In a previous post, I introduced the new deduplication feature of Windows Server after being briefed on it recently. Now, a number of different previews are available to start working with this new technology. Configuring deduplication is rather straightforward; let’s walk through it.

The first step is to add the data deduplication role service; this is done in the new Server Manager and is a single step. This is shown in Figure A below:

Figure A

Deduplication installed (click to enlarge)

Once the role is installed on a Windows Server 8 system, the next steps are to start the Data Deduplication Service (ddpsvc) and set it to Automatic startup. This is done in the normal services management snap-in as we have done for any Windows Server platform. Then, each eligible volume needs to be configured for deduplication. Keep in mind that C:\ drives are not supported for NTFS deduplication with Windows Server 8, and that deduplication is driven through a number of scheduled tasks on the server. Configuring a volume for deduplication is done by right-clicking on the volume in Server Manager and selecting “Configure Deduplication” as shown in Figure B:

Figure B

Enable deduplication on a volume (click to enlarge)

There are two primary options for deduplication, folder and file type exclusions. Those are configured in Server Manager when deduplication is configured for a volume and is an important step. If there are very dynamic files or structured data types of databases, don’t use Windows Deduplication. Virtual Hard Drive Files (VHDs), SQL databases, Exchange mailbox stores, and other similar types are not good candidates for Windows deduplication. The deduplication options are shown below in Figure C:

Figure C

Deduplication options (click to enlarge)

Once deduplication is configured in the above steps, a number of Scheduled Tasks come into play to make deduplication happen. The default configuration of this feature puts in three scheduled tasks in the Windows \ deduplication area of the Task Scheduler.

Configuring Windows Server deduplication is very easy and can save disk space for NTFS volumes. Do you see yourself using this feature for future Windows Servers? Share your thoughts below.