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Configure Data Deduplication on Windows Server 2016 File Servers

If you manage a Windows Server 2016 file server and your company won’t allow Quotas or File Screening for your file server, or even worse hasn’t bothered defining data retention policies, you’ve probably found yourself running low on storage. A new feature in Windows Server 2016, Data Deduplication, can help you address the pesky problem of running low on space by, well, deduplicating your data.

What does that mean? Read the Data Deduplication Overview from Microsoft to find out what the Data Deduplication feature is, and how it can help you reclaim your sanity.

Step 1: Install the Data Deduplication Feature

In Windows Server 2016, Data Deduplication is a role that can be installed. You’ll find the role under File and Storage Services, File and iSCSI Services.

  1. In the Add Roles and Features wizard, select Server Roles.
  2. Expand File and Storage Services.
  3. Expand File and iSCSI Services.
  4. Select the Data Deduplication role.
  5. Click Next until the Install button is active, and then click Install.

Of course, you can also use PowerShell. If you’re logged into the server you want to install the Data Deduplication role on, use this command to install the role:

Install-WindowsFeature -ComputerName  -Name FS-Data-Deduplication

If you’re looking to remotely install the Data Deduplication role, use this command to install the role:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName 
dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:dedup-core /all

Step 2: Enable Data Deduplication for a Disk

The Data Deduplication role can be enabled in Server Manager, but before we enable the role, we’ll need to select the appropriate Usage Type that most closely resembles the workload we’re enabling Data Deduplication for. As of this writing, there are only three different Usage Types included with the Data Deduplication role:

  • Default – Tuned specifically for general purpose file servers
  • Hyper-V – Tuned specifically for VDI servers
  • Backup – Tuned specifically for virtualized backup applications such as Microsoft DPM

For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to use Default.

  1. In Server Manager, select File and Storage Services.
  2. Select Volumes from File and Storage Services.
  3. Right-click the target volume and select Configure Data Deduplication.
  4. Select the Usage Type from the drop-down box.
  5. If you’d like to change the Data Deduplication schedule, you can do so now by clicking the Set Deduplication Schedule button.
  6. Click OK.

If you’re running one of the recommended workloads, that’s all you have to do. If you’re running other workloads, or are curious, check out this Other considerations article from Microsoft. If you’d like to dive a bit deeper into what can be changed, take a look at this Advanced Data Deduplication settings article.

Hopefully, this helps someone out. Let me know what you think by commenting on the post!

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Scott Forehand

Scott Forehand is an accomplished systems architect, engineer, and administrator with over a decade of experience designing and managing virtual environments, networks, storage and server infrastructures and operations with a proven ability to create and automate solutions to improve productivity, reliability and performance. He has achieved multiple certifications in virtualization, networking, cloud, storage and other technologies, and is honored to be a VMware vExpert in 2018.