First, I am open to suggestion on the title of this.
Here is what I am looking for: I am rebuilding our file server because it’s dying, as well as space being poorly allocated. What I would like to be able to do, is store data accessed in the last year near line, and to replicate that data, using Windows DFS, while storing any unused data on a cheaper and slower storage medium, and the only redundancy would be tape backup.
So, for instance, I have a total of about 5TB of storage capacity, but only the most active 1TB I would keep near line and would replicate using Windows DFS. Leaving the rest available, but in a disaster, needing to be recovered from tape. The older data would be what would be considered important to keep, but not mission critical for day to day operations.
What I would also like to do would be to seamlessly "stitch" this data together so it continues to look like it’s still in the same folder, and let windows figure out where the data is actually located.
SQL server 2008 has a good example of this with filegroups, where I can store last year’s data on slower cheaper SATA drives, and SQL will seamlessly stitch the entire database together for me, so as a user I never know that the data I am looking at infrequently is stored somewhere else.
I am using Windows 2008 R2 standard with the file services role installed. I would prefer to keep this as a native solution without getting into 3rd party software, but I am not shutting the door completely on it.