Windows file server query



  • Hi,

    Previously, I was eager to use the following MS Server features on my proposed server upgrade but it may not be advisable or economical so I am soliciting advice from you guys, ‘coz I might have been mistaken:
    • Roaming Profiles
    • Folder Redirection
    • Offline Files
    • Access-Based Enumeration
    • Data Deduplication
    • DFS-Namespace
    • DFS-Replication
    • Storage Spaces – software RAID?
    • Storage Spaces Direct – LAN RAID or VSAN?

    We will soon be upgrading/refreshing our infra and sooner, our server (Windows 2008—not the R2) but for the reason of this discussion, let’s just focus on the Windows Server. We will be migrating it and if at some time, I will need to upgrade it to 2012 R2 or 2016 (our Director is against going directly to 2016 as it may have bugs….I am for using the latest and greatest but then again, its her call—anyways, server 2018 is just around the corner 🙂 )

    The 1st phase is virtualizing our physical servers to whichever supports it including the Windows Server 2008. I understand that and I still wanted to use the 1st 3 items in our server (Roaming Profiles, Folder redirection and Offline files) and still thinking over the ABE.

    Now the questions are if the rest of the items are still useful in virtualized environment of 3 hosts and VSAN (Hypervisor is VMWare with VSAN).
    • Is data de-dupe working in virtualized environment? Does it present any cons or data corruption in terms of backup and restore?
    • If there is an ability for a virtual server to be restarted to another host server (even if manual restart is required), is DFS (namespace and/or replication) still useful in a single site (though we have multiple sites but everything is just in a single site (HQ)?
    • Now I think that the last 2 will not necessarily be needed as VMWare VSA will take care of it (also, if we upgrade, still to Pro version not Data Center), but what’s your take?

    Thanks in advance for your inputs.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • Storage Spaces Direct – LAN RAID or VSAN?
    

    Insanely expensive, requires Windows Enterprise licensing and is considered not production ready and has very few large users, of those using it, data loss rates are through the roof. Avoid this at all costs.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I will need to upgrade it to 2012 R2 or 2016 (our Director is against going directly to 2016 as it may have bugs….I am for using the latest and greatest but then again, its her call—anyways, server 2018 is just around the corner )

    This is extremely foolish to not go to Server 2016, especially while 2012 R2 is set to lose MS support soon.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I understand that and I still wanted to use the 1st 3 items in our server (Roaming Profiles, Folder redirection and Offline files)

    These three suck and just cause issues.

    Ideally, they sound great and look great on paper, but in practice, they break and cause issues the more you use it and the more users use it.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    and still thinking over the ABE.

    ABE works as it's designed, never ran into anything with that that would be a reason to not use it when it fits the business needs.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • DFS-Namespace
    • DFS-Replication

    DFSN works great and is a great way to not have shares based on servers or IPs. I do recommend DFSN when able.

    DFSR, depends on the use case... generally it's fine, but sometimes can cause issues depending on your setup, what you are replicating, and where it's replicating to.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • Storage Spaces – software RAID?
    • Storage Spaces Direct – LAN RAID or VSAN?

    Don't do it.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • Data Deduplication

    Has always worked well in my experience. I've used it for a long time, and used it on massive data stores... never any data loss, but then again, never had any issues to have to mess with it.

    Depending on who you ask, you may get some horror stories.



  • @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I will need to upgrade it to 2012 R2 or 2016 (our Director is against going directly to 2016 as it may have bugs….I am for using the latest and greatest but then again, its her call—anyways, server 2018 is just around the corner )

    This is extremely foolish to not go to Server 2016, especially while 2012 R2 is set to lose MS support soon.

    Especially when Server 2019 is right around the corner!



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • Is data de-dupe working in virtualized environment? Does it present any cons or data corruption in terms of backup and restore?

    This is the only way to use it, really.

    I have file servers virtualized that use Dedupe (via Hyper-V). Never any data corruption.

    But I wouldn't base it on my experience alone, others have had issues.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    ...our Director is against going directly to 2016 as it may have bugs….

    What does this mean? If he's worried about bugs, it's 2012 R2 he'd be avoiding. Two really key points...

    1. 2016 is not "new" in the slightest, it's old. Not old like a problem, old like it is mature as its own release and just about to get replaced. It's YEARS since you could avoid it from being "new".
    2. 2016 is the latest version of 2012 R2. It's MORE mature than 2012 R2, not less. Old, static code isn't somehow "more stable" than the same code with more updates and fixes. That's insane.

    Sounds like your boss is quite a bit confused about how software works.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    Now the questions are if the rest of the items are still useful in virtualized environment of 3 hosts and VSAN (Hypervisor is VMWare with VSAN).

    Some of them would never be used. Your software RAID and RAIN systems would be expensive and never get touched, as the Vmware VSAN is already handling that stuff.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • If there is an ability for a virtual server to be restarted to another host server (even if manual restart is required), is DFS (namespace and/or replication) still useful in a single site (though we have multiple sites but everything is just in a single site (HQ)?

    I'm going to assume that you mean ability for a VM to be "restored" to another host...

    Define site? Single building? Skyscraper with multiple floors? Single campus with multiple buildings?

    I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, but DFSN is useful in single sites just so you can get away from server names and IPs.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • Now I think that the last 2 will not necessarily be needed as VMWare VSA will take care of it (also, if we upgrade, still to Pro version not Data Center), but what’s your take?

    What do you have that is a requirement to have Windows-based file servers and VMWare?



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    • If there is an ability for a virtual server to be restarted to another host server (even if manual restart is required), is DFS (namespace and/or replication) still useful in a single site (though we have multiple sites but everything is just in a single site (HQ)?      
    

    Can be, but you'd have to define what feature or purpose it would server to you.



  • I think the biggest problem that I see here is a list of tech, without any goals. Flip it around.

    Define your goals, then work towards them with the tech. Don't use tech just because it's on a list somewhere. That's how you end up with a disaster that cost a fortune, and doesn't do what is required. What are you trying to accomplish with all of this tech?

    We don't know why you have any of it, so commenting on whether you should use it or not comes down to just ruling out tech that isn't production ready and guessing at the rest.

    Like dedupe, nothing wrong with it, it's a great technology, but it doesn't make sense for most companies. So without knowing why you are looking at it, we have nothing to go on.



  • Wow, thanks for the advises...many of them, especially when I was trying to read a find in other site why SAM was missing 😃 :

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    This is extremely foolish to not go to Server 2016, especially while 2012 R2 is set to lose MS support soon.

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows file server query:

    Especially when Server 2019 is right around the corner!

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows file server query:

    What does this mean? If he's worried about bugs, it's 2012 R2 he'd be avoiding. Two really key points...

    1. 2016 is not "new" in the slightest, it's old. Not old like a problem, old like it is mature as its own release and just about to get replaced. It's YEARS since you could avoid it from being "new".
    2. 2016 is the latest version of 2012 R2. It's MORE mature than 2012 R2, not less. Old, static code isn't somehow "more stable" than the same code with more updates and fixes. That's insane.

    Sounds like your boss is quite a bit confused about how software works.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    What do you have that is a requirement to have Windows-based file servers and VMWare?

    What we have is a physical Windows 2008 and would like to virtualize it. We are now speaking with VMWare (my boss' choice...would have been contented with Hyper-V but happier that boss wanted VMWare with proper support) and their partner.

    I am to virtualize windows file server so it can retain the ACL (NTFS as well as sharing) which has detailed access. I was, before, trying to group users based on their access but one of the boss wanted to check who has access to which folder/file and not interested in group--he wanted names--so I am left with retaining individual access (though made a group for share access).

    I also stand corrected, its Server 2019 not 2018. 😃



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I am to virtualize windows file server so it can retain the ACL (NTFS as well as sharing) which has detailed access.

    Every system does that. That's never a reason to choose Windows.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    We are now speaking with VMWare (my boss' choice...would have been contented with Hyper-V but happier that boss wanted VMWare with proper support) and their partner.

    You mean a salesman is running the show and the boss is just throwing the company's money to them? Every hypervisor comes with "proper" support. VMware has great support, but that's neither here nor there if it isn't a sensible product for your business.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I also stand corrected, its Server 2019 not 2018. 😃

    But releases in 2018, go figure.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows file server query:

    Insanely expensive, requires Windows Enterprise licensing and is considered not production ready and has very few large users, of those using it, data loss rates are through the roof. Avoid this at all costs.

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows file server query:

    Some of them would never be used. Your software RAID and RAIN systems would be expensive and never get touched, as the Vmware VSAN is already handling that stuff.

    I also think so, that is why I re-thought the whole idea of Storage Spaces and Storage Spaces Direct, while good feature (but nonetheless you spoke of it as not enterprise ready) has no place in VMWare's solution.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    I also think so, that is why I re-thought the whole idea of Storage Spaces and Storage Spaces Direct, while good feature (but nonetheless you spoke of it as not enterprise ready) has no place in VMWare's solution.

    Why are you looking at three hosts, instead of two? There is no capacity planning data, but the description makes it sound more likely that two would be all you need (and a far better solution.) Is the third host just a favour to the salesman to add 50% cost onto the project?



  • @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    These three suck and just cause issues.
    Ideally, they sound great and look great on paper, but in practice, they break and cause issues the more you use it and the more users use it.

    But quite the contrary on our present physical install...but offline files are contained in few users at the moment.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    ABE works as it's designed, never ran into anything with that that would be a reason to not use it when it fits the business needs.

    Have read about it years ago but has not implemented it. Will be trying to convince management to use it...such great feature to be left out.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    DFSN works great and is a great way to not have shares based on servers or IPs. I do recommend DFSN when able.
    DFSR, depends on the use case... generally it's fine, but sometimes can cause issues depending on your setup, what you are replicating, and where it's replicating to.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    I'm going to assume that you mean ability for a VM to be "restored" to another host...
    Define site? Single building? Skyscraper with multiple floors? Single campus with multiple buildings?
    I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, but DFSN is useful in single sites just so you can get away from server names and IPs.

    This is for a single site and buying a large server with storage with it so I don't think we would need a DFS-N for that, for a single file server that is. I was initially looking into replicating to another virtual server for availability, but then if server can be restarted to another host, then it should not be needed. Correct me if I'm wrong pls.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    This is for a single site and buying a large server with storage with it so I don't think we would need a DFS-N for that, for a single file server that is. I was initially looking into replicating to another virtual server for availability, but then if server can be restarted to another host, then it should not be needed. Correct me if I'm wrong pls.

    This depends on your specific HA needs. Do you need to avoid a few seconds or minutes of downtime, then you need HA. Otherwise, you are fine with a rapid recovery or restart process. There is no way to know this for sure without knowing your specific business needs.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    This is for a single site and buying a large server with storage with it so I don't think we would need a DFS-N for that,

    Correct, you do not need DFS-N for that whatsoever.



  • @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    Has always worked well in my experience. I've used it for a long time, and used it on massive data stores... never any data loss, but then again, never had any issues to have to mess with it.
    Depending on who you ask, you may get some horror stories.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    This is the only way to use it, really.
    I have file servers virtualized that use Dedupe (via Hyper-V). Never any data corruption.
    But I wouldn't base it on my experience alone, others have had issues.

    I was thinking the same but have read some horror stories. It would have been nice as we have duplicating files in network shares.

    What backup solution have you used?



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    Has always worked well in my experience. I've used it for a long time, and used it on massive data stores... never any data loss, but then again, never had any issues to have to mess with it.
    Depending on who you ask, you may get some horror stories.

    @tim_g said in Windows file server query:

    This is the only way to use it, really.
    I have file servers virtualized that use Dedupe (via Hyper-V). Never any data corruption.
    But I wouldn't base it on my experience alone, others have had issues.

    I was thinking the same but have read some horror stories. It would have been nice as we have duplicating files in network shares.

    It's nice in that duplicates are bad. But all deduplication comes at a cost and it's always about weighing the cost against the benefits. How much benefit do you estimate that deduplication will have for you?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows file server query:

    I think the biggest problem that I see here is a list of tech, without any goals. Flip it around.

    Define your goals, then work towards them with the tech. Don't use tech just because it's on a list somewhere. That's how you end up with a disaster that cost a fortune, and doesn't do what is required. What are you trying to accomplish with all of this tech?

    We don't know why you have any of it, so commenting on whether you should use it or not comes down to just ruling out tech that isn't production ready and guessing at the rest.

    Like dedupe, nothing wrong with it, it's a great technology, but it doesn't make sense for most companies. So without knowing why you are looking at it, we have nothing to go on.

    The goal is to virtualize...then at a latter point, upgrade to 2016 (or if boss really wanted 2012R2). Just listing what I thought I was using before then have been doubting if it was really needed.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    The goal is to virtualize...

    That's not a goal, that's a means to a goal. No business anywhere cares if they are virtualized, they care about making money. Virtualization is a smart way to help do that, but it is not a goal itself, ever.

    Things of it as a means to an end. You never do a means just to do a means, you do it because the end is valuable.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Windows file server query:

    ..then at a latter point, upgrade to 2016 (or if boss really wanted 2012R2).

    Also, not a goal. All of these things are technical pieces, which can never be goals.

    WHY virtualize? WHY use Windows? Why spend money on new hardware? Why buy VMware?

    If we asked the same thing about VMware, is the "goal" to give money to the sales person?


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