Thursday, July 27, 2006

The all new windows file system...

WinFs : The hot new Windows File System

Many times you may have fantasized that the Windows file system you use has similar powerful search function built in like some database applications have. And as you search in your computer for your files, you get Google like results. Now, what if, in reality, the same functionality is built in right there in the file system of Windows Operating System? What if you get Windows operating system with built in database server capabilities? There is speculation that the new Windows file system WinFS (for Windows Future Storage) which is going to be released with new version of Windows will have such capabilities built in.

WinFS may integrate the database server MS SQL. In the days of Windows 95-98, to curb the growing popularity and to reverse the increasing user base of Netscape, Internet Explorer was integrated in to Windows Operating System. Now you see what had happened to Netscape with its user base of more than 80% at that time? The table has turned upside down in favor of Internet Explorer within short span of less than five years. For Windows, the time has come to control the spreading of Oracle. With MS SQL integrated in the Windows OS with WinFS, you can only hope well for Oracle. While WinFS has not been released yet, it may be included in the next version of Windows (prediction is based on test version of Windows - code named - Longhorn Milestone 4 that had leaked on Internet). WinFS may have following and some couple of extra features.

Probable Features of WinFS

  • WinFS will have support for NTFS as well as FAT 32 and FAT 16 file system.
  • WinFS may use mount points instead of Drive letters, similar as is being used in UNIX to resolve drive identification problems in Network, and will based on SQL Server, thus will remove distinction between local and remote storage.
  • WinFS file system will take away the pain required to store and retrieve data from user. It will let you search contextually instead of search by file name. Further, WinFS will unify present day’s all data sources like email, documents, music and multimedia files. Besides this, you will not need separate folders for each. It will use Virtual Folder approach in storing data. This functionality may look new to Windows users, but BeOS has this type of file system from ages.
  • WinFS will present you powerful search options like Google. For example, if you search for EFY, it will present the extremely relevant index of documents that contains name EFY, email sent to and received from EFY, and everything else that matters with EFY – similarly as you search with Google.
  • WinFS will make easy to find information no matter where it is stored and in what form.
  • WinFS will have more security options and definitely will be more secure, versatile and robust than NTFS.
  • In WinFS file system, different files will not need to be stored separately. Simply they will be cross referenced. This will allow for complex file search with easy. Further, storing files in SQL like database gives you performance boost in searching for files, running queries etc…. There is no need to scan through each and every folder as with your present Windows OS file system.

But there may be some glitches too. For example, transition from FAT or NTFS to WinFS may make problems for some third party applications that you may be using. WinFS is based on background indexing system which is heavy on system resources and thus will have high hardware requirement. Despite these glitches, which are minor in nature, WinFS if released as forecasted will definitely redefine your habit of handling data.

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