I ran across this report of Bill Gates answering questions on Redit.
This, to me, sounds incredibly like an attempt to replicate IBM i OS...
Q: What one Microsoft program or product that was never fully developed or
released do you wish had made it to market?
Gates: We had a rich database as the client/cloud store that was part of a
that was before its time. This is an idea that will remerge since your
cloud store will be rich with schema rather than just a bunch of files and
the client will be a partial replica of it with rich schema understanding.
For those who may not know, Gates was referencing WinFS, or Windows Future
Storage<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinFS>. The idea behind WinFS was to
integrate some relational database technologies with the Windows File
System. In its early (codename "Cairo") days, WinFS was key to Microsoft's
plans to create a true, object-oriented file store.
At one point, Microsoft was touting WinFS as one of the key components
Then the Longhorn reset happened and Microsoft ended up rolling out bits of
WinFS as components of SQL Server and other database-focused deliverables<
In a crazy coincidence, a Microsoft veteran who once worked in the SQL
Server organization posted his thoughts today about WinFS. His MSDN blog
post focuses more on how to tell whether a project is doomed<
than on WinFS. But the author, Brian Welcker -- who is currently Group
Program Manager for Microsoft Dynamics -- uses WinFS as ar prime example of
how to tell when projects "may be headed towards certain doom."
From Welcker's post:
"Early in my career at Microsoft, I was part of one of the biggest
development disasters at Microsoft (no, not Windows Vista), called WinFS<
WinFS was an attempt to bring the benefits of schema and relational
databases to the Windows file system. I never worked directly on WinFS but
since I was part of the SQL Server organization during that time (I worked
in Reporting Services), I got to see it from birth to death. I won't go
over all of the specifics here but if you want some of the gory details,
the Wikipedia article has a pretty good overview of the technology
specifics. The WinFS effort was started around 1999 as the successor to the
planned storage layer of Cairo and died in 2006 after consuming many
thousands of hours of efforts from really smart engineers."
Welcker noted that no two members of the WinFS team seemed to be able to
answer the question "What is it?" in a succinct, cohesive way. He noted:
"Some people would say that it (WinFS) was the database embedded in the
operating system. Others would say that it was XML in the database. Other
answers included a SQL-based file system, an object/relational mapping
layer, rich storage for Office apps, a file system metadata indexer, .NET
in the database, etc. It's not that these weren't useful technologies (many
of them shipped outside the WinFS project), it's that there wasn't a
singular vision driving the project to completion. Because no one could
identify the essence of the project, it made it really hard to make any
decisions about what should or shouldn't be included."
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