DFS question - this sounds like a Microsoft exam question!

Environ: Server 2008 domain with site in Houston and site in Phoenix.  All on the same LAN.

I need a namespace for my office 2013 install files.  The namespace will consist of a shared folder in Hou and a shared folder in PHX.  I'm thinking my namespace will be something like \\office2013 and in that namespace will be target folders of \\houserver\share and \\phxserver\share.

Now, IF I copy my office 2013 install files into that namespace, will it also copy to the two target folders?

Am I thinking of this correctly?


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Joseph DalyCommented:
Ok so you have two parts of DFS mixed up so hopefully this helps. DFS is made up of namespaces and of replication groups.

If you are on a domain you will want to build the namespace as a domain based namspace something like \\domain.com\sharename

If you open the DFS you can create a new namespace, then create a new folder, and then in that folder you would put your two file servers as target folders. Adding the first one will simply add it to the pane on the right, once you add your second server and path as a folder target it will prompt you if you want to enable replication. At this point you can select yes and walk through the replication setps.

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crp0499CEOAuthor Commented:
ok, then I'm not nuts!  that's what I thought.  

I'm onsite and this organization keeps telling me that they use DFS but the roles aren't installed on the file servers.  

DFS is on the DCs because its replicating sysvol and netlogon folders.

What they are doing is loading the DFS snapin on local PCs and creating a single namespace and then mapping that name space to a UNC path.  So there's a namespace named \\domain.local\corpshare and under there are shortcuts pointing to file shares on servers all over the domain.  So, while I guess it works for name spaces, it doesn't seem like DFS to me.

I thought DFS was more creating a name space, pointing that to several target folders and storing info in the name space and seeing it replicate to the target folders.  It seems we are not doing that at all since every name space points to a single network share.  I mean what's the point in that?  If Im in Hou hitting a name space pointed to a target in Phoenix, I'm having to pull that data across our P2P.  It seems that a "real" DFS share with replication and site awareness would be the preferred solution.

Am I crazy?
Joseph DalyCommented:
It all depends on how you want to use dfs

Namespaces can be useful if you want to provide a single file share and aggregate resources. We use it for local shares drives on our servers. A single unc path allows us to make servers available in all of our regional offices.

DFs is also great for migrations since the dfs path never changes only the targets.
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crp0499CEOAuthor Commented:
I think that's my issue at present....HOW it's being used.  

The ROLE DFS is not installed.  We are relying on the DFS and DFR that gets installed when the server is promoted to a DC, so, basically, our DFS shares are on our DC and we manage it from the DC.

I have always seen DFS on a file server, ROLE installed, and not on a DC, per se.

Also, the way we are using it, users in Houston sometimes hit name spaces that have targets in PHX.  I mean why pull stuff across the P2P when you could have it stored locally?  It just seems like we are "misusing" DFS in a way, or at least not using it like we should.

Make sense?
Joseph DalyCommented:
You dont have to have DFS installed on the server in order for it to be a member of a namespace. Literally all you need to have is the unc path to a share and you can add that as a DFS target. We even have some of our DFS targets configured to point to our isilon NAS device.

DFS namespaces do not require any software to be installed on the server, the DFS console is only needed if you want to manage it from that server.

So you could have the DFS roles installed on your DCs and the management tools there but then using folder targets point to your actual file servers. Its tough to say without actually being able to see your DFS console and its settings.
Joseph DalyCommented:
As far as the replication piece of this goes it is possible they have namepsaces set up so that it pulls over the wire. That could have been by design, an oversight in the configuration, or they may just not have had the storage space available to replicate everything between the two sites.

DFS is very flexible in how you use it, but that flexibility also makes it tough to say what is right and what is wrong in any particular environment.
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Windows Server 2008

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