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Samba HowTo Guide
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Features and Benefits

The distributed file system (DFS) provides a means of separating the logical view of files and directories that users see from the actual physical locations of these resources on the network. It allows for higher availability, smoother storage expansion, load balancing, and so on.

For information about DFS, refer to the Microsoft documentation. This document explains how to host a DFS tree on a UNIX machine (for DFS-aware clients to browse) using Samba.

A Samba server can be made a DFS server by setting the global Boolean host msdfs parameter in the smb.conf file. You designate a share as a DFS root using the share-level Boolean msdfs root parameter. A DFS root directory on Samba hosts DFS links in the form of symbolic links that point to other servers. For example, a symbolic link junction->msdfs:storage1\share1 in the share directory acts as the DFS junction. When DFS-aware clients attempt to access the junction link, they are redirected to the storage location (in this case, \\storage1\share1 ).

DFS trees on Samba work with all DFS-aware clients ranging from Windows 95 to 200x. The following sample configuration shows how to setup a DFS tree on a Samba server. In the /export/dfsroot directory, you set up your DFS links to other servers on the network.


cd /export/dfsroot


chown root /export/dfsroot


chmod 755 /export/dfsroot


ln -s msdfs:storageA\\shareA linka


ln -s msdfs:serverB\\share,serverC\\share linkb

Example19.1.smb.conf with DFS Configured

netbios name = GANDALF
host msdfs = yes
path = /export/dfsroot
msdfs root = yes

You should set up the permissions and ownership of the directory acting as the DFS root so that only designated users can create, delete, or modify the msdfs links. Also note that symlink names should be all lowercase. This limitation exists to have Samba avoid trying all the case combinations to get at the link name. Finally, set up the symbolic links to point to the network shares you want and start Samba.

Users on DFS-aware clients can now browse the DFS tree on the Samba server at \\samba\dfs. Accessing links linka or linkb (which appear as directories to the client) takes users directly to the appropriate shares on the network.

Samba HowTo Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire