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DFS replication on two file servers at two sites

I have two sites connected by a 10 MB internal circuit...We'll call Site A the primary site where everything is and Site B the remote site.  I currently have a file server at Site A and users at Site B connect to the file server over the internal circuit. Can I setup DFS replication so that the DFS namespace on a server at Site A is replicated to Site B and users at Site B use that namespace to access the files and then replicate the changes back and forth?

Meaning, when users at Site B (remote site) go to \\domain\share, they are accessing the namespace at their site rather than accessing over the 10 MB circuit to get to the file server on Site A.  Both sites would be accessing their namespaces  locally and then any changes would be replicated back and forth...Can that be done?

Thanks in advance!
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vianceadmin
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vianceadmin
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1 Solution
 
brwwigginsIT ManagerCommented:
yes you can do that. I would read up on the Step by step guide for DFS and the document on how DFS works from MS

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc782417.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc737358.aspx
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
I recommend if you are going to do this that you use Windows Server 2003 R2 which has DFS-R.  This is a much more efficient form of DFS especially if you are making a lot of small changes in each site.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
I am currently using 2003 R2 and I have DFS namespaces already configured.  So our users are already going to \\domain\share to access the shares.  I just want to replicate this share to another site so that users at that site (when they go to \\domain\share) they access the share at their site instead of across the WAN.  
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
This should work fine. Once you have set this up you can run dfsutil /pktFlush on the clients to flush the DFS cache.  Then connect to the share and run dfsutil /pktinfo.  Look for the name of the share.  It will confirm which servers are being used by the client.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Is there a way to replicate a namespace rather than a folder?  The only way I see anything about replication is to have a folder under the namepace.

Since I already have namespaces created (\\domain\share), how do I replicate one namespace to another namespace at another site?  Do I have to add a folder under the namespace?
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
That is exactly what you do.  If you create a share on a server in the new site and add that server as a target in the \\Domain\share.  The contents of the share will now replicate to the new server.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
I do that and setup replication but when I then try to access \\domain\share\folder, it tells me that "the network location cannot be reached"...
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
You should just connect to \\domain\share it should automatically connect you to the new server if you are in the same site.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Okay, let's backup.

I created the namespace so that I can go to \\domain\share and it takes me to \\servername1\share.  I then add another namespace server to to namespace so that when users to go to \\domain\share they can get to it by going to \\servername1\share or \\servername2\share.  Now, I just need to replicate the share from server 1 to server 2...Do I have to add a folder under the namespace and replicate it or by just adding the 2nd namespace server, will that replicate the data from one share to the other?

The only way I see to replicate is to add a folder under the namespace and then add a target but why do I have to create a folder under the namespace when i already have the folder IN the namespace?
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
When you say create a namespace I take it that you have created a domain root called \\domain\share.  This is the starting point for your DFS environment and should not contain files to replicate.  You need to create another share on your server and place your files in that share.  Then in the DFS admin snap-in create a new link to the share with your files.  Then once that is setup, create a share on server2 and add that share as a new target to the link you just created.  Your files should now replicate to server 2.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Okay, setup a new namespace for testing, and created a new folder to replicate but it won't replicate.  Is there a way to see what's happening?
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brwwigginsIT ManagerCommented:
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Looks like it did repilcate but it took forever to just replicate a single empty folder...

Is there a way to speed that up?  Also, what about the referrals...I'd like for users at site A to use the namespace referral for site A and users at site B to use the replicated folder at site B.  But also use the other site if the local site goes down.
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
Do you have 2 targets for the folder? Server1 and Server2?
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MSE-JNegusCommented:

That should happen automatically.  You can confirm that using the DFSUtil method I explained earlier.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Think I figured this out...One last question.  On the target, when I open up DFS management and view the namespace, it just stalls and says "searching..."

A reboot did not fix it.  Any ideas?
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
You should verify that dns is working correctly that you can resolve the FQDNs of your servers.  Is netBios enabled on your NIC?
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Yes, DNS is working correctly and netbios is enabled...Strange.
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
This is strange.  Can you connect to the share on the server by opening Start/Run and typeing \\doamin\share\share?
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Nevermind, finally got this working...

How do you setup the referrals?  I would like users at site B to connect to the target folder at Site B...And users at Site A to use the target folder at Site A.  And if either local target folder is down, they cross the WAN and access the share by going to the target folder at the other site.  Is this setup like this by default?
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
Yes.... it is based on your site configuration in AD.  You can test this by disabling a target and verify that you can still access the share.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
Thanks MSE-JNegus for your help with this.  When I add a secnod namespace server to a namespace, shouldn't there be a folder in the "local path of the shared folder" which is by default C:\DFSRoots\foldername?  For example, I am using \\domain\DFS for the namespace and the default location is C:\DFSRoots\DFS...

So when I create a new folder, shouldn't it create a virtual folder in C:\DFSRoots\DFS on the source and target servers?  I have three folders that I am replicating (and they are replicating) but in the C:\DFSRoots\DFS folder on the tartget, I only have 1 folder.  On the source, I have all three...
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
They should be a folder for each share off the Root.

Review:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc781375(WS.10).aspx
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
I know there should be, but I only see one, not three...Think that's something to be concerned about?  It does appear to be replicating...
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
Do you only see one folder on each root target?
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
In the C:\DFSRoots\DFS folder (on the other server), I see only 1 folder in it.  On the server at the main site, I see all three...
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
For whatever reason, when I create the target folder in the namespace, it will not put the folder in the C:\DFSRoots\namespace folder on the other server.  It will on one but not the other.  What the hek?  I've even tried to create a new path for the namespace (D:DFSRoots\namespace) but doesn't do it either.  Even uninstalled DFS and reinstalled it...
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
What if you create a target for the shared folder it the other site?  I would also carry out tests from a client in the remote site.  Verify that when you connect to the namespace you see all folders and can access them.
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vianceadminAuthor Commented:
I think I got it...The target folder finally showed up in C:\DFSat the other site after about 8 minutes later...

Thanks so much for your help!

Cheers.
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MSE-JNegusCommented:
No Problem..... :-)  
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