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We're operating two rather busy locations with 40+Gigs of client data shared on Windows 2003 servers and need to have it replicated (as close to instantaneously as possible) to each.

We're experiencing intermittent replication failures, and have attempted various fixes, but are basically working blind since the errors we're getting in the event log aren't particularly helpful.

So, the best situation would be one that always worked, and when it didn't was transparent about its reasons.

Any suggestions welcome.

Thank you.

Update: We're actually using FRS to to the replication now and the problem still persists.

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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Jan 28 '12 at 3:42

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Product and service recommendations, including alternatives recon, is off-topic per the FAQ. –  sysadmin1138 Jan 28 '12 at 3:42
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4 Answers 4

rsync

there is a mirror option for it. much like robocopy & it is opensource & there are windows binaries!

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If you wanted to cobble something together, I suppose you could use robocopy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy) to mirror your fileshare to a secondary location, but for multimaster replication (where users can add/remove files in either location and have the change be reflected in the other locations), FRS is really the way to go.

Even better, if you are running Windows Server 2003 R2 or later, use DFS (the successor for FRS) that has some neat new features above and beyond what FRS provides (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/storage/dfs/default.mspx)

-Sean

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DFS & robocopy are not open source –  Nick Kavadias May 25 '09 at 14:19
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I know this is not for Windows but you may want to check out DRBD. If you use conventional ext2/ext3/reiserfs filesystem, you will have an active node and a spare. If you use more powerful OCFS/GFS you will have an active/active cluster. This is very efficient.

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What speed is the link between the 2 sites? What is the rate of change? 100MB/hr? 1GB/day? That will determine the tool to use. Tools like robocopy (and FRS) copy the entire file even if a single byte changed. I suspect rsync does too.

DFS since Windows 2003 R2 is the successor to FRS and does byte-level replication. That is, only the changed bytes are transmitted, not the entire file. This can lead to substantial transfer time savings.

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Rsync does a differential copy nearly always. Robocopy has a switch for differential copy. Even FRS (now DFS) can enable differential compression so you should never get to a stage where you are copying full files across. –  Ryaner May 25 '09 at 15:07
    
Rsync does a differential copy on flat text, but does it do a worthwhile differential on the Microsoft office formats that someone using Server 2003 is probably using? –  sparks May 25 '09 at 21:07
    
@Ryaner - You are incorrect about Robocopy and FRS. They will both transmit the entire file if a single byte changes. Rsync however does appear to do byte level changes, as does DFSR in Win2003 R2. –  martinr May 26 '09 at 0:53
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