Windows Storage Server (WSS) 2008 offers quite a few improvements over Microsoft’s previous file server iterations. Sure, you could build your own file server using Windows Server 2008, but the features, ease-of-use, and speed that this out-of-the-box solution offers is impressive. The bottom line is that Windows Storage Server 2008 is a robust and comprehensive file server that is appropriate for large and small businesses.
Single Instance Storage
This is probably the biggest feature that Microsoft is touting with this release. With WSS 2008’s single instance storage (SIS) system, organizations should, in theory, be able to save a lot of disk space through de-duplication.
The basic idea works like this: say 10 employees access and save the same file onto the storage server. Through the magic of the SIS engine, WSS 2008 will be able to recognize these instances as the same file and store them as one shared file. If one of these employees, however, makes changes to the file, she would have her own version of the file while the other nine would still have access to the original. All of this is completely transparent to end users.
In some estimates, the SIS system can save as much as 60 percent of storage space. This feature alone may make the WSS 2008 a valuable investment for many organizations.
A benefit to the WSS 2008 is its advanced storage technologies, including file and iSCSI block storage, which is perfect for Hyper-V deployments. This also allows live migration for virtualized environments.
Another new feature is the File Classification Infrastructure, which will allow users to manage file data based on business value and company policy. This file classification system will automate classification processes so that you can manage data more effectively. As an example of how this will work in would be that non-essential data can be flagged for removal automatically.
Ease of Installation
The WSS 2008 is deployed as an application, which will have you up and running and serving files within about 30 minutes. It’s fast and easy-to-use and configure for your needs, and the slick graphical installation routine is actually a huge plus for the operating system. Admins can easily partition the hard drive during this process and install storage drivers from a DVD or USB drive.
The installation process also allows administrators to choose which components they want to set up, and you can choose to install the server without a graphical interface. With this option, the system can only be configured from the command line.
As an out-of-the-box solution for file storage and management, the WSS 2008 is well worth your time. Rather than relying on NAS solutions with a regular server, the WSS 2008 offers some attractive features that will make it valuable for those looking for something that is easily scalable and simple to manage.