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DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

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  • DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

    Hi, folks

    I have a question about DFS.

    I have setup Distributed File System on a Win 2003 domain controller, using domain-based namespaces. This links to data on a Win 2008 Storage Server. This is working fine.

    Last year I added a Win 2008 domain controller to the network and transfered all FSMO roles to it. One of the things that I would like to do is use this for DFS Namespaces.

    I have no problem moving the DFS namespaces over to the Win 2008 domain controller, but I would like to know if I will be able to use the Win 2003 domain controller for DFS as well.

    For example, a couple of days ago we lost connectivity to the Win 2003 domain controller which meant that the DFS namespaces were not available. This resulted in staff not being able to use the mapped drives that connected to the DFS targets. Is it possible to set up both Win 2008 and Win 2003 so they both host DFS? This would be useful in case one server was not available.

    The data is not replicated (we only have the three servers).

    According the MS article here the domain functional level needs to be set at Win2008 - so am I stumped? Is it not possible for two different server OS's to host DFS in the same network?

    I can see how replication of data works so that a single server/network is not burdened but I cannot see how to introduce fault-tolerance by sharing the DFS Namespace across more than one server.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

  • #2
    Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

    OK, looks like I was being dumb

    Since installing the Win 2008 domain controller I have used the DFS Management snap-in to view the namespaces and targets but had always managed it using the Distributed File system snap-in on the Win 2003 domain controller.

    Exploring the DFS Management snap-in on the Win 2008 DC today, there is an option on the right-click menu from a namespace to 'Add Namespace Server'. I have added the Win 2008 DC.

    So, hopefully, the next time the Win 2003 DC is rebooted or loses connectivity the DFS targets should be available via the Win 2008 DC.

    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy


    • #3
      Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

      Good you got it. You can give test in off prod hours to check if this setup works as expected.
      Thanks & Regards

      MCTS 2008, MCTIP, MCSE 2003, MCSA+Messaging E2K3, MCP, E2K7
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      Independent IT Consultant and Architect

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      • #4
        Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

        So multiple hosts for DFS roots is new to 2008?

        But how would you go about protecting yourself against the loss of the DFS root host in 2003?

        It was last year I had a similar problem, in that the server hosting the DFS roots failed and all users lost access to the domain namespaces, even though they are configured with multiple targets.

        Should the DFS root be hosted on a cluster?

        If the DFS roots are saved in AD, can they easily be hosted on a new server?

        Edit: Nevermind. I was confused. I had been using the Distributed File System snap-in, not the DFS Management snap-in, which offers different settings. Also, I've found that losing the "original" host doesn't not cause a loss of access if the namespace has been saved in AD, so long as there is at least one other accessible target namespace server.
        Last edited by TokyoBrit; 4th February 2011, 04:33.


        • #5
          Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

          For my part it was a case of being confused with the terminology that led to my misconfiguration.

          You can do the same under the Distributed File System snap-in in Win 2003, but you configure extra root targets by selecting a Root, right-clicking, and choosing 'New Root Target...'. MS renamed Root to Namespace in Win 2008 and I had always thought of the namespace as being the domain name.

          So, it was my misconception that led to this. As they say, RTFM
          A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy


          • #6
            Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

            Yes, although it seems that when Microsoft changed DFS between 2003 and 2003 R2 (and 200, it wasn't just the naming conventions they changed.

            While setting up namespaces and replication using the DFS Management snap-in is very different from the Distributed File System snap-in, the 2 versions must also store their meta data differently.

            I can see a Namespace under DFSMGMT which says it's using some piddling amount of space in AD as reported on the General tab of the namespace properties, but when I look at the Publish tab of the properties using DFS, it says it's not in AD.

            Are they not pulling their DFS configuration data from the same place in AD?

            DFSMGMT says it belongs to a Replication group that is replicating, but DFS doesn't show the replication tab in the namespace properties dialog, which means replication is not configured.

            Must say though, it's a doddle creating a highly available shared folder using the older DFS snap-in, whereas with the new DFSMGMT, all I see are errors errors and more errors, like:

            Add Namespace To Display. Scope: Domain. All I get is an error popup "The namespace cannot be enumerated. The remote procedure call failed and did not execute."

            Add Namespace To Display. Scope: Server. The namespace shows up in the list (with a red cross) and double-clicking says "the namespace cannot be queried. element not found."

            Both sound like AD integration issues, but I don't see either problem if I use the DFS snap-in and publish into AD.


            • #7
              Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

              That's interesting as I had never gone into this in the same amount of depth that you have. I only have a single domain with 2 DC's and data spread across three devices. Once I had set it up and checked it was working I left it alone as I had no further need to configure it beyond that.

              I see exactly the same as you describe, though. Win2003 DFS shows no AD integration, yet after setting up the Win 2008 DC and looking at DFS all the Namespaces (Root Targets), are visible and each use 0.01MB in AD DS.

              I have never played around with these integration settings as I am a firm believer in the old maxim of 'if it works, don't fix it'.
              A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy


              • #8
                Re: DFS Namespace fault-tolerance

                I've only dug into it cos I can no longer add namespaces to my Windows Storage Server 2003 using DFS Management.

                Which is what brought me to your thread.

                And yes, the same problem exists whether I use 2003 or 2008.

                I'll create a thread under Windows 2003 concerning something I found out.