How to install and configure a Distributed File System (DFS) Namespace



Locating shared folders to access specific documents is a common problem in business environments. System administrators have to decide how to share folders and how the users will be able to find them.

Distributed file System (DFS) is a set of client and server services that allow an organization using Microsoft Windows servers to organize many distributed SMB / file shares into a distributed file system. DFS provides location transparency (via the namespace component) and redundancy (via the file replication component) to improve data availability in the face of failure or heavy load by allowing shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder, or DFS root.

DFS allows system administrator to create trees of virtual directories aggregating shared folders across the entire network.

There are two types of DFS:

  • DFS Namespace: a virtual tree aggregating shared folders from the entire network. Administrators can set up multiple DFS Namespaces.
  • DFS Replication: creates replicated shared folder with scheduling and bandwidth throttling configured by the administrator.

1. Open the Server Manager and select DFS Management from the Tools menu (if you can’t find it, you need to add the feature DFS Namespace):



2. Right-click on Namespaces and select New Namespace:



3. The Wizard will start. Specify the name of the host:



4. Name your Namespace:



5. Select the type of Namespace to create:  Domain-based Namespace



6. Click Create and the DFS Namespace will be ready:




7. Now it’s time to add shared folders to the DFS Namespace. Select the Namespace and click NewFolder:


You can aggregate multiple shared folders into a unique virtual folder. Of course you can create many virtual folders if you need it:




The virtual folder has been created:



You can access it from the network. As you can see, the path is




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