I don't use it on our network users as our setup is quite small - I have it setup but for Admin use only.
Get Going with Dfs
I have not used DFS before and was wondering who out there uses it and the benefits it brings.
It's good for when you have say a branch site with a slow connection and data needs to be accessed from there i.e. user home drives, that is the only think we use it for at the moment but it could change to out main data drive when we get sorted out.
it can also be used as a way of hiding which server your files are stored on as shares and mapped drives appear as DOMAIN\DFS\share.
assuming you use domain based DFS of course
also a way of making all shares on all servers appear to be in the same place, can make admin work slightly easier.
It does several things:
- replicates data to many diverse places, for redundancy;
- load-balances the replicated data between many clients;
- consolidates disparse shares into one directory structure;
- provides fail-over for clients;
It's a client layer built on top of the NT File Replication Service, which provides your basic Active Directory replication infrastructure.
Is there a limit on the maximum size of DFS share as some of ours are 7+GB.
Biggest point I have thought about, and it has been mentioned, it fail over, if one server goes down the other is still up with the data on.
some good info. thanks for all replys
We've played with it with various degrees of success.
Things to consider:
1. ensure you have one of the servers hosting the DFS set as preferred (unless you only have static data), as there is a delay in replication
2. bandwidth can be an issue on a slow network
3. Linux/MAC can't see or handle DFS properly
4. Some backup solutions (Retrospect 7 in our case) can't handle DFS properly
When it works it's great, especially on a good network
There are 2 kinds of DFS replication - the original Windows 2000 kind and DFSR which came in with Server 2003 R2. The first can be flaky; I've seen it take days to replicate a few hundred Gb of data. The second is far better and replication is pretty much instant on the same AD site. If you have multiple sites then replication doesn't start instantly (I think the default is every 15 minutes) but once it starts it's quick.
As Dean says, you can hide the server name - the really, really good reason for doing this is to let you do MSI based installs which don't fall over when you replace a server. If you start off with \\server1\install and then put in \\server2\install you have to update all your group policies. If you use \\domain\install then you just update DFS to say server2 now hosts that share, not server1 (and you can use replication to move to the new server so there's not even any down time)
You can also do things like having home directories at \\domain\home\username - again, this lets you move stuff around without having to make changes to users.
I think there is a limit on the maximum size of share but it's massive (assuming the 7Gb wasn't a typo then you're nowhere near the limit; in my last job one of our DFS shares held ISO images so some of the files were nearly 7Gb!)
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