DFS Namespace questions

Posted on 2014-08-25
Last Modified: 2014-10-16
Hi all,

I was wondering if someone could help me out with a weird issue I'm experiencing with DFS. I have a namespace, \\\namespace, which I created some time ago. However, I've now got a server that I added the DFS role on and wish to add as a namespace server. I replicated the data over manually (as it was a huge directory) and set replication to go on a schedule. The problem I'm getting is that when people go to \\\namespace, they're hitting the new location (which doesn't get replication until the evening after 5PM). It should be going to the original location.

I added this namespace server, so we could have redundancy among our organization regarding our shared resources. Put another way, if server1 goes down (original namespace server), then server2 (secondary namespace server) should pick up right away with no issues. We lose the data after the previous replication, but that should be all.

*Note: I did not use the C:\DFSRoots folder. I created a replicated directory and pointed the namespace to this directory. Please advise if there could be something I missed (or if you need more information)? Thanks in advance, guys.

Question by:roycbene
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    It sounds to me like you are confusing various parts of DFS namespace. There are DFS namespace servers, and they hold the namespace share that contains the pointers to the shares that actually contain your files. The physical companyname directory should not have any files, but just the directories representing the structure of you namespace and the namespace targets. Adding a namespace server should only refer to adding another server that has the pointers to the data, and is in no way related to having an additional server that actually has any data files.

    In am guessing that you are also looking at having an additional DFS namespace target where you are manually replicating the files after 5 pm. This you can do this with or without having multiple DFS namespace servers. The trick is that since your files are not up to date on the second server, client machines shouldn't use them unless the other DFS target is unavailable. The only reliable way to do this IMHO is to disable the DFS target links to the secondary server. Leave them there, but disabled. This way the only available DFS target is your primary server. If the primary server goes down you will need to manually activate the DFS target links to the other server.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    by:Aaron Tomosky
    while I'm by no means an expert in dfs, I do know it's tied into sites and services just like all other active directory integrated services like dns. That means you can control what ip ranges are part of what sites and which servers they should hit in what order by using weights. Depending on your exact setup, you can probably get the functionality you desire by adjusting things in sites and services.
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    I started using DFS namespace with Windows NT 4. The AD Site costing isn't reliable in my experience. I often connect to a server in a different site across the WAN instead of the server in my local site. This is why I recommend only having 1 active DFS target if it really matters that you connect the correct server.
    LVL 3

    Author Comment


    I'm trying to disable the namespace server (secondary) but receiving an error. Upon looking at your comment again, I noticed you said disable the target 'links' to the namespace server. Can you elaborate on that for me? Thanks so much!

    LVL 41

    Accepted Solution

    Take a look at this blog post about DFS Namepsace, and search for the Multiple Targets section. The screen shot shows two targets configured. Just right click on the target pointing to your secondary server and select "Disable Folder Target".

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