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What Is Removable Storage?

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

What Is Removable Storage?

In this section

The data storage and management features in the Windows Server 2003 operating system provide you with various ways to manage and store data. With Removable Storage, a primary component of this feature set, you can track your removable storage media (tapes and optical disks) and manage the hardware libraries, such as changers and jukeboxes, which contain them.

With Removable Storage, you can:

  • Label, catalog, and track media.

  • Control library drives, slots, and doors.

  • Perform drive-cleaning operations.

Removable Storage works together with your data-management applications such as Backup. You use data-management applications to manage the actual data stored on the media. Removable Storage makes it possible for multiple applications to share the same storage media resources, which can reduce your costs. It also provides a common interface for managing those resources, so that you can manage your storage media more efficiently.

Removable Storage organizes all the media in your libraries into different media pools. A media pool is a logical collection of removable media that have the same management policies. Media pools are used by applications to control access to specific tapes or discs within libraries that are managed by Removable Storage. Removable Storage also moves media between media pools in order to provide the amount of data storage that your applications require. To find more information about media pools, see “How Removable Storage Works" in “How Removable Storage Works.”

You cannot use Removable Storage to manage volumes, such as for media siding or striping. Also, you cannot use Removable Storage to manage files, such as for data backup or disk-extender operations. These services are performed by data-management applications such as Backup or Remote Storage. Remote Storage is not available on computers running Windows XP Professional; Windows Server 2003, Web Edition; or Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition.

You must run all your data-management applications on the same computer that connects to your library. Removable Storage does not support multiple data-management applications running on different computers that are connected to the same library.

Removable Storage is configured to start automatically when you start your computer. It is possible to change the service so that you can start it manually, but this is highly discouraged. Disabling the service causes several applications that are included in Windows Server 2003 (such as Backup and Remote Storage) to become inoperative.

Common Scenarios for Removable Storage

Removable Storage is commonly used in the following scenarios:

  • Managing stand-alone drive libraries

  • Managing automated libraries

Managing stand-alone drive libraries

In this scenario, you use Removable Storage to manage multiple single-drive libraries, such as CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives.

In its simplest form, a library consists of data-storage media and the device that is used to read from and write to the media – for example, tape and a stand-alone tape drive. The group of libraries and associated media that you manage with a Removable Storage installation is called a Removable Storage system.

The main benefit to using Removable Storage is its efficiency: it is much easier to manage multiple libraries with a single tool, the Removable Management MMC snap-in, on behalf of different data-management applications, than it is to individually manage the same libraries with different sets of tools from those applications.

A further benefit of Removable Storage is that it organizes all the media in your libraries into different media pools, and also moves media between media pools in order to provide the appropriate amount of data storage your applications require.

To find more information about media pools, see “How Removable Storage Works" in “How Removable Storage Works.”

Managing automated libraries

In this scenario, you use Removable Storage to manage one or more automated libraries.

Automated libraries are automated units that hold multiple tapes or disks, and some have multiple drives. These libraries are sometimes called changers or jukeboxes, and commonly use robotic subsystems to move media stored in the library’s storage slots.

You can also use Removable Storage to manage a combination of single-drive and automated libraries.

The benefits are the same as the ones described in the previous scenario.

Administrative Interface

The Removable Storage Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in is an administrative interface that you can use to manage both stand-alone drive libraries and automated libraries.

Using the Removable Storage snap-in, you can:

  • Create media pools and set media pool properties.

  • Insert and eject media in an automated library.

  • Mount and dismount media.

  • Clean tape drives.

  • View the state of media and libraries.

  • Enable and disable drives and libraries.

  • Perform library inventories

  • Set security permissions for users.

  • Complete or refuse operator requests

  • Cancel work queue items.

To find more information about these tasks, see “How Removable Storage Works" in “How Removable Storage Works.”

Removable Storage Dependencies on or Interactions with Other Technologies

Removable Storage depends on, or interacts with, the following technologies:

  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

  • Backup (or similar, non-Microsoft data-management programs)

  • Win32 tape and disk management application programming interfaces (APIs)

  • The registry

  • Event Viewer

  • Group Policy

  • Media libraries

To find more information about this topic, see “How Removable Storage Works" in “How Removable Storage Works.”

Removable Storage Logical Diagram

The first part of the following figure shows the inherent complexity in using multiple applications to manage multiple devices (each containing a different media-type) without the aid of Removable Storage.

The second part shows how you can reduce this complexity by using Removable Storage as the common interface for managing multiple devices.

Removable Storage Logical Diagram

Removable Storage Logical Diagram

Related Information

The following resources contain additional information that is relevant to this section.

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