Designning DFS for Head And Branch Offices

Posted on 2007-08-08
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
We have a customer with a head office and branch office. The BO requires a local copy of the file data that resides on a server at the HO. The data needs to be sync'd every evening. The offices are connected by VPN over a 1MB SDSL line. HO is running a W2K3 R2 domain. The server to be installed at the BO is running W2K3 R2. BO users and HO users should always access their local copy of the data rather that access the other server over the VPN. My question is this: what is the easiest and most efficient way of achieving our goals? Do we need to install DFS with domain based namespaces. Do we then need to make the BO server a DC in a seperate AD site so that clients in each AD site know which server to contact to get their local copy of the data. Is there another easier way to do this? We would rather not make the remote server a DC but can't find any way of ensuring that clients contact their local server without setting up AD sites. Can we set up file replication without using namespaces? I have not used DFS before and am very confused. Please help.


Question by:Kelly_Collins
    LVL 51

    Accepted Solution

    You've got the right idea.

    R2 uses DFSR - which does Remote Differential Compression as well as Throttling.

    You may want to review the documentation about deploying a Branch Office server using R2.

    You will use DFS to create a domain root then add both servers as replicas.

    You want to be certain that both DNS and AD Sites and Services are correctly configured with the Sites having the proper subnets associated to them.  This is how DFS determines where to send the user when accessing the \\domain.local\dfsshare - which is where you want to point people for this share.

    Author Comment

    Thanks Netman. Is there anyway of achieving our goals without making the BO server a DC. We would prefer that it remians a member server. Is it possible to ensure that clients in the BO try to access the files locally without the BO being a seperate AD site?


    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    Sure.  The server doesn't have to be a DC to be a replica - however....

    The clients in that site will authenticate to the head office, which will direct clients to the head office replica since it's all the same site.

    You could still create a Site for the BO then associate the subnet to it, but I'm not sure the clients would still understand what site they're in and use the local replica (I haven't tried a DC-less site setup before).

    Ideally, you would put a DC in the BO to control DNS traffic, authenticate locally and control any replication.  Having a local GC to those clients would be necessary to allow logons should the WAN link go down or otherwise be unavailable.


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