a running executable or library, just like you can on Linux.

Whether you can rename an open file or not depends on how the application chose to open it. It's not a Windows limitation.

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Devil

How about a registry entry

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\debugger

An absolute must for any aspiring BOFH!

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Mushroom

Restart Manager

The purpose of Restart Manager is to allow for transactional changes to open or closed files. Despite its name it is nor primarily about restarting the system. Rather, if a process holds an exe or dll open (because it is running as a service or application), RM can determine which processes to restart. Processes voluntarily registers with RM and they can let RM preserve state (open documents, changes, cursor/scroll positions etc). RM can restart the app/service and bring it into the same state. This beats just replacing files which can easily leave a process in an unknown state (started with version 1.2 and suddenly the libraries it loads dynamically are version 2.0).

RM is the reason system restarts are rare on Windows nowadays.

It is also the reason why *sometimes* the "restart badge" mysteriously disappears from the start button. That happens when RM has determined that files scheduled for replace are being held open by processes which have *not* enlisted with RM (and thus RM must assume it cannot just restart the processes without risk of losing state). RM actually monitors the open files and if they suddenly are closed (because you closed the app) it *will* replace the files en-block and remove the restart badge.

Ever wondered how Windows 7 can start Chrome, Word etc, open the same pages and scroll to the position right before the system was shut down (or lost power)? That's RM working with well-behaved apps.

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Anonymous Coward

"We need a better filesystem, For Fuck's Sake!"

...was the cry among the developers of AmigaDOS, and thus FFS was born. Some people in Berkeley are under the mistaken impression that it stands for Fast File System.

All other file systems have crap names in comparison.

As for ReFS, if it improves VSS and brings Windows closer to ZFS levels of data integrity, then that's got to be good, right?

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Silver badge
FAIL

If they wanted that

They could have just used ZFS.

the CDDL does permit it to be used in a closed source product (or even to combine with any of the less viral F/OSS licenses)

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@Stephen Usher

This would have been great if rename on live files worked, more streamlined updates without reboot would be awesome!

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Holmes

Re means Reiser!

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Anonymous Coward

Because only Microsoft knows

where the bodies are buried!

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Stop

MICROSOFT RAISES 'STATE OF THE ART' SON OF NTFS

If there ever were types of proprietary software not to get involved with, its things like OSs, and filesystems. Proprietary has its place particularly for competitive, cutting edge apps. Only use apps from a vendor that does not also sell OSs.

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Anonymous Coward

I hope...

...the EXT4, ReiserFS, BTRFS and the rest all have their defensive patents in place.

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Anonymous Coward

Ermm...

Will it crash all the time, like most MS offerings?

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Bronze badge

State-of-the-artists

Will yet another state-of-the-art FS resolve all the ntfs' fragmentation issues?

I remember that a windows machine would become unbearably slow over some time (there might be registry hell involved as well) . Defragmentation would take hours on well filled drives... This is not the case with ext4 or even earlier ext2/3 fs. ext4 does almost everything on-the-fly, the earlier versions might spend a minute on fsck-ing once every 2 moths with big and full drives.

Another matter is, is it going to be faster, since again ntfs was essentially slower than many other filesystems, I timed the operation from a flashdrive fat32 to ntfs/ext3 once on the dual-boot, but sluggishness of the Win file manager should also be taken into consideration.

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Anonymous Coward

@eulampios

Yet again with the ill informed anti Windows rants, where you don't actually get the linux right either...

We have an HP D2D (StorOnce) VTL which runs (effectively) a rebadged RedHat with ext3 - we get access to 80 or 90% of the filesystem, when I was talking to the designers about it they specifically said that if you fill ext3 up to over 90% it is totally crippled in terms of performance, due to fragmentation and not defragmentable if there wasn't enough free space. NTFS isn't defragmentable, either if you don't have enough free space.

NTFS has got better over the different versions, so has ext. How did you do your test, exactly?

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Bronze badge

@AC

>> that if you fill ext3 up to over 90% it is totally crippled in terms of performance,

Do you have any actual references to substantiate this hearsay ?

I myself have never seen or heard of that.

>>How did you do your test, exactly?

I did a copy from/to the fat32 flash drive . It was a few years ago though

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Anonymous Coward

@eulampios

Different AC here. AC due to some not externally available docs on the subject.

On a certain Cisco RedHat based product that does a lot of logging (small files that grow big), the fragmentation gets pretty bad for the same reason it gets bad on NTFS. The filesystems are designed for allocate at once, instead of a bunch of tiny files that grow simultaneously to a couple of MB and then spawning more log files. Defrag tools are widely available on NTFS, so the performance issues with the Windows version were relatively easy to fix, but we did have to tell customers who had performance issues on the Linux product to back their systems up and rebuild.

What I found out - frag happens... Linux IS better at preventing it though *most* of the time with normal apps/servers/users, but it isnt' bullet proof on it. Then Microsoft has been telling us fragmentation is a thing of the past since HPFS came out... I don't think there is a file system yet that is impervious if you give it an evil enough application that works against the anti-fragmentation logic in it.

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Anonymous Coward

@eulampios

I don't have a reference, other than talking to design engineers of a high-end tape library product. Although most of the UNIX guys that I've worked with add 10% to the required filesystem as a rule of thumb, to allow for this sort of thing. In fact the last company I worked for, a major UK financial, had it as a design requirement.

Regarding your test - if that's the only details you can give, it's not really verifiable as a fair test, is it?

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Bronze badge

@AC 09:49 GMT

No, the reason I have doubts about "poor performance of ext3" when it is filled over 90% is the fact my old 5-year old system (once upgraded) has a /root partition ext3 my /home dir was also ext3 a couple years ago. It went over 90% quite often thanks to aMule, my love of classical music and BBC/Nature/Nova etc movies. I have never experienced any problems with it. So it might very special circumstances you're referring to. The sluggishness of Windows (XP) is very well known. One of the reasons to be the culprit is the inability of NTFS to not to fragment data on disk as opposed to ext3.

I will search for benchmarks on performance comparisons of ext3/4 vs. ntfs.

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