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Best practices for Distributed File System (DFS)

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices

  • Use DFS with the NTFS file system only.

    Do not install DFS on a FAT file system. DFS on the Windows Server 2003 family can only be used with the NTFS file system. For information on converting a volume to NTFS, see Convert.

  • Set the replication policy.

    To maintain a balanced load on your server, you should consider the schedule of synchronization. This requires that you understand the following:

    • The topology between the participating servers.

    • How network performance may be impacted, based on available bandwidth.

    • The quantity of replication traffic likely to occur.

    • Replication schedules for the distributed file system, as well as the replication schedules for any other distributed file systems in the same site.

      Automatic file replication through the File Replication service (FRS) is only available with domain DFS.

  • Do not create FRS replica sets on a volume that is managed by Remote Storage.

    Doing so might severely impact system performance and possibly cause data loss within your media library.

    FRS might need to periodically read every file in the replica set to send the file contents to another computer. This causes FRS to recall all files that Remote Storage has sent to secondary storage, which might take a long time (hours or days). If you use tape for your secondary storage, remember FRS recalls files in directory order rather than media order, so the excessive number of tape seeks performed by FRS will likely ruin the tapes and cause data loss.

  • Perform regular administration as follows:

    After you have created a DFS console for the DFS roots that you administer, save the console file for future use.

    Periodically, perform a status check on common targets to ensure that the targets are still accessible.

  • Ensure that file system permissions are set correctly.

    In order for a user to access files in a DFS target folder, the user must be allowed access to the target and to all parent folders. In addition, the user must be allowed access to the server hosting the DFS root, and to the link and the link's parent folders. For more information on setting permissions, see Access control overview.

  • Monitor anti-virus or defragmentation software carefully.

    Anti-virus and defragmentation software can interfere with successful file replication. If you are running anti-virus or defragmentation software on any of the computers that host your domain DFS root or targets, disable it or monitor it carefully until initial file replication is complete.

  • Consider the needs of your users.

    Include commonly-used network shares in your DFS namespace.

    For links that point to targets with content that frequently changes,use a shorter cache time-out value to ensure that clients maintain an updated list of targets.

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