Thursday, April 24, 2008

Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) continue...

Creating a DFS Root

Creating a DFS tree is not a complicated task when using a graphical interface such as the one provided by the MMC and by the wizards that walk you through setting up your file system. To create a new DFS root, use the following steps:

  1. Click Start, Programs (All Programs for Windows Server 2003), Administrative Tools, Distributed File System.
  2. When the management console appears, select New Root from the Action menu. A wizard pops up. Click Next.
  3. You can select to create a file system that makes use of the Active Directory for storing the DFS configuration information. You can also select to not use the Active Directory. For the purposes of this example, I've chosen to not use the Active Directory. After making the selection, click Next.
  4. The next dialog box prompts you to enter the name of the server that will host the distributed file system. The default is usually the server on which you are running the wizard. Use the default or enter another server. Click Next to continue.
  5. The wizard next prompts you to enter the name of the new root DFS file system. Note that what you enter here shows up in the field Share to Be Used at the bottom of the dialog box. You can use the name of an existing share in the Root Name field, or create the share to be used after you complete this wizard.

6. If you entered a share that does not yet exist, you can now choose the folder to share by entering it in the field or by using the Browse button.

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7. Finally, the wizard displays a summary of the information you have entered. Click the Finish button to complete the process of creating the new DFS root.

Adding Links to the DFS Root

After you've created the initial root for your file system, you can add one or more links. Links, as yo will recall, are actual directories (or folders, depending on which terminology you prefer) that will be accessible from your DFS root.

DFS is a domain-wide file system. You can easily browse a file share located on another server in the domain. Thus, you can hide the physical location of files from users. Instead of having to remember servers and share names, the user only has to remember the share name. Because the share name is domain-wide, you can't use the same share name on one server that you do on another. Users can then simply connect to the share \ \domainname\share. They don't need to know the server names on which the actual folders in this share are located.

You can use the Action menu to add or delete a DFS root. You can also use the Action menu to manage links and replication.

DFS does not add any additional security features to the file system. Instead, the usual rights and permissions that are already in place on the server are used when evaluating a client's access to a file or directory in the DFS tree.

One major difference between NFS and DFS is that DFS is built using SMB messaging techniques for the most part and is not compatible with all NFS servers. If you have a mixed-environment network in which most of your data files are offered via NFS on Unix servers, it would be more economical to acquire PC-based NFS client software than it would be to replace all your existing servers with NT DFS servers.

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