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SBS 2011 Folder Redirection with Multiple Locations

Posted on 2012-04-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I have a customer with 3 locations. I am installing SBS 2011 Standard in one location and Server 2008 in the other two locations.  The server 2008 server will be DC’s.  All three locations are tied together using hardware IPSEC VPN at the gateway.  They all have 10MBps down and 2MBps up.  I am going to use folder redirection, but I think it will be too slow for the remote offices to point the folder redirection traffic back to the main office over the VPN.  I would rather set it up so that each location can point the folder redirection to their local server.  I know how to do this using AD and group policy.  The problem is they also use RWW to connect to their computers from home.  If I create new OU’s for the computers and users for their locations so I can apply separate Group Policies to each location, they will not show up in the SBS console and then they will not show up on the RWW site when they try to connect.  
Does anyone know of a way to set this up so I can still use RWW for these clients?
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Question by:ditobot
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Expert Comment

by:jameless
ID: 37844002
You could simplify things a little bit by using DFS Replication.  You could folder redirect them to a DFS namespace, and then use DFS replication to keep a copy of the files on both their local and the main servers.  The DFS would allow you to have multiple locations for 1 namespace and it would point them to the location with the lowest network cost.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 37844064
Though not supported by Microsoft there is a well known modification that allows adding folders located on other servers to RWW with SBS 2011.  Keep in mind that the access will be slow do to the location of the data, but should work fine.
http://www.jacksontechnical.com/article.htm?id=50

DFS is a great soultion, only there are limitations with SBS and DFS.  I appologize I cannot elaborate, especially on SBS 2011.
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 37845195
DFS can add significant administrative overhead, and for your situation I wouldn't bother. The solution in your case is quite easy. Use security groups instead of OUs. Create a folder redirectoin policy for each site. Remove authenticated users, add the security group, and make adding users to appropriate security groups a standard practice when onboarding a new user.  You keep SBS expected OUs, RWW will continue to work, basically everything you need. The only potential gotcha is if you make a user a member of multiple security groups for the groups you filter the group policies by. In such a case, standard group policy precedence rules will kick in and only one rule will apply. But if you plan your groups properly, this won't be a problem.

-Cliff
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 37863274
Cliff, as the author mentioned they are familiar with managing folder re-direction through group policy but they are looking for a solution that addresses the speed issue.
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Accepted Solution

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Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 37864273
Yes RobWill, and my solution addresses that. An example:

Policy 1 is named "desktop redirection - Site 1"
Policy 1 enables folder redirection and sets the location to a server at Site 1.
Policy 1 has a security group filter and the members of the security group are employees who work at site 1

Policy 2 is named "desktop redirection - Site 2"
Policy 2 enables folder redirection and sets the location to a server at site 2.
Policy 2 has a security group filter and the members of the security group are employees who work at site 2.

The policies work, the speed issue is resolved, the solution is maintainable, and the goal is achieved.

As they say, there are many roads to Rome. I am providing an alternative to DFS, as maintaining a multi-master DFS-R infrastructure is no small task. Sync issues can and do occur. Will DFS solve the problem? Yes. So would branchCache. I simply chose a solution that addresses the problem elegantly, does not complicate issues with DFS, and does not require win7 enterprise or ultimate (branchCache) and it is a solution I have deployed successfully in many multi-site small businesses, SBS and non-SBS alike.

-Cliff
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