Hopefully you have seen our announcement that Enterprise Vault 10.0.3 is now generally available. This is an important release for us as it brings support for the latest wave of Microsoft products. I’d like to take a little time to talk about the File System Archiving (FSA) support for Windows Server 2012.
Windows Server 2012 brings a wealth of new storage features to the table which will greatly help a Windows or storage administrator. However, one of the inevitabilities of life these days is the ever increasing data volumes. Whilst Windows Server 2012 will allow you to scale to greater storage capacities, it does little to actually curtail the data growth.
One of the new features of Windows Server 2012 is the addition of block level deduplication to a NTFS volume. This will allow you to squeeze more files on to your disks, but it really just buys you some more time until those volumes still become full. Deduplication here is on a volume by volume basis (not global) and according to Microsoft’s own numbers, will likely only gain you around 30-50% additional capacity for user shares.
I’ve been asked recently whether Windows deduplication would negate the need for File System Archiving. I would strongly argue that while Windows deduplication is nice to have, it does not negate the need for FSA:
- With the majority of data not being accessed for 6 months or more, why leave it on primary storage? Bringing it in to Enterprise Vault will free up far more storage than Windows deduplication and will actually prevent the need to enable Windows deduplication in the first place. It will also mean the likelihood of your volumes becoming full will be greatly diminished.
- Enterprise Vault applies retention to files that are archived. This means you do not have the files sitting around for eternity, but that they will be automatically deleted once they have passed their useful working life. Windows has no native retention capabilities.
- Enterprise Vault provides global deduplication of data. Not only will we deduplicate the same files, irrespective of how many folders, shares and servers we see it on, we will also deduplicate it if we see it as an attachment in an email or stored within a library on SharePoint. Data within Enterprise Vault is also stored compressed. What this all means is that your storage footprint within Enterprise Vault is going to be considerably smaller than just enabling Windows deduplication.
There are many more benefits of using Enterprise Vault (indexing, eDiscovery readiness, retention folders, wide choice of archival storage etc.) but I just wanted to call out how I see File System Archiving and its relevance when it comes to Windows Server 2012 and deduplication itself. If you have decided to implement Windows deduplication, then the good news is that you can still use File System Archiving against those volumes. We’ve engineered the product to ensure that both are not mutually exclusive.
One last footnote before I sign off, in Enterprise Vault 10.0.2 we introduced support for File System Archiving on Windows 2008 R2 Core server. In 10.0.3 that support follows through to Windows Server 2012 but also includes the capabilities to use File Blocking and FSA Reporting on Core servers. It is now much easier to switch from the full GUI installation of Server 2012 to Core Server 2012. As a result we anticipate many more customers deploying Core server, so this is a welcome introduction to our platform proliferation.
To find out more about File System Archiving and Windows Server 2012, then check out the feature briefing that has just been published.