Microsofts New WinFS Challenge: Managing Live Services

Microsoft's next-generation data store is still not yet at the Beta 2 stage. But the longer the technology takes to deliver, the more complex Microsoft's data management challenges become.

BOSTON—With WinFS, its next-generation file store technology that it has been working on since 2002, Microsoft admittedly bit off a tough challenge: to provide a single, integrated store for Windows, Office and SQL Server data.

Now, the teams challenges are becoming even more complex, given that WinFS is going to need to manage data from Windows Live services, such as Windows Live Search, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messaging and other similar sources, too.

Microsoft officials provided attendees of the TechEd show here with an update on WinFS on June 12.

WinFS is the relational file store that will sit on top of Microsofts existing NTFS file system. The goal of WinFS is to make data storage and retrieval more seamless across a variety of data sources, while making the current "file" model of data storage and retrieval obsolete.

Quentin Clark, product unit manager with Microsofts SQL/WinFS unit, told attendees not to expect to see a second, publicly available beta of WinFS until some time later this year. (On the Microsoft WinFS Team Blog, company officials said to expect Microsoft to show off WinFS Beta 2 at this weeks conference.)

Microsoft released a first beta of WinFS in September 2005 and refreshed that beta in December 2005.

Clark also told session attendees that Microsoft would continue to be ambiguous about its planned ship vehicles for WinFS, sharing more details only as Microsoft went public with its future Windows release plans.

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