WinFS Beta 2 to Appear at TechEd

Microsoft has been busy working on its next-generation storage technology known as WinFS and will be showing off new features next month at TechEd 2006 in Boston. WinFS Beta 1 debuted last September and Beta 2 is slated for release later this year.

WinFS, or Windows File Store, is Microsoft's new SQL-based file system technology that will be released as an add-on shortly after Windows Vista. The idea of WinFS is to create a "sea of data" that abolishes the need for the standard file and folder hierarchy.

For example, no longer would documents need to be stored in My Documents or images in My Pictures; instead, Windows would simply display the files associated with a particular request on demand. In addition, WinFS could store structured data such as contacts, calendars and more.

Asked whether WinFS is an individual file system or simply an extension of NTFS, Microsoft previously explained to BetaNews: "It's both. It's built on NTFS and it is a file system."

Items can be standard file-backed objects such as images and documents, or objects not backed by tangle files including contacts and e-mail. For file-backed items, WinFS leverages NTFS to store the data and ensure compatibility with current Win32 applications. When a file is changed, the system re-syncs the necessary metadata with WinFS.

Associations play an important role in establishing relationships between different types of data and allow users to organize information based how it's used.

"Imagine a world where data storage and retrieval just work the way they should- no need to create clumsy mappings between objects, relational tables, and byte streams being stored in files," said WinFS program manager Shan Sinha. "We finally can realize a world that simplifies the persistence, manipulation and retrieval of data, giving us an opportunity to create unique new applications based on those new capabilities."

"Since we announced the availability of Beta 1 last September, we have been busy incorporating all of the feedback you gave to us and preparing Beta 2," Sinha added. "Well at Tech Ed, we will be demonstrating why we continue to be so excited about WinFS, showing off features from our Beta 2 release."

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