Question about DFS & load balancing

Posted on 2005-03-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2006-11-17
I'm currently researching & testing for a DFS implementation.  My environment will consist of a DFS controller (DFS) and 2 File Servers (FS1, FS2).  I've created the DFS root and set up the root targets (\\FS1\Share1, FS2\Share1).

I've tested the file replication & everything works great.  However I'm trying to find out more information on the load balancing portion of DFS.  (unless I am confused) the DFS will route clients to either FS1 or FS2 depending on load.  Is there a way to view this load balancing info so I can see that it is working?  Any utilities that I can use?

Secondly, I am worried about concurrent control of files.  If user1 opens a file and gets routed to FS1 for that file, what happens if user2 opens the same file but gets routed to FS2 because of load balancing.  In a normal environment user2 would have to open the file read-only since it is already in use.  But in a DFS they actually are opening 2 different files.  How does DFS manage this problem?  Please support your answers...

Thanks very much
Question by:mgcIT
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Expert Comment

ID: 13511536
I'm not entirely sure that you understand the full concept of DFS.  What DFS is supposed to do is give a central location to house shares accross the network.  If you are wanting redundant ways to access your data, I think i would simply cluster a pair of file/print servers and share the data through there.

If you're wanting DFS Replicas, that is entirely different in which DFS will replicate local copies of the files to different DFS roots so that you arent constantly going over the network (usually in a separate site) to grab a potentially large document.
LVL 18

Author Comment

ID: 13511837
yes, I understand that it's primary function is not redundancy, but it comes with the package...The DFS uses FRS so that all servers used in the DFS replicate eachother when data is updated on any one server.  From what I've read it also load balances users connecting to the DFS so that one server doesn't get overloaded and also users from different locations automatically get routed to the server closest to them.  

What I'm looking for is just a utility or something to manage the load balancing.  It may be part of DFS but I can't figure out how to configure it.

LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13519244
Taken from " http://www.windowsitpro.com/Windows/Articles/ArticleID/39768/pg/4/4.html "

Before you get too excited about Dfs, realize that it has some limitations—it isn't the final solution for all your offsite data-replication needs, but it's a useful tool to get you started. The first caveat is to recognize what types of data you can replicate with Dfs. For example, Dfs works well with files that users open, change, then close until they need to access those files again. Dfs recognizes that the file has changed and replicates the new version of the file across your network, as needed. Again, Dfs replicates the entire file, not just the changes. Therefore, if you update a large file, Win2K will copy the entire new file to each of the replicas in your network.

In addition to moving data files from one replica to another, Win2K also replicates permissions between the replicas that you define in the Dfs structure. If you add or remove permissions to a folder or file in one location, Dfs will replicate those changes throughout the environment.

Also I advise you to check : " http://mcpmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=446 "

Best Regards !
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LVL 18

Author Comment

ID: 13549886
I finally figured out how to do this.  When setting up the DFS you can create Links with multiple targets within the DFS Root and set the links to replicate rather than just the root.  After setting up replication you also have the ability to disable the "DFS Referral" (load balancing) for the link.  I wasn't able to do this before because I was just creating a DFS root with multiple targets rather than creating links.

LVL 18

Author Comment

ID: 13806970

As you can see above I already made a request to PAQ this question.  OzzMod said he would be finalizing in 4 days but I guess never got to it (that was on 3/16).


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