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DFS Issues

Posted on 2014-04-17
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Last Modified: 2014-04-29
Ok, I inherited a client running 2 SBS2011 servers. Each at a different location. Both locations are connected with a VPN. They had strange issues with files and folders disappearing and then re-appearing or they would disappear from one users mapped drive but not another. After a few minutes, they would appear again. Their previous IT provider had SyncBackPro running at the primary location and it was syncing data to the other locations SBS server as a backup. The original thought was that SBP was causing the wierd file/folder disappearing issues. We decided to setup DFS to eliminate the need for SBP and to speed up file access for users in each location, etc. However, after stopping SBP and getting DFS setup, the issue still exists with files/folders disappearing and re-appearing. Several, not all, users are also seeing longer than normal file/folder access times. Some are taking 5 min to open. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated as we are pulling our hair out and at a loss at this point.

Oh, we did setup a new DFS namespace with root folders in a location separate from where all the other data is and it seems to work fine. I really don't want to have to create and move everything as it is approx 800GB of data that would then have to sync over the VPN which is a 3MB down/1.5 MB up DSl circuit at one end.......
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Question by:sevlar
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 40008528
You absolutely would have "strange issues" if you try to link two SBS 2011's via DFS.  You cannot do that.  DFS would require the same domain name (or domains within the same forest) neither of which can be done with two SBS's.

An SBS 2011 MUST be the holder of all FSMO roles and is the root of the domain.  It cannot exist with another SBS in the same forest.  

This sounds like something that would be much better handled by SharePoint via Office365.

Your other alternative is to dump one of the SBS's and just deploy a standard Server 2008 R2 (or Server 2012 R2) at the second site utilizing Branch Cache

DFS is not gonna work in this case with the current systems you have.
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by:sevlar
ID: 40008607
My bad. I only have 1 SBS 2011, the other is running 2008 R2 Standard. The Namespace is hosted on the SBS2011 server with root folders on each server setup for replication. I have a feeling that it is the AV software that is creating the problem. They are currently running AVG 2012. I have excempted the DFS root folders from the real-time and scheduled scans and modified the AV policy on the workstations to do the same. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.....
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by:gurutc
ID: 40008627
Hi, your issue could also be related to SMB2 behavior.  On the chance that it is you can try to disable SMB2 on the servers and one client to test.

MS KB2696547 Article - How to Disable SMB2 on Servers and Clients

MS has scary warnings about doing this, but we've found that it's many DFS issues.  You have to do both sides, client and server.

Also you may be dealing with offline folders and timing issues.  Try disabling all offline features in Control Panel->Sync Center on the clients.

Good Luck,
- gurutc
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 40010224
I would still refer you to the link I provided above to deploy the Branch Cache scenario -- DFS in an SBS environment is spotty at best.
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by:BlueCompute
ID: 40014398
Branch Cache might work for you, but is only a feature if your clients are running Windows Enterprise editions.  Are your sites set up correctly in AD?  You get slow file access if the DFS client accesses the out-of-site target for files rather than the local DFS member.  You can right click on a DFS folder or file and go to properties > DFS to see which target is active.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 40019287
Client machines can also be Windows 7 Ultimate (which is something you can upgrade to from a Windows 7 Pro license).
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by:BlueCompute
ID: 40019574
We've had DFS working in an SBS2011-Win2008 environment for a few years; it shouldn't be doing either of the things the op's complaining about regardless of whether he fancies using Branch Cache instead.
You also don't need to do the initial sync over your slow WAN line; you can pre-seed DFS using Robocopy or Windows Server Backup and physically carry, or post, a USB drive to your remote site. You then just sync changes.
For your missing files, check the Conflict and Deleted folder and also the DFSR log in C:\Window\Debug.
You mention Avast 2012 - do you run this on your servers as well, or just clients?
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sevlar earned 0 total points
ID: 40020371
Sorry for the delayed reply back. Been busy the past few days. After doing some troubleshooting I found that the AVG Business Ed 2012 that the customer had on their server and workstations is the culprit. After disabling it on the servers and setting exclusions on the clients, everything is working great. I did do a seed copy on the remote server to speed up the initial replication. AVG was resetting the files as it scanned them using its real-time scanner and DFS would then think they changed resulting in a never ending sync of all files.

Thanks for all the suggestions but it looks like we are good to go. It's been running great for the last few days...
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by:BlueCompute
ID: 40020390
Bloody antivirus again!
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Author Closing Comment

by:sevlar
ID: 40029082
We figured it out on our own.
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