Windows Server Deduplication

Thought to be one of the useful features of Windows Server since the launch of the 2008 R2 version. Deduplication is a native feature added through the server manager that gives system administrators enough time to plan server storage and network volume management.

Most Server Administrators rarely talk about this feature until it is time to address the organization’s storage crunch. Data deduplication identifies similar data blocks and saves a copy as the central source reducing the spread of data all over the storage areas. Deduplication works on a file or block level giving you more space in the server.

Special hardware components, which are relatively expensive, are required to explore the block level deduplication; the reason behind extra hardware is the complex processing requirements. The file level of deduplication is not complicated and thus does not require the additional hardware. In most cases, Administrators implementing deduplication prefer the file approach.

When to Apply Windows Server Deduplication

Windows server file deduplication works on the file level its operations work on a higher level than a block level as it tries to match chunks of data. File deduplication is an operating system level meaning that you can enable the feature within a virtual guest in a hypervisors environment.

Growth in industries is also driving the demand for deduplication although storage hardware components are becoming bigger and affordable. Deduplication is all about fulfilling the growing demand.

Why is Deduplication Feature Found on Servers?

Severs are central to any organization data, as users store their information into the repositories. Not all users embrace new technology on how to handle their work while others feel safe making multiple copies of the same work. Most of the work Server Administrators should be doing managing and backing up user data, and this gives them an easy time using windows dedupe feature.

Data deduplication in a straightforward feature and will take a few minutes to make it active. Deduplication is one of the server roles found on windows servers, and you do not need a restart for it to work. However, it is safe to do so to make sure the entire process is configured correctly.

Preparing for Windows Server Duplication

  • Click on start
  • Click on the run command window
  • Enter the command below and press enter (this command runs against selected volume to analyses potential space for storage)


  • Right click on the volume in Server Manager to activate data deduplication
  • The following wizard will guide you through the deduplication process depending on the type of server in place. (Choose a VDI or Hyper-V configuration or File Server)

Set up The Timing for Deduplication

Deduplication should run on scheduled time to reduce the strain on existing resources. You should not aim to save storage space at the expense of optimization of the server. The timing should at such a time when there is little strain on the server to allow for quick and effective deduplication.

Deduplication is a process that requires more CPU time because of the numerous activities and process taken by each job. Other deduplication demands include optimization, integrity scheduling, and garbage collection. All these deduplication activities should be running at peak hours unless the server has enough resources to withstand system slowdowns.

The capacity that deduplication reclaims varies depending on server use and storage available. General files, ISOs, Office applications files, and virtual disks consume much of the storage locations.

Benefits of Windows Server Deduplication

With the help of deduplication, it brings these direct benefits to the organization:

Reduced Storage Allocation

Deduplication can reduce storage space for files and backups. Therefore, an enterprise can get more storage space reducing the annual cost of storage hardware. With enough storage, there is a lot of efficiency, speed and eliminates the need of installing backup tapes

Efficient Volume Replication

Deduplication ensures that only unique data is written to the disk hence reducing network traffic

Increasing Network Bandwidth

If deduplication is configured to run at the source no need to transfer files over the network

Cost-Effective Solution

Power consumption is reduced, less space required for extra storage for both local and remote locations. The organization buys and spends less on storage maintenance thus reducing the overall storage costs.

File Recovery

Deduplication ensures faster file recoveries and restoration without straining the day’s business activities.

Features of Deduplication

Transparency and Ease of Use

Installation is straightforward on the target volume(s). Running applications and users will not know when deduplication takes place. The file system works well with NTFS file requirements. Files using the encryption mode, Encrypted File System (EFS), files that have a capacity smaller than 32KB or those with Extended Attributes (EAs) cannot be processed during deduplication. In such cases, file interaction takes place through NTFS and not deduplication. Files with alternative data stream will only have its primary data stream deduplicated, as the alternative will be left on the disk.

Works on Primary Data

The feature once installed on the primary data volumes will operate without interfering with the server’s primary objective. The feature will ignore hot data (active files at the time of deduplication) until it reaches a given number of days. The skipping of such files maintains consistency of the active files and shortens the deduplication time.

This feature uses the following approach when processing special files

  • Post procession: when new files are created, the files go directly to the NTFS volume where they are evaluated on a regular schedule. The background processing confirms file eligibility for deduplication every hour by default. The scheduling for confirmation time is flexible
  • File age: a setting on the deduplication feature called MinimumFileAgeDays controls how long a file should stay on the queue before it is processed. The default number of days is 5. The Administrator can configure it to 0 to process all files.
  • Type of File and Location Exclusions: you can instruct the deduplication feature not to process specific file types. You can choose to ignore CAB files, which does help the process in any way and any file that requires a lot of compression space such as PNG files. There is an option of directing the tool not to process a particular folder.


Any volume that is under deduplication runs as an automatic unit. The volume can be backed up and move it to a different location. Moving it to another server means that anything that was in that file is accessible on its new site. The only thing that you need to change is schedule timings because the native task scheduler controls the scheduler. If the new server location does not have a running deduplication feature, you can only access the files that have not been deduplicated.

Minimal Use of Resources

The default operations of the deduplication feature are to use minimal resources on the primary server. If any case the process is active, and there is a likely shortage of resources, deduplication will surrender the resources to the active process and resume when enough is available.

How storage resources are utilized

  • The harsh index storage method uses low resources and reduces read/write operations to scale large datasets and deliver high edit/search performance. The index footprint left behind is excessively low and uses a temporary partition.
  • Deduplication verifies the amount of space before it executes. If no storage space is available, it will keep trying at regular intervals. You can schedule and run any deduplication tasks during off-peak hours or during idle time.

Sub-file Segmentation

The process segments files into different sizes for example between 32 to 128 KB using an algorithm based on Microsoft research and other developers. The segmentation splits the file into a sequence depending on the content of the file. A Rabin fingerprint, a system based on sliding window hash helps to identify the chunk boundaries.

The average size of every segment is 64KB and are compressed and placed into a chunk store hidden in a folder located at the System Volume Information (SVI) folder. A reparse point, which is a pointer to the map of all data streams, helps in the replacement of normal files when requested.


Another feature you get from deduplication is that sub-file segmentation and indexing engine is shared with BranchCache feature. This sharing is important because when a Windows Server is running and all the data segments are already indexed, they can be quickly sent over the network as needed, therefore saving a lot of network traffic within the office or the branch.

How Does Deduplication Affect Data Access?

The fragmentations created by deduplication are stored on the disk are file segments that are spread all over increasing seek time. Upon the processing of each file, the filter driver will work overtime to maintain the sequence by keeping the segments together in a random fashion. Deduplication keeps a file cache to avoid repeating file segments and helps in quick file access. In a case where multiple users access the same resource simultaneously, that access pattern enables speeding up of the deduplication for each user.

  • No much difference is noted when opening an Office document; users cannot tell whether the feature is running or not
  • When copy one bulky file, deduplication will send end-to-end copy that is likely to be 1.5 times faster than it would take a non-deduplicated file.
  • During the transfer of multiple bulky files simultaneously, cache helps to transfer the file 30% times faster
  • The file-server load simulator (File Server Capacity Tool) when used to test multiple file access scenarios, you will notice a reduction of about 10% in the number of users supported.
  • Data optimization increases between 20-35 MB/Sec per job that easily translates to 100GB/hour for a single 2TB volume running on one core CPU with a 1GB RAM. This is an indicator that multiple volumes can be processed if additional CPU, disk resources, and memory.

Reliability and Risk Preparedness

Even when you configure the server environment using RAID, there is the risk of data corruption and loss attributed to disk malfunctioning, control errors, and firmware bugs. Other environmental risks to stored data include radiation or disk vibrators. Deduplication raises the risk of disk corruption especially when one file segment referring to thousands of other files is located in a bad sector. Such a scenario gives a possibility of losing thousands of user data.


Using the Windows Server Backup tool runs a selective file restore API to enable backup applications to pull files out of the optimized backup

Detect and Report

When a deduplication filter comes across a corrupted file or section of the disk, a quick checksum validation will be done on data and metadata. This validation helps the process to recognize data corruption during file access, hence reducing accumulated failures.


An extra copy of critical data is created, and any file segments with more than 100 references are collected as most popular chunks.


Inspection of the deduplication process and host volumes take place on a weekly basis to scrub for any logged errors and tries to fix them from alternative copies. An optional deep scrubber will walk you through the whole data set by identifying errors and fixing them if possible.

When the disk configurations are configured to mirror each other, deduplication will look for a better copy on the other side and use it as a replacement. If there are no other alternatives, data will be recovered from an existing backup. Scanning and fixing of errors is a continuous process once the deduplication is active.

Verdict on Deduplication

Some of the features described above does not work in all Window Server 2012 editions and may be subject to limitations. Deduplication was built for volumes that support NTFS data structure. Therefore root volumes and system drives, and it cannot be used with Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV). Live Virtual Machines (VMs) and active SQL databases are not supported by deduplication.

Deduplication Data Evaluation Tool

To get a better understanding of the deduplication environment, Microsoft created a portable evaluation tool that installs into the \Windows\System32\ directory. The tool can be tested on Windows 7 and later Windows operating systems. The tool installed through the DDPEval.exe supports local drives, mapped, unmapped, and remote shares. If you are using Windows NAS or an EMC /NetApp NAS, you can test it on a remote share.


The Windows Server native deduplication feature is now becoming a popular feature. It mirrors the needs of a typical server administrator working in production deployments. However, planning for deduplication before implementation is necessary because of the varying situations in which its use may not be applicable.

Upgrade and Conversion Options for Windows Server 2016 / 2019

It is always a good idea to start a new Windows Server 2016 / 2019 installation on a new slate. However, in some instances, you may be working on a site that will force you to upgrade from the current installation to the latest version.

The routines described here apply to the server versions of Windows 2016 and 2019. The article describes moving to Windows Server 2016 / 2019 from different lower server platforms.

The path to the new Operating System (OS) depends on the current system and configuration that you are running. That being the case, the following terms define activities you are likely to encounter when deploying the 2016 Server.


The simplest way of getting a new Operating System to work on your hardware and to be specific, a clean installation demands that you delete the previous operating system.


To migrate system settings to the new Windows Server using a virtual machine is what we call migration. The process also varies depending on the roles and system configurations already running.

Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade

This feature is new in Windows Server 2016, and its role is to make sure the Administrator can upgrade the operating system of all nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 without interfering with the Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server workloads.

The feature also helps in reducing downtime, which may affect Service Level Agreements.

License Conversion

Some Operating Systems use releases that allow the conversion of one edition to another without so much struggling. What you need is a simple command issued alongside a license key, and you end doing the license conversion.


When you want to use the latest software that comes with the newer versions, then you have to do an upgrade. In-place upgrades mean using the same hardware and install the new Operating System. For example, you can upgrade from evaluation to retail version or from a volume license to an ordinary retail edition.

NOTE 1: An upgrade will work well in virtual machines if you do not need specific OEM hardware drivers.

NOTE 2: Windows Server 2016 release, you can only perform an upgrade on a version installed using the Desktop Experience (not a server core option).

NOTE 3: if you use NIC teaming disable it before you perform an upgrade when the upgrade is complete re-enable it.

Upgrade Retail Versions of Windows Server to Windows Server 2016 / 2019

Note the following general principles:

  • Upgrading a 32-bit to 64-bit architectures is not possible. Note that all Windows Server 2016 versions are only available in 64-bit
  • You cannot upgrade from one language to another
  • If you are running a domain controller, make sure you can handle the task or read the following link (Upgrade Domain Controllers to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012).
  • You cannot upgrade from a preview version
  • You cannot switch from Server Core installation to a Server with a Desktop installation
  • You cannot upgrade from a Previous Windows Server installation to an evaluation copy of Windows Server

You can read from the table below that shows a summary of Windows Operating systems that you can upgrade. If you are unable your current Window version, then upgrading to Windows Server 2016 is impossible

Current Windows Edition Possible Upgrade Edition
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard or Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard or Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2016 Essentials
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2016 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 Workgroup
  • Windows Storage Server 2016 Workgroup
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2016 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup
  • Windows Storage Server 2016 Workgroup

Per-Server-Role Considerations for Upgrading

Even the supported upgrade paths from earlier versions before Windows Server 2016, some roles are part of the new system and may only need additional preparation or actions to get the desired intent.

Converting Current Evaluation Version to a Current Retail Version

It is possible to convert the trial version of Windows Server 2016 Standard to a Data 2016 Standard Server or a Datacenter. The two conversions can be retail versions. You can also convert Windows Server 2016 Datacenter to the retail version.

Before any conversion attempt to retail, make sure that your server is running an evaluation version; you can confirm this by any of the following:

  • From the administrator’s command prompt, run
slmgr.vbs /dlv;
  • The evaluation versions will include “EVAL” as the output
  • Open the control panel
  • Then click on System and Security
  • Click on System
  • View the activation status found on the activation area of the System page
  • Click view details, and you will see more information on your Windows Status
  • If your Windows is activated, you will see information showing the remaining for the evaluation period.

If you are running a retail version, you will see the “Upgrading previous retail versions of Windows Server 2016” prompting you to upgrade to Windows Server 2016.

Windows Server 2016 Essentials, the conversion to retail version is possible if you have a retail volume license or OEM key in the command slmgr.vbs

In any case, you are running an evaluation version of Windows Server 2016 Standard or Windows Server 2016 Datacenter. The following conversions can help you:

  • If the server is a domain controller, it cannot change to the retail version. First, install another domain controller on a server that runs a retail version and remove the AD DS from the domain controller that has the evaluation version.
  • Read the license terms
  • From the administrator’s command prompt, enter this command to get the current edition
DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition

Note the edition ID the abbreviation form of the edition name and then run

DISM /online /Set-Edition:<edition ID> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula

Once you get the ID and product key, the server should restart twice.

You can convert the evaluation version of Windows Server 2016 Standard to the retail version of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter using the same command and correct product key.

Converting Current Retail Edition to a Different Current Retail Edition

After successful installation of Windows Server 2016, you can run setup to repair the installation using a process called “repair in place “to convert it to a different edition.

In the case of Windows Server 2016 Standard, you can convert the system to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter by:

  • From the administrator’s command prompt, use the following command to determine the existing edition
DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition
  • Run the command to get the ID of the edition you want to upgrade to
DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions
  • Note the ID edition, the name of the edition and then run
DISM /online /Set-Edition:<edition ID> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula
  • Once you get the ID and product key, the server should restart twice.
  • Converting Current Retail Version to Current Volume Licensed Version

Once you have Windows Server 2016 running, you can convert it to a retail version, an OEM version, or a volume-licensed version. The edition will not change. If the starting point was an evaluation version, change it to retail version and then do as follows:

  • From the administrator’s command, run
slmgr /ipk <key>
  • Insert the appropriate volume-license, OEM or retail key instead of <key>


Upgrading Windows Server is a complicated process; therefore, Microsoft suggests that you migrate all roles and settings to Windows Server 2016 to avoid costly mistakes.

Windows Server 2019 Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

The Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is a platform provided by developers of Microsoft for preventive protection of their devices. It is still active a security breach, conducts an automated investigation, and responds accordingly.

Security is one of the biggest investments the Microsoft community directs to its Windows Servers releases. The Windows Server 2019 biggest security feature is the support for Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. The ATP is a unified platform that offers a preventive and automated response. This support feature was only available for Windows 10 devices; WS2019 has made it accessible in its platform as well as other Server versions.

What is Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection?

Cloud Control

This security platform offers a complete solution through cloud control with no additional deployment or infrastructure needed. There are no delay experiences, and the system will always remain up to date without bringing in any further complications related to incompatibility.

The platform offers intelligent protection and response. Very active in the protection of cyber threats, detects potential data breaches, automation of security incidents and improving security posture.

Windows Server ATP cloud control takes charge of the following services:

  • Reduce the total surface area of attack by eliminating all available loopholes and pathways that hackers can utilize.
  • The intelligent Security Graph (ISG) gives all the resources needed to offer protection to the most advanced ransomware and other forms of attacks.
  • Endpoint detection and response helps to monitor behaviors using machine learning and security analytics to stop possible threats. Detection and response from the endpoint enable the investigation and response of threats.
  • Automatic investigation and resolution gives the exact course of action and diffuses complex threats in minutes.
  • You can always have a look at the real-time visibility of how system security scores. By assessing the risks, you get the best recommendation to increase resilience.
  • Implementation of flexible queries between endpoints gives historical data that can build and enable custom detection

Automated Security

Increase your security platform by getting notifications and help without human intervention. The pre-breach protection feature work through the following actions:

  • Protecting the network by scanning connected to devices
  • Block all unpatched vulnerabilities such as zero delays
  • All files and devices with no clear reputation are blocked from accessing the network
  • Devices are protected when web-based threats and hardware are isolated
  • All applications running on the system have their malware defense strategy changed to avoid a possible breach
  • The dynamism of its cloud unattended approach defends the machine against known and unknown malware threats.
  • Behavioral monitoring blocks malicious and suspicious behaviors using advanced runtime analysis

Innovative Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Innovative EDR Means your system remains protected using any or all of the following approaches:

  • The feature uses its advanced behavioral analytics and machine learning to detect the unseen security threats by spotting attacks and zero delays.
  • The security center investigates evidence across the endpoints and uncovers the magnitude of a security breach.
  • The ATP uses interactive interaction and hunting using six months of historical data to search for possible exploits. Data collection is done in seconds saving you more time instead of tracking and tracing errors, which may take hours.
  • You can use customized Indicators of Compromise (IOC) to get an alert on the specific alert
  • Allows for deep inspection of suspicious files and prepare a full analysis within minutes

Clear Visuals

Since it is a built-in windows application, the signals exchange takes place between the application and the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph.


All your defense needs are controlled from a central location when Microsoft 365 shares your detection and exploration controls across the network. Synchronization speeds up response and recovery time.

Moving from Windows Server 2019 to Windows Server Defender Advanced Thread protection

If the current setup is using ATP, you can preview some of its features by installing the build preview of Windows Server and test it on Windows Defender ATP. Follow the following procedure to Onboard your machine

  1. Head to the Windows Defender Security Center
  2. Click on settings
  3. Here you will have an option of selecting the Operating System that you will use for the Onboarding process. Once you have selected, you will receive a confirmation to that effect
  4. You can leave the chosen deployment method as the default one. This enables the machine to run the Onboarding scripts locally. Note that every deployment can run to a limited number of computers.
  5. Download the Package by clicking on the link shown on the wizard
  6. Run detection test (this will test all the deployed number of machines as earlier indicated). Once the verification is done, you will see a confirmation message.

The verification that a particular machine has been properly onboarded and responds to the new service is done by running a detection script as shown below:

  1. Open the command prompt window
  2. At the command prompt, use the command below
powershell.exe -NoExit -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -WindowStyle Hidden (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('', 'C:\test-WDATP-test\invoice.exe');Start-Process 'C:\test-WDATP-test\invoice.exe'
  1. Once the script executes the command window successfully closes automatically

A successful execution means the test will be marked as complete and a confirmation will follow in a few minutes

An Overview of Windows Defender ATP for Windows Server 2019

The use of ATP on Windows Server 2019 is straightforward. After the onboarding process, you will see new alerts and recommendations on the dashboard. To maintain a state of active alertness, create a test alert after onboarding. The test alert also helps to monitor the connection at any given time.

There are several filters, action, and events found in the Windows Defender Security Center.


With the integration of the Windows Server 2019 Windows Defender ATP, you will have a single solution that protects, detects and respond to advanced threats. The developers of Microsoft Server 2019 take customer security seriously and treat it as a priority. Security threats mean working with different partners in the industry to ensure Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection can also give the same services to Android and iOS devices as well as Linux and MacOs installations.

Whats New in Storage in Windows Server 2019 and 2016

The two Window Server Edition 2016 and 2019 have new features, and that has made it possible to store data in the name of storage migration. The migration service helps keep inventory when moving from one platform to another. Other essential details such as security settings and settings from old systems to the new server installation.

The article will try to explain what is new and any changed functions in the storage systems of Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, and other semiannual releases.

We will start by highlighting some of the features added by the two server systems.

Managing Storage with Windows Admin Center

The Windows Admin Center is the central location where an App operating like a browser handles the server functions, clusters, Windows 10 PCs, and hyper-converged infrastructure containing storage locations. The Admin center does this as part of the new server configurations.

The Windows Admin Center is different and runs on Windows Server 2019 and some versions of Windows, we covered it first because it is new and we did not want you to miss it.

Storage Migration Service

The Storage Migration Service is the latest technology making it easy to move servers from an old to a new server version. All the events take place via a graphical interface displaying data on the servers and transfer data and configuration to new servers and then optimally moves old server identities to the new one to match apps and user settings.

Storage Spaces Direct (Available in Server 2019 only)

Several improvements have been made to storage spaces direct in Server 2019 though not included in Windows Server, Semi-Annual channel. Here are some of these improvements:

Deduplication and Compression of ReFS Volume

You will be able to store up to 10X more data on the same storage space using deduplication and compression of the ReFS system. You only need to turn this to on using a single click on the Windows Admin Center.

The different storage sizes with an option to compress make the saving rates to increase. The multi-threaded post processing will keep performance impact low. However, it supports a volume of up to 64TB and with each file reaching 1TB.

Native Support for Persistent Memory

Open up more performance with the native Storage Spaces Direct support for continuous creation of memory modules including the Intel Optane DC PM and NVDIMM-N. Use persistent memory as your cache to speed up the active working set or use it as an extra space needed to facilitate low latency. Manage persistent memory the same way you would any other storage device in Windows Admin Center or PowerShell.

Nested Resiliency for Two-Node Hyper-Converged Infrastructure on the Edges

The all new software resiliency option inspired by RAID 5 + 1 helps survive two hardware failures. The nested resiliency, the two node Storage Spaces Direct cluster should offer continuous accessible storage for programs and virtual machines even when one server node fails.

Two-Server Cluster Using USB Flash Drive as a Witness

Use a low-cost USB flash plugged into your router to act as a witness between two servers in a cluster. If the server is down, the USB will know which of the servers has more data.

Windows Admin Center

Managing and monitoring storage spaces direct with the newly built dashboard gives you an opportunity to create, delete, open and expand volumes with a few clicks. Follow performances of IOPS and IO latency from the entire clusters to the individual hard disks and SSD.

Performance Log

You will see what your server was up to in its resource utilization and performance using the built-in history feature. With more than 50 counters that cover memory, computation, storage and network are collected automatically collected and left in the cluster for a full year.

You do not find anything to install or configure or start; things will work in this feature.

Scale up to 4 PB for Every Cluster

Get to the level of multi-petabyte scale which makes sense in media servers for backup and archiving purposes. Windows Server 2019, storage spaces direct supports up to 4 petabytes (PB) which is the same as 4,000 terabytes.

Other capacity guides are increased as well; for instance, you can create volumes reaching 64 and not 32. The clusters can be stitched together into a set to make the scaling that fits within one storage namespace.

Accelerated Parity is now 2X Faster

You are now able to create Storage Spaces Direct Volumes that are part mirror and part parity. For example, mixing RAID-1 and RAID -5/6 to harness the advantages of both. Windows Server 2019, the performance of mirror accelerates parity is twice that of Windows Server 2016 due to optimizations.

Drive Latency Outline Detection

Get to know which drives have abnormal latency using proactive monitoring and the built-in outlier detection an inspiration from Microsoft Azure. You can see the failing drives labeled automatically in the PowerShell and Windows Admin Center.

Manual Delimiting of the Allocation of Volumes to Increase Fault Tolerance

The Admin can manually change the limit of allocations of volume in Storage Spaces Direct. Delimiting is done to increase fault tolerance in specific circumstances with added management considerations and complexity.

Storage Replica

The storage replica has the following improvements:

Storage Replica in Windows Server, Standard Edition

It is now very possible to use Storage Replica with Windows Server, Standard Edition as well as the Datacenter editions. Running storage replica on Windows Server, Standard Edition has the following weaknesses:

  • Storage replica replicated a single volume and not an unlimited volume number
  • Volume varies with some taking up to 2TB instead of taking an unlimited size

Storage Replica Log Performance Improvements

Some improvements on how storage and replica logs track replication improve replication throughout the latency period as well as Storage Spaces Direct clusters that replicate.

To get the increased performance, all members of the replication group must run Windows Server 2019.

Test Failover

Mount a temporary snapshot of the replicated storage on destination server for testing or backing up purposes.

Windows Admin Center Support

Supporting the graphical management of replication is made possible via the Server Manager Tool. This involves server-to-server replication, cluster-to-cluster and stretch cluster replication.

Miscellaneous Improvements

Storage Replica also seems to have the following improvements:

  • Changes asynchronous stretch cluster behaviors for automatic failover to take place.
  • Multiple bug fixes


SMB1 and Guest Authentication Removal

Windows Server does not install the SMB1 client and server by default while at the same time the ability to authenticate guests in SMB2 if off by default.

SMB2/SMB3 Security and Compatibility

More options for security and application compatibility were added including the disabling oplocks in SMB2+ for old applications. This also covers the need for signing encryption on every connection from the client.

Data Deduplication

Data Deduplication Supports ReFS

You do not have to choose between the advantages of a modern file system with ReFS and Data Deduplication. Anytime you enable Data Deduplication, enabling ReFS is also possible now.

Data Port API for Optimized Ingress/egress to Deduplicated Volumes

As a developer, you can now enjoy the advantage of knowing data deduplication and how to store data in an efficient manner

File Server Resource Manager

Windows Server 2019 can prevent the File Resources Manager service from creating a change(USN) journal on storage volumes. This is to create and conserve more space on every volume; however, it will disable real-time classification.

This is the same effect that takes place in Windows Storage Server, Version 1803.

What’s New in Storage in Windows Server, Version 1709

Server Version 1709 is the first window server release with a Semi-Annual Channel, which is a channel that fully supported in production for 18 months and a new version coming in every six months.

Storage Replica

Disaster recovery and protection team is an added function of the Storage Replica which is now expanded to include:

Test Failover

You now have an option of mounting the destination storage through a test failover. The snapshots can be mounted temporarily for both testing and backup purposes

Windows Admin Center Support

Supported the management of graphical applications managing replications. You access it via Server Manager Tool.

Storage Replica also has the following improvements:

  • Change asynchronous cluster behaviors to enable automatic failover
  • Multiple bug fixes

What’s New in Storage in Windows Server 2016

Storage Spaces Direct

The storage spaces direct facilitate the availability and scalability of storage using servers with local storage. This implies that deployment and management software that control storage systems and unlock the use of new classes of storage devices. The devices include SATA, SSD, and NVMe disks that may not have been possible with clustered Storage Spaces with Shared Disks.

What Value Does the Change add?

The Storage Spaces Direct allows service providers and enterprises to use industry standard servers with local storage. The idea is to build highly available and scalable software-defined storage.

Use of servers with local storage decreases complexity as it increases scalability and allows the use of storage devices such as SATA solid state disks. This lowers the cost of flash storage, or NVMe sold state Disks

Storage Spaces Direct Removes the need to have a shared SAS fabric which simplifies deployment and configuration. This means the server uses the network as the storage fabric leveraging the SMB3 and SMB Direct (RDMA) for both high speed and low latency as well as good use of the processing unit.

Adding more server to the configuration increases storage capacity and input and output performance. In Windows Server 2016 has its Storage Spaces Direct working differently as explained below:

Storage Replica

Enables the storage, block-level, stretching of failover clusters between sites, as well as synchronous replication between servers. Synchronous replication enables mirroring of data in physical sites with consistent volumes to ensure no data is lost at the file system level. Asynchronous replication may increase the possibility of data loss.

What Value Does the Change Add?

Provide a single vendor disaster recovery solution for both planned and unplanned power loss

Use SMB3 transport with proven performance, scalability, and reliability

  • Stretch windows failover clusters further
  • Use Microsoft end-to-end software for storage and clustering such as Hyper-V, Scale-Out File Server, Storage Replica, Storage Spaces, ReFS/ NTFS, and Deduplication.
  • Help reduce complexity costs by:
  • Being hardware agnostic with no specific requirement for storage configuration like DAS or SAN
  • Allow the storage of commodities and network technologies
  • Features easy graphical management interface for nodes and clusters through failover cluster manager
  • Includes comprehensive and large scale scripting options through the Windows PowerShell
  • Help in the reduction of downtime, large scale productivity
  • Provide supportability and performance metrics and diagnostic capabilities

What Works Differently

The functionality is new in Windows Server 2016

Storage Quality of Service

You can use the storage quality of Service (QoS) as a central monitor for end-to-end storage performance and develop management policies using Hyper-V and CSV clusters in Windows Server 2016.

What Value Does the Change Add?

You will be able to change the QoS policies on a CSV and assign one or more virtual disks on Hyper-V machines. The storage will automatically adjust to meet the policies and workloads that keep fluctuating.

  • Each policy can give a minimum reserve or create a maximum to be used when collecting data. For example, a single virtual hard disk, a tenant, a service or a virtual machine can be used.
  • Use Windows PowerShell or WMI to perform the following:
  • Create Policies on CSV cluster
  • Assign the policy to virtual hard disk and status within the policies
  • Enumerate policies on the CSV clusters
  • Monitor flow performance and status of the policy
  • If you have several virtual hard disks sharing the same policy and performance is shared to meet the demands within the policy’s minimum and maximum settings, it means that the policy can manage virtual hard disks, a single or multiple virtual machines that constitute a service owned by a tenant.

What Works Differently

This is a new feature in Windows Server 2016. The management of minimum reserves and monitoring flow of all virtual disks over a cluster using a single command and central policy-based management are not possible in the previous Server releases.

Data Deduplication


New or Updated


Support large volumes

Updated Before windows Server 2016 you had to specify sizes. Anything above 10TB did not qualify for deduplication. Server 2016 supports deduplication sizes of up to 64TB

Large file support

Updated Before Windows Server 2016, files with 1TB could not deduplicate. Server 2016 supports deduplication of files up to 1TB.

Nano Server Support

New Deduplication is available and fully supported for Server 2016

Simple Backup Support

New Windows Server 2012 R2 supported the Virtual backups using the Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager. Windows Server 2016 simple backup is possible and is seamless

Cluster OS Rolling Upgrades Support

New Deduplication supports Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade and is available in Windows Server 2016

SMB Hardening Improvements for SYSVOL and NETLOGON Connections

Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 client connections to the Active Directory Domain Service, the SYSVOL and NETLOGON share domain controllers that require SMB signing and authentication via Kerberos.

What does this Change Add?

It reduces the possibility of man-in-the-middle attacks

What Works Differently?

If the SMB and mutual authentication are not available, a Windows 10 or Server 2016 will not access the domain-based Group Policy Scripts. It is also good to note that the registry values of the settings are not present by default, the hardening rules will apply until a new policy change comes in through Group Policy or any relevant registry values.

Work Folders

The added changes to notifications are there when Work Folder server is running on Windows Server 2016, and the Work Folder is on a client running Windows 10.

What Value Does this Change Add?

Windows Server 2012 R2 when the changes in files are synchronized to Work Folder, clients will get notified of the impending changes and wait for at least 10 minutes to the update.

When running Windows Server 2016, the Work Folders will immediately notify the Windows 10 client and the synchronization changes immediately.

What Works Differently

This is a new feature in Windows 2016 and the client accessing the Work Folders must be a Windows 10. In case you are using older clients, or if the Work Folder is on Windows Server 2012 R2, the client will poll every 10 minutes for any new changes.


The next cycle will be the ReFS that offer support for large scale storage allocation with varying workloads, reliability, resilience and scalability for your data.

What Values Does the Change Add?

ReFS bring in the following improvements:

  • Implementing new storage tiers that help deliver fast performance and increased capacity. This functionality further enables:
  • Multiple resiliency on the same virtual disk through mirroring and parity tier
  • Enhanced responsiveness to drifting working sets
  • Introducing a block of cloning and substantial improvement of VM operations such as. vhdx checkpoint merge operations.
  • The ReFS tool enables the recovery of leaked storage and helps keep from being corrupted.

What Works Differently?

These functionalities are new in Windows Server 2016.


With so many features available to Windows Server 2019, the article covered the fully supported features. At the time of writing this post, some features were partially supported in earlier versions but are getting full support in the latest Server versions. From this read, you can see that Windows Server 2019 is a good upgrade that you can experience.

Windows Server 2019 Essentials

The Windows Server 2019 Essentials does what the current version of Windows Server 2016 was designed to do, answering to the needs of small businesses employing between 25 users or uses a total of 50 devices. The latest Windows Server 2019 Essentials is due to the broad consultations in a bid to understand the needs of small companies.

For a long time, the small business customers have been embracing cloud services. Business premises still need servers as valued assets that help in the operations and applications that are not yet compatible with cloud technology. The Windows Server 2019 Essentials is another on-site version that small business users will find appropriate. There are indications from Microsoft that the Windows Server 2019 Essentials could be the last edition of Windows Server Essentials. The company will continue its Server Essentials support based on the existing service schedule.

A word from Microsoft also indicates that the new release will have the same technical and licensing specifications as the earlier versions. If you intend to use Windows Server 2019 as a Domain Controller, Windows Server 2019 Essentials must be the only Domain Controller and be flexible enough to run all Flexible Master Operations (FSMO) roles and allow only two-way trusts with other Active Directory Domains.

The New Approach

The new Windows Server 2019 Essentials will support new features and hardware such as the Storage Migration Services and System Insights without the inclusion of the Essentials Experience role. Some of the removed features leave system administrators and small businesses unattended because they will no longer support some of these features:

  • Remote web access to the server
  • Centralized client PC backups
  • Office 365 integration

With the above features missing, some of the key stakeholders consulted before the introduction of Windows Server 2019 Essentials are not satisfied with the new implementation because the new release looks like a foundation server and not set up to run like a complete Essentials.

In response to such claims, Microsoft suggests System Administrators use the Windows Admin Center as part of a replacement to the lost features. They also recommend the use of Microsoft Business Licensing bundle to access hosted services on Microsoft data centers instead of running applications and storing their files.

The use of Office365 as a file sharing option and collaboration is complete when you consider Office Applications, intelligent solutions, Windows 10, security, and Enterprise Mobility. Other features supported by Office 365 include e-mail, cloud storage, calendar, data protection, etc.

Those who may not see the need to move to the new Windows Server 2019 Essentials can still access their Windows Server 2016 Essentials through the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) timeline. The same applies to those who chose to update from current server installation to the 2019 edition.

What Do We Have in Windows Server2019 Essentials

Even though the new Essentials will have the same characteristics as the ones in earlier versions, the following remain:

  • A single license including Client Access Licenses (CAL) for 50 devices or 25 users
  • Reduced costs
  • Be able to run traditional applications such as file and print sharing

The idea behind Microsoft’s decision to reduce the functionalities of Windows Server Essentials for the 2019 Server edition may not be clear to everyone. However, the general assumption has been to bring small businesses aboard the Microsoft 365 Business platform. The business platform is based on subscriptions that include Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility and Security, and Office 365.

How To Upgrade Windows Server 2019

In-place upgrading of a Windows Server Operating System allows the Administrator to upgrade the existing installation of Windows Server to a new version without changing the existing settings and features.

The Windows Server 2019 In-Upgrade feature allows you to upgrade the existing The Long-Term Servicing Channel (LSTC) release like the Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. The in-place upgrade service allows organizations to handle upgrades to newer versions within the shortest time possible. The direct upgrade is possible even when your existing Server Installation requires some dependencies before an upgrade.

Clients who do not document server installations or do not have the infrastructure or code for deployment will find it hard to upgrade to new Window Server versions. Without the Windows Server 2019 In-Place upgrade feature, you will miss many improvements on WS2019.

How to Upgrade to Windows Server 2019

Using the in-place upgrade to move to Windows 2019, use the Windows Server 2019 media on a DVD, USB or any appropriate method of installation. Start the setup.exe

The existing installation will be discovered, and you can perform the in-place upgrade. The installation should not take more than five minutes, but it all depends on the speed of the server and running roles and features.

The following example shows an in-place upgrade from Windows 2016 to Windows 2019 from an ISO file.

  1. Mount the ISO file and click on setup
  2. Accept defaults and click next (Download and install updates as the default option)
  3. On the next screen we will specify the product key and click next – the key can activate unlimited upgrades
  4. Select the edition with the desktop experience option and click next
  5. Accept user license terms and click accept
  6. Select the option for keeping personal files and programs because we intend to upgrade the Server. Click on Next.
  7. Windows will take time collecting updates and when done click on next when done (this depends on the speed of your internet)
  8. A warning will pop up about upgrading to a new Windows Version. Read the message and if you are okay with it click on confirm.
  9. The next step requires that you click on FlightSigning to enable it. (FlightSigning enables you to trust Windows Insider Previews builds that have signed certificates but not trusted by default.
  10. Click on install to initiate the installation process.

Once the upgrade is finished, you will notice some new features

  • The PowerShell replaces CMD
  • The Apps and Features open the settings panel and not Programs and Features as it in Windows Server 2016, which opens Control Panel where you can uninstall or change program and settings instead of the control panel.
  • Windows Defender Security Center has all the security settings.

Installing the Active Directory Domain System on Windows Server 2019

There is no much difference experienced if you have installed an Active Directory Directory Services on Windows Server 2016.

Run the server manager

  1. Click on Manage
  2. Roles and Features
  3. Follow the wizard and install AD DS
  4. Click on the link to promote the Server to a Domain Controller

Selecting Server Roles

  1. Click on the Add Roles and Features Wizard
  2. On the resulting wizard click on the roles, you want to add and click next

Creating a New Forest

  1. Click on the active directory domain service configuration Wizard
  2. On the deployment configuration wizard, choose the option to add a new forest
  3. Specify the domain information for the forest
  4. Click next

The Forest Functional Level (FFL) and the Domain Functional Level (DFL) are named Windows Servers in preview versions; use the Active Directory Service Configuration wizard to promote the server.

The Domain Controller options wizard will take you through the Server promotion wizard.

If you need more configuration options such as the Hyper-V installations, you can use the preview version for Windows Server 2019, which is 8.3

At the moment, most developers are still running tests on servers using the kind of hardware you will find in a professional environment. Testing using the Virtual Machines could also give good results however a server operating system should be verified using hardware deployments.

Windows Server 2019 System Insights

The responsibility of any system or IT administrator managing a server environment is to make sure that everything runs as expected. All activities and components that determine things like disks running out of space, the capacity of the memory used in processing connected hosts, know when to plan for new Virtual Machines, etc.

The proposed Windows Server 2019 system insights are available in the preview that helps in the analysis of the capabilities of Windows Server 2019. The capabilities are supported through machine learning, analysis of server system data like performance counters and events that give accurate predictions. The highly accurate predictions will help you to cut down on operational expenses that run into the management of the Windows Server 2019 instances.

The Windows Server 2019 also enables IT administrators to be proactive when it comes to detecting possible problems within the Windows Server environment. All the analysis is collected locally without the need for a specialized storage server or cloud configuration. Those using the Azure Log Analytics (OMS), can view all events on the Azure log Analytics.

What Are the Windows Server 2019 System Insights Capabilities?

The Windows Server System Insights 2019 (WS2019) has an almost similar interface to that of your mailbox. With such features, you only wish to see them extended when the trial period is over. Here are some of what to expect:


Going through the predictive capabilities, you can activate some features on demand or configure them to run on a given schedule.


The expected outcomes can be visualized to enable the understanding of consumption levels and trends

Customization of Restorative Services

Restorative services can be customized to run automatically after a particular result is obtained. This automation is supposed to help users to solve issues automatically the moment it is noted.

Viewing Trends

You can view and understand how individual Windows Servers are trending with their capacity predictions.

Using PowerShell Remotely

Activating the PowerShell remotely, to sum up, all prediction outcomes of all related Windows Server instances. Examples of such instances include cluster, rack, tier, application, and data center. If you want to know how the overall fleet is trending, compute storage or network capacity dimensions.

The WS2019 introduces four capabilities that run based on capacity forecasting:

  • Forecast CPU storage for CPU capacity forecasting
  • Forecasts network for each network port to monitor networking capacity forecasting
  • Forecasts cumulative storage consumption on all local drives to monitor total storage consumption
  • Forecasts consumption of storage on each volume used in volume consumption forecasting

You can set custom rules to extend the capabilities.

Management of System Insights

Windows Server System insights have two centers of management. Using the Windows Admin Center through its web interface, or manage the insights through the PowerShell directly.

Windows Admin Center System Insights

Managing the server insights from the Windows Admin Center is by adding the extension associated the System Insights to the server that is to be managed. Through this interface, you can enable or disable System Insights. The Admin Center installs the System Insights on the local server.

Managing Windows Server 2019 System Insights from the PowerShell

As an alternative to the Windows Admin Center, the Windows PowerShell can also be used to enable and Manage System Insights. Enabling System Insights on Windows Server, you have to install System insights feature using the command:

Install-WindowsFeature System-Insights

Once the feature is installed, use the Get-InsightsCapability to give you all the options. You can look at the two examples below on how you can enable and disable capabilities.

Enable-InsightsCapability – Name “CPU capacity forecasting.”

Disable_InsightsCapability -Name “Network capacity forecasting.”

The results are visible by using the Get-InsightsCapabilityResult command. It is good to note that the information from this command is not instant. By default, you will get the predictions of the first five days after activating the feature.

Overhead and Performance

The next question likely to come from you should be how much overhead or resources that these features add to the server system. Look at the answer from the developers:

“Not every capability requires many resources to run. Each one will take longer to run as more data is collected, but you should see results within seconds.”

Upcoming Features in Windows Server 2019

Upcoming Features in Windows Server 2019

Microsoft usually releases improvements to its Windows servers on a frequent basis. The next in line is Windows Server 2019. The tech giant announced its scheduled release on March 20, 2018. This is after two years since Windows Server 2016 was released. The first server to be released under this brand name was Windows Server 2003.

Although Windows Server 2019 has not been officially released, its preview is available for access. Microsoft said it will be fully released later in 2018. Being the latest build, it is expected to come with several interesting new features.

Windows Server 2019 is based on the sturdy foundation of the previous version, Windows Server 2016. Here are some amazing upcoming features in Windows Server 2019.


The first feature which many people would consider is security. This is because of the increasing cyber security incidences. A study by Microsoft shows that cyber attackers take just 24-28 hours to infect a system and can stay unnoticed for about 100 days. Many people have fallen victim to these attacks, which make them lose valuable information and resources.

This version of windows presents a three-fold strategy to security: Protect, Detect, and Respond. All the three areas have been covered in terms of security features.

Regarding the Protect security strategy, Microsoft has improved the capabilities of Shielded VMs, which were introduced in Windows Server 2016. The purpose of Shielded VMs is to safeguard virtual machines from unscrupulous administrators. This means that only legitimate VM administrators can manage it on broadcasted and healthy fabrics. Another advantage is that these shielded VMs also support Linux-driven virtual machines.

To improve the troubleshooting features of Shielded VMs in both Windows and Linux operating systems, Microsoft intends to extend VM Connect. Encrypted Networks will also be incorporated which will allow administrators to encrypt and protect network segments without much hassles.

Regarding Detect and Respond security feature in Windows Server 2019, Microsoft has included Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) which offers an added layer of protection. It also can detect external intrusions as well as zero-day exploits, which increase response times and implementation of security measures.

As a result, it will allow customers to access deep kernel and memory sensors, something which will enhance anti-tampering capabilities and quicken the response of server machines.

To ensure that customers’ digital assets are safeguarded from cyber attacks, Microsoft has tried to cover all security loopholes in this version of Windows.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

HCI is one of the latest trends in the server industry today. A report by IDC shows that the HCI market grew by 64% in 2016. And, by 2019 it is forecasted that it will be a $5 billon industry.

The reason for this rapid growth is because customers understand the advantage of having x86 servers with robust and productive local discs, which simultaneously caters for their computing and storage requirements. Furthermore, HCI comes with the flexibility to scale such deployments conveniently and speedily.

Microsoft is also including the capability to control HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, something which customers have been looking forward to for simplifying their daily management tasks on HCI environments.

Application Platform

Microsoft aims to improve the developer experience by enhancing the capabilities of Windows Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL).

Windows Server containers were initially introduced in Windows Server 2016 and have been widely used. Since their introduction, thousands of developers from around the world have downloaded millions of the container images.

In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft intends to shrink the Server Core base container to about 30% of its present size of 5 gigabytes, something which the developer community has been asking for.

Therefore, the reduced size will lead to a reduction of 72% in download time, which will further accelerate performance.

Microsoft is also enhancing the options users can have appertaining to deploying Windows Server containers. In Windows Server 2019, Kubernetes support, which is presently provided in beta, will have major enhancements concerning computing, storage as well as networking capabilities.

However, developers have been claiming that switching environments between Linux and Windows deployment is difficult. To tackle this issue, Microsoft has extended WSL into insider builds available in Windows Server. This means that Linux containers can be ran simultaneously with Windows containers on a Windows Server. Microsoft is incorporating all these features to help Linux users to include their scripts in Windows environments without many difficulties.

Hybrid cloud solutions

This new edition of Windows will offer advantages to businesses that require robust hybrid cloud solutions. Cloud technologies are already widely used to extend Active Directory, backup critical data, and carry out other essential tasks.

In Windows Server 2019, the tech-giant intends to make it simpler and easier for customers to adopt hybrid cloud solutions. For example, customers will be able to incorporate Azure services conveniently and without interrupting their applications and critical IT operations.

Other features

For installation purposes, Windows Server 2019 offers the Server with two installation alternatives. You can either choose the Desktop Experience or the Server Core installation option, a feature which guarantees application compatibility for present workloads.

The Windows Server 2019 is considered a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release. This implies that Microsoft will provide its mainstream support for five years and another extended support for five years.

Windows Server 2019 also comes with the same licensing structure as Windows Server 2016. However, Microsoft has said that it is likely to increase the price for the Windows Server Client Access Licensing (CAL).


For tech lovers, the release of Windows Server 2019 will be a huge milestone. The full version will be released later in 2018. Considering that Windows Server 2016 was the fastest model to be adopted, the 2019 model may be bigger and better.

With a series of eye-capturing capabilities, Windows Server 2019 will offer more benefits to users upon upgrade. This will be a major development for Microsoft, as many people are anticipating for its release.


If you wish to try the Windows Server 2019 preview version, you can download it here.



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