ReFS: Too Little, Too Late, Too Few

By Henry Newman

In my last blog post, I referenced Microsoft's new file system, ReFS. Yes, the world is getting another file system. Is this a good thing? Does it break any new ground?

The answer is, of course, no way. The other interesting fact is that Microsoft is releasing ReFS in the same way it released NTFS back in 1993 -- to commercial customers first. If the same path is followed, those of us that use NTFS for our home systems will have to wait until 2019 to change file systems.

Surely, things need to go way way faster than that. NTFS became available in 1993 and home users were able to get it in 2000 with the release of Windows XP. By 2019 or 2020, disk drives will likely be using heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), and we will have very very large densities. HAMR is expected around 2016 or 2017. Let's say I have a 12 TB hard drive and I am running NTFS, then I have a crash and I need to run a chkdsk. Are we talking about two days or three days to complete the full run?

This is not a funny joke. As I said in the last entry, ReFS is far too little far to late, but from a feature list perspective, it is far better than NTFS, which I often call the worst file system in the world currently being used. Home users need to demand that Microsoft move up the timeline for ReFS for lower-end systems. I solved the problem at my house: I do not use a Microsoft product for my data storage. Instead, I use XFS Linux on a NAS device. However, most people outside our industry do not have the skills to do this.

This article was originally published on January 20, 2012