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Windows 2003 File Server Cluster and USer Home Directories

Posted on 2009-04-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm in the process of migrating to a new two node active/ passive Windows 2000 File server cluster. Please note, this is my first cluster. Anyway, I just did a test migration and moved my users shares to this cluster and setup the user share as recommended my Microsoft and share the user's folders using the "share sub-directories" option... Anyway this works great my quest has to do with my login scripts...

Right now a login script runs that mapps users to their home directory using the following:
net use H:  \\ServerA\HDoe

My cluster is setup as follows

The drive that hold ths user share is: R
The drive has a folder called users which contains all of the user shares and is shared out using the Cluster share subdirectories option.

I can access these user directory two way:
1) \\Cluster\Users\JDor
2)\\Cluster\JDor

Both method work my question is which is better and which should  I use in the login script
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Question by:compdigit44
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by:oBdA
ID: 24095422
If your clients are all running W2k or later, undo the "Automatically share subfolders" option, and use \\cluster\users\%username% as homefolders. W2k and later can map directly into a subfolder, and that way, the server doesn't have to create (unnecessary) shares for all home folders (with the "share subfolders" option, you may only have one cluster resource, but the server still has to create the individual shares).
If you're specifying the home folder in the user properties in AD ("Connect <Drive> with \\cluster\users\%username%"), you don't even need the logon script; the drive will be mapped automatically during logon.
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by:compdigit44
ID: 24095966
I'm confused...

According to Microsoft all user directories should not be shared out one- by - one but the share subdirectories option should be used.

What is the pro / con for the users and my server if I map users to there share by: \\cluster\JDoe Vs. \\Cluster\users\JDoe  Again both open the same location. My questions to you is which is right???????
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oBdA earned 500 total points
ID: 24096114
Again: use \\cluster\users\%username% as home share; with clients running W2k or later, there is no need for individually shared home folders, because they can access the home folder through the "users" share. You only need the single share resource "users".
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by:compdigit44
ID: 24096183
I'm sorry oBda...

I just I'm just not understaning this..becuase I can access my own user directory by

\\cluster\Jdoe  & \\cluster\users\jdoe

My Users root folder is shares out.. I guess I'm just not understanding this.. :-(
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Expert Comment

by:oBdA
ID: 24096616
Since Windows 2000 (NT4 wasn't able to do this), you can map a drive directly to a subfolder of a shared folder, like \\cluster\users\Jdoe.
In this case, you only need the share "users", it does not matter whether JDoe is shared or not: you're accessing the share "users" and then the subfolder JDoe.
NT4 could only map directly to a shared folder, like \\cluster\JDoe: you're accessing the share JDoe directly; this required an individual share of the user's home folder.
If you're not using NT4 clients anymore, you can map your home folders using \\cluster\users\%username%, the only shared folder being "Users". This requires less server resources and minimizes the time the cluster needs to bring the Users resource online.
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by:compdigit44
ID: 24096650
But why does Microsoft tell you to enable share sub directories then???
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by:compdigit44
ID: 24096804
Ok I think I'm starting to understand this. Going forward is there anything special I would need to do if I need to create a new home directory for a user?
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Expert Comment

by:65td
ID: 24096877
See these docs from MS on the abilities of a cluster share that support oBdA comments:

how to create file shares on a cluster:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/224967

Implementing home folders:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256926/
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by:oBdA
ID: 24098350
Microsoft just tells you to use this feature instead of creating individual share resource in case you need individually shared homefolders; it's not a requirement.
There's nothing special; for new home folders, just set the permissions so that you have the least effort with it, for example like this:
Users: Local Administrators:Full, System:Full, Local Users:Read ("This folder only" in Advanced properties); Helpdesk (if applicable):Full
JDoe: Local Administrators:Full (inherited), System:Full (inherited), JDoe:Full (or Change)
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