DFS Replication Issues

crossfireit
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Quick background.

I wish to use DFS to put a server into a data center and have the server in my office replicate the data and use it for backup purposes.

My problem is I have read countless sites regarding DFS but im still not 100% of how it actualy works.

I have two servers:

\\Apollo\
\\Neptune\

I want to have users access apollo directly and not use it for load balancing but strictly replication.

When i setup the shares and replication I run into all sorts of problems that seem to occur.

Firstly if i have a share \\Apollo\Users and i want to create a replication set it allows me to create it. I use hub and spoke with Apollo as the master and Neptune as the other one. THen when I start to access shares from my pc \\Apollo\Users i only see the directories that have replicated across to the hard drive on Neptune but not all the folders that are actually in the folder on Apollo.

I understand that It may be by design and only showing whats replicated but i am accessing \\apollo\users and not \\domain.local\users or \\neptune\users.

How can i be sure that my users are never working directly off the server in the datacenter as It will create speed issues.

I hope this is somewhat clear but as I said i must be missing something fundamental about how it works.



why would it show incorrect files if I go straight \\Apollo\ I would have though this lists whatever is in the files?



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Head of ICT
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Hi there,

Firstly, have you created a domain based dfs namespace, i.e. \\domain.local\namespace? This is your best bet.

When you create the namespace in 'DFS Management' (assuming R2 on both servers) it will ask you for a server to host it. Choose one of the two DCs. Once created, add th other DC as a namespace server to add fault tolerance.

Create a share on each DC (these will be your folder targets for the replicated folder). Now add your folder to the namespace, and add both servers' shares as folder targets. Once you click OK you will be prompted if you want to create a replication group for the folder targets, you do. Follow the wizard which is pretty self-explanatory.

To ensure your office users target their local replica depends on whether your office and the datacentre are configured as seperate sites in AD. If they are, provided that you ave configured the sites correctly and linked all the relevant subnet objects to each site in AD Sites and Service, then by default the users will use their local replica.

If not, then you will have to either set up the sites seperately in AD, or you would have to manually override referal ordering. To do this, select the folder underneath your namespace in the left hand pane and in the right, select the 'preferred' replica and go properties > Advanced. Select 'Overrride Referal Ordering' and select 'First among targets of equal cost'. This will make this the preferred replica for ALL users (office or datacentre).

Now your users simply use \\domain.local\namespace\folder to access the replicated folder. You do not specify the server names.

Tony
bluntTonyHead of ICT
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Sorry I mentioned the servers as being DCs but they do not have to be.

Tony

Author

Commented:
Wow nice reply thanks, I will sus this out at work tomorrow and let you know.

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Author

Commented:
Tony,

I am looking into this at present and I have a couple of queries.

One:

Do you think that this type of solution is a good use of the DFS system. I cannot see any problems with it but  I cannot find many people saying they do the same thing on the internet which makes me worried. Essentially what I am doing is replicating it to a DataCenter and then using the server to archive daily, weekly and monthly copies of my data.


Two:

Some of the steps you mention in the above I dont appear to have. I noticed on the technet site about setting up DFS their screenshots look different to mine. Mine looks like an older version of the snap in. I am running R2 on both servers.

Three:

I will setup my sites and services properly once I received my VPN device. This is probably the best way to do it i would have thought.

Thanks again.

bluntTonyHead of ICT
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
1) DFS with replication is used to distribute files across networks to 1. make them readily a quickly available to clients in different locations and 2. for fault tolerance purposes. So if you need a live standby copy of these files to hand immediately if the server fails then this is a good choice, yes. What you have to also consider is the WAN bandwidth and the amount of replication traffic this will produce. Since 2003 R2, the replication has been optimised so that only the changes to the files are replicated. Before this, the whole file had to be replicated when a change was made.

Replication will not obviously not allow you to 'roll-back' a file to a previous point in time, only regular backups (or shadow copies) can do this, so yes you'll need to supplement this plan with a backup shedule. So if you run scheduled backups of your off-site replica then you're covering this angle as well.

So in answer, no this nothing particularly wrong with this. If it works for you then it's OK! If you can easily and quickly access the backups you make at the datacenter then it sounds fine.

2) If you have R2 on both servers, make sure you use 'DFS Management', not 'Distributed File System'. These are the new and old versions respectively.

3) If you have a DC in both sites then yes set up two sites in AD. If you only have a DC in one site, I would recommend you have a DC in both. If this is not possible then leave it all as one site and override referal ordering to make clients prefer the replica at your office.

Hope this helps.
bluntTonyHead of ICT
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Just to add to 2) - have you actually ran the second R2 disk on both of these servers to install the R2 components?

Author

Commented:
Thanks again Tony,

I have now installed DFS Management and it all looks a lot better.

Should I recreate my all the ones that i created in the old snap in? or will it just update it by itself?

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