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Print 30 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Jan 20 at 10:24 PM

Bye bye 1993 -- first major file system update to Windows in nearly a two decades lands.

In the latest post on its Building Windows blog, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shared some insight into how it's reinventing things on the storage side for Windows Server 8, the server-side counterpart to Windows 8.  Surendra Verma, Microsoft's Storage and File System team manager, broke down the improvements to the filesystem.

I. 1993 No More -- NTFS Gets Replaced

The biggest surprise is that Microsoft is drastically revamping the low-level New Technology File System (NTFS) code base, which was first introduced commercially with Windows NT back in 1993.  Since 1993, NTFS has grown in hodge podge fashion to its current form, incorporating the latest improvements.  Such an approach is inherently limited due to the burdens of legacy scraps of code intermingled throughout the code base.  

So Microsoft did the logical thing -- it went back to the drawing board, rewriting much of the low-level code.  The rewrite is significant enough that the engine ditches the "NTFS" moniker and adopts a new name, ReFS -- Resilient File System.  Its key goals are scalability, speed, and data integrity.

Microsoft describes the logic behind the madness, writing, "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."

In other words the best parts of NTFS are still there, but the parts that were most loathed by Microsoft's engineers and customers are hopefully mostly gone and replaced with superior beasts.

NTFS v. ReFS
ReFS keeps the NTFS API, but tosses much of NTFS's low level storage engine code.
[Image Source: Microsoft]

In its process of natural selection of its code base, Microsoft was careful to maintain API compatibility with the NTFS system's software/firmware API, so don't worry about the souped up engine being incompatible with your current generation hardware.

ReFS brings many improvements to the table.  It tries to space disk data in "stripes" on the memory space to improve access times on traditional disc-based hard drives.  It also supports checksumming for metadata -- which means that if a file gets corrupted, it's easier to identify and recover.

Initially the new file system will be available exclusively with Windows Server 8.  This follows with past file system introductions, which first came on the Server side, then crept into the main consumer Windows line.  

In other words, just to be clear -- Windows 8 will not have ReFS, Windows Server 8 will have ReFS.  Microsoft is also initially not supporting ReFS on external devices (USB sticks, external hard drives, etc.).  As with the consumer support, expect this to come with the next drop.

II. ReFS Handles Data Differently

The most fundamental change on the low level is that all on-system data is now stored in B+ trees (follow link for journal article, kindly provided by Microsoft for for the non-storage expert audience).  This data structure is very scalable and incorporates a new sort of key/value pair table (think STL map for you C-programming types).  The new system allows for greater code reuse and better data distribution, among other perks.
ReFS B+ Trees
ReFS adopts a new ubiquitous storage scheme -- B+ trees.  [Image Source: Microsoft]

Here's some specs about the limitations of data in Microsoft's ReFS implementation of B+:

Attribute

Limit based on the on-disk format

Maximum size of a single file

2^64-1 bytes

Maximum size of a single volume

Format supports 2^78 bytes with 16KB cluster size (2^64 * 16 * 2^10). Windows stack addressing allows 2^64 bytes

Maximum number of files in a directory

2^64

Maximum number of directories in a volume

2^64

Maximum file name length

32K unicode characters

Maximum path length

32K

Maximum size of any storage pool

4 PB

Maximum number of storage pools in a system

No limit

Maximum number of spaces in a storage pool

No limit



III. ReFS Fights Corruption

Another change is that the OS now writes metadata automatically, scrapping the journal-based "writing in place" of NTFS.  What this means is that if your system loses power corruption (so-called "torn writes" to metadata) is less likely to occur.

File checksumming is also added in a feature called "Integrity Streams". If your system loses power Windows 8 can peek at your file's checksums to see that it was corrupted and then restore the file to the original version that is allocated during the atomic write.  The write can then safely proceed with a decreased chance of corruption.

The downside of Integrity Streams is that data moves around on every file write, so for database users this is clearly not a good option.  So Microsoft has incorporated the ability to turn off its fancy new feature and revert to more traditional writes.

Other new features on the data integrity side include "scrubbing" to remove "bit rot".  Bit rot is something that can occur in NAND cells that have been written to too many times or even in traditional hard drives.  Since this form of corruption creeps in over time, alternate copies are typically already discarded by the time corruption is noticed.  To prevent this, a new lean system task will periodically run and hunt for bit rot.

Many of ReFS fancier anti-corruption features are incorporated into "Storage Spaces", Microsoft's storage-related virtualization utility.

III. Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 Almost Ready to Shake up the Market

Windows 8 (the consumer OS) is currently being tested in pre-beta form by developers and is set to land in finished form sometime late this year (like Oct. or Nov.).  A full-fledged beta is in the books for February (Microsoft is calling it a "Consumer Preview" this time around, but its essentially the same as Windows 7's beta).  

Windows Server 8 is currently in developer preview.  A beta build is suspected to have leaked on January 3, so a full corporate beta may soon be at hand.

Window 8 and Windows Server 8 have big shoes to fill as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 were some of the most successful operating systems in Microsoft's history.  

In fact, Windows 7 sold faster than any operating system in history.  Sales numbers for Windows Server 2008 R2 are a bit harder to come by, but market research indicates that it held over 75 percent of server OS license sales, an impressive market share.

Past Building Windows blogs have revealed many Windows 8 features such as a less painful Windows Update processfaster bootsdecreased OS resource consumption, and improved file transfers, a streamlined upgrade process for the initial installation, switching to a primarily online sales distribution model, and the new "Windows Store" app store.

Both Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 feature support for the slick new tile-based user interface (UI) Metro UI.

Windows Server 8 is also shaking things up on the hardware front, continuing its predecessor's abandonment of support for 32-bit CPUs, and for the first time dropping support for Itanium CPUs.  Itaniums are a special kind of Intel Corp. (INTC) server CPU.  While they have traditionally sold at very small volume, they have been a high-margin, profitable endeavor for Intel.  Itanium has many fans who use the chips for mission-critical applications.


Intel Tukwila
Windows Server 8 nixes support for Itanium (pictured) and 32-bit CPUs. [Image Source: Intel]

While some swear there's nothing better than Itanium for certain applications, the low volume appears to be spelling the demise of the platform.  Both Microsoft and Red Hat Inc. (RHT) -- a top business Linux provider -- have thrown in the towel on Itanium, deciding that it's too unprofitable and expensive to support from a software side.


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Couple of errors
By Varun on 1/17/2012 1:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 is not currently being beta tested, at least in the public. Not sure why you thought it was... and they are calling it the Consumer Preview.

Also, Server 8 is not ditching 32 bit CPU support - Windows Server 2008 R2 already did that.




RE: Couple of errors
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/17/2012 2:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Windows 8 is not currently being beta tested, at least in the public. Not sure why you thought it was... and they are calling it the Consumer Preview.

Yep sorry, corrected this. I was referring to the public availability of late milestone builds (M3) (essentially betas), but I have switched this to the consumer preview for clarity. The consumer preview is a true "beta" though, in effect. It's only a different fish by name...

quote:
Also, Server 8 is not ditching 32 bit CPU support - Windows Server 2008 R2 already did that.

True, but Windows Server 8 is the first major release to not have 32-bit support. Windows Server 2008 R2 was somewhere between a major release and a service pack in terms of changes...

I have, however update the article to clarify this point as well. Let me know if you have any questions on these things...


RE: Couple of errors
By Labotomizer on 1/17/2012 5:51:27 PM , Rating: 5
2008 R2 was not a "service pack" in terms of features. Unless you're one of the misguided people who think Windows 7 was a service pack for Vista. 2008 R2 was a major release, unlike 2003 R2. There were major additions and changes in 2008 R2. The improvements to Hyper V alone qualify as a new OS.


RE: Couple of errors
By twhittet on 1/17/2012 6:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Though 2008 was much better than its counterpart Vista, 2008R2 was definitely not a "service pack" to 2008.


RE: Couple of errors
By Ammohunt on 1/18/2012 11:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
2008 R2(win 7 code base) was what 2008 Server should have been.


windows 8 server
By kattanna on 1/17/2012 1:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
the one thing i am really looking to see how well it works out is on windows server 8, there will be no GUI installed unless you tell it so at a command prompt and then reboot. It will be interesting to see how much certain apps will have to be re-written to get properly certified for windows server 8.

though honestly, i expect most will simply install the complete GUI with it. My only question is if it will require an additional step or be a simple check box to install when doing the initial install.




RE: windows 8 server
By Mitch101 on 1/17/2012 1:22:44 PM , Rating: 3
You can do that now with Windows Server 2008. Its called 2008 Server Core.

The Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 and R2 provides the following benefits:

Reduced maintenance - Because the Server Core installation option installs only what is required to have a manageable server for the AD DS, AD LDS, AD CS, DHCP Server, DNS Server, File Services, Print Services, Web Server and Hyper-V server roles, less maintenance is required than on a full installation of Windows Server 2008.
Reduced attack surface - Because Server Core installations are minimal, there are fewer applications running on the server, which decreases the attack surface.
Reduced management - Because fewer applications and services are installed on a server running the Server Core installation, there is less to manage.
Less disk space required - A Server Core installation requires only about 1.5 gigabyte (GB) of disk space to install and approximately 2 GB for operations after the installation.
Lower risk of bugs - Reducing the amount of code can help reduce the amount of bugs.


RE: windows 8 server
By quiksilvr on 1/17/2012 1:57:37 PM , Rating: 3
Its really a case by case scenario. Its true that GUI tends to cause issues, but alot of the time its good to see the actual files in the specified folder without having to constantly write in command prompt to see what is located where.


Seems a litle underwhelming
By BaDaBooM on 1/17/2012 1:17:38 PM , Rating: 3
I work alot with Microsoft servers and generally I think Microsoft products are good. However from the features listed this seems rather underwhelming. With other more extensible file systems that have much more intriguing features such as dedupe, SSD caching, and better resilency (hello - zfs, wafl, etc.). From a server perspective this is about as exciting as the Windows Mobile 6.5 release after iphones and androids were already available.




RE: Seems a litle underwhelming
By B3an on 1/18/2012 1:10:45 PM , Rating: 3
Read up on Storage Spaces, which works in conjunction with ReFS. It has many of the things you mention and is a little like ZFS. However Storage Spaces is also included in the home version of Windows 8, not just the server version.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/05/virt...

Storage Spaces alone is one of the main reasons to get Windows 8 IMO.


ZFS did it first
By Shining Arcanine on 1/18/2012 3:18:21 AM , Rating: 4
It looks like Microsoft is copying ideas from the late Sun Microsystems. Their ZFS filesystem does all of this and more. It even integrates logical volume management with RAID, which should provide stronger integrity guarantees than what Microsoft is doing with ReFS, although it is still an improvement on NTFS.




RE: ZFS did it first
By B3an on 1/18/2012 1:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
Not ready yet?
By bug77 on 1/17/2012 2:57:50 PM , Rating: 3
I was still waiting for WinFS. I guess it's not ready yet...




RE: Not ready yet?
By lamerz4391 on 1/18/2012 2:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
WinFS was abandoned years ago. Quite a number of stories were published about it. Derp.


It's about time.
By Argon18 on 1/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: It's about time.
By Ramtech on 1/17/2012 4:18:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
software package manager

I don't think thats possible but i agree with rest of your points

Anyaway this is the reason why MS doesn't dominate server marketshare


RE: It's about time.
By EricMartello on 1/17/2012 5:26:57 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Now they just need to come up with a decent LVM


Yeah, if only Windows had a disk management snap-in that offered users the ability to create dynamic disks that support JBOD, Raid 0, Raid 1 or Raid 5 with volume resizing abilities and no performance overhead (aside from RAID-5).

quote:
implement a software package manager


If only windows had a centralized area where users can uninstall the programs they installed, along with a standardized update channel that allows most major system software to be updated automatically and reliably.

Windows sucks because there is only one distro and you already know that if it works on windows, it works on windows. Unix makes it more fun by requiring you to figure out even the most mundane programs and getting them to work right on your distro, because each distro has its own set of better ideas.

An OS that "just works"...PFFFF...come on, what am I supposed to do with all that uptime? One can only dream, right?

quote:
de-couple internet explorer and outlook express from the OS


If only someone were able to open "Control Panel", type "program features" into the search box and then be greeted with an interface that lets the user remove items like internet explorer, outlook, windows media player and...ah, well...surely this is a fantasy.

quote:
add native support for standard protocols like SSH and NFS


Windows, a graphical OS, should have support for SSH - a text-based shell interface. Brilliant! Why didn't MS think of this? Better yet, why is it impossible to download and install open SSH server for windows, but the open SSH I downloaded for Linux is "natively" there? We may never know.

NFS...circa 1984? GENIUS! Who needs Samba! We all know computers were better in the 80s - their awesomeness directly proportional to the size of the sys admins mullet.

quote:
get rid of the stupid "drive letter" concept, and if they do all of that


EXACTLY! THAT'S WHAT I"M SAYING!!!! STUPID DRIVE LETTERS MAN!!! I mean, what would you rather type to reference a specific drive?

c:

OR

/dev/sda1

Clearly it's better NOT to use those idiotic drive letters. I'd rather have to use an entire string to refer to a drive instead of a letter cuz they make things too easy!

quote:
they will have finally caught up to modern UNIX systems. Lol.


PFFFFT MICRO$OFT! RIGHT ON! LOLZORS!!

quote:
Microsoft: putting a new coat of polish on the same old turd since 1986.


Unix: Same polish, same turd since 1970...because change is bad for everybody.


RE: It's about time.
By Alexvrb on 1/17/2012 10:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
Brilliant post. I love how people criticize Windows 7/8, when it seems like the last version of Windows they're familiar with is Windows 98, and even then it was mostly second-hand information.

Don't forget the upcoming Win8 app store. I'm sure they'll bash it, while downloading apps (sorry not allowed to call them software or programs anymore) from a similar store onto an Android device.


RE: It's about time.
By sprockkets on 1/17/2012 11:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't a post to disagree with you your points, but

quote:
If only windows had a centralized area where users can uninstall the programs they installed, along with a standardized update channel that allows most major system software to be updated automatically and reliably.

Windows sucks because there is only one distro and you already know that if it works on windows, it works on windows. Unix makes it more fun by requiring you to figure out even the most mundane programs and getting them to work right on your distro, because each distro has its own set of better ideas.


Yes, it does, but it only updates your windows programs. You still have each other program like flash, acrobat, chrome, ff updating themselves via background processes. Not a big deal.

Making something work specifically on your distro, yeah, it's there, but it isn't really an issue anymore.

quote:
NFS...circa 1984? GENIUS! Who needs Samba! We all know computers were better in the 80s - their awesomeness directly proportional to the size of the sys admins mullet.


NFS still outperforms samba by a big degree, though obviously it lacks the ability to xfer files without mounting.

quote:
EXACTLY! THAT'S WHAT I"M SAYING!!!! STUPID DRIVE LETTERS MAN!!! I mean, what would you rather type to reference a specific drive?

c:

OR

/dev/sda1

Clearly it's better NOT to use those idiotic drive letters. I'd rather have to use an entire string to refer to a drive instead of a letter cuz they make things too easy!


Sure makes it easy to keep your OS and home directories separate, without registry hacking and with ease during the install phase.

But if you want to be more OT, other OSes have updated their file systems way ahead of MS, be it Oracles' btrfs or ZFS. That, and MS could do the world a favor and support something other than FAT variants or NTFS. They can still require the base OS to be NTFS which would be fine my me.


RE: It's about time.
By EricMartello on 1/18/2012 1:09:24 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yes, it does, but it only updates your windows programs. You still have each other program like flash, acrobat, chrome, ff updating themselves via background processes. Not a big deal.


MS Update provides updates for your windows software and common device drivers as well as add-on software supplied by Microsoft. This would include things like MS SQL Server, Visual Studio, Office...you know, most business applications. Third party software may not be supported, but it's not like there is one master repo for the nix OSes.

If you want to use a custom version of software, such as a percona mysql, you would need to add their repo to your list for updates so it's not a lot different then the program periodically updating itself.

quote:
Making something work specifically on your distro, yeah, it's there, but it isn't really an issue anymore.


It can be quite an issue depending on what you want to do...it has come a long way but as long as there are multiple distros it's going to be a source of problems. I have yet to put together a linux system where I did not need to build my own RPMs based on SRPMs for certain necessary programs. This can become a bigger PITA if the SRPM is expecting a particular library to be installed and it's not.

quote:
NFS still outperforms samba by a big degree, though obviously it lacks the ability to xfer files without mounting.


Microsoft does have an NFS client for those who need/want the improved performance it offers.

quote:
Sure makes it easy to keep your OS and home directories separate, without registry hacking and with ease during the install phase.


Moving the system directories to "custom" locations at install time is one area that Windows is lacking as it assumes everything is run from a single partition...but it's still possible to do if you really want to.

quote:
But if you want to be more OT, other OSes have updated their file systems way ahead of MS, be it Oracles' btrfs or ZFS. That, and MS could do the world a favor and support something other than FAT variants or NTFS. They can still require the base OS to be NTFS which would be fine my me.


NTFS is a general-purpose "workhorse" type of filesystem. You can go with NTFS and know it will not be the cause of any problems when you start setting up your system on top of it.

Supporting a wide variety of FS would open up a can of worms in terms of potential points of failure. ZFS, for instance, can rum amok if you want to use it with a RAID array and do not set up the array the way ZFS likes it.

Some FS options seem to be better than others, especially when all you have is a cursory glance at their features list although it's usually not the case.

Having explored the various FS flavors out there on my own hardware in both test and production systems, the implementation of these of "exotic" FS are generally not worth the increased compatibility issues or potential for outright I/O failures. It's better to look at them as a tool and only use that tool if it's explicitly necessary for setup.

That being said, I am a lot less reluctant to switch to newer versions of existing FS once they're moved into production trees...i.e. ext2 -> ext3 -> ext4 was something I jumped into and never had any issues with.


RE: It's about time.
By Argon18 on 1/18/2012 10:21:18 AM , Rating: 4
Thank you for taking the time to reply, but wow, you are grossly misinformed. I guess that's to be expected seeing as you're a blissful resident in the Microsoft Walled Garden.
quote:
Yeah, if only Windows had a disk management snap-in that offered users the ability to create dynamic disks that support JBOD, Raid 0, Raid 1 or Raid 5 with volume resizing abilities and no performance overhead (aside from RAID-5).


The windows disk manager is an absolute joke.
1. It does NOT support physical to logical extent mapping as a real volume manager does.
2. These RAID levels you mentioned are exclusive - i.e. if I make a two member RAID-0 in Windows, and later on I decide I wanted a RAID0+1 instead, I cannot simply mirror two RAID0's. In UNIX, I CAN.
3. the Windows resizing is a joke because you can only resize larger... Windows won't let you shrink a volume. Unix will.
4. Windows does not do online volume migration, it cannot take a live filesystem and mirror it, stripe it, or what have you, like UNIX can. In Windows, you have to build the "software raid" first, then create a volume, then format it. It's a clunky joke.

Again, if you want a real logical volume manager on windows, you have only one option - Veritas Volume Manager, and it costs several thousand dollars.

quote:
If only windows had a centralized area where users can uninstall the programs they installed,

Lmao, if you think "add and remove programs" is the same thing as a real package manager, you've gotten yourself lost in Microsoft's walled garden. A real package manager tracks every single file owned by a piece of software, so that when you remove it, it 100% removes it. Microsoft "add remove programs" simply calls the individual vendor's uninstall program, and you are totally at their mercy to have written it competently. Most do not, and leave crap behind, old shared libraries, registry stuff, etc. which is a main cause of "Windows rot" (google it). A real package manager can also repair software, checking all files in a package to see if any are missing or damaged, and only needs to replace the missing or damaged ones. Windows cannot do that, you have to do a complete uninstall, reboot, reinstall. It's cumbersome and clunky.

quote:
what's the purpose of removing something like IE from the OS? Can you not handle the concept of just not using it? Surely you don't believe the 50MB of space it uses is that critical, even on a small drive like an SSD.

The point is that it's a security flaw. Even Gartner Group says to avoid IE. I can't simply ignore it, if it's there, I need to constantly patch and update and maintain it. I don't want to do that!

quote:
Windows, a graphical OS, should have support for SSH - a text-based shell interface. Brilliant!

No, SSH is not just for command line. You can tunnel anything you want through SSH for secure encrypted communication. You can tunnel Samba through SSH even! And since every other operating system in the world uses SSH as a standard protocol, Microsoft ought to included it.

quote:
EXACTLY! THAT'S WHAT I"M SAYING!!!! STUPID DRIVE LETTERS MAN!!! I mean, what would you rather type to reference a specific drive?

c:

OR

/dev/sda1


Whoever your computer science professor was, go slap him, because you clearly didn't learn jack in that class. Here, I'll help you. The difference between drive letters and unix style paths is this:

c:\Documents and Settings\Argon\My Documents\

or

/home/argon/Documents

I know which one I'd rather type. lol.


RE: It's about time.
By cbf on 1/18/2012 1:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
Argon18 --

Your knowledge of Windows seems to be stuck in the Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 time frame.

quote:
No, SSH is not just for command line. You can tunnel anything you want through SSH for secure encrypted communication. You can tunnel Samba through SSH even! And since every other operating system in the world uses SSH as a standard protocol, Microsoft ought to included it.

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 make extensive use of SSH tunnels for management. The new paradigm for managing nearly everything on a Microsoft server is to use Powershell commands through an SSH tunnel, even if you're running locally. Because of this, virtually everything you do locally can also be done remotely.

The only thing Microsoft doesn't seem to do is include an command shell SSH out of the box (although I haven't really tried to see if this could simply be configured).
quote:
c:\Documents and Settings\Argon\My Documents\
or
/home/argon/Documents

Well if ease of typing is your argument, on Vista/Server 2008 the My Documents path is typically:
quote:
C:\Users\Argon\My Documents

Not so different to type, especially as the Windows command shell tends to be more consistent in it's file name completion (but that wasn't enabled by default until Vista/2003).

Yes, there are some things that Unix may do in a more useful/powerful fashion. But a lot of this is cultural differences. The way Linux/Unix does package managers works well with free software. You can rely on Red Hat/Ubuntu/whomever to vet all your software and provide a consistent source of updates. But it gets messy for commercial software. It's true that Windows used to leave it to every vendor to do what they wished with their own update strategy, which is a different sort of mess (particularly when those vendors screwed up -- but then again, I've encountered plenty of bad package definitions on Linux that caused things to fall apart). However, if one looks at this from a consumer point of view, Apple's the one that got this right in the App Store, and it looks like Windows 8 will copy that.

The bottom line is that these systems grew out of different cultures and requirements. Windows generally offers more for those who want the benefits of a single system vendor packaging everything for them. Linux servers cater to a different culture and history.

But this completely ignores the


RE: It's about time.
By inighthawki on 1/18/2012 5:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Whoever your computer science professor was, go slap him, because you clearly didn't learn jack in that class. Here, I'll help you. The difference between drive letters and unix style paths is this:

c:\Documents and Settings\Argon\My Documents\

or

/home/argon/Documents

I know which one I'd rather type. lol.

That has nothing at all to do with drive letters. If you want quick access to documents, you can even move your documents folder anywhere you want. In fact, you can simply right click the folder and change it to point to "C:\argon\Documents" which is now even less to type than before. This point is a complete non-issue.

Complaining about drive letters due to the possible addition of two entire characters on the string is absolutely ridiculous as well.


RE: It's about time.
By EricMartello on 1/19/2012 12:51:06 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The windows disk manager is an absolute joke.
1. It does NOT support physical to logical extent mapping as a real volume manager does.


That would be due to the fact that dynamic disks are not logical volumes and the approach to disk management taken by LVM is quite different from Microsoft's approach.

Interesting that you claim LVM's ability to turn your partitioning scheme into an incomprehensible clusterfcuk as "benefit" over DD.

quote:
2. These RAID levels you mentioned are exclusive - i.e. if I make a two member RAID-0 in Windows, and later on I decide I wanted a RAID0+1 instead, I cannot simply mirror two RAID0's. In UNIX, I CAN.


If you were setting up a system that required more than raid 0 or raid 1, you would probably be using a dedicated raid controller...and in situations where using software raid is viable, windows DD is better than LVM.

quote:
3. the Windows resizing is a joke because you can only resize larger... Windows won't let you shrink a volume. Unix will.


There are utilities which allow you to resize dynamic disks/volumes quite easily. It's not impossible, although the built in tool will not allow you to shrink a volume you can extend it.

Luckily for windows users, the use of many partitions is not required for an efficient system and it is a lot less likely that the need to reduce the size of an existing volume would be necessary.

quote:
4. Windows does not do online volume migration, it cannot take a live filesystem and mirror it, stripe it, or what have you, like UNIX can. In Windows, you have to build the "software raid" first, then create a volume, then format it. It's a clunky joke.


1) Open Disk Manager.

2) Choose "create new dynamic disk", select two physical disks.

3) Choose "create new spanned, striped or raid-5 volume", select the two dynamic disks you just made and click OK. Done.

Clunky, right? LOL Let's look at the LVM creation for a simple raid-0 volume.

1) First you need to make a volume spanned/striped volume with md.

2) Choose at least two disks, make the md raid-0 volume.

3) Make the md0 you just created into a volume group.

4) Partition the vol group as desired, format each partition as necessary.

Looks like the nix solution is clunky, and the fact that it relies on both md AND LVM shows why there is so much more I/O overhead when compared to the simpler Dynamic Disks of Windows. Bit of irony that LVM is essentially "bloatware" and Windows has the leaner version of software disk management.

quote:
Again, if you want a real logical volume manager on windows, you have only one option - Veritas Volume Manager, and it costs several thousand dollars.


What!? Partition magic works fine and is like $50. It would let you do all of the more advanced things that you would need to do in software.

Anyone spending thousands of dollars for software when hardware is the appropriate solution is probably taking advice from you.

quote:
A real package manager tracks every single file owned by a piece of software, so that when you remove it, it 100% removes it. Microsoft "add remove programs" simply calls the individual vendor's uninstall program, and you are totally at their mercy to have written it competently. Most do not, and leave crap behind, old shared libraries, registry stuff, etc.


You don't need a "real package manager" on Windows because Windows has a single, standardized development tree and not the scatterbrained mess of distros and programs that linux offers you.

Right, if this was 1996. Since Vista, none of what you say is true about windows anymore. The install/uinstall wizards are fairly standardized and do a good job of removing everything. Windows also comes with "sweep" tools to remove any junk that didn't get uninstalled. Modern Windows OS remains responsive without the need for periodic re-installs.

quote:
Windows cannot do that, you have to do a complete uninstall, reboot, reinstall. It's cumbersome and clunky.


Windows uses a hybrid kernel so changes to system files require a system reboot.

Linux uses a monolithic kernel so changes to system files (i.e. drivers) require at...total kernel recompile...lolzors

That's fun.

Granted, you can compile module support into the linux kernel to avoid having to recompile it each time you want to do something as mundane as update your NIC driver...but that adds a lot of bloat and introduce possible security holes and stability issues.

quote:
The point is that it's a security flaw. Even Gartner Group says to avoid IE. I can't simply ignore it, if it's there, I need to constantly patch and update and maintain it. I don't want to do that!


No, it's not a security flaw and some company that makes their money by telling you that you have security flaws and they'll fix them if you pay them doesn't sound like credible support to your statement.

The security issues most commonly exploited is not the browser itself, but add-ons and plugins like flash. Flash is full of holes.

As far as updating software goes - it's good practice to update your software at least weekly.

quote:
No, SSH is not just for command line. You can tunnel anything you want through SSH for secure encrypted communication. You can tunnel Samba through SSH even! And since every other operating system in the world uses SSH as a standard protocol, Microsoft ought to included it.


What every other operating system? There's really only Windows or Nix for the mainstream choices...and SSH is not "natively" supported on any of them. You need to download OpenSSH for nix if you want SSH support. It's not baked into the kernel and why would it be?

FYI there is a windows version of OpenSSH. You can also use a VNC, VPN (VPN client included with windows) or windows "remote desktop".

quote:
Whoever your computer science professor was, go slap him, because you clearly didn't learn jack in that class. Here, I'll help you. The difference between drive letters and unix style paths is this:

c:\Documents and Settings\Argon\My Documents\

or

/home/argon/Documents

I know which one I'd rather type. lol.


Wow, I bet you're really wishing there was a delete comment button after saying something this stupid...and if your "knowledge" is what you learned in school then you really should just stop talking.

If college actually taught you any marketable skills there wouldn't be so many unemployed college grads bagging my sh1t at Walmart.


RE: It's about time.
By Sunner on 1/20/2012 1:49:36 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm as sick as anyone of the "OMG HATE M$!!!!" crowd, you probably shouldn't talk too much about NIX systems seeing as you're obviously about as ignorant about NIX'es as the anti-MS club is about Windows.
For example, /dev/sda1 would be a path to a block device, hardly the equivalent of C:\anything on Windows, this is really beginners knowledge.
Oh and you don't need to slice your disk to bits on NIX'es, you certainly get the ability to do so if you need it though, and there are cases where you might want to do this for stability and/or security.

Then again, aren't you the guy who vehemently insisted that virtual memory == swap in the OS forums at AT at one point simply because the swap settings in Windows are in a little box called "Virtual Memory"?


RE: It's about time.
By EricMartello on 1/20/2012 12:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While I'm as sick as anyone of the "OMG HATE M$!!!!" crowd, you probably shouldn't talk too much about NIX systems seeing as you're obviously about as ignorant about NIX'es as the anti-MS club is about Windows.


You probably shouldn't post because nobody asked what you think, and you probably shouldn't call people ignorant when you still believe that virtual memory and swap space are two different things...when in fact the only difference between them is their method for doing the same thing.

quote:
For example, /dev/sda1 would be a path to a block device, hardly the equivalent of C:\anything on Windows, this is really beginners knowledge.


Uh, nobody said it was. Did you feel the need to point that out?

quote:
Oh and you don't need to slice your disk to bits on NIX'es, you certainly get the ability to do so if you need it though, and there are cases where you might want to do this for stability and/or security.


A sign that you may be an idiot is mentioning obvious things that nobody disputed in a weak effort to give the appearance that you know what you're talking about. You jump into the discussion now that wikipedia isn't blacked out anymore - good move.

quote:
Then again, aren't you the guy who vehemently insisted that virtual memory == swap in the OS forums at AT at one point simply because the swap settings in Windows are in a little box called "Virtual Memory"?


Aren't you the guy who...damm...I don't know or care who you are, but seems like you are still mad about being wrong after I corrected your idiocy.

Hmmmmm...virtual memory...swap...how can I dumbify this for you?

Windows calls a page file "virtual memory".

Linux calls a page file "swap space".

A page file exists to allow the OS to move inactive data from the RAM to the disk.

In both linux and windows, the page file can be considered an "extension" of the available physical ram, although the implementation of virtual memory differs vs a swap file in that virtual memory appears as physical RAM to a program and is accessible by a program, while swap space is not directly accessible to a program.

You're are mad that you tried (and failed) to make it sound like they're different things when, at the end of the day, they both perform the same function.

Perhaps your nitpick about swap vs VM would have had relevance if we were talking about programming...but for setting up or comparing OS features - no. For all intents and purposes virtual memory = swap space = page file.


RE: It's about time.
By Sunner on 1/20/2012 5:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well in this ever changing world it's nice to see some things stay the same, like your cluelessness.

Yeah you certainly did imply that C:\ and /dev/sda are equivalent with your comments.
quote:
c:

OR

/dev/sda1

I believe that's what you wrote. Feel free to look it up.

And yes, you brought up UNIX partitioning as a downside as if it's needed rather than possible.
So I guess by your own admission, you're the moron.

quote:
NFS...circa 1984? GENIUS!

Might want to tell VMWare/EMC about that, I'm sure they'll listen to you.

Oh and yeah, ZFS is very exotic too, better steer clear, because no one uses that in production systems for performance and stability reasons.

And no, swap space and virtual memory are still not at all the same thing, shame you never bothered to learn that despite many knowledgeable people trying to enlighten you.

Well, if you ever feel like it you can always come over to Ars and discuss this, should be entertaining all around. On the other hand I rather like how Ars has been spared of the overgrown kids that started regging on AT circa 2005...

Oh well, kids will be kids I guess, even if their bodies grow up.


RE: It's about time.
By EricMartello on 1/20/2012 10:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well in this ever changing world it's nice to see some things stay the same, like your cluelessness.

Yeah you certainly did imply that C:\ and /dev/sda are equivalent with your comments.


The only thing implied was that the OP is a moron...yet it seems like that went over your head.

In a windows system, drive letters identify a volume. In linux there is no such identifier - just arbitrary mount points. The file system structure doesn't change depending on the physical drives or logical volumes in a linux system, however it is arguable that tagging volumes with a letter and being able to give each partition its own structure has benefits and offers a layer of flexibility you don't have with a nix system.

Take for example the /home directory. If this is going to get big, you could create a dedicated partition for /home and mount it accordingly...but in terms of the file system you would access /home as a directory, so typing something like "rm -fr /" would wipe it AND the system out.

If you segregate the systems by volume and give each volume a letter, you can put the system on C: and applications on D:...you can then simply go to D: an delete everything without hosing the entire system. You can also add E: for the page file and set up F: as a ramdisk for temporary files.

quote:
And yes, you brought up UNIX partitioning as a downside as if it's needed rather than possible.
So I guess by your own admission, you're the moron.


The downside is simply the fact that the more you split up your install with partitions, the more difficult it is to replicate that if you ever want to upgrade a system. With windows defaulting to having everything on C:\ you could simply ghost the volume and deploy it on another system.

With nix, you would not only need to copy the data but you'd need to reproduce the partition structure AND ensure that the mount points are set up with the right flags.

Nix gives you more granular control over the filesystem it's hard to argue that Windows' approach isn't easier to deal with.

quote:
Might want to tell VMWare/EMC about that, I'm sure they'll listen to you.


NFS is old. It doesn't matter if a lot of people still use it...a lot of people still use Windows XP - that doesn't mean it's a good OS compared to Windows 7. NFS provides a necessary function that certain applications require but that doesn't change the fact that there are other options that perform the same function, and that NFS is not always the best option for every task.

quote:
Oh and yeah, ZFS is very exotic too, better steer clear, because no one uses that in production systems for performance and stability reasons.


It is actually better to steer clear of a FS that is not widely deployed unless you specifically need a feature it offers. Ext4 was used in "production environments" long before it was added into the stable tree...but that doesn't mean those people weren't having problems with it. For a lot of people ext2 and ext3 work just fine - so updating to ext4 doesn't come with a lot of motivation.

You clearly do not have any meaningful experience with production systems. This isn't your POS system that you slapped together so you can fap to pictures of hot dogs. Stability, compatibility and reduced maintenance downtimes are among the top priorities for a system that is going to be relied upon by a business - notice that high performance is not on that short list. That is not to say that performance is not a consideration...

quote:
And no, swap space and virtual memory are still not at all the same thing, shame you never bothered to learn that despite many knowledgeable people trying to enlighten you.


Enlighten? No, it's more like they lost their argument and decided splitting hairs was the only way they could save face. In the end they brought up irrelevant methodological differences and cited that as making VM "different" from swap space.

In the context of programming these differences matter...but since are talking about things from the OS user's perspective, the differences are irrelevant because both VM and swap space provide the same type of functionality, and that is using hard drive space to supplement physical ram.

So unless you are going to show us any differently then you can stop talking about it.

quote:
Well, if you ever feel like it you can always come over to Ars and discuss this, should be entertaining all around. On the other hand I rather like how Ars has been spared of the overgrown kids that started regging on AT circa 2005.


Post on AT forums and you get banned for being right and making some idiot moderator look like the dumb4ss he/she is.

It's pathetic what that site has become. Ad bait catering to people who lack the capacity to think. Even though DT is affiliated with them, you don't get banned for not generally agreeing with the mass of idiots.


RE: It's about time.
By slyck on 1/18/2012 1:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Someone find this guys pacifier.


RE: It's about time.
By inighthawki on 1/17/2012 5:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Typical Unix fanboy, only worried about making windows more like unix, instead of realizing that it's simply a different OS.

And btw,
-Windows 7 supports NFS
-what's the purpose of removing something like IE from the OS? Can you not handle the concept of just not using it? Surely you don't believe the 50MB of space it uses is that critical, even on a small drive like an SSD.
-I happen to like drive letters more than how unix handles it, but I'm not sitting here complaining that unix should ADD them - to each his own
-I hope you don't seriously believe that the internals of Windows is anything like it was 26 years ago


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