Microsoft talks about ReFS in Windows Server 8, is a newly engineered file system

In a new Building Windows 8 blog post, we learn about Microsoft's plans for the new Resilient File System (ReFS) in Windows Server 8 and how this new file system is engineered for a new generation of storage technology.

"Today, NTFS is the most widely used, advanced, and feature rich file system in broad use. But when you’re reimagining Windows, as we are for Windows 8, we don’t rest on past successes, and so with Windows 8 we are also introducing a newly engineered file system. ReFS, (which stands for Resilient File System), is built on the foundations of NTFS, so it maintains crucial compatibility while at the same time it has been architected and engineered for a new generation of storage technologies and scenarios," Microsoft states in an official blog post.

ReFS will inherit features from the NTFS file system such as BitLocker encryption, access-control lists for security, USN journal, change notifications, symbolic links, junction points, mount points, reparse points, volume snapshots, file IDs, and oplocks. On top of that, ReFS will contain the following new features, in conjunction with Storage Spaces:

  • Metadata integrity with checksums
  • Integrity streams providing optional user data integrity
  • Allocate on write transactional model for robust disk updates (also known as copy on write)
  • Large volume, file and directory sizes
  • Storage pooling and virtualization makes file system creation and management easy
  • Data striping for performance (bandwidth can be managed) and redundancy for fault tolerance
  • Disk scrubbing for protection against latent disk errors
  • Resiliency to corruptions with "salvage" for maximum volume availability in all cases
  • Shared storage pools across machines for additional failure tolerance and load balancing

According to Microsoft, the company will implement ReFS in a "staged evolution of the feature" which pretty much means that we will first see it as a storage system for Windows Server 8, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume. Microsoft states that this is the same approach used with previous file system introduction.