File Systems: What is the ReFS file system?

ReFS is a new Microsoft file system
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The Resilient File System (ReFS) is Microsoft’s newest file system. And probably like me you haven’t heard about the ReFS file system because it is not much talked about. Perhaps because the ReFS application is way beyond most of Zambia’s technology needs.

Or because it doesn’t apply to ordinary Windows existing at the frontend (unless Windows 10 ver. 1809 with ReFS 3.4) that we discuss and use every day. ReFS applies to Windows server systems: Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel)

I would admit I have never heard of ReFS until today despite it been introduced in 2012 with Server of the same year. On my part, I knew Microsoft was working on some proprietary file system and blah blah. What I didn’t know whats that it’s called ReFS.

But it’s worth chatting about how my story was about the discovery of Microsoft ReFS.

So this morning after checking the health of my SQL server 2014 I noticed a transaction log had grown too big. As in really huge. A staggering 600GB when merely the transaction database was only 57MB.

After a few inquiries into the experience of why sometimes transaction logs become too big, I was able to plan and resolve the issue in a few hours. To start with I hooked up a 1000GB drive to the server to be used for backup of the huge transaction log file.

Aptly, I went through the formating ritual. But guess what after formating the disk I could see the drive from the Disk Management but alas I could not see it navigating in Explorer Window.

This spooked me (anyway that’s why working with a troubled mind ain’t good for anyone) so i went back to Disk Management and there i saw i had not assigned the drive letter but i also noticed the file system was ReFS.

As a first rule when you observe anything new or strange is to find out what is. So I jumped on to Microsoft to find out what is the ReFS file system I was seen on my Windows server.

Key Benefit of Microsoft ReFS

According to Microsoft, ReFS introduces new features that can precisely detect corruptions and also fix those corruptions while remaining online, helping provide increased integrity and availability for your data:


Storage Spaces integration

Salvaging data and

Proactive error correction

Deploying ReFS as a backup target is best suited for applications and hardware that implement their own resiliency and availability solutions. So in my scenario ReFS benefit went beyond my infrastructure and capability and I had just to rivet to the brother I know the legendary NTFS.

When compared to NTFS with 256TB (terabyte) ReFS support a maximum of file and drive size of 35 PB (petabytes). But of course, Microsoft provides full-page and lines of comparisons and benefits of NTFS and ReFS. For a full overview check Microsoft documentation from here.

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