Using DFS during company split

During a company split I was put in charge of file services.

The company were splitting of a part of the company with specific requirements:

  • Minimize user required interaction
  • Users have to be able to use homefolders from both sides
  • New company wanted to use redirection instead of only homedirectories

With these requirements we decided to use a DFS root. This allows me to create a fake new home server and share and point to the old server. This allows new clients access through the new layout, and old systems the old homedirectory. Due to the requirements we needed to keep the SID history.

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DFS Consolidation root

Why a DFS Consolidation root?

DFS Consolidation roots are a way geting rid of old servers while keeping the name functionality of the old servers.

Consider the company Acme Computing. They are an old company with lots of old file server all over the place. New IT management has decided that all shared data should be available on the same file server. So this is kind of easy, lets just copy all the data to the new server, but wait.. There are old systems that have hardcoded paths to the old servername, this would break them. Some people might suggest just inheriting the share names and add the old names as alternative names of the server. This might work with the smaller companies but all you have done is complicated the fileserver even more. If we look at DFS, we can use an DFS consolidation root to trick the systems that the old paths are alive too. You cant configure a domainbased DFS namespace as a Consolidation root only standalone roots.

What happens (simplified)?

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Setting up a DFS Consolidation root

This is an simple explanation on how to setup a DFS Consolidation Root.

Microsoft has released a KB article with most of the same suggestions, I do however have some slight changes which I think is better. This is for the non clustered server.

Fast paced instructions:

  • First of all install a new Windows server.
  • Install DFS namespace without configuring any namespace
  • Set the registry Server Consolidation Retry value to 1
  • Set up the new Namespace called #oldserver
  • Add the servername oldserver as an computer alternative
  • Make sure the DNS contains entries for oldserver (ipconfig /registerdns)
  • Reboot to get new kerberos ticket

For make it easy to test on a Windows 2012 here is a Powershell:

Now just try it from another machine.

\\oldserver\sysvol show you the domain sysvol. My domain is called file.local, so just change the domain when adding the alternative name and folder targets.


DFS Server registry configuration values

With a DFS server there are several configuration settings which needs to be done in the registry. This blog entry is planned to be updated when I discover the use or values.

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