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Installing and Configuring the Distributed File System

To take advantage of DFS, you must install the Distributed File System service as part of the File Services role for your server running Windows Server 2008. As part of the installation of the DFS service, you also install DFS Namespaces and DFS replication.

The Distributed File System (and its associated services) can be installed when you run the Add Server Role Wizard to install the File Services role (as discussed earlier in the hour). However, if you don’t install the DFS service initially, it is very easy to add to the File Services role, using the Add Role Services Wizard.

To open the Add Role Services Wizard from the Server Manager, select the File Services node in the node tree. Then select the Add Role Services link in the details pane. The Add Role Services Wizard appears (see Figure 12.19).

Figure 12.19. Add the Distributed File System to the File Services role.

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Select Distributed File System in the Role Services list and then click Next. On the next page, the DFS root must be identified. The DFS root supplies the main DFS container. Then child links can be added to the DFS root that point at other shares on the network. Users will see the DFS hierarchical tree when they want to map a network drive or access network shares.

Type a name for the DFS root. For example, I will call my root “public,” as shown in Figure 12.20.

Figure 12.20. Specify the DFS root.

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After specifying the DFS root name, you can click Next to continue. On the next wizard page you have the option of creating a domain-based DFS namespace or a standalone namespace. Because a domain-based namespace is stored on namespace servers and in the Active Directory, it makes sense to take advantage of a domain-based DFS root. Figure 12.21 shows that this setting is selected by default, as is the Windows Server 2008 mode, which enables you to easily add to the DFS tree and also take advantage of access-based enumeration (meaning user access based on permissions).

Figure 12.21. Take advantage of a domain-based DFS root.

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The namespace for a DFS root that is domain-based includes the Active Directory domain name as a prefix for the DFS root (refer to Figure 12.21). After specifying the type of DFS root, click Next.

On the next page, you need to associate the share (folder) that is to be at the root of the DFS hierarchy. You can then add branches to the DFS root (and the associated share), using the Distributed File System snap-in (which is discussed in a moment). Click the Add button on the Configure Namespace page. The Add Folder to Namespace dialog box appears. Use the Browse button to locate the shared folder that is to be associated with the DFS root. You can create a new shared folder during the process if you have not already created the share.

You can click Next after specifying the folder. The Confirmation page appears and you are ready to install the DFS services and also establish the DFS root and namespace. Click Install.

After the installation is complete, you can close the Installation Results page. After DFS has been installed on the server, you can manage the DFS tree in the DFS Management snap-in (in the MMC). To start the DFS Management snap-in, select Start, Administrative Tools and then DFS Management.

You can view the namespace created for the root of your DFS tree by selecting the Namespaces node in the snap-in node tree. Figure 12.22 shows the DFS Management snap-in.

Figure 12.22. The DFS Management snap-in.

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