Additional management tools will allow adminstrators to oversee up to 200 hard drives or SSDs, allowing the disks to be seen as a single pool of capacity that can be carved up into logial unit numbers (LUNs) and volumes to be shared among physical servers.
"It's a lot harder to find guys to mange a Fibre Channel fabric than an Ethernet fabric. A lot of this stuff becomes more self service or doable by people in the data center," said SW Worth, a senior program manager at Microsoft.
Data deduplication and thin provisioning, or the ability to expand storage volumes on an as-needed basis, is also native to Windows Server 8. "Think of us as a new entry in the enterprise storage space. We're competing for some of that business," Worth said.
"The path we're going down is file-based access, so you don't need storage rocket scientists to administer your environment. And, we're also using SSDs to get performance without having to tune the disks," Pinkerton said, referring to the practice of short-stroking Fibre Channel hard drives to achieve peak performance, which also greatly reduces available storage capacity.
Microsoft also upgraded its access list control (ALC) to enable users to specify who can read and write to documents based on their business unit or the sensitivity of the data itself. For example, documents can be classified as business critical, as containing personal employee data, or they can be classified by business, such as legal, finance or marketing.
Pinkerton said Windows Server 8 will help companies with regulatory compliance and civil litigation by offering document classification.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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