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Intro to Windows 8 Storage Spaces

Storage Spaces are a brand new feature for Windows 8. You can group drives together in a storage “pool” and then use this capacity to create storage spaces. Basically, multiple drives can become a single virtual drive. The data stored within can be mirrored across multiple drives; this means that storage spaces won’t be affected if one of the drives fails (or even if two fail in a three-way storage space).
Using Storage Spaces is much like creating a RAID. It has the redundancy aspect, but it also allows you to hook up additional drives without hassle. You can simply plug them in and make use of the extra capacity instantly.
Storage Spaces appear just like any other drive in File Explorer, which means that it is easy for users to work with them. This is great news for IT technicians in business who want to deploy the system with ease.
You can use most drive types in a Storage Space, including USB, SATA and SAS drives. These can be internal, external or solid state drives. There’s a lot of compatibility, so it’s a solution that should work for most people.
Now, let’s take a look at how to go about creating a Storage Space. First, open it up from the Control Panel or by searching for it on the Start screen (it’s stored under the ‘Settings’ category).
If you don’t have any existing spaces created then you’ll be given a link to create one. Click the link and then select the drives that you want to use. Remember to make a copy of your files on the drives first because you’ll lose anything currently stored on them. Other drives can be added in at a future date if necessary.
Next, you’ll need to configure the new space. You can add any logical size you want, but Windows will warn you when you’re beginning to reach the physical limit (for example, you could use two 50 GB drives and specify storage as 500 GB. Windows will prompt you to add more space when you’re nearing 100 GB).
You can also select how resilient you wish the space to be. You can choose to have none if you wish, which will mean that no backups will be taken of your data and you’ll lose everything should the drive fail. You can also select two-way mirror (two backups, requires two drives minimum), three-way mirror (three backups, requires three drives minimum) or parity (useful for large, rarely updated files and will protect from a single drive failure).
Once satisfied, click ‘Create storage space’ and the job will be done.
Now whenever you visit the Storage Spaces control panel you will be given an overview of your current spaces. Here you will be able to create a new space, add drives, rename the pool and view the files on a drive.
Remember, the drives within the pool are treated just the same as any other. They appear no different and you can still perform regular operations on them.

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