Folder sync between 2 servers over VPN

Hi experts,

I have a client that has sbs2011 at their main site then server 2008 R2 at a remote site. The 2 sites are connected with a site to site VPN. Currently I am looking for a way for them to have one folder for both offices for their documents / data. The way it is currently setup is each office has their data on their own server. This is done for performance reasons but they would prefer to have one place to get to all their data. The problem I see with this is if we put all the data on one server the other site will have performance issues pulling the data over the VPN as opposed to over their gigabit LAN. I am looking for a way to have one location that all the data is stored in and syncs to both servers. Not sure what the best way to accomplish this would be? I looked into Onedrive but the sharing options seem limited. I looked into Bit Torrent Sync and DFS but just wanted to get some additional input from you guys to see your thoughts / suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Mark RohrbeckOwner - Celera IT ServicesAsked:
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SBS does not allow trust relationship, if you use SBS and the windows 2008 as being on the same AD domain, using DFS-R you could replicate  the data between them.

The 2008 has to be another DC in the AD.
Yes, DFS Replication (DFSR) will be your best way of synchronising folders between the two sites, however you will need to put some work and reading in or hire a consultant.

Start here:

That guide is for 2008, but the principles are broadly the same for 2003/08/12.

One of the very first things you'll need to do is grasp the fact that DFS Replication (DFSR) and DFS Namespaces (DFSN) are two completely different features, and can be utilised independently. You could, for example, use DFSR to replicate your folders, and have the clients at each site point direct to the share on the local server, without using DFSN.

If you are using domain-based DFS Namespaces, then you will point your clients to \\domain.local\Share and when the client accesses the share they will receive a 'referral' from a DC, which will point them towards server(s) that hosts a copy of the share. In order to get the client to go to the local or 'in-site' server, the referrals are costed based on the site of the clients and servers and the cost of the site links (Active Directory Sites).

It's not dark magic, but the actual requirements and mechanisms for fulfilling them are inherently complicated. There's plenty of documentation out there, so you'll just have to do a load of googling and set up a test environment, there's no easy way around that.

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Mark RohrbeckOwner - Celera IT ServicesAuthor Commented:
"It's not dark magic, but the actual requirements and mechanisms for fulfilling them are inherently complicated. "

Well the setup is as follows:

SBS2011 as the primary DC (obviously)
Server 2008 R2 as backup domain controller on same domain connected via site 2 site VPN
From what I see I would just need to configure it on both servers, do you forsee any issues with this setup?

Also what are your thoughts on using SharePoint instead?
Sharepoint is a document management, scheme, it will depend where the data is stored as it will have to be retrieved when needed accross the VPn. it will maintain a single copy, while the file share based DFS could run into conflicts i.e. two people making changes to the same file on their end which then has to be reconciled when save. usually the user saving the file last will be the version that will exist on the other side with an event dealing with conflict detection.

not sure whether using DFS-R to replicate data between the locations while sharepoint will administer/manage access to the files. this way a file can only be checked out by one individual for editing at a time. while each user will access the local copy of the file using.


DFS-R will consume bandwidth based on settings to transfer files from one end to the end when a change is made.

With DFS if the VPN drops, each location will have access to the files that will reconcile after the VPN is restored.
if the data is only on one side, if the VPN drops, access to the files is lost.
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