Windows Home Server was never a particularly popular product, but it did bring some interesting features to the table for the few who used it and became fans. One of these features was called Drive Extender, and its claim to fame was that it allowed users to pool their system’s hard drives so that they were seen by the operating system as one large hard drive. This obviated the need to keep track of the amount of free space across several disks, and it also allowed users to automatically mirror their data to multiple disks at once, keeping their files safe in the event of drive failure.

Microsoft killed Drive Extender not long before pulling the plug on the Windows Home Server entirely, but the intent behind it lives on in Windows 8’s new Storage Spaces feature: “Storage Spaces is not intended to be a feature-by-feature replacement for that specialized solution,” wrote Microsoft’s Rajeev Nagar in a blog post introducing the feature, “but it does deliver on many of its core requirements.”

In essence, Storage Spaces takes most of Drive Extender’s underlying functionality and implements it in a way that is more technically sound; early versions of Drive Extender sometimes corrupted data when copying files between drives and mangled file metadata, but the underlying filesystem improvements made to support Storage Spaces should make it much more robust, at least in theory.

Read 40 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica » Technology Lab