Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Let's say I have one large file server that has a company-wide share. That file server constantly runs into space issues. Now let's say I have a dozen or so random servers (print servers, web servers, etc) that have a ton of free space. Is there a way to utilize that in the company-wide file share? Like spanning the storage across different servers but making that transparent to the user?

I know the likely answer is going to be get more storage for the file server, but I just curious if this is conceptually possible.


share|improve this question

Yes, you can. Probably DFS will do it on Windows.

Check .

share|improve this answer
Thanks! I'll read up on that. – Mike Cole Feb 15 '11 at 15:08

Yes, you could use DFS for Windows or one of the variety of clustered/distributed file systems for Linux such as Lustre but you don't mention what OS you're using. Come back with more detail and we'll be able to help more.

share|improve this answer
Either/or. I was just wondering if it's possible. Thanks for the info. – Mike Cole Feb 15 '11 at 15:09

Yes, there are lots of file systems that will support this across a range of platforms, the term you're looking for is Distributed file system (DFS).

Since you don't specify any system in particular I'll give you the link to the Wikipedia article - and let you decide which fits, or post another question later.

share|improve this answer

Wow - I got schooled. I never knew that you could do one without the other. Please ignore answer below. Leaving it up as an example of what not to do.

I believe that the answers referencing DFS won't help you. It will make a file share exist on multiple servers (and provide a single namespace for it as well), but it also replicates the entire contents to each server that hosts that share. I don't believe there's any way to partition it. It seems that you're asking (for example) if you can use 10 GB on your web server and 5 GB on your print server to make a 15 GB share. Using DFS, you would only have a 5 GB share on two servers.

If I'm misunderstanding your scenario, please edit your question to address these details.

share|improve this answer
You can do namespaces without replication. – MDMarra Feb 15 '11 at 15:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.