DFS - Dealing with file conflicts

Discussion in 'File Systems' started by TimeTraveller, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Hi All,

    We have recently setup a DFS topology between 2 sites (soon to be 3).

    Everything is working as expected and replication of data sets between the
    sites is good.

    The problem from the customers perspective is that quite often the Head
    Office (SITE1) and the Remote Site (Site2) are working on the same file
    albeit from their respective data sets (Nearest server).

    Obviously what then happens is that updates made to these files are not
    always being written back correctly and edits made on one replica are being
    detected as conflicts and moved to the conflict and detection folders.

    As I understand DFS this again is basically correct when two users at two
    sites are working on the same file from different server data sets DFS will
    make the last saved file the winner and store the earlier saved file in the
    conflict and detection folders.

    Obviously the customer is not able to manage the conflicts themselves and it
    will be hard for us as external IT to decide on their behalf which files
    should be kept and which should be removed etc.

    Are there any fairly simplistic user level tools that would enable them to
    monitor this and manipulate the versions of the files in a better way, or is
    there perhaps something I am missing completely here and a better way to
    deal with this type of scenario exists?

    It is a very good client of ours and we would hate after they have spend
    many thousands of pounds on this system to start effectively loosing
    valuable data because of the DFS methods deployed.

    Your input would be much appreciated at this stage along with any
    recommendations as to the best ways forward for them.

    Please let me know if you need any further explanation of the problem - the
    main reason for DFS was so people would always have access to the data even
    if the internet links were down between the sites, this prevented us going
    for other options such as terminal services.


    TimeTraveller, Aug 11, 2007
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  2. TimeTraveller

    Anthony Guest

    DFS-R is great for lots of things, but it can't solve the problem that the
    same data can't be in two places at once.
    If people at two sites really are working on the same data at the same time,
    you need to have the data at one site. You can still use DFS to provide a
    single namespace, but keep the data at the site where it primarily belongs.
    Then you need to use Terminal Services if the access is too slow.
    A file versioning procedure would help if people really are doing multiple
    There are a lot of other solutions, e.g SharePoint and WAFS, but you said
    you need to get the DFS system to work,
    Hope that helps,
    Anthony -
    Anthony, Aug 11, 2007
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  3. Hello Anthony,

    Thanks for your input here, I have pretty much arrived at the same
    conclusions as you in that the two datasets being manipulated are the root
    of the issue, another problem that adds to this is that people often have
    the document open and close it later in the day, this causes changes others
    have made earlier to be removed in preference to the last saved document.

    One of the main reasons for this setup was.

    1. Data should be available at each site in the event that the internet
    links were down - each site could continue working
    2. Data access over the VPN link was two slow

    My thoughts at the time were.
    1. Terminal services would only be useful if the links were up
    2. Accessing data over the link was too slow and again not highly available
    if a link were down.

    This led me to DFS as the best option, however the way this is being used
    also adds to the problem.

    Look forward to any other observations and ways forward from you good guys.


    TimeTraveller, Aug 11, 2007
  4. TimeTraveller

    Anthony Guest

    It sounds like there is a bit of a procedural problem too. After all, even
    if the files were in the same place, if multiple people open and edit them,
    and leave them open, there is no way to merge changes later. Depending on
    the files there may be a procedural or a system solution to that.
    SharePoint document library has the versioning feaures and checkout/in.
    Maybe some sort of document management system is needed.
    WAN links down is really not very common. People have TS for their finance
    systems over VPN and people in accounts can't do any work if the line goes
    down, but it is rare. If the business considers it sufficiently important,
    they can pay for additional redundant links. If as a business you want
    people from different sites to work on the same data at the same time, you
    have to accept one of the available solutions.
    Anthony -
    Anthony, Aug 11, 2007
  5. Hi there,

    Our problem is quite similar.

    We're wondering if there's a way to lock a file when it's in use, i.e make
    it read only?

    If a file is used by one user, the next user to open the file (while still
    being used by the first user) will still be able to write - he wont be
    Is there a way to avoid from this conflict?


    ×מיר, Nov 14, 2007
  6. TimeTraveller

    Anthony Guest

    No, that's just the way it works. You need to look for a different solution
    if you need that. Most people use Terminal Services if people in different
    places need to use the same data.
    Anthony, http://www.airdesk.co.uk
    Anthony, Nov 14, 2007
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