WinFS talk in Athens

Last week I was in Greece (Athens) to speak about WinFS (the ppt). The flow of my WinFS talk is easy:

  1. Why WinFS

  2. WinFS as a File System

  3. WinFS, much more than a File System

I must have reached around 10k people with this talk by now and I'm really happy with the enthusiasm people show for this technology. I usually measure the enthusiasm by the number of questions I get after the presentation. These are the top 3 questions:

  1. Q: Isn't Microsoft eating away market share from SQL Server by having WinFS on every client?
    My A: WinFS is a combination of a relational database (based on Yukon, SQL Server 2005) and NTFS. Although we are looking at making the WinFS database extensible, it will be a database optimized to run WinFS. The schema of the WinFS database will be based on Items, Relationships and Extensions. Most application developers today work with tables and relationships as a basis for their DB-Schemas. The way I see it, the WinFS database is interesting for application developers interested in accessing resources in the WinFS database or even extending the WinFS database but the competition with SQL Server for other scenarios is small.

  2. Q: WinFS consists of two parts. The relational part and the WinFS part. Doesn't this make it more vulnerable to security threats?
    My A: For a long time already, Microsoft is focusing heavily on security. This is certainly not being overlooked for WinFS. We are dealing with two security models here: SQL Server security and NTFS security. These models need to be unified so a user can protect a data item - which will, in case of file-backed items, consist of metadata in the database as well an NTFS Stream - in one action.
    Actually, the WinFS should always look as a whole and not as a combination of two independent parts. There are many operations which will concern both aspects: creating new WinFS stores, backup/restore operations (these will need to unify database backup with NTFS backup.),...

  3. Q: Knowing that there will be no file servers with WinFS when Longhorn client will be released, will it still be possible to store, or copy files in WinFS to a fileserver with only NTFS shares?
    My A: Yes. One of the core services being developed is the synchronization service. This service will work with adapters which will allow for WinFS to WinFS or WinFS to non-WinFS synchronization. The idea is to allow for multi-master replication where you could for instance update a contact in WinFS and have the changes replicate to Active Directory or update a contact in Active Directory and have the changes replicate to the WinFS stores.

The truth and nothing but the truth on WinFS can be found here:

What a week it is. Microsoft settles with Sun Microsystems and Microsoft release code on Sourceforge. I better start preparing for some questions/remarks on that 🙂


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