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I have a network with Live, User Acceptance, staging and development servers (In this case windows mainly 2012r2, all Hyper-V guests). Each of these parts of the network has a frontend and backend server. The backend servers contain proportionally large amounts of data. Across the User Acceptance, staging and development servers this data does not change (apart from the occasional refresh from live) and it rarely accessed outside the development cycle.

In this type of environment how do you minimise storage consumption and avoid wasting storage space on static and rarely accessed data. The data consists of 1000's of files such as pdf, json, dwgs and pngs.

Things I've considered.

Deleting servers while not in use - Not a great option as sometimes the time to restore these servers out weighs the time developers are going to use them. Our backup solution is MS Data Protection manager.

Deleting data discs while not in use - Slightly better than above but again time is factor.

Moving data discs between servers - As they are Hyper-V guests I could just attach the data discs as required, however there are times where more than one environment is in use at the same time.

  • What is the storage for your VHD's? – longneck May 26 '17 at 16:32
  • Various SANS (A couple of Dells and an HP) but all ISCSI. They are chopped up into a few large Volumes, mainly based around the drives speed/size – Drifter104 May 26 '17 at 16:48
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You might want to check out some hybrid file servers, one offloading cold data to public cloud where storage is cheap (S3) or nearly free (Glacier). If you have Enterprise agreement in Azure you might want to try StorSimple from Microsoft, both physical and virtual.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/storsimple/

Nasuni is also nice, but doesn't have reliable SMB3 so far.

https://www.nasuni.com

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  • Storsimple virtual array looks promising. I had looked at the options when there was a physical array I had not seen that there was a possibility of a virtual appliance. – Drifter104 May 30 '17 at 14:16
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There are a lot of interesting solutions on the market, I haven't tried Nasuni but looks like a fit. Also, you may take a look at Aclouda which can be used as a hardware gateway and present cloud storage as a local drive and offload data to the cloud automatically. It can be installed on a local server as SATA/SAS drive with connectivity to the cloud either Amazon or Azure. http://aclouda.com/

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Since you have a considerable big amount of data that do not change much with time I would highly recommend you implement some kind of tiering (Storage Spaces with automated tiering should fit). The idea is that the "hot" tier, which is local storage should contain most recent data that must be accessed quickly and the "cold" tier can be offloaded to the cloud.

The idea is not new - Nasuni https://www.nasuni.com/ does stuff very similar to this approach. A DIY option is S3Fuse https://www.interserver.net/tips/kb/mount-s3-bucket-centos-ubuntu-using-s3fs/ that allows you to mount a cloud storage as a local drive. StorSimple https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/storsimple/ is another choice but it is strictly bound to Azure.

If you are not willing to install/configure and maintain any additional software you can go with a hardware gateway like AcloudA http://aclouda.com/ that will do the job without requiring any additional software or drivers.

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Since your guests are Windows 2012 R2, you could run deduplication inside the VM. Except for the intial crawl, I have found it to not be very resource intensive. On document stores, my savings has been 55% or higher.

If your storage was on a Windows server (Storage Spaces and the like) you could dedupe your VHD store. Using the VDI option when configuring dedupe on a volume turns on dedupe of open VHD's. See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn486808.aspx

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