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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Windows server - File Structure in Technical; Hi All Just a question I have thought about over and over again.... Is there a good server folder Structure ...
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    Cool Windows server - File Structure

    Hi All

    Just a question I have thought about over and over again....

    Is there a good server folder Structure to have in place..

    Where it is nice, tidy and easy to follow, where shared area, users my documents, resources and Software installation folders..

    thanks

    Dave

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    Admiral208's Avatar
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    This sounds like a lovely thought. But in reality, I believe that its always dependent on your own situation. Different networks need different folder structures and different ways of working.

    In my experience, When I started at my old school, myself and the ICT coordinator wanted to tidy up the drives and folder structure but the problem is that there is already a lot of files and folders on the network shared areas and this makes it very difficult to 'organise' because none of the staff would be able to find their files.

    I guess generally, as you mentioned, there should be a folder for user directories, software, media files, shared areas for users.

    I think the only way round it would be to plan carefully what folders you want, have a completely clean install of a server OS and work from there.

  3. Thanks to Admiral208 from:

    smalls001 (4th April 2011)

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    jsnetman's Avatar
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    When we made the move from RM Connect to vanilla we just kept the same type of public docs folder structure, read staff write staff, and same for pupils. User documents are grouped by intake years and staff are basically staff and admin. We now use local profiles so we dont have all the problems associated with roaming profiles.

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    smalls001 (4th April 2011)

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    Thanks for the info.

    I hate working on a blank canvas. I know it's nice to have a blank canvas. I never know if I am doing it right. But sounds like there no wrong way.

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    I have a preference for presenting all user files within one filesystem (at least from the server perspective), however I've never employed DFS, but many people swear by it.

    Off the top of my head my files and folder structure looks a bit like this, before customisation to the schools specific needs.

    Code:
    \
    \Shared Data
       \StaffSharedArea
          \Information
          \Departments
          \Photos
            \academic_year_term
       \StudentSharedArea
          \Departments
          \Cross Curricular
       \Work Post Boxes
         \teacherusernames
    \User Data
      \Profiles
      \Home Directories
         \Staff
         \Students
             \Year_Entry_2010
                \username
                \Documents
                \Pictures
                \etc..etc...
    Folder names that relate to Windows Special Folders need to be tested in your environment before settling on one.

    Sometimes I use Volume Mount Points to enable easy migration of data between LUNs of differing class. So for example \SharedData\StudentSharedArea\Departments\Media might be huge, and thus have its own dedicated LUN made from cheap SATA. Keeping Volumes to 2Tb and directly mapping them to 2TB LUNs gives sane RAID rebuild and Restore times. Each Student year entry folder is also often a good candidate for using VMPs. Also the IT team's folder exists within the departmental structure, and the software archive within that. Again, given the size, it is often a VMP to an alternative disk. This approach works when you've got 14+ Disks in your NAS/SAN.

    I've long thought about use Hard Links to provide a mapping between \User Data\Home Folders\Staff\Username\WorkPostBox and \Shared Folders\Work Post Boxes\Username since this would allow staff to take handed in work home, provided their laptop was synchronised. The push for MLE based solutions dissuaded me.

    Shares presented to the user are
    Staff (HomeFolders) (Not one share per user)
    Students (Homefolders, again not one share per user)
    StaffShared
    Learning Resources
    Work Post Boxes

    Depending on how clean a slate I'm working from, I sometimes pre-seed departmental folder structures too:
    Code:
    \minutes
    \courses
    \photos
    \butterflies
    Though what departments get up to in their own spaces is really up to them.


    I've migrated users into similar structures. The trick is to understand how data is grouped and how people want to be able to access it. Then present the change a beautiful simplification, and in a way that it is apparent where their existing files **should** be stored and how they will be accessed. Then you get them to move their own shared files across. Ideally the home folder migration happens seamlessly, but some end user interventions may be needed. Generally you can't make a success of a migration without the engagement of the end users in the process - you've just got to keep it simple for them.
    Last edited by psydii; 5th April 2011 at 02:19 PM.

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    smalls001 (6th April 2011)

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Interesting to see what others folder structures are like, personally ours goes like this:

    File server H: Drive (a RAID6 iSCSI map)
    -Home$
    -2010
    -2009
    -2008
    -2007
    -2006
    -2005
    -2004
    -Staff

    And that's it for the H: home folder store

    File server G: (Another RAID6 iSCSI map)
    -ICT Services$ (IT Services shared store)
    -ProgramInstaller (IT Services store for student and teacher programs)
    -Pograms (Used to install all network running applications on to, student and teachers read only)
    -StaffWorkArea (Students no access, teachers read and write)
    -Teaching Resources (students read only, teachers read and write)

    Teaching resources has about 30 folders, one per department with security groups setup and each user can only write and delete things from departments they're given access to. I made a lot of people angry when i tidied this up and forced it upon them but it had to be done

    There are a couple of other smaller less important shares like drama camera storage for example for them to put their recorded exam stuff on to.

    Each Student sees T: for teaching resources, P: for programs and H: for their homefolder, teachers see the same but with an added S: for the sims drive and Q: for the staff work area and these are the only accessible/visible drives within my computer.

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    psydii (5th April 2011), smalls001 (6th April 2011)

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    It does strike me that there is actually a huge amount of common thinking around this. Almost as though best practice has evolved seperately at many instituions over time. To be honest though I'm riffing off exposure to RM and Viglen systems from years ago, but taking away from that the lesson: LESS is more. There is no need to present a plethora of network drives (and having them but hidden through restrictive policy is IMHO daft and a pain in the behind)

    Has anybody explored how to reshape these ideas now Windows has the concept of Libraries?

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    This is what I was looking for. Just to see what other people's folder structure are like and you said Psydii there is a lot of common practice.

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    As mentioned earlier, we use DFS....and most certainly swear by it, it gives us in ICT a more complex system to have to maintain, but the user experience can always be presented the same if we have a need to change the backend infrastructure.

    We are currently consolidating over 200 file servers down to a very large SAN and 15 field servers. But all our network drives map via DFS, so from a user point of view nothing will have changed.

    We're also looking at the option of turning on ABE (Access Bassed Enumeration). This means the user will only actually see the folders they have access to.

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