Data Deduplication is the best feature in Server 2012/2012 R2. For any shop, it provides a huge benefit for 5 minutes of work! When configured, data deduplication will analyze files for duplicate chunks, remove the duplicate portions, and reference files to a single specially stored copy. This can give you some amazing space savings!
Data deduplication is useful for three main scenarios:
- Folder Redirection/Home Folders/User Share: imagine all of the PDFs that are emailed out and saved into each user’s documents.
- Software Distribution/Application shares: a lot of software share the same components.
- VDI: If you have 100 VMs running the same OS, the disk space saved with data deduplication would be insane! Microsoft saved close to 90% in their environment!
In this guide, we will setup data deduplication and learn some best practices for integration.
How to Configure Data Deduplication in Server 2012/2012 R2
First, data deduplication can not be configured on a system or boot volume. With that out of the way, pick a machine running Server 2012 or higher. In Server Manager, launch the Add Roles and Features Wizard. Under Server Roles, expand File and Storage Services – select the Data Deduplication role and finish the wizard. This role does not require a reboot.
Select the File and Storage Services node in Server Manager and then select volumes. Right click on data volume and select Configure Data Deduplication…
Change the type from disabled to General purpose file server (or check the enable box if you are on Server 2012). Leave the deduplicate files older than setting at the default value. You may want to exclude certain folders/files from deduplication. For example, SCCM 2012 requires a few folders to be excluded.
Select Set Deduplication Schedule and check the Enable throughput optimization box. Adjust the duration so that the optimization is outside of your work hours – the server will be taxed while this optimization occurs. Use Server Manager Performance Counters to keep an eye on resources during optimization.
Depending on your server size, it may take a day or two for volumes to be completely optimized. If you are wanting to see results quickly, you have two options:
- Launch DDPEval.exe (ex: ddpeval.exe \\Server-01\Data\). This tool in is the System32 folder on any server with data dedupe installed on it. You can copy this EXE to any 2008R2+ machine to evaluate potential savings.
- Start a dedup job with PowerShell. The following command will dedup volume D and consume up to 50% of the server’s RAM: Start-DedupJob D: -Type Optimization –Memory 50
That wraps up our data deduplication guide. If you wish to learn more, the links below will help: