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I am not incredibly familiar with how DFS works, but I know that we have an ongoing problem where I work. We have several DFS servers, each at a different branch is different locations. Sometimes when a user turns on their computer the DFS it connects to will be one of the ones that is across a T1 and several states away as opposed to the one 200 feet away in the server room.

Does any one know if this is just DFS doing its thing, or did we configure something wrong?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Do you have AD Sites and Services set up for each site? Is each client configured to use the DC\DNS server in it's own site? If not, I'm thinking that's the problem.

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I am not certain (I am one of our programmers), but the other programmer and I both believe each site has an AD server, and that the workstations are set to use the local one. – Jason Aug 25 '10 at 13:55
I would take it up with your admin who manages active directory to verify the sites and subnets are setup correctly in Active Directory.. – Rex Aug 25 '10 at 14:38
@Badger, Each physical site needs a separate AD Site, these have very little to do with having a DC at each location. Each DFS server and the clients will then automatically recognize which AD Site they're in and 'prefer' local connections (by default). In your case, either the AD Sites aren't setup properly, or your clients can't connect (intermittent) to the local DFS server, or the DFS configuration is wonky. – Chris S Aug 25 '10 at 17:22

Sorry for necroing this question, but this is something that should be mentioned:

We had problems with client's failing over to DFS targets that had a much higher cost than their primary one, without them losing connectivity to the primary targets. We never quite figured out why, but disabling offline files made the trick.

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If your Active Directory sites are configured correctly, and the gpresult /R /Scope Computer command shows that both the client and server are part of the same site, it may be an issue with IPV6.

Try pinging the preferred server from the client, and if you get an IPV6 address instead of an IPV4 address then that may be why it is unable to detect which site is correct. In our environment we had disabled TCP/IP on the server's network adapter, but each computer was still registering a 6TO4 IPV6 address with the DNS server, which was causing issues with some services.

If you are not using IPV6 you can use these instructions to disable IPV6 (or run netsh in 6to4 set state disabled to just disable 6TO4) on your DNS servers, and any file servers or name servers that will be used for DFS. Once IPV6 is disabled you should be able to connect to detect which servers are in your site and connect to the correct file server.

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