| By Woody Leonhard |
In following Windows 8’s somewhat painful road to fruition, I’ve found a lot of things to lambaste.
But one new feature — Storage Spaces — might by itself justify the jump to Win8. It’s a killer application.
A valuable tool rewritten and renamed
What’s crazy about Storage Spaces is that Microsoft has already shipped a fully functional version in its original Windows Home Server, released way back in July 2007. It was called Drive Extender, and it was very similar to what Microsoft is describing in its Building Windows 8 blog, “Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency.”
The really crazy part? Microsoft yanked Drive Extender from the second version of Windows Home Server, released in April 2011. The company claimed at the time that the technology had bugs deep inside that couldn’t be exorcised in the normal course of upgrading from Version 1 to Version 2. (I hollered and moaned about that excuse at the time, but to no avail.)
Drive Extender was one of two really cool features in Windows Home Server I relied on all the time. (The other was automatic backup.) But Microsoft threw it away. I felt so strongly about the possible loss of Drive Extender that I’ve refused to upgrade to WHS Version 2. To this day, I run the original version because Drive Extender is truly that important to me.
So now I know why MS took Drive Extender out of Windows Home Server 2: it’s building the same technology, reworked from the ground up, into Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server. It looks great.
The “virtualization” idea behind Storage Spaces
If you’re following the development of Windows 8, you’re going to get sick of the term “virtualization.” Guaranteed. You’ll see the term over and over in Microsoft’s Win8 marketing material. (I expect to see a claim that virtual BSoDs are now superior to the nonvirtual versions we unfortunately know and love.)