Configure Distributed File System and widelinks
About Distributed File System
Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) allows you to group file systems (shared folders) located on different servers into a logical DFS namespace. A DFS namespace is a virtual view of these file systems shown in a directory tree structure. By using DFS, you can group file systems into a logical DFS namespace and make folders that are distributed across multiple servers appear to users as if they reside in one place on the network. Users can navigate through the namespace without needing to know server names or the actual file systems hosting the data.
Each DFS tree structure has a root target, which is the host server running the DFS service and hosting the namespace. A DFS root contains DFS links that point to the file systems (a share and any directory below it-on the network). The file systems are referred to as DFS targets. Microsoft offers stand-alone and domain-based DFS root servers. The domain-based DFS server stores the DFS hierarchy in the AD. The stand-alone DFS root server stores the DFS hierarchy locally. Unity provides the same functionality as a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 stand-alone DFS root server.
About configuring DFS roots
You can configure Distributed Filesystem Support (DFS) roots on an SMB share in Unity. Complete the following tasks before configuring a DFS root on an SMB share:
- Configure a NAS server that supports SMB.
- On the newly created NAS server, configure a file system on which to create the DFS root.
There are two ways to create a DFS root on an SMB share:
- Create a DFS root using dfsutil.exe.
- Create a stand-alone DFS root using DFS MMC.
For more information about configuring DFS, see the Microsoft documentation.
Widelinks make traditional Unix symbolic links in user file systems useful to SMB clients. When an NFS client encounters a symbolic link in a file system, it resolves the target of the link itself. The challenge is that while the target path of the symbolic link is meaningful to NFS clients, it is most likely no use to SMB clients. This challenge is addressed by configuring a Microsoft Windows Local DFS Root on the NAS server that hosts the user file systems, which include UNIX symbolic links needing to be translated for SMB clients. Entries are added to the DFS Root so that the NAS server can translate the UNIX paths.
For example, assume widelink1 looks as follows to an NFS client:
$ ls -l widelink1 lrwxr-xr-x 1 cstacey ENG\Domain Users 30 23 JUL 17:33 widelink1 -> /net/nfsserver42/export1/target1
$ ls -l widelink1Then the entry in the DFS Root should be:
net/nfsserver42/export1/target1 -> \ fsserver42\<whatever-share-is-called>\<path-to-target1>