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This article describes the Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) in Windows 2000 and provides information about how to administer DFS. This article presents an overview of DFS, lists some key terms and concepts, and provides information about how to create a DFS root, add DFS links, configure a replication policy for DFS link replicas by using the DFS snap-in, and how to access DFS shared folders.
Administrators can use DFS to make it easier for users to access and manage files that are physically distributed across a network. With DFS, you can make files that are distributed on multiple servers appear to users as if they are in one location on the network.
Overview of DFSIn most environments, shared resources reside on multiple servers in various shared folders. To access a resource, a user or program must either map a drive to the server or specify the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path of the shared resource. For example:
\\ServerName\ShareNameDFS makes it possible for a share point on one server to host the shares that reside on other servers. It transparently links file servers and shared folders, and then maps them to a single hierarchy so they can be accessed from one location. This occurs although the data is actually distributed in different locations. Users no longer have to go to multiple locations on the network to find the information that they need. Users only have to connect to:
\\DfsServer\DfsrootWhen a user accesses a folder in this share, the user is redirected to the network location that contains the shared resource. In this way, users only must be aware of the DFS root share to have access to shared resources throughout the enterprise.
DFS topology starts with the root of the DFS tree. The DFS root at the top of the logical hierarchy is mapped to a physical share. A DFS link maps a Domain Name System (DNS) name to the UNC name of the target shared folder or target DFS root. When a DFS client accesses a DFS shared folder, the DFS server uses the DNS name to UNC mapping to return a referral to the client so that it can locate the shared folder. Mapping the DNS name to the UNC name makes the physical location of data transparent to users, who no longer have to remember the server where a folder is stored. When a DFS client requests a referral to a DFS share, the DFS server uses the Partition Knowledge Table (PKT) to direct the DFS client to the physical share. The PKT is stored in Active Directory for domain-based DFS and is stored in the registry for stand-alone DFS. In a network environment, the PKT maintains all information about DFS topology, including its mappings to the underlying physical shares. After the DFS server refers the DFS client to a list of replica shares that correspond to the requested DFS link, the DFS client uses Active Directory site topology to connect to a replica in the same site or, if one is not available, a replica that is outside the site.
Key Terms and ConceptsThe following is a list of some of the key terms that are associated with DFS:
Types of DFS ImplementationThere are two ways that you can implement DFS in Windows 2000:
How to Create a DFS RootTo create a DFS root:
How to Add DFS LinksTo add a DFS link:
How to Configure a Replication PolicyTo configure replication for DFS link replicas:
How to Access DFS roots and DFS Shared FoldersTo access a DFS shared folder in stand-alone DFS, use the following UNC path, where Server is the name of the DFS server, and Dfsroot is the name of DFS root:
\\Server\DfsRootFor example, to access the Share1 share on a member server that is named Server1 and that is hosted on a stand-alone DFS root that is named Root1, use the following UNC path:
\\Server1\Root1In this example, a link that is named Office is created in the stand-alone DFS root, and the following two replicas are created for the Office link:
\\Flat1\OfficeWhen you connect to \\Server1\Root1, you see one folder that is named Office. When you access the Office folder, a referral that contains the list of replicas that are configured for the link is sent from the DFS server. The referral contains the \\Flat1\Office and \\Flat2\Office replica information. One of these replicas is selected, and you are connected to the share on the server.
To access a DFS shared folder in a domain-based DFS, use either of the following UNC paths, where DomainName is the domain name, Server is the name of the DFS server, and Dfsroot is the DFS root:
\\DomainName\DfsRootNote The following connections are not supported on Windows 2000:
\\<DomainName> will fail with the following error:
\\<DomainName.com> will fail with the following error:
The network path was not found.
The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
For additional information about how to install DFS on Windows 2000, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
241452For more information about DFS in Windows 2000, visit any of the following Microsoft Web sites.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/241452/ )How to install Distributed File System (DFS) on Windows 2000
Step-by-Step Guide to Distributed File System (DFS)http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Bb727150.aspx
Distributed File System (DFS): Best Practices and Troubleshooting Guidehttp://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/007e4e66-af67-4bfe-bf70-780412aeed6f1033.mspx
Distributed File System: A Logical View of Physical Storagehttp://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc960860.aspx
Distributed File Systemhttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/reskit/default.mspx?mfr=true