I have a very large RAID 6 array that is used to store movies, tv shows, personal files, and various other things. It’s formatted capacity is about 36TB. Believe it or not, it’s pretty much full. It currently consists of 20x2TB hard drives and I really don’t want to add any more drives to it in its current form. Later this year I’m planning on building a new array to replace it, using fewer 6TB or 8TB drives. The server that manages the array had Server 2008R2 installed. After getting down to the last few gigs of free space it dawned on me, why not install Server 2012 R2 and set up data deduplication. I’ve read some pretty impressive articles online, where people were able to reclaim up to 60% of their storage using the dedup mechanism in Server 2012. So, I went ahead and upgraded. I started poking around and it wasn’t very obvious enabling dedup, so I put this guide together to help you get started.
Enabling Deduplication in Server 2012 R2
First, we need to install the Data Deduplication service. It’s part of File and Storage Services. Open Server Manager, select Local Server in the left side pane, then go to the Add Roles and Features wizard, under Manage.
Go through the first few windows, and when you get to Server Roles, you need to make sure Data Deduplication is selected, at minimum, under File and Storage Services. This is also a good opportunity to install any other roles or services you might be interested in.