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Choosing an Availability Method for Data in Link Targets

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

As you design your namespace, you need to identify link targets whose data must be highly available. There are two ways to increase the availability of data in link targets:

  • Create a single link that points to a link target on a clustered file server.

  • Create multiple link targets and replicate content among them.

You can create link targets that point to clustered file servers in both types of namespaces. However, if you want to replicate content among multiple link targets, the type of namespace determines your replication options.

Using replication in stand-alone DFS namespaces

In a stand-alone DFS namespace, you must replicate the files by copying them manually, using scripts, using Robocopy.exe, which is available in the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit, or by using other replication tools. The Distributed File System snap-in does not provide a user interface for configuring FRS replication in stand-alone DFS namespaces. To configure replication manually, consult the documentation supplied with your replication tools.

Using replication in domain-based DFS namespaces

The Distributed File System snap-in in Windows Server 2003 provides a user interface for creating the FRS topology and schedule on servers running Windows Server 2003. If you do not want to use FRS in a domain-based DFS namespace, you can replicate files by copying them manually or by using third-party replication tools.

For more information about replication, see "Choosing a Replication Method" later in this chapter.


  • The Distributed File System snap-in is also part of the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack; you can install this pack on computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later and create FRS schedules and topologies on remote servers running Windows 2000. For more information, see article Q304718, "Administering Windows 2000-Based and Windows Server 2003-Based Computers Using Windows XP Professional-Based Clients." To find this article, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base link on the Web Resources page at

If you plan to use multiple link targets to ensure data availability, you need to configure link targets correctly. Each link can have targets that correspond to only one of the following options:

  • One or more shared folders.

  • One or more stand-alone DFS paths anywhere in the stand-alone DFS namespace, including the root.

  • A single domain-based DFS path anywhere in the domain-based DFS namespace, including the root.


  • The DFS tools do not prohibit you from creating links that conflict with these guidelines. Therefore, follow these guidelines carefully.

After you determine which link targets need to be highly available, document your decisions. For an Excel spreadsheet to assist you in documenting which links require multiple link targets, 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

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