Thursday, December 23, 2010

Windows Server 2008 R2 File System Technologies

Windows Server 2008 R2 provides many services that can be leveraged to deploy a highly reliable, manageable, and fault-tolerant file system infrastructure.

Windows Volume and Partition Formats
When a new disk is added to a Windows Server 2008 R2 system, it must be configured by choosing what type of disk, type of volume, and volume format type will be used. To introduce some of the file system services available in Windows Server 2008 R2, you must understand a disk’s volume partition format types.

Windows Server 2008 R2 enables administrators to format Windows disk volumes by choosing either the file allocation table (FAT) format, FAT32 format, or NT File System (NTFS) format. FAT-formatted partitions are legacy-type partitions used by older operating systems and floppy disk drives and are limited to 2GB in size. FAT32 is an enhanced version of FAT that can accommodate partitions up to 2TB and is more resilient to disk corruption. Data stored on FAT or FAT32 partitions is not secure and does not provide many features. NTFS-formatted partitions have been available since Windows NT 3.51 and provide administrators with the ability to secure files and folders, as well as the ability to leverage many of the services provided with Windows Server 2008 R2.

NTFS-Formatted Partition Features
NTFS enables many features that can be leveraged to provide a highly reliable, scalable, secure, and manageable file system. Base features of NTFS-formatted partitions include support for large volumes, configuring permissions or restricting access to sets of data, compressing or encrypting data, configuring per-user storage quotas on entire partitions and/or specific folders, and file classification tagging.

Several Windows services require NTFS volumes; as a best practice, we recommend that all partitions created on Windows Server 2008 R2 systems are formatted using NT File System (NTFS).

File System Quotas
File system quotas enable administrators to configure storage thresholds on particular sets of data stored on server NTFS volumes. This can be handy in preventing users from inadvertently filling up a server drive or taking up more space than is designated for them. Also, quotas can be used in hosting scenarios where a single storage system is shared between departments or organizations and storage space is allocated based on subscription or company standards.

The Windows Server 2008 R2 file system quota service provides more functionality than was included in versions older that Windows Server 2008. Introduced in Windows 2000
Server as an included service, quotas could be enabled and managed at the volume level only. This did not provide granular control; furthermore, because it was at the volume level, to deploy a functional quota-managed file system, administrators were required to create several volumes with different quota settings. Windows Server 2003 also included the volume-managed quota system, and some limitations or issues with this system included the fact that data size was not calculated in real time. This resulted in users exceeding their quota threshold after a large copy was completed. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 include the volume-level quota management feature but also can be configured to enable and/or enforce quotas at the folder level on any particular NTFS volume using the File Server Resource Manager service. Included with this service is the ability to screen out certain file types, as well as real-time calculation of file copies to stop operations that would exceed quotas thresholds. Reporting and notifications regarding quotas can also be configured to inform end users and administrators during scheduled intervals, when nearing a quota threshold, or when the threshold is actually reached.

Data Compression
NTFS volumes support data compression, and administrators can enable this functionality at the volume level, allowing users to compress data at the folder and file level. Data compression reduces the required storage space for data. Data compression, however, does have some limitations, as follows:

• Additional load is placed on the system during read, write, and compression and decompression operations.

• Compressed data cannot be encrypted.

Data Encryption
NTFS volumes support the ability for users and administrators to encrypt the entire volume, a folder, or a single file. This provides a higher level of security for data. If the disk, workstation, or server the encrypted data is stored on is stolen or lost, the encrypted data cannot be accessed. Enabling, supporting, and using data encryption on Windows volumes and Active Directory domains needs to be considered carefully as there are administrative functions and basic user issues that can cause the inability to access previously encrypted data.

File Screening
File screening enables administrators to define the types of files that can be saved within a Windows volume and folder. With a file screen template enabled, all file write or save operations are intercepted and screened and only files that pass the file screen policy are allowed to be saved to that particular volume or folder. The one implication with the file screening functionality is that if a new file screening template is applied to an existing volume, files that would normally not be allowed on the volume would not be removed if they are already stored on it. File screening is a function of the File Server Resource Manager service.

File Classification Infrastructure
Windows Server 2008 R2 includes a new feature called the File Classification Infrastructure (FCI). The FCI enables administrators to create classification policies that can be used to identify files and tag or classify files according to properties and policies defined by the file server administrators. FCI can be managed by using the File Server Resource Manager console and allows for file server administrators to identify files and classify these files by setting specific FCI property values to these files based on the folder they are stored in and/or based on the content stored within the file itself. When a file is classified by FCI, if the file is a Microsoft Office file, the FCI information is stored within the file itself and follows the file wherever it is copied or moved to. If the file is a different type of file, the FCI information is stored within the NTFS volume itself, but the FCI information follows the file to any location it is copied or moved to, provided that the destination is an NTFS volume hosted on a Windows Server 2008 R2 system.

Source of Information :  Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

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