Hands-on with Windows Server 2008 R2: The Windows File Classification Infrastructure

Missing from Windows until now, file classification lets a business manage data based on its value and sensitivity

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This being the initial release of FCI, there are certain limitations. First and foremost: Out of the box, you can only automatically classify folders by their location in the file system and their content. Classification using the files' owners or any other criteria has to be scripted. You can also, of course, manually classify files through the GUI as I've demonstrated in this feature, but that's of limited scale when you are in an enterprise environment.

In terms of policy application -- the actions that result from classification criteria being met -- this release of FCI supports only expiring files, generating reports and firing off custom commands that you designate, also through the File Server Resource Manager. Microsoft decided that for this first version of FCI, partner vendors could take care of search, backup, archive and other security functionality. Experts within IT departments can also write PowerShell scripts or small programs to capture desired functionality as well.

Windows FCI rules definition

The rule settings tabs allows you to begin filling out the form to specify the rules you want to use to classify files.

Click to view larger image

The ability to classify files quickly and, in some cases, automatically, has long been missing from Windows, and it's refreshing on one level to see Microsoft address this omission. FCI out of the box can do a couple of useful things and make more efficient use of your storage space, but in the end for this version you'll need some third-party software or some in-house scripting expertise to make the most of FCI.

For more information:

- Windows Server 2008 R2 to be released in October

- Hands on with Windows Server 2008 r2: Admin tools

- Hands on with Windows Server 2008 R2: DirectAccess

- Preview: Windows Server 2008 R2

Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker on a variety of IT topics. His published works include a variety of books on Windows client and server, including Learning Windows Server 2003. You can reach Jon at jhassell@sunvalleygp.com.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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