Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Microsoft DFS with Replication & Nimble Storage - A Winning Combination

Hi Friends,

The cool thing about working with really smart people is they give me some great ideas for testing and blogs!  I thought I was done with Microsoft Windows file sharing when one of my systems engineers gave me a great idea to write about Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) and replication.  Thanks Rich!!  I didn't know much about DFS, so I went out to my friend Google and started reading up on it. In the words of one of my favorite super heroes, Rocket.

If you've been keeping up on my blogs I've written a bunch of articles on various ways to setup and use file sharing on Windows.  If you haven't been keeping up, don't worry, I have handy links here for you!  VMDK, iSCSI, deduplication, shadow copy, it all works with DFS and Nimble Storage!

So what is DFS?  In a nut shell, DFS allows you to create namespaces that can span across multiple file share servers.  What's cool about that?  All I need to do is type in a single path and it will take me to any one of those file servers.  Microsoft replication keeps the folders in sync and Nimble Storage brings along all the CASL goodness of speed, reliability, and compression without the need of any storage tiering!

So here's what I did.  I have two Microsoft Windows 2012R2 servers (2012VSILaunch50 and 49) and each of them have a Nimble volume mounted up to them.  Click on any of those links above to get an in depth walk through on the different methods tested.  I than created the DFS namespace called godzilla and set 2012VSILaunch50 as the primary server.

Now once that is set I create a folder called monsters that will be my shared folder.  The cool thing is you can set all kinds of permissions so users can't go where they don't belong.

Next I add another folder target using 2012VSILaunch49 so I can access the share from multiple locations.

Now I setup replication so the folders will stay in sync.

Once DFS is setup and replication is in place, I log in as a domain user using the namespace path and it takes me to my monsters folder.  Notice there's no 2012VSILaunch50 or 49 here.

Now how about some failure testing?!  I go to vCenter and disable both nics and...


Ah, but on my client machine I don't loose connectivity to my share!

Pretty neat eh?  Yes I will end up using more storage because files are replicated, but if you want highly available file and namespace protection, this is a great way to setup your file shares.

Until Next Time!

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