Prior to migrating file servers to Windows Server 2012 R2, you should perform a check to ensure that the servers aren’t still storing data that has exceeded its use by date.
Almost all file server data has a point at which it won’t be accessed again. While you need to keep some kinds of data around for compliance reasons for a certain length of time, compliance legislation doesn’t dictate that you actually keep it on the file server where it was originally hosted.
In most organizations file access follows a specific pattern. A file is generally accessed most often just after it is created. As time goes on, the file is accessed less frequently. At some point, the file will not be accessed ever again. The trick is to move files that won’t be accessed again off the file server as this not only frees up space on the file server, but also minimizes the amount of space consumed by the file during other operations, such as regular backups. For most organizations, it’s reasonable to assume that a file on a file server that hasn’t been accessed for a 365 days probably won’t be accessed again.
Tools like File Server Resource Manager allow you to track when files were most recently accessed. You can even configure file management tasks using File Server Resource Manager to automatically move files that haven’t been accessed for a specific period of time off the server to another location. This doesn’t mean that you delete the file, but it does mean that you can move it to another form of storage, like tape backup or cheap cloud storage, that isn’t as immediate as a file server.