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Feature focus: Data Deduplication in Windows Server 2016

Here’s what’s new in Windows Server 2016 to make sure that Deduplication is highly performant and can run at scale:


1.Support for Volume Sizes Up to 64 TB


In Windows Server 2012 R2, Dedup optimises data using a single-threaded job and I/O queue for each volume. While this works well for a lot of scenarios, you have to consider the workload type and the volume size to ensure that the Dedup Processing Pipeline can keep up with the rate of data changes, or “churn”. Typically this means that Dedup doesn’t work well for volumes greater than 10 TB in size (or less for workloads with a high rate of data changes). In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft  went back to the drawing board and fully redesigned the Dedup Processing Pipeline. They now run multiple threads in parallel using multiple I/O queues on a single volume, resulting in performance that was only possible before by dividing up data into multiple, smaller volumes.  The result is that the volume guidance changes to a very simple statement: Use the volume size you need, up to 64TB.


2.Support for File Sizes up to 1 TB


While Windows Server 2012 R2 supports the use of file sizes up to 1TB, files “approaching” this size are noted as “not good candidates” for Data Deduplication. In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft made use of new stream map structures and improved their partial file optimisation, to support Dedup for file sizes up to 1 TB. These changes also improve overall Deduplication performance.


3.Simplified Dedup Deployment for Virtualized Backup Applications


While running Dedup for virtualized backup applications, such as DPM, is a supported scenario in Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft have radically simplified the deployment steps for this scenario in 2016. They have combined all the relevant Dedup configuration settings needed to support virtualized backup applications into a new preset configuration type called, as you might expect, “Virtualized Backup Server” (“Backup” in PowerShell).


4.Nano Server Support


Nano Server is a new headless deployment option in Windows Server 2016 that has a far smaller system resource footprint, starts up significantly faster, and requires fewer updates and restarts than the Windows Server Core deployment option. Data deduplication is fully supported on Nano Server!


Please let us know if you have any questions about Dedup in Microsoft Windows Server 2016, or upgrade paths to Windows Server 2016, particularly if your current server version is 2008 r2 or earlier!

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