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I'm looking for information on how information is shared/passed across a network between a Windows 7 client OS and a Windows Server 2008 server?

Little history of our setup (I apologize as for Im not a network guy, so this may be overly vague):

We have servers in a data center in one state. Our Corp HQ office is in a different state and there a VPN tunnel setup between us and the data center for access. We have several satellite offices in other states that have a VPN tunnel from their location to us at HQ (so everyone's traffic has to go through corporate to get to the data center.

We have a server in the data center that has a folder shared that will get flat-file exports on it several times a day. This folder is shared to AD security groups. Users map a network drive to the folder for access.

We are seeing situations where a flat-file is created on the server, but it is not visible to the users at the remote offices for several hours. It is visible to us in Corp HQ immediately.

Is this normal? I thought this file would be instantly visible at all locations as long as the drive is mapped. Is there anything I can do to help this? A setting some where?

My last sort of general question is how does this process work from a 60,000ft level?

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

If the clients are mapped directly to the server in question, then they should be able to enumerate new files immediately. Are you sure that you're not using some form of replication like DFS-R to push these files to servers at each remote site?

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The users are definitely mapping drives to the servers at the data center, no replication for these. –  ProfessionalAmateur Feb 14 '13 at 3:38

A file can be transferred from one computer to another in many, many ways... using many different protocols and techniques.

When you "drag and drop" a file in Windows Explorer into a network folder, you are usually using the SMB protocol on TCP port 445.

Here's a high-level overview of the architecutre:

enter image description here

FSD stands for file system driver. A remote file system driver in this case.

SMB has some serialization mechanisms, such as oplocks, to arbitrate when a resource can be accessed by multiple accessors, but in general it is a pretty "instantaneous" process. If the client has completed their upload of a file to the server, then it is there.

As MDMarra has pointed out, DFS (distributed file system) would be the most obvious cause for someone else opening up a shared folder (or perhaps a DFS namespace) and not seeing the same thing as you do at the same time.

Another explanation would be BranchCache or offline caching.

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Thanks, I'll speak with the data center to see if they have DFS or something similar setup on their end. They may for replication/mirroring/backup services...? The image is very helpful as well. –  ProfessionalAmateur Feb 14 '13 at 3:50
    
Even if it is a DFS, 1-2 hour delay would be insanely long amount of time for this (these files are small, all under 2-5MB), safe assumption? Also, since we can see it at Corp HQ immediately but not the remote sites, Im leaning towards DFS not being part of the issue? –  ProfessionalAmateur Feb 14 '13 at 3:52
    
Well you mentioned that you had several satellite offices and VPNs, and with the information that you gave, I can't assume much more. I can tell you the last time I checked my replication latency in a domain with sites on almost every continent on the globe, my largest replication delta was 36 minutes. –  Ryan Ries Feb 14 '13 at 3:58
    
Understood, thanks. How do you check your replication delta? That might be a loaded questions, pardon the noobness of it. I was thinking of creating a file, then running a powershell script on the users machine to email me whenever it "showed up". –  ProfessionalAmateur Feb 14 '13 at 4:00
up vote 0 down vote accepted

In my situation were are using Riverbed Steelheads as WAN optimizers. There was an incorrect or missing setting on one of the devices that was causing the files to not appear at remote sites.

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