Windows Tip Sheet

R2W4: Storage with Benefits

Week 4 of Don's Windows Server 2003 R2 Month.

Win2003 R2 has some neat new things in store for…well, storage. A lot of these new things revolve around the new File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) console, a very nice, I-can't-believe-it-took-20-years-to-get-this management tool focused on file servers. Many of these new features take their cue from advanced third-party storage resource management products, building more oomph into Windows' core capabilities.

Quote Quota Unquote. While we've had built-in file quotas since Win2000, we didn't have terribly good management tools (sorry, the Windows Explorer Properties dialog doesn't qualify as a management tool) or very granular capabilities. FSRM finally brings quota management into a centralized console and gives you the ability to set quotas on not only a per-volume basis, but also on a per-folder or per-share basis, which is probably how most of us want to manage quotas in the first place. Better notification mechanisms also help you and your users keep on top of things.

Screen Doors. Sometimes quotas just aren't enough: Some companies, for legal reasons, don't want users keeping MP3s, AVIs, and other potentially sensitive (due to copyright restrictions) on company file servers. No sweat, since R2 and FSRM give us solid file screening capabilities. You can apply a screening policy to a folder tree or to a volume, and it affects all users placing files there; you can even configure exceptions to screening inheritance through a folder hierarchy.

FSRM, Reporting for Duty. FSRM give us what is probably the first built-in means of generating reports on storage utilization. Honestly, Windows found its first use as a departmental file server, so it's hard to believe we've done without this for so long -- but no more. You can create reports based on file size, last-used date, file owner, duplicate files, and much more.

Despite the fact that we've been using Windows as a file server for…well, pretty much forever, R2 is probably the first time that the operating system has come preconfigured with the right capabilities to really be an effective storage resource manager.

Additional Resources:

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.

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