John Hagan

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    2 comments  ·  Storage  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    under review  ·  Jeff Irwin responded

    Can you please provide more information about what you’d like to use this for in Windows Azure Storage?

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    John Hagan commented  · 

    So when will Windows Azure Backup support ReFS volumes?

    I chose ReFS because I need a cost-effective platform that maximizes data availability, scales efficiently to very large data sets across diverse workloads, and guarantees data integrity by means of resiliency to corruption (regardless of software or hardware failures). ReFS is a new file system that targets these needs while providing a foundation for significant future innovations. The integrated storage stack comprising ReFS and the new Storage Spaces feature in Windows Server 2012 allows me to now deploy the most cost-effective platform for available and scalable data access using commodity storage.

    In particular, the following significant functionality included with ReFS is important to us:

    Integrity. ReFS stores data in a way that protects it from many of the common errors that can normally cause data loss. When ReFS is used in conjunction with a mirror space or a parity space, detected corruption—both metadata and user data, when integrity streams are enabled—can be automatically repaired using the alternate copy provided by Storage Spaces. In addition, there are Windows PowerShell cmdlets (Get-FileIntegrity and Set-FileIntegrity) that you can use to manage the integrity and disk scrubbing policies.

    Availability. ReFS prioritizes the availability of data. Historically, file systems were often susceptible to data corruption that would require the system to be taken offline for repair. With ReFS, if corruption occurs, the repair process is both localized to the area of corruption and performed online, requiring no volume downtime. Although rare, if a volume does become corrupted or you choose not to use it with a mirror space or a parity space, ReFS implements salvage, a feature that removes the corrupt data from the namespace on a live volume and ensures that good data is not adversely affected by nonrepairable corrupt data. Because ReFS performs all repair operations online, it does not have an offline chkdsk command.

    Scalability. As the amount and size of data that is stored on computers continues to rapidly increase, ReFS is designed to work well with extremely large data sets—petabytes and larger—without performance impact. ReFS is not only designed to support volume sizes of 2^64 bytes (allowed by Windows stack addresses), but ReFS is also designed to support even larger volume sizes of up to 2^78 bytes using 16 KB cluster sizes. This format also supports 2^64-1 byte file sizes, 2^64 files in a directory, and the same number of directories in a volume.

    Proactive Error Correction. The integrity capabilities of ReFS are leveraged by a data integrity scanner, which is also known as a scrubber. The integrity scanner periodically scans the volume, identifying latent corruptions and proactively triggering a repair of that corrupt data.

    I find it baffling that Microsoft hasn't yet supported backing up to Azure this two year old file system that is ideally suited to businesses storing large--and growing--data sets. I'm sure I'm not alone in seeing the benefit of using ReFS as the file system of choice for large amounts of important corporate data. So why doesn't Microsoft see and respond to our need to back up our ReFS data to Azure?

    Finally, let me make one more observation. Since Windows Azure Backup doesn't natively support making and storing a Bare Metal backup for a server, and can't backup files stored in ReFS, I see no reason to use it at all. My NTFS "C:" drive contains the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Operating System, while my ReFS "E:" drive contains all of our corporate data stored under the ServerFolders folders. Because no corporate data is on the "C:" drive, I only need a System Image of it to recover from a total loss of the Operating System partition; and that's something Windows Azure Backup doesn't do. If Microsoft had announced that Windows Azure Backup can ONLY backup files in ReFS partitions, I would have at least agreed to the logic that Microsoft has positioned Windows Azure Backup for backing up FILES, and not System Images, to the cloud. So I use Windows Server Backup to make a Bare Metal backup of "C:" to a locally attached external storage, and I have to do the same to our ReFS formatted "E:" drive. Windows Azure Backup isn't useful to us at all.

    Let me join with the others and ask again when Microsoft expects to add ReFS support to Windows Azure Backup.

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