How to safely add a new DFS member ensuring no data loss

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I am sure this question will have been asked and answered several times in different ways. I have researched but I would like a bit more specific answers to feel comfortable

I would like to add a new member Server 2019 to an existing replication group and ensure it will not delete or mess with the live data on another server, approx 500,000 files and 242 GB.

I have added the DFS namespace and replication roles
I've added the new server as a namespace server, this will replace a Server 2008 R2 DFS file server which is also a namespace server.

When I go to add a folder target the New Folder Target dialog box has defaulted to "Add this folder target to the replication group by using the following topology:"

"Single bi-directional connection to:" with a greyed out drop-down list

I would have thought "Full mesh to all members" would be more appropriate?


1) What would happen if it's left on the default option
2) If Full mesh to all members is selected will that start the first replication to the new server from the nearest other DFS server?
3) Is it better just to untick the add to the replication group option and add it manually to the group after adding the folder target?

I have read the primary DFS member is only relevant during the first replication of the group. This would have been years ago when the 2008 server was configured to sync with the DFS server on another site. How does DFS know not to remove live files when there is now a blank folder in the group? I know that sounds daft but I would just like to understand before I go clickety-click.

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Server Administrator
Single, bi-directional will start replicating from the server you select. It is smart enough to know there is not data on the new server, so it will sees that server first. The data about DFS and the servers used is stored in AD. I recently replaced my 2008 R2 systems with 2019 servers. If I remember correctly, if this is an existing system that was not set up as full mesh, you cannot change it now. You would need to recreate the DFS from scratch. It it is already set as full mesh, then adding it as full mesh will start replicating from its nearest member.
Distinguished Expert 2017

When you add a member to an existing replication group as noted, the scheduling/replication.
Commonly there is no data loss in a dfs replication setup. Often, if the wrong member is chosen as the reference server, the data in the folder is moved to presaged ....

An option you can use is restoring data from a backup on the new member prior to adding the system as a member to the replication group.

The topology of replication is modifiable, using mesh means it will get updates from other members ... ....


Thanks to both of you. I did the following:

Added the Folder Target and chose the full mesh radio button option. After AD replication had taken place the config had appeared on each of the other two DFS servers including the one on the other site.

After about ten more minutes folders started appearing on the new DFS server target share. I had to up the staging quota due to a high watermark but I will let it sync over the next few days and see how it goes.

Curiously though the Sync seems to be taking place between the other site and the new server rather than the one on the same subnet. I'm just glad it's sync'ing properly

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