How to Install Role “DFS” Namespaces on Windows Server 2016?

Distributed File System (DFS) is a set of client and server services that allow an organization using Microsoft Windows servers to organize many distributed SMB file shares into a distributed file system.

DFS provides location transparency (via the namespace component) and redundancy (via the file replication component) to improve data availability in the face of failure or heavy load by allowing shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder, or DFS root.

Microsoft’s DFS is referred to interchangeably as ‘DFS’ and ‘Dfs’ by Microsoft and is unrelated to the DCE Distributed File System, which held the ‘DFS’ trademark but was discontinued in 2005.

In this tutorial, we will install & configure DFS ( Distributed File System ) Namespaces in Windows Server 2016. DFS allows you to setup shared folders hosted on different servers into one or more logically structured namespaces. Each namespace appears to users as a single shared folder with a series of sub-folders. This setup increases availability and automatically connects users to shared folders in the same Active Directory Domain Services site.

Step 1 : Login to your windows server and open the “Server Manager”, then press “Add roles and features”

As usual the “Add roles” wizard will pop up like below

Click “NEXT” and select “Role-based or feature-based installation”

Press “Next” and select your server and then click “Next” again.

From the list select “File and storage services” and select “DFS Namespaces” from the list like below.

Once you select it, it will prompt like below, click “Add Features”.

After you click on “Add features”, click “Next” on the rest of screens and then press “Install”.

Step 2 : Configure DFS

After the DFS role installed we move to our second step and it’s about how to configure the “DFS”, from server manager click on “tools” and from the drop-down list select “DFS Management”, and right-click Namespaces and choose New Namespace.

Then write the name of the server that will host your namespace on the next screen

Click Next. Choose a name for your namespace in the following screen. this will be the name of your domain sharing path. for example avoiderrors.net/folder, Click Edit Settings.. to edit permissions on the share. by default, everyone only has “read” permissions. click Next. on the following screen choose the Namespace Type.

Choose the Domain-based namespace and click Next. 

Review the settings and then click Create:

Review the settings and then click on Create.

Step 3: Create DFS Folder

We will add folders to the DFS namespace now. from your DFS Management console, right-click the namespace we just created, and choose New Folder:

Type the name of the folder, then click on Add, and type the path of the Shared folder you want to add to the Namespace:

Click OK, Let’s go to the network path ( e.g \\server.avoiderrors.net\folder ) and you should see the folder we just added.

Conclusion

DFS Namespaces is a great feature in Windows server to organize your network shares. When using DFS namespaces it does not matter where the shared folders are located, they are all accessible from a single path. It makes it easier to move file servers around too without breaking the access paths.