DFS Distributed File System Dilemma

Posted on 2006-05-30
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have agonized many hours, days, and months over this.

I am using DFS for fault tolerance.  I have two domain controllers setup with Windows Server 2003.  I have installed and have been using DFS effectively for months with file replication.

Problem #1 - To test fault tolerance I simulate my first DC failing by pulling out the network cable.  I then log into my second DC.  From here I open up DFS and there is no root listed.  The main Root of the DFS is not found because my first DC is now offline.

Problem #2 - I realize the only way to make DFS truly fault tolerant is to enable DFS referral for all my links.  However, when I do this then my users are opening files and saving, then someone else goes to work on the file and it hasn't yet replicated yet and there is an old version of the file without the new changes.  Then the user saves that older version, and that old version replicates over the one with all the changes becuase it has a newer time stamp.  Is there a way to enable DFS referral for fault tolerance but restrict users from only using a specific server for files unless that DC is down???  

The reason why problem # 2 is serious is because I usually disable DFS referral so users won't be opening up different versions of the same file on different servers.  However, now my system isn't fault tolerant because when my First DC goes down I cannot even get into DFS and see the root in Second DC to enable DFS referral.  Why does the root disappear??

If anyone can answer this question, many points to them and I wish you 100 more years to live.
Question by:tags266
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution


    I've got more experience with win2k dfs and don't currently have access to a win2k3 server today. This may be helpful though: -
    Problem1 - just checking you've configured a root replica on dc2? If you have then I'd also check dns as a possible reason. Assuming that they're domain dfs roots - then are you running dns on server2 - ad-integrated, and pointing at itself first as preferred dns then dc1 as secondary dns and can the client pc's pick this up also?
    Problem2 - In 2003 server sp1/r2 you can set target priority for dfs referral
    How can I explicitly assign the priority of a DFS link or root target?
    Distributed File System (DFS) in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
    Client pc's would need dns servers set as preferred and alternative dns servers in tcp/ip. Hope that helps,
    Deb :))

    Author Comment

    Ok read over your post.  Here's some further info.  Both DFS roots are configured as Domain Roots.

    I already have configured what's called a "root target" on DC2.  Server 2003 doesn't call it "root replica".  The Root Target is listed for DC1 and DC2 and they both have OK statuses and are online.  So that's not it.

    At first I thought DNS problem as well but here's why I don't think that's it.  My DNS server is configured on DC2 and it was configured as AD integrated.  If i pull DC1 offline, my users can still authenticate thru AD.  When DC1 is offline, and i login to DC2 i can open up AD and still see all users and computers in the list.  I can also still see all my entried in DNS when i open that as well.

    Client PC's use the DNS server from the routher which has primary and seconds DNS servers for each DC.  Primary DC1 is and Secondary DC2 is  Hence why my users authenticate when DC1 is pulled out.  

    DFS seems to be the only AD integrated program that doesn't seem to be replicating which leads me to believe I'm doing something wrong with the root target.  But it appears to be set up right as a Root Target on DC2.  I can open it from DFS and it opens all the files on DC2 without fail.  It's just that when I pull DC1 offline, then I cannot access DFS on DC2 which leads me to believe it's not replicated and the it is stored natively on DC1.  However, if DFS referral is enabled, the files will still be available if DC1 is offline, however I won't still be able to see any DFS settings.  Is this by design?

    I will take a look at the add-on you wrote.  I'd appreciate feedback from anyone else at this point.  I'm sure someone else has had to run into this problem at some point.  Thanks.
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Fair enough - I'll be evaluating 2003 r2 this week. I posted as you hadn't had many takers but this is something I'll check out. If I find anything and you haven't resolved I'll post back,
    Best wishes
    Deb :))

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