We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

DFS 2012 Namespace Architecture Across Domains / Forests

Objective: To design DFS hosted on Windows 2012 R2 servers so that performance is optimized in multiple domains.

Situation: DFS access needs to happen from the root domain (J) and 3 child domains (J1, J2, J3), as well as a domain in another forest. Folder target will exist in the parent domain, one child domain, and the domain on the other forest (SKM). DNS is such that shares and servers are visible from all domains. There is a 2-way trust between forests J and SKM.

1. Keep namespace servers in only the root domain (they cannot cross domains). This would probably be slow outside the root domain.
2. Create a namespace in each domain for faster access. (replication only from a single replication group, of course)
3. Other options?

Are there any issues with option #2, or is there a better way?

Thank your for your help,
Watch Question

Distinguished Expert 2019

I don't think you will be able to add DFS name space server from other forest, because DFS is domain specific

The better option could be install DFS name space in each forest and access it over cross forest trust

This is the best option I can see

You r child domain can access DFS name space seamlessly as being part of same forest.


Hello Mahesh,
Thanks for your reply.

True - For the J domain, I cannot add a namespace server outside of that single domain. Also, my child domains are accessing the J namespace, as well as the SKM forest.

My concern is about performance given that the child and SKM domains have to find a namespace server outside their domain.  With that in mind, I'd like to create a unique namespace in each of the other domains/forest, all pointing to the same folder targets, which exist in each domain. You suggersted this for the SKM forest. It sounds like there are no issues with doing this?
Distinguished Expert 2019
You can add folder targets in DFS from different forest without any issues

However what I am thinking is just deploy one dfs name space each in each domain add required folder targets from that domain to that dfs only

Access DFS name space across forests over cross domain \ forest trust

I don't see any performance issues in either way as anyhow if you will be accessing share folder in another domain over trust only


Good idea on matching targets to the domain. I think we are good - thanks for your help.