DFS-R vs DFS role

I'm in a corporate 2008 environment and I see that DFS-R is running for sysvol replication.  However, the full role of DFS is not installed on ANY server in the domain.

There is one DFS name space and over 70 shares in there.

My question is what are the pros and cons of having only the DFS-R installed (which I am told is for AD sysvol replication) versus having the full DFS role installed?

I do not want to move forward with using this DFS infrastructure if it's not set up like it should be.


Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Since 2008 when there was no 2003 AD before hand, the replication of sysvol is done using DFS-r (replication)

DFS is part of file services role and does not exist as a role onto itself.

I am not quite sure I understand your question.

under file services, you have DFS management under which you have namespace and replication?
The two components are you would use DFS-R to make sure the data in the share is replicated between/among the namespace target servers.

i.e. you have serverA\share1 serverb\share1 and serverc\share1
within the replication group named share1 naming convention is up to you for this example I'll name the replication group using the share involved.
The location of share1 on each server can be the same or can be different, during the configuration of the replication group, you have to make sure to properly select the location.
i.e. servera will have the data in e:\share1 name of the folder is up to you
serverb will have the data in f:\share1
serverc will have the data on d:\share1
If you starting from scratch, the reference server when configuring the replication group is not important, but if you already have a server i.e. server1\share1 that was previously used as a server based share versus a domain based share and you are transitioning to a domain based share, you have to use server1 as the reference serve. this way the data on server1 will be treated as authoritative/valid and all its data will be replicated to the other members of the replication group.

The topology of the replication group hub and spoke, mesh will deal with the data flow/synchronization ..........

I think I went way over what your question was. but hopefully the info answers and clarifies what dfs/DFS-R are and do.
There is no DFS role. There are two different services that share the moniker DFS: DFS Replication, and DFS Namespace. DFS Replication replicates files. You may not see it "installed" if it is only replicating SYSVOL for AD. You can go ahead and add it to any servers that you want to participate in DFS-R for user files. Adding the DFS Replication won't affect your existing replication of SYSVOL.

The only thing that sounds not quite right with your environment is that you have only 1 server serving your DFS namespace. You should have at least two servers hosting your DFS namespace(s). I like to have one domain controller in each site host the DFS namespace.
crp0499CEOAuthor Commented:
I think I understand.  What was and IS throwing me off is that the Role of DFS is not installed.  The NameSpace is not installed.  When I look under roles, neither of the two is installed.

Yet, I see both services up and running and we have DFS shares in play.

What's the difference between this stuff running with and without the role actually installed on the roles screen?
Creating Active Directory Users from a Text File

If your organization has a need to mass-create AD user accounts, watch this video to see how its done without the need for scripting or other unnecessary complexities.

The sysvol is a domain based share with every dc target server.

Do you have the fileserver services installed?
crp0499CEOAuthor Commented:
Yes, file services is installed, but both DFS options are NOT checked.
the DCs are the default namespace servers for ADdomain.suffix Since 2000 when they used ntfrs as the file replication service
With windows 2003R2 DFS-R was added, but it did not support sysvol file replication.

Since windows 2008 sysvol replication would be handled by DFS-R unless there is a windows 2003 DC where file services for 2003 have to be installed or you get ntfrs event errors.

In your case given it is a DC while you do not have DFS namespace nor DFS replication selected for installed roles, the fact that it is a DC, dfs-replication is auto-activated but without your ability to manage it and the same applies to DFS namespace which exists for the sysvol but you lack the ability to manage the namespace.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2008

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.