DFS Replication: Installation and Configuration

Windows Server 2019


DFS Replication allows you to set up a replication of a folder between several servers.

There are “two types of replications”.

One-way replication

This type of replication is mainly used to centralize file server backups on a backup server.

réplication DFS unidirectionnelle

Multidirectional replication

This type of replication makes it possible to have a folder with the same content on several servers at a longer or shorter interval depending on the link between the servers. This solution allows multi-site companies to have a common share replicated on all file servers.

réplication dfs multidirectionnelle

This allows the users of each site in the event of a network cut (vpn / internet) to continue to access documents and therefore to work. In addition it brings better performance because of having the files locally on the site.

Another advantage of this solution is to have one or more copies of the files on different sites and therefore in the event of a problem on a server it is possible to have access to the documents by going to another member of the group.

This topology also brings drawbacks:

  • DFS-R is not a substitute for a backup solution.
  • In the event of a virus (cryptolocker) on one of the sites, all the file servers will be affected.
  • No locking on files. For example, the same Excel file can be opened for writing on two different servers.
  • Bandwidth saturation, in case of drag / drop from one folder to another done by mistake this will be replicated on all the sites consuming bandwidth and being able to delay the replication of the modifications and generate a large number of Conflicts.

Implementing DFS Replication


  • Servers must be a member of the domain.
  • The DFS Replication feature must be installed on all members.

Installing the DFS role

Windows 2008R2

1. From the server manager, go to File services 1, right click on it and click on Add role services 2.

Gestionnaire de serveur

2. Select the DFS Replication service 1.

Cocher Réplication DFS

3. Click on Next> 1.

Cliquer sur Suivant

4. Click on Install 1.

Lancer l'installation

5. Wait during the installation …

Patienter pendant l'installation

6. Once the installation is complete, click on the Close button 1.

Fermer l'assistant

Windows 2012R2 / 2016 / 2019

1. From the server manager, click on Add roles and features 1.

Gestionnaire de serveur

2. When the wizard opens, click Next 1.

Assistant d'installation de rôle

3. At the type of installation option, choose Installation based on a role or a feature 1 and click on the Next button 2.

Installation basé sur un rôle

4. Select the server where the installation is to be performed 1 and click Next 2.

Choix du serveur

5. Go to the File and Storage Services 1 role and expand it. Check the box for DFS Replication 2.

Sélection de la fonctionnalité Réplication DFS

6. Validate the addition of dependencies by clicking on Add features 1.

Valider les dépendances

7. In the list of roles and functions click on Next 1.

8. Click on Install 1.

Lancer l'installation

9. Wait while the DFS Replication service is installed.

Installation ...

10. When the installation is complete, exit the wizard by clicking Close 1.

Fermer l'assistant

Configuring DFS

All configuration is performed under Windows 2012R2.

1. Open the console, from Server Manager: Tools 1 DFS Distributed File System Management 2.

Ouvrir la console

2. Go to Replication 1 and click on New Replication Group … 2 from the Actions menu.

Création du groupe de réplication

3. Select the type of group according to your needs. In the article, we will choose a multi-use replication group then click on Next 1.

Choix du type

4. Choose a name for group 1 and enter a description A then click Next 2.

Information identification du groupe de réplication dfs

5. He now declares the member servers, clicks on Add 1 and uses the AD object explorer.

Déclarer les serveurs membres

6. Once the servers have been added to replication group 1, go to the next step by clicking on the Next 2 button.

Valider l'ajout des serveurs

7. We will choose a full mesh topology 1, which allows replication between all the members of the group. Click on Next 2.

Choix topologie

8. In case of replication between several servers physically on the same LAN and interconnected in VPN by a THD connection, leave Full Bandwidth 1 and click on Next 2. Go directly to point 9.

Planification sans gestion de la bande passante

We will see how to adapt the bandwidth according to the hours and days.

8-1. Select the Replicate on the specified days and times 1 option and click on the Modify schedule … button 2.

Planification personnalisée

8-2. Choose a time slot / days 1 and the desired flow rate 2.

Sélection de la plage horaire/jour et du débit

8-3. The selected range changes to blue 1 with the set flow rate 2.

Paramètre appliqué

8-4. The rest of range 1 will be able to use all of the bandwidth 2.

Pas de limitation le reste du temps

8-5. The selected range changes to blue 1 with the configured flow 2. When planning is complete click on OK 3.

Validation de la planification

8-6. Click on the Next 1 button.

Passer à l'étape suivante

9. Select the primary member of replication group 1 and click Next 2.

Choix du membre principal

This member will be the source for the initial replication.

10. You must now choose the folder that will be replicated on the main member. Click on Add … 1.

Sélection du dossier à repliquer

11. Enter the location of the folder or click on Browse 1 and validate with the OK button 2.

Paramétrage du dossier

12. Click on Next 1.

Valider en passant à l'étape suivante

13. It is now necessary for each member of the replication group to also choose its location. Select a member and click on Modify 1.

Configuration des dossiers sur les autres membres

14. Enter the path or click on Browse … 1 and validate with OK 2.

Indiquer le dossier cible

15. Once all the members have been correctly configured, go to the next step by clicking Next 1.

Valider en cliquant sur Suivant

16. Click on Create 1.

Lancer la création du groupe

17. The replication group is built, exit the wizard by clicking on Close 1.

Le groupe est créé

18. Click OK 1 to close the warning.

Valider l'alerte

19. The replication group is available in the console:

20. Open the Active Directory Users and Computer console and expand the System> DFRS-GlobalSettings folders 1. We can see the replication group that we have just configured 2.

Objets de réplication DFS dans l'AD

21. Go to one of the target servers of the replication group. Open the file explorer and go to the reception folder. There should be a folder (shortcut) named DfsrPrivate 1, click on it to open it.

Dossier dfrprivate

The folder may take some time to be created.

If the folder is not visible, you must show the hidden files

The folder can only be accessed with the administrator account.

22. In this folder are 4 other folders 1 which are used by the replication process as “cache” (Intermediate quota). In this folder are also the Delete files from the replication group as well as the conflicting files.

Dossier nécessaire au bon fonctionnement


Modification of the intermediate quota

The staging quota acts as a cache for replication. Unfortunately there is no calculation rule to determine its size. It must be appropriate for each replication group. The default size is 4GB. Here are some things to consider when adjusting the quota.

  • Volume of the elements that make up the replication group.
  • Largest item size (if you have files larger than the quota replication may fail).
  • Write rate in the group (creation / modification).

During the initial replication if your source folder is already large, it is advisable to increase the staging quota.

It is possible to use the reports to obtain information on the intermediate quota.

1. From the DFS-R console, go to a replication group, on the Memberships 1 tab, select a member 2, right click on it and go to Properties 3.

Modification du quota

2. Go to the Generation 1 tab then modify the Quota 2. Click on Apply 3 and OK 4.

Saisie du nouveau quota

3. Do the manipulation for all the members of the group.

4. The quota has increased to 16GO 1.

Validation du quota dans la console

Report generation

There is no tool to monitor the status of replications, it is necessary to pass the generation of reports or by PowerShell commands.

1. From the console, select a replication group, click on Create a diagnostic report … 1 in the Actions menu. Choose a report type 2 and click Next 3.

Accès à la génération de rapport

2. Choose the save location for report 1 and its name 2. Then click on Next 3.

Configuration du rapport

3. Select the members to put in the report 1 and click on Next 2.

Choix des serveurs

4. Configure options 1 for the report and click Next 2.

Options du rapport

5. Click on Create 1 and wait for the generation.

6. Once generated, the report will automatically open in the internet browser.

Visualisation du rapport

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