win 2003 - file server & dfs - differences

hi i have configured the following in the passed:

- win 2003 file server (member server)
- lately ive configured a windows 2003/dfs - which i understand after some reading that no matter how many multiple pc's/server may have data that they wish to share with other personnel.  then dfs can put all these multiple folders into (one place) rather than multiple mapped drives for eg and with win 2003 r2 it has the 'replication' feature and to ensure if data on one server is (down) then the data can still be accessed from another server, providing obviously it was configured this way.

question 1.  what i am trying to understand is what the differences are between the both above, because from my understanding if a network is created with all shares located in one place then why use 'dfs' and just use the 'file server' ?
mikey250Asked:
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motnahp00Commented:
DFS uses a single namespace. Rather trying to map the following scenario:

\\SERVER1\HR --> Drive Letter X
\\SERVER2\SALES --> Drive Letter Y
\\SERVER3\IT --> Drive Letter Z

... you can have a more simplistic view:

\\DFSSERVER\SHARES --> Drive Letter X
 -HR
 -SALES
 -IT

Access-based enumeration provides a means of removing views/shares that are not applicable to users.
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motnahp00Commented:
It's been a while since I have touched a W2K3 box. I believe ABE came out with W2K8.
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mikey250Author Commented:
hi ok but what about a file server as if all company files are stored on one partition then surely this is the same what 'dfs' does although i know there is replication in win 2003 r2 ?

also currently ive done as a test:

ive now also configured the following separate shared folder and a dfs folder successfully on my same master dc

- d:\home - my vpn users can logon and access files successfully
- d:\dfs\documents - all vpn users can also access this folder & files

i obviously dont need both!!
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mikey250Author Commented:
ive installed win 2008 32bit as a test as a domain and gpo software install and joined a client is all i have done.  just going over win 2003 before i then go through a migration to win 2008 as a test.  learning curve practically!!
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motnahp00Commented:
DFS doesn't store all the data into one partition but rather references other shares from file servers.
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AnuroopsunddCommented:
You normally require DFS for multiple sites. DFS provide the same namespace through every where.
For Eg:
office location 1 -- filerserver1
office location 2 -- filerserver2

so if user from location 1 goes to location 2 he will require to know the server name.
also it is difficult for the administrators to manage the data and have to manually or put scripts for replicating data.

so if we have DFS.. bot servers will host same namespace.
so any user from any office put \\domainname\DFS_Namespace they will get response through there best location DFS server..

If you have just 1 location then you do not require this functionality.
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mikey250Author Commented:
hi motnatpoo - yes i read this and yes i understand that!
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mikey250Author Commented:
hi Anuroopsundd, ok i understand better now!! ive never used just learning it to see what was what!! thanks.

question:

so presumably if i only have one domain and no multiple sites, then just configuring a singel file server without the need for 'dfs' is ok then ?
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AnuroopsunddCommented:
Yes. Then you actually do not require dfs. File server suffice the purpose....
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mikey250Author Commented:
perfect thanks for that!!  appreciated!!
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mikey250Author Commented:
sound advice!!
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