I'm looking at setting up file shares at different sites across the US.
Currently there are file shares at HQ that users VPN back to. The problem is, HQ doesn't have (and cannot get) fast enough internet to support this data transfer. The company has a presence in the cloud.

I'd like to put an appliance at each site, and setup DFS with Namespaces and Replication. Each site's appliance with be a DC. I'd like to configure each site with a local copy of the data. Users can modify this data as needed. The onsite appliance with replicate this data to the cloud. The cloud copy will then push changes to all other sites. If a DC goes offline, or a user is not at the office, they can VPN to the cloud and connect to that DFS namespace. Changes they make there will replicate to the other sites.

I plan on using server 2012r2 or 2016 for this. The Microsoft articles I've read lead me to believe DFS can recover well in the cases where a site goes offline.

Can DFS be configured for users at offices to connect to the local copy of the data? To put it another way: If a user sits at their machine in the office, and connects to this replicated file share, can they be sure they are connected locally, and not to the cloud or a different site?

As an afterthought: The article linked below notes Database cloning for initial sync. Can I push offline data to the cloud (or a different site), and mark it active once the sync completes? I'm asking with the thought that initial replication times for 1.5TB may be high, and I don't want the data to come out of sync during the process.



This answer:

DFS and Replication mesh between 3 servers - How is a local server selected

Pretty much addresses my primary concern. Users sitting at their desk would query the local DC for the local file share.

The offline data sync for other sites should work, I'm just not sure how.

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  • Would it be possible to enforce the client from the same subnet to always use the nearest DFS-Server or the same subnet? – Senior Systems Engineer Sep 7 at 13:28
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    Force? Kinda but not really. If you have AD sites and services setup it will auto map to the closest site. That is the correct way to set it up. The only time it hasn't worked correctly is when the closest server went down for maintenance and the clients didn't. They remapped to the main site and didn't map back to their remote site when the server came back online. In those cases we could manually set them to the closest, or just reboot their machine. – 1Geoff Sep 8 at 15:04
  • That's great, thank you @1Geoff – Senior Systems Engineer Sep 9 at 1:49

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