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Moving data from file servers to Netapp using DFS

I have two Windows 2003 file servers with data stored locally.  
We've had a DFS namespace setup for a few years now.
I want to decommission the windows servers and move all the data to the Netapp.

From my understanding, DFS replication would be the easiest, with the least amount of admin overhead.

I read where you must create LUNs and map them as local drives to a Windows DFS server.  That DFS server would just be a windows machine (possibly a VM) with the DFS role installed correct?
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Ben Hart
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Ben Hart
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Brad GrouxCommented:
I'm going through a similar project now and we're simply using xcopy to migrate the data directly from the current file/DFS server to the NetApp. This has some overhead, but even when dealing with terabytes of data it hasn't been that bad, and it is actually good because it has given us time to audit the data and find out who the owners to all the shares are - which will greatly help in the future.

If you want to automate the process you have a lot of tools to choose from, but DFS is a free (included with Windows Server) option. You can setup a DFS replication group between standalone file servers or storage attached file servers. Creating a new DFS server, attaching LUNs and then setting up a replication group with your current DFS server would automate the process... but, you'd then have to decommission the DFS server if you are going to rely on NetApp for future replication. So basically you'd be building the new DFS server as a short-term utility server.

Personally, I'd just rather copy off the folders or shares one at a time using xcopy - or automating xcopy with a script.
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Ben HartAuthor Commented:
Thanks Brad.. I don't foresee getting rid of DFS just because the users do like the centralized URL's for file and folder access.  once the other site gets a Netapp we will be doing some replication with Snap Mirror but that will be for backup/DR purposes.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Why don't you just use the NetApp CIFS, performance is far superior, to Windows file systems, and you've got benefits of DeDupe, Snapshot (previous versions) for user restore of files, and then also Snapmirror to another filer for replication.

We are discontinuing the use of DFS in favour of NetApp dedicate storage for CIFS.
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Ben HartAuthor Commented:
Good question.. but I don't have an answer.   If I had to say something i'd have to be time.  There is only myself and other other admin handling this project, as well as the implementation of a san in his site, converting all existing hyper-v vm's to Vmware, a big site redundancy issues going on lately and with the day to day stuff.. I don;t feel like he'd have time to on top of all that train users on new paths to their data.

On the original topic.. I setup replication groups on a handful of the smaller DFS shares about 4 days ago.  Not a single file has been replicated yet.  I setup a 2012 server with the DFS mnmgt role, mapped the netapp LUN to a local drive, then created the new target folders then created the replication groups.  Nothing has happened.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Also remember that the NetApp SAN, can "impersonate" the old Server Name and Shares!

So if you have a DFS server called server with a share resources....the NetApp SAN can also be....server

\\server\resources

even if the NetApp SAN name is filer01A!

Not a FAN of DFS, it always goes wrong and causes replication nightmares! and not a fan of Windows handling File Shares
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Ben HartAuthor Commented:
you're talking about playing with DNS right?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's not DNS, the filer, has the ability to register Netbios Names with WINS.

If you want to carry on using DFS, with NetApp, it's fairly simple, you just have to think of the LUNs presented to the Server via iSCSI as Local Disks!

and then carry on and configured as if they were local disks.
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Ben HartAuthor Commented:
Andrew.. I went looking for the settings to try out the Netbios names on my filer.  I cannot locate them.  If I wanted to migrate all the file data over the CIFS shares on the netapp, then I could register the old file server name (once decommissioned) on the netapp correct?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Correct.

It's under CIFS.
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Ben HartAuthor Commented:
Ahh.. "Enter alternative NetBios names for the filer in comma separated format".. this must be it.  So if I enter 4 names, which IP on the filer will respond to those names.. all assigned IPs?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's NETBIOS, so when it's registered with WINS, the IP Address which is registered.
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