Centralized File server solution in Microsoft

Hi Experts,

I have a client that is looking a  solution that allow the centralization of file servers. This company has a headquarter in the US and multiple satellite offices around Latin America, where is branch or satellite office, has its own Windows File server.

I've been thinking on DFS, but I need to know, if you can provide me with high level steps to integrate multiple file server into a centralized file server solution.

What type of DFS infrastructure deployment do you recommend?

Any DFS free planning tool available to download?

Any blogs, links, that shows step-by-step how to architect, design and deploy DFS to centralize Windows File servers and shares?

Your feedback is really appreciated
Jerry SeinfieldAsked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Planning DFS, like network planning is equal parts art and science. Petri has a series of articles that might be helpful.
http://www.petri.com/planning-dfs-architecture-part-one.htm
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Brad GrouxSenior Manager (Wintel Engineering)Commented:
You won't find a "best practice" document for DFS if that is what you are seeking. Like many of Microsoft's platforms technologies, since they are "one size fits all" you must find the solution that is best for your needed.

DFS is the leading centralized file storage solution in enterprises around the globe, so it can certainly do everything you are seeking and more. It is also an extremely stable, well documented and supported. However, many of the decisions on how best to build out the environment will be unique to you.

Hardware footprint, bandwidth usage, storage limitations/types, support constraints and many other variables all need to be taken into consideration when planning your DFS infrastructure.

Some examples of questions that should be asked. Will this need to be HA (High Availability)? If so, should the servers be clustered? Will the storage be HA as well (SAN/NAS/NetApp) or will it be local storage? What are the network constraints? Will it be real-time replication or scheduled replication? What is the budget (if there is one)? How many people will be accessing the data daily, and how much data will there be? Do we see rapid growth over the next 2-5 years? Should the servers be physical or VM? Etc.

These are the sorts of questions you need to be asking to get a better sense of how best to layout the DFS infrastructure. The sky is the limit with DFS in Server 2012 R2 if you need it to be. Even if you don't need a top of the line platform, you want to plan for growth within their budget and time constraints.
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