Introduction to Dfs

Distributed file system (Dfs) consists of software residing on network servers and clients that transparently links shared folders located on different file servers into a single namespace for improved load sharing and data availability. Dfs organizes these resources in a tree structure, starting with a root located on a Windows 2000–based server. From the root, you can define links to shared folders distributed throughout your organization's local or wide area networks, without regard to their physical location. Instead of seeing a physical network of dozens of file servers, each with a separate directory structure, users now see a few logical directories that include all of the important file servers and shared folders. Each shared folder appears in the most intuitive place in the directory, no matter where the folder actually resides.

Dfs does for servers and shared folders what file systems do for hard disks. File systems provide uniform named access to collections of sectors on disks; Dfs provides a consistent naming convention and mapping for collections of servers, shared folders, and files. In addition, Dfs is not limited to a single file protocol and can support the mapping of servers, shared folders, and files regardless of the file client being used, provided the client already supports the native server and shared folder and that the client shares a common protocol with the Dfs server and referral computer to which it connects.