Why is distributed file system important

Distributed File System

The distributed file system (DFS) makes it possible for users to access files that are physically distributed in a network more easily. With DFS, files distributed across multiple servers can be made available to users as if they were in one place. This article assumes an AD integrated DFS.

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Datacenter can even host multiple DFS logs.

There is a general distinction

independent DFS master system
AD integrated trunk system


Users no longer need to know the actual location of files to access them.
Better load distribution among the servers.
High availability through replication of the DFS logs.
You can add storage locations at any time

When to use DFS

When new file servers are added occasionally. The location is not always the same. Users are distributed across multiple locations
Access for users is to be made easier. NTFS must be used as the file system

Domain DFS supports distributed locations; a client always tries to find targets at its own location first; if this search is unsuccessful, additional locations are searched. However, it can also be explicitly specified that it can only be used on the DFS at your own location.

Access to names that are reserved in the DFS namespace always results in access to the namespace. This also applies if a share exists on the computer that is not part of the DFS namespace.

All clients in the domain in which a DFS namespace is located have access to the namespace. Trusting domain clients also have access. Instead of the domain name, the server name can also be used to gain access.

Installation of DFS

The snap-in for DFS can be found e.g. via the system control / administration via the point Distributed file system.

First a new trunk is created via the context menu.

As a rule, you should also select the domain root in an AD.

The domain for which the distributed file system is to be responsible is selected

Then the server is specified that provides the storage space.

The name of the tribe is determined

The release is defined

Then it makes sense to check the status and the activation.

Publication in the AD is also possible and makes sense.

After the installation, the DFS trunk is mapped normally, e.g. via
net use drive letter: root name
Example: net use k: \ pq.local \ dfs

DFS replication

A replication mechanism can be used to provide redundant data.
Replicating data DFS replication is managed via the File Replication Service (FRS). A replication should not be placed on a DFS trunk but on a DFS link, since only links can be switched offline, which is helpful in the event of an error situation. When reinstalling or replacing the server holding the DFS trunk, DFS should be removed beforehand. When updating the operating system, DFS does not need to be taken into account. By default, DFS uses NetBIOS names for all network shares in the DFS namespace. If no WINS server is installed in a network environment, all hosts that use DFS must support fully qualified names.

If you have problems with the FQDN, this registry entry will help: The following registry key must be added to each server included in the DFS namespace so that all computers understand fully qualified names. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Services DFS DFSDnsConfig = REG_DWORD 1This registry key should be added to the servers before the DFS namespace is created. This enables all clients to recognize fully qualified names when referred to other servers as part of the DFS reference process. Source: Microsoft

As of Windows Server 2003 RC2, the new DFS-R replication service is available, which works much more efficiently.

The replication can be configured and managed in great detail via the Action menu item.

Manage the distributed file system

The administration console is clearly structured and well documented so that administration is not excessive
is complex.
Other features are available via the tabs such as

- Show and hide trunks
- Activate and deactivate replication
- Add or remove roots, targets and links
- Export lists in various formats
- Filtering ads

Management via the command line is started by calling dfscmd, the options and are displayed when the tool is started.

Regular checking of the target status is an important task to ensure proper function.

Please note the following symbols:

Blue tick: goal has been achieved
Yellow exclamation mark: goal is not fully achieved
Red Cross: goal is not achieved

The definition of target in this case refers to a root, link or other DFS reference.
The details show whether the target is online or offline.

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