DFS - RFS Advice sought on school deployment

Discussion in 'File Systems' started by Andy, May 13, 2005.

  1. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Hello. I am hoping that someone more experienced with these services can
    provide some feedback on the following comments.

    We are a large UK based Secondary school occupying two sites. The sites are
    linked using Gigabit Fibre and all our servers run Windows Server 2003
    Enterprise edition and our clients XP PRO with a mix of SP1 & SP2.

    Our school consists of around 1700 students, 120 staff and 700 pc's, we have
    around 10 servers running Exchange, SMS, ISA, Linux, Print Server etc. We
    have a general network resource drive with about 10GB of data which is
    replicated using DFR-RFS between sites. This resource drive is 95% read only
    with a very low churn rate of not more than a couple of MB a day. FRS seems
    to be working very well for this drive.

    We would like to use DFS / RFS for our student & staff home folders to
    provide load balancing and fault tolerance. Our user data is currently just
    over 100GB in size and we estimate that we have a churn rate of not more
    than 7GB spread across the day.

    I have the choice of a new Server 2003 or Storage Server 2003 system to
    configure as our first replication partner but on checking out the Microsoft
    recommendations I am concerned that we have considerably more than the 64GB
    data limit Microsoft specify. My questions:-

    Is this limit per site, domain or replica set?
    Can one pair of servers host more than one replica sets to get around this
    limit? If not how come the jet database and staging areas can be terabytes
    in size?

    Is the DFS/replication supported by Storage Server 2003 more robust and
    scalable? IE will it support replicating our 100GB of data?

    What about Server 2003 R2, Is this a better bet than Storage Server 2003 for
    our requirements?

    Please understand that I have researched these questions and I have vague
    answers to most of these questions but I am looking for feedback from
    someone who has been at the sharp end of implementing something along the
    lines of my proposed solution. In fact any insight at all is very much

    Thank you for taking time to read this.

    Andy, May 13, 2005
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  2. Andy

    Glenn L Guest

    See http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=840675
    Also See,
    "Using FRS an an Availability Strategy" and "Increasing Data Availabiltiy by
    Using FRS" in
    Chap 2 "Designing and Deploying File Servers" of the W2K3 Deployment guide.

    The KB is not really clear, but I can tell you from experience, this is
    really meant to be a per server limit.
    This means you are over the operation recommended limit for shear volume.
    This is not really a big deal if the data is static.
    You will not see good results if you rely on FRS to deal with 7GBs of file
    churn per day.
    I suggest you stear well away from this idea.

    The new FRS engine being released in R2 has been completely re-written and
    can probably handly this amount of throughput. Though I have not seen it in
    action nor have I seen much performance documentation on it.

    Other products to consider.
    Tivoli TSM.
    Legato Replstor.
    Xosoft WANsync.
    Glenn L, May 17, 2005
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  3. I agree. I have seen FRS choke on much smaller amounts of data. I would go
    with a byte level replication technology. You can use DFS without NTFRS and
    go with a third party replication software. NTFRS is a file level
    replication software. This means that if you change one character and that
    5MB file, the whole file is copied over. Even changing the security on a
    file will prompt replication of the entire file. On a 1GB pipe, this may be
    acceptable, but is a total waste of bandwidth.

    The only one I can think of right now is peersoftware. I believe they offer
    2-way byte level replication. I know Veritas makes replication software,
    but I'm not sure if it is intended for this type of replication.
    Jeremy Church, May 17, 2005
  4. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Thank you to Glen and Jeremy for taking the time to read and reply to my

    You have both confirmed my thoughts re the current version of FRS and it's
    scalability. I will maintain our current DFS/FRS share for our resource
    drive which is mostly static (maybe the odd mb change per day) and less than
    10GB in size. I have an installed copy of Server 2003 R2 but a lot of the
    help file is missing and I am unable to obtain much hard facts.

    From what I understand the new DFRS in R2 supports diff and delta files so
    it does look like it will be more scalable. Because of this I have decided
    to drop the Storage Server 2003 idea and will plump for another Standard
    Server 2003 and wait for the R2 release to manage replication of our user
    areas. I suspect that Tivoli, Legato will break my budget (around $2000) so
    I haven't even bothered contacting them.

    Thanks for the feedback guys
    Andy, May 18, 2005
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