Deduplicate VMWare virtual machines with Windows Server 2012 R2

I previously played with VMWare ESXi using NFS from Windows Server 2012. When Windows Server 2012 R2 became available I decided to add deduplication into the mix. For those who does not know Microsoft included a new feature in Windows Server 2012 called Data Deduplication. Data Deduplication enables you to dedupe files stored on NTFS volumes. Previously I was not able to run deduplication on Windows Server 2012 because it does not support deduplication for open files. Starting from Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft supports deduplication for open files.

For NFS share I decided to reuse already existing Windows Server 2012 R2 running on Hyper-V. This server is also used to provide deduplicated storage to Hyper-V hosts via SMB3. For NFS I created 500GB LUN and enabled deduplication (VDI mode). Since I was not sure about the performance of that deduplicated NFS datastore I decided to select VMs that did not have high I/O demand. I ended up moving 19 Linux based development servers to this NFS datastore.

Deduplication result is quite good. I achieved about 8x data reduction rate. It helped that all those 19 Linux servers are quite similar.

NFS statsPerformance numbers on the datastore are following:
IOPS: between 20-300 iops
Read Latency: < 5ms
Write Latency: <15ms

Write latency is not that good. But since those servers are only running some script jobs during the night no one has complained.

One thing to remember when using Windows Server based NFS with VMware is that when you move the VM to Windows Server based NFS datastore all the disks get inflated. So after storage vMotion VM will consume all the space it’s allocated. In my case I can not move any VMs which have been allocated more then 500 GBs to this datastore .

In future I’m planning to expand the usage of deduplicated storage for VMWare because it can deliver significant disk space and cost savings.

More information:

Introduction to Data Deduplication in Windows Server 2012

What’s New in Data Deduplication in Windows Server 2012 R2

WS2012 Storage – NFS Server – Configure NFS for VMware vSphere 5.1 Home Lab