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Virtual Disk Service Technical Reference

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Virtual Disk Service Technical Reference

For Microsoft Windows 2000, each company that made storage devices (for example, hard disks, PCI RAID adapters, storage arrays) provided its own application for installing and managing that storage device. As a result, users had to run separate applications for each type of storage device they used on their computer system. This made managing the different types of storage devices difficult. To address this issue, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 introduced Virtual Disk Service (VDS). VDS is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that provides a single interface for managing disks. VDS provides an end-to-end solution for managing storage hardware and disks, and for creating volumes on those disks.

VDS uses two sets of providers to manage your storage devices. The built-in VDS software providers enable you to manage disks and volumes at the operating system level. Hardware providers supplied by the hardware vendor enable you to manage hardware RAID arrays.

Each hardware vendor writes a VDS hardware provider that translates the general-purpose VDS APIs into specific instructions for their hardware. VDS simplifies storage management because storage applications no longer need to take into account the specific hardware being targeted. Because of VDS, you no longer need to use a different storage application to manage each different storage device. Instead, you can use one compatible storage application to manage any hardware that has a VDS hardware provider.

Windows Server 2003 components that work with VDS include the Disk Management snap-in, the DiskPart command-line tool, and the DiskRAID command-line tool (Diskraid.exe), which is available in the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit. DiskRAID requires at least one VDS provider supplied by a storage vendor.

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