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Where does DFS Share actually reside ona domain

Posted on 2010-08-31
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hello guys.

This may sound like a silly question but I have been wanting to ask this question for a long time. My admin on the company reently configured new active directory domain with DFS Replication services and Namespace in it.

All the user profiles and everything is on the DFS Share. When i asked him where is this DFS Share located, he told me that it is a logical mapping. I do understand that it is  a logical mapping but this logical mapping has to reside somewhere. i mean to say it must belog somewhere physically. Where does is exactly reside. When i sent into properties, it showed me address of the DFS namespace address. I want to know physical location of this share.

Could anybody please help me understanding this?
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Question by:TheCommunicator
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brwwiggins earned 250 total points
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The DFS logical name maps to folder targets that are located on various servers (which do not have to be the same as your domain controller). The DFS targets point to shares configured on those servers.

When a client makes a request to a path in the DFS namespace, a lookup is done in Active Directory to find the "closest" available target based on network topology.
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by:TheCommunicator
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So DFS name space is a pointer or like a load balancer. It does not have it's own data, it just directs the request to one of the domain controller and once request goes to the domain controller and user updates the data on  a particular domain controller, replication services actually replicate those changes to the other server. is that right?
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by:Rant32
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The DFS configuration is stored in the hidden System container in the root of the domain.

(You can see it in ADSIEDIT.MSC or ADU&C with Advanced options turned on).

The System container has a Dfs-Configuration container that holds the configuration and 'logical mappings' for DFS roots and shares.
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by:Rant32
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by:brwwiggins
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it's similar to a load balancer. The DFS namespace has namespace servers which provide referrals to clients making requests. The namespace does all the work to determine which target will serve the client.

The namespace server doesn't really hold the data, although as Rant32 mentioned there is some hidden system information contained within the DFS root folder (although very small).

The replication of the user data is controlled by replication groups in the DFS management console. When a user makes changes to their data, the updates are sent out to members of the replication group
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by:TheCommunicator
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Yeah I think Rant32 was talking about the configuration folder though NOT the data folder. So Yes we all agree that DFS namespace and DFS share is actually a load balancer. No files hosted there only references. Right?
I am going to read the article sent by you  and will let you know if there are any problems. Thanks :).
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by:Rant32
Rant32 earned 250 total points
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DFS indeed doesn't contain any data. The actual files are stored in the shared folders, either the Root Targets or the Links.

The DFS links you see in the shared folders that hosts the DFS root (the root targets) are built dynamically by the file system. The links themselves are stored in the Dfs-Configuration object (which can grow larger by the way; MS recommends limiting the size of this object to 5 MB if you plan to have tons of links).

The links are displayed as folders but they're not really there. They just serve to display the subfolders in the DFS root. The Distributed File System service is responsible for redirecting clients to the correct link behind the 'virtual folder'.
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