Creating A Windows .NET Distributed File System

If youve done much work with Windows 2000, youre probably already familiar with the Distributed File System (DFS). However, A DFS allows you to combine multiple share points into a single virtual file system for increased usability, fault tolerance, and load balancing. The Windows.NET version of DFS builds on all of the features available in the Windows 2000 version, but adds a few features of its own. In this article, Ill show you how to implement a DFS in Windows .NET.

Begin the process by entering the MMC command at the Run prompt to open the Microsoft Management Console. When the console opens, select the Add / Remove Snap In command from the File Menu to reveal the Add / Remove Snap In properties sheet. When the properties sheet appears, click the Add button on the Standalone tab and select the Distributed File System option from the list of available snap ins. Now, click Close followed by OK.

At this point, select the Distributed File System container from the console tree and then select the New Root command from the Console menu. This will open a wizard that will guide you through the process of creating a new DFS root.

After clicking Next to clear the Wizards welcome screen, youll be asked if you want to create a domain root or a stand alone root. Creating a stand alone root is the same as creating a Windows 2000 DFS root. Domain roots are new to Windows.NET and support automatic replication. Domain roots also use the Active Directory to store configuration information. Since Im demonstrating features new to Windows.NET, select the domain root option and click Next.

The following screen will ask which domain should host the new root. Select a Windows.NET domain and click Next. Youll now be asked for the name of the server within the domain that will be hosting the root. Enter the servers full DNS name and click Next. Youll now be asked for the name that you want to assign to the new DFS root. Generally, I recommend using something descriptive that relates to what the root will be used for. This screen also contains a Comment field that you can use to associate a longer description with the new DFS root.

As you fill in the name for the DFS root, youll notice that the Share To Be Used field is filled automatically with the same name as you used for the root name. Upon clicking Next, youll be asked which folder to share. What ever folder you share will become the root level of the new DFS root, and will be assigned a share name that matches the DFS root name that you just assigned. At this point, youll see a summary of the configuration that youve assigned. If the summary appears to be correct, click Finish to create the new DFS root.

After clicking Finish, the new DFS root will appear in the Distributed File System console directly beneath the Distributed File System container. You can now perform any additional configuration that you deem necessary by right clicking on the DFS root and selecting the appropriate command from the resulting context menu.

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