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I'm setting up a fileserver for our department. It'll be connected to the domain.

I want it to have a very large amount of storage (several TB). Ideally, it should also preserve disk space by identifying identical files and only storing them once. It should be fault tollerant so that if one of the drives fails, that drive can be replaced without losing any data. All of these features are available in Microsoft's consumer offering - Windows Home Server. However, I can't find these kind of features within the enterprise Windows Server 2008 R2. Am I missing something?

I know that I could buy a Drobo, or similar, and use this instead. However, I would prefer to use a built-in feature of Windows Server should it exist.

It seems surprising to me that these features should be available in Home Server but not in an enterprise fileserver.

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3 Answers

Neither feature is new in WHS.

Dedupe is only for the backups, not for normal storage.

Microsoft's SCDPM backup solution is built on VSS, which has been around since Server 2003. You could use VSS snapshots for a simple backup solution (WHS just makes this process user friendly); SCDPM is a much more formalize backup solution.

RAID has been supported in Windows Server since the NT days; long before WHS ever came out. A "server" without fault tolerant disks is doomed to fail in short order (see Murphy Law).

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The thinking of Microsoft is, that businesses that are running Server 2008 are doing this on server hardware with hardware raid etc. and that software side implementations are not powerful enough for their target audience.

In addition to that, there is a limit to the users of Windows Home Server - I believe it's 10 (also: data duplication has been removed from WHS2011 anyway). Maybe your needs are indeed better met by a NAS which can easily hold several TB of data and duplicate it without much hassle.

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If you have that much data and you care about keeping it safe I'd consider something like a low-end NetApp or use OpenSolaris with ZFS (which will support dedupe very soon).

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