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Givens:

  • disk is cheap, and there's plenty lying around on various computers around the corporate intranet
  • redundant contiguous large storage volumes are expensive

Problem:

It would be fantastic to have a single entry point (drive letter, network path) that presents all this space as one contiguous filesystem, effectively abstracting the disk and network architecture from the paths presented to users.

Does anyone know how to implement such a solution? I'm open to Windows and non-windows solutions, free and proprietary.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 28 '10 at 22:30

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3  
Just a caution - The wording of your question suggests you may be talking about workstation as well as server disk space IF that's the case you must ensure those workstation drives are included in the backups. On most corporate network they are not. –  John Gardeniers May 28 '10 at 23:33
    
That's a good point, John. We would definitely make sure that any participating drives are backed up appropriately. Thanks! –  jimbojw Jun 1 '10 at 18:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I believe what you are looking for (on a windows server anyways) is DFS (Distributed File System).

Read up on it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/dfs/default.mspx

To fool around with a very basic setup (i did on Windows 2003 SBS):

  • Start > Run > "mmc"
  • click on File > Add/Remove Snap In...
  • Click on the Add button on the dialog that opens and add the "Distributed File System" item.
  • Click OK to add it to the console.
  • Right click "Distributed File System" and choose "New Root" to get started.

Basically you will create a "Root" UNC path that shares a specific folder and once that's done you can right click the root you just created and click on "New Link" to add additional folders from multiple locations/drives.

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In mmc, I don't see anything labeled "Distributed File System" under Available Snap-ins. I'm on Windows Server 2008. –  jimbojw Jun 1 '10 at 18:20
    
Update: After adding the DFS role to my server, "DFS Management" shows up in the Available Snap-ins. Had to create a namespace, and it appears I have more to learn - but thanks for putting me on the path! –  jimbojw Jun 1 '10 at 18:30

GFS

GlusterFS

And many more.

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Thanks Ignacio - Gluster looks promising. I work in a Windows shop, so I'm going to look into DFS first, but these options look like good alternatives as well. –  jimbojw Jun 1 '10 at 18:31

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