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Should I use DFS with only one file server?

Posted on 2013-01-11
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Last Modified: 2013-01-23
I have recently built a new Windows 2008 R2 file server that I plan on storing all my company data on and it will only be used as a file server with no other roles.  This will be our only file server in use at only one location.  Would it be beneficial to implement DFS on only one file server that will host all the shares I have?  

From what I have read about DFS it seems to be very beneficial if you have shares spread out in multiple locations, but in my case I will have all shares on one server in one location so would DFS be worth it to set up and if so has anyone done it with only one file server?
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Question by:ColumbiaMarketing
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by:marine7275
ID: 38768334
It really depends on your future plans and if you have remote offices or not. If all you your people are in the same building, I would say keep it simple and not use DFS. But if you have remote offices and have potential to grow, I would implement it.
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38768407
All the employees are in the same building and we currently don't have any remote offices and there are no plans in the future to add another office.  Our company is roughly only 50 people so I'm not sure if DFS is a viable option for our situation.  It seems to be designed for larger businesses with multiple offices.
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by:marine7275
ID: 38768410
You are exactly right. Keep it simple and deploy without DFS
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by:gmbaxter
gmbaxter earned 100 total points
ID: 38768461
I would say to deploy with DFS, purely due to future planning. If there are mergers in the future, you may have remote locations to deal with, but the main reason is if you need to replace or add another fileserver at a later date it is far simpler with DFS as it frees the shares from being tied to a single server. Good for DR too - built in replication technology!
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38768487
If I deployed with DFS what would be the best file structure to create?  Right now I have the typical C: partition for the OS and then I created a second D: partition to store all the file shares.  Should I create the DFS root share on the same partition as where all my file share folders will be?
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38768499
Also, if I deploy DFS would it be best to use a 'standalone' DFS namespace since there will be only one server, or should I use the 'Domain' namespace.  My domain controller is SBS 2003 so it will not support the 'Windows 2008' mode in DFS.  I will be migrating to SBS 2011 sometime this year though.
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yo_bee earned 400 total points
ID: 38769172
I have a different point of view on this.
I feel no matter how simple the environment I would implement DFS.
This allows for future migrations of data servers without impacting  the users connections.
So if you have a DFS namespace for user data (\\Domain.local\Userdata\%username%) and your server becomes limited in space you can stand up a new File Server with a completely different name, migrate the data to the new server, change the target server share folder and boom. you when from 90% full to 30% full without a single break or downtime for your users.

The overhead is nothing and you have all to gain from implementing DFS.

You can start out with one server them maybe move to a two server environment for future.   I have made the mistake of not implementing DFS when I had the chance and it made my migration job much more difficult than it should have been.

Now that I have DFS in my environment I just did a complete move of 6.5 TB of data and the users had not down time.

I would give two thumbs up for this and if you need assistance post your questions .

With regards to Standalone vs. Domain. I would go Domain.  Makes it easier to integrate with possible future plans.

.
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by:gmbaxter
ID: 38769578
Yes put the root share on D, and use a domain namespace.
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38774847
After reading these comments I have decided to try and implement DFS as it seems the future benefits are definitely a huge upside.  I will be leaving this question open for now just in case I run into anything I have more questions on.  Thanks for the information and I will be awarding points shortly.
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38774872
One question that I forgot to ask earlier is when creating the root share, say \\domain.local\data, should I then create all my department shares, ie \\domain.local\data\accounting under the root using 'DFS Management' or should I create the folders within Windows Explorer only?  I'm a little confused as to what the proper management of creating folders under the root with DFS since it seems you can use DFS Management and/or Windows Explorer.

And what would be the best permissions to apply to the DFS root?
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by:yo_bee
ID: 38775165
You want to leverage the Namespace.  

You need to create a Target Folder under the Namespace, but once that is done you will user Windows Explorer to create all the sub-directories.

example from my environment:
The Files, UserData & ITDATA are all namespaces where the sub-directories are target folder pointers to the actual File server \\FS01\Share1 or \\FS02\Share2  and the Clients Display name really points to \\FS01\Share1

\\Domain.local\    
           |  Files
                   | Clients          
            | UserData
                   | Redirected Folders
                   | Profiles
            | ITData
                   |  Server ISO's
                   |  Apps
                   |  Lab

DFS1DFS02
Note: In the second screenshot there are Target Folder pointer (Shortcuts) and a actual Folder that was created via Windows Explorer.

That folder created under windows explorer is not accessible or visiable if you browse to it via the \\Domain.local\Files.  It only resides on the DFS host server ROOT location.
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Author Comment

by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38775909
That makes more sense.  So since I am using 'DFS Management' on the same file server where all my data will be stored, do I even need to create 'target' shortcuts, or should I just create the DFSroot folder, then use Windows Explorer to create all my department shared folders, ie Marketing, IT, Administration and so forth?
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by:yo_bee
ID: 38776394
I recommend it.
This gives you a more dynamic setup for future implimentations.

I do not recommend storing the data in the root.

Create the Namespace
\domain.local\data
then create a storage area on your D:\ called DFS_SHARE or something like that.
In the DFSHARE create a folder called accounting.  Then create a target folder pointed to the d:\DFS_SHARE\accounting.  This will allow for growth and easy mirgation.
So if the future you expand to a second server strictly for file shares,NAS or SAN you replicate the data to the new location create a new Target pointer to the New Accounting storage location and delete the old one. You are in business with no down time.
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by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38776480
This is very helpful!  Say I created a structure with 'DFS_SHARE' as you mentioned and then put my department shares under that directory, as far as permissions go, would you just set 'DFS_SHARE' for 'Authenticated Users' read-only, and then set whatever NTFS permissions you needed on the department directories, ie 'Accounting,' or would DFS_SHARE be the only folder I need to share?  I'm trying to obtain the most secure permissions as possible.
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by:yo_bee
ID: 38776532
Look at the Taget as if it is folder as if it is a share.
There you will apply the permission for the share.
The Target folder on the source server is where you apply the NTFS permission.
So it is a two part just like if you right clicked on a folder and shared it out your have the Share permissions and the Security of the folder.

Does the help.
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by:yo_bee
ID: 38776546
You do not even need to share it since it is on the same machine as your hosting DFS.

You will point the target to the D:\DFS_SHARE\Accounting
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Author Comment

by:ColumbiaMarketing
ID: 38776565
The problem I am having is that when I try to create a new target to D:\DFS_SHARE\Accounting it won't allow me to because I can only choose an actual shared folder as the target, nothing on local drives can be selected.  That being said, should I share the DFS_SHARE folder or share each department folder separately like 'Accounting' that are subfolders under 'DFS_SHARE?'
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by:yo_bee
ID: 38776819
Yes if that is the only way.
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