Creating DFS namespaces more than two levels deep

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A common question among customers using the Distributed File System snap-in in Windows Server 2003 is how to create a namespace more than two levels deep. For example, a customer in the DFS_FRS newsgroup was frustrated because he knew how to create a root, and he knew how to create a link named Homedirectories, but what he really wanted was to organize the home directories by location, such as \\Company\Homedirectories\Seattle, \\Company\Homedirectories\Chicago, etc. The snap-in wouldn’t let him create a sublink (Chicago) beneath an existing link (Homedirectories), so he was stuck. The way to accomplish this is easy but not intuitive. Just create links with subfolders and backslashes (\) as part of the name. For example, under the Company root, the customer can create a link named Homedirectories\Seattle and another link named Homedirectories\Chicago, thus giving him a deeper namespace. We’ve made this easier in the DFS Management snap-in in Windows Server 2003 R2 by providing a more Explorer-like feel when you build the namespace. You can create multiple levels of subfolders under a root, and these are shown hierarchically.



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  • WOW is this new for R2? I've always wanted to do that.. Please tell me you couldnt do this in win2k Server and I just didn't see it :)

  • It's not new in R2 per se, just more intuitive to configure. The link folder itself (the special reparse point that triggers a referral when accessed remotely on the root server) doesn't have to be directly under the root folder. It can be below one or more subfolders. So what happens is this: the client connects to \\yourdomain\root, navigates the subfolders (e.g., \\yourdomain\root\subfolder) without triggering a referral, and then when it tries to access \\yourdomain\root\subfolder\givemeareferral, the referral is generated and off the client goes to the target.

    To configure this in the DFS Management snap-in in R2, you create a folder named "subfolder" under the root, then create another subfolder named "givemeareferral" and then associate one or more targets with it. (Note that once you associate targets with a folder, you cannot create any subfolders under that folder in the namespace--this is the same restriction regardless of OS.)

    To set this up in W2K3, you create a link called "subfolder\givemeareferral" and associate targets there. Now, whether this also works in W2K I'm not sure--I don't have the snap-in to try it out with. Readers, care to give this a try??