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vaicsimmons
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Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by vaicsimmons » Dec 19, 2019 5:29 pm

I'll do my best to make a long story short. I setup my Veeam B&R server around five years ago. It is running Windows Server with deduplication enabled. This server is joined to our domain. I have run out of space on this server, so I decided to buy another SuperMicro server with 24 hard drive bays. I will be placing this second server in another building. My current server will hold my daily, and weekly and monthly backups. The new server will hold copies of my daily, weekly and monthly backups; as well as yearly backups.

In my recently readings, it seems that it would be best to not have my B&R servers joined to my production domain. Therefore, I will likely setup the servers to be independent of the domain. Do to the number of processor cores in the new server, it's going to be a good chunk of money to purchase a Windows Server licence for this machine. I currently utilize Windows Deduplication on my existing Veeam B&R server. I planned on doing the same with the new server as well.

It's my understanding that Windows Server is the only Microsoft OS that supports Deduplication, is that correct? Any other suggestions / comments on setting up my backup infrastructure would be appreciated.

veremin
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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by veremin » Dec 19, 2019 8:48 pm

I've seen some creative workarounds that allow you to enable deduplication on non-server Windows OS, but that's quite far from being recommended strategy. So, generally speaking, yes, server OS is required, if you're after deduplication feature.

Also, I'm wondering why you're deduplicating storage as primary backup repository (backup jobs), not as secondary one (backup copy jobs). Wouldn't SuperMicro server stuffed with hard drives be a better choice from performance perspective?

Thanks!

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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by ChrisGundry » Dec 20, 2019 4:23 pm 1 person likes this post

Could you present the storage from the 2nd server to the 1st server via iSCSI (between buildings), then you can format the 2nd server/volumes from the 1st server, saving you needing to use a 2nd server/license? Other options maybe using NFS if iSCSI is not possible?

I would consider ReFS instead of dedup. We saved a lot more space with ReFS than we did with dedup and ReFS makes synthectic operations like merges and copy jobs MUCH faster.

vaicsimmons
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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by vaicsimmons » Dec 20, 2019 6:32 pm

Veremin,

At the time, I only had one backup server. I was deduping the "archived" volume that held my weekly and monthly and yearly backups and not the daily backups.

ChrisGundry,

I am not well versed in storage so please excuse my ignorance. If I connected the two servers via iSCSI, what OS would I install on the 2nd Server? Would I use something like FreeNAS?

Also, based upon my readings, I was going to use ReFS. It's my understanding that ReFS in Server 2019 also supports deduplication. Are you saying that there is little benefit in using Windows Deduplication with the ReFS file system? If I simply use ReFS then there is no reason to enable Windows Deduplicaton?

We have volume licensing for Windows 10 Enterprise. From what I just gathered, Windows 10 Enterprise supports ReFS and Xeon Processors (up to four processors). Would using Windows 10 Enterprise be a viable option?

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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by ChrisGundry » Jan 10, 2020 12:27 pm

Yes, it would need some kind of OS on it that is capable of publishing the storage as an iSCSI endpoint. I think you can do that with FreeNAS, ZFS etc.

You can then either present this within the guest OS on your Veeam backup server or to the hypervisor and then to your Veeam VM if it's a VM.

The disk is then within the OS as if it is a local disk, but it would be accessed across the network to the 2nd building. As it is a local disk you can then format it as ReFS or whatever you want. Because it is a local disk, you wouldn't be paying for a Windows license for the 2nd server.

However, if you want the 2nd server to do more than be a disk array/controller, ie you want it to actually run Veeam or act as a proxy etc, then it will need an OS/Windows license on it.

I think Win10 Enterprise is a valid installation target for Veeam B&R, so that should be a viable option. I am not 100% on that though as I have not installed it on a client OS in a long time and have not looked into the ReFS support in Win10.

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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by lando_uk » Jan 10, 2020 12:38 pm

Keep your backup servers to under 12 cores for cheaper windows licenses. If you're lumbered with a large quad core server and no options, you could just disable 3 of the CPUs in the BIOS to save money.

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Re: Should I Use Windows Server or Another OS?

Post by ChrisGundry » Jan 10, 2020 12:48 pm

Guessing Mark means quad CPU/socket rather than quad core. Don't forget that with 2016+ MS have implemented minimums in terms of core licenses per physical processor and per server. So it makes sense to have a certain level of HW in place if you are going to buy a MS server license:
https://download.microsoft.com/download ... asheet.pdf

Basically the minimium is 8x 2 core license packs, per server, so 16 core licenses per server. So you want to make sure your HW has that much to make the best bang for your buck.

If you have a single CPU with say 6 cores you still need to buy a minimum of 16 cores for the server as a whole and a minimum of 8 core licenses for each CPU.

So a physical server with 2 physical CPUs both of which are 8 core CPUs is the sweet spot. Anything less than that and you are spending money on licenses that are not actually in use by any CPU.

Handy calculators here if you want to try out some options:
https://www.serversplus.com/server_2016_calculator
https://techlibrary.hpe.com/us/en/enter ... licensing/

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