What are the latest Windows Server disaster recovery capabilities?

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 offers more advanced disaster recovery resources than the 2012 R2 edition. Features include deduplication, replication and availability.

Microsoft has introduced a number of new or improved Windows Server disaster recovery features in its 2016 edi...


One of the lesser known features of Windows Server is a simplified deduplication configuration for virtualized backup applications. In Windows Server 2012 R2, it was possible to enable deduplication for virtualized backup applications, but doing so required the deduplication settings to be manually configured. Windows Server 2016 simplifies this process by providing a usage type setting that can be configured when enabling deduplication for a storage volume.

Deduplication, Storage Replica aid Windows Server disaster recovery

The biggest Windows Server disaster recovery feature Microsoft is introducing in the 2016 edition is Storage Replica. Microsoft has long provided a mechanism for replicating Hyper-V virtual machines from a primary server to a replica server. However, the new Storage Replica feature will allow block-level, synchronous replication of entire servers or even entire clusters. This aspect will make it possible to stretch a Windows failover cluster to metropolitan distances.

Microsoft's Storage Replica is completely hardware agnostic and is designed to support the use of commodity storage and network hardware. As such, it can be used in heterogeneous storage environments where storage replication might previously have been impossible.

Storage Spaces Direct strengthens DR

Although not technically a Windows Server disaster recovery feature, the Storage Spaces Direct element can be used to support an organization's disaster recovery initiatives.

Storage Spaces was introduced with Windows Server 2012 as a way of allowing physical storage to be pooled and then allocated on an as-needed basis. Storage Spaces Direct builds on this concept by enabling scalability and high availability through the use of local storage.

There are two main advantages to using Storage Spaces Direct.

  • It eliminates the need for a shared SAS fabric. Instead, Storage Spaces Direct uses a Remote Direct Memory Access-capable network interface card (or a pair of NIC ports) to communicate across hosts, each of which have their own storage.
  • It offers a great deal of flexibility with regard to the storage hardware used. An organization that needs high-performance storage, for example, could use NVM Express solid-state storage, while an organization with budgetary concerns might opt for SATA SSDs.

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