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Migrating from Server 2003 DFS to either 2003 R2 or 2008/R2 DFS

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  • Migrating from Server 2003 DFS to either 2003 R2 or 2008/R2 DFS

    We have a Windows 2003 (original release) based AD infrastructure along with file servers that are mostly Server 2003. We have 9 sites on our WAN. We have built out a fairly extensive AD integrated DFS structure with some leaves the are replicated with the File Replication Service.

    We know that we can get better performance from Server 2003 R2 and above which implemented the DFS-R replication engine instead of the File Replication Service. I have several questions about moving forward.

    1. Is DFS and replication basically unchanged from Server 2003 R2 through Server 2008 R2? It would be fairly easy for us to bring our DC's and file servers up to 2003 R2 so that we can take advantage of the new DFS benefits, but what if we bring on new servers at Server 2008 R2? Can we mix them in?

    2. What about new Domain Controllers? Can we bring our Domain functional level up to 2003 R2 while adding new servers at Server 2008 R2? Again, my interest is getting going with the newer DFS while still setting myself up with an upward migration path.

    3. Can anybody point me to any white papers or gotcha's on how to move from our existing DFS with the FRS to the newer design? Do I have to tear out and redo the whole DFS infrastructure and recreate it? What about seeding the initial replication between replicated leaves? The older DFS forces a rebuild of the replicated content even if it is already in sync. Will the new DFS-R recognize that the existing replicated content is already in place or does it have to initialize the replicated leaves from scratch. Makes a big potential impact to our WAN.

    In short, I am trying to ascertain whether it makes some sense to take the baby step of bringing the domain and servers up to Server 2003 R2 while introducing newer hardware at Server 2008 R2. I'm also trying to find the easiest way of converting our Server 2003-based DFS.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.