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Planning the Number of DFS Namespaces

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Your next step is to plan the number of namespaces you want in your domain. For an Excel spreadsheet to assist you in documenting your namespace decisions, see "DFS Configuration Worksheet" (Sdcfsv_1.xls) on the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit companion CD (or see "DFS Configuration Worksheet" on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/reskit).

Medium organizations might require only a single namespace, while large organizations might need multiple DFS namespaces. You can determine the number of namespaces you require by reviewing the following factors.

Scope of your domain

If your domain has a broad scope — geographically, organizationally, or functionally — you should plan for multiple DFS namespaces so that administrators in the geographical, organizational, or functional departments can define their own namespaces. On the other hand, if the domain has a narrow scope geographically, organizationally, or functionally, you might want to define a single DFS namespace.

Size of your DFS namespace

If your DFS namespace exceeds the recommended number of links per namespace, as discussed earlier in "Reviewing DFS Size Recommendations" create multiple DFS namespaces, each of which does not exceed the recommended size. In this way, you can provide a single namespace to users by creating a single DFS namespace with links that point to other DFS namespaces. For more information about linking from one namespace to another, see "Designing a DFS Namespace" later in this chapter.

Administrative boundaries

How DFS namespaces are administered can also affect the number of DFS namespaces your organization requires. For example, your organization might have the following administrative boundaries:

  • Geographic. Geographically diverse sites can each have an administrator who creates and manages the DFS namespace located in that site.

  • Departmental or group ownership. Individual departments or groups can create and manage a DFS namespace that is used by members of that department or group.

  • Political. Individual departments or groups can create and manage a DFS namespace that is used by members of that department or group.

If groups in your organization will create and manage their own DFS namespaces, you can build an extensive DFS namespace out of smaller, more focused DFS namespaces. One benefit of this method is that you can present specific DFS roots to some users as the true top of the hierarchy and also present a set of those DFS roots to other users as the only DFS links in a larger hierarchy. By using a hierarchy of DFS roots, you can scale the namespace as your organization grows and tailor the namespace for distributed management.

For more information about linking from one namespace to another, see "Designing a DFS Namespace" later in this chapter.

DFS namespace depth

Limit the depth of DFS namespaces to 260 characters. The 260-character limit includes the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the domain hosting the DFS root as well as the DFS root name. If you exceed this limit, applications will fail when trying to access the namespace. To work around this issue, users must map part of the namespace to a drive letter and then access the longer namespace through the mapped drive letter.

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