Alternative solution for DFS File Share in the cloud RRS feed

  • Question

  • Admin,

    Please move the thread to the right forum category if it's not falling in to this group.


    My organization is having 6000 employee across the globe. Today, we are using the DFS servers in different regions as the file share. The server we are using is running Windows Server 2008 R2. It is working great but recently we faced many issues with the Replication. The replication service is not working great and due to this the data is not able to share across regions. The files/documents are not in sync with other servers. As a result the users are connecting to the master DFS environment and working from there. But, our master database is in Las Vegas. For all UK and Asia users it is taking huge amount of time to access files and save them back to disc. This could be due to the latency issues and the traffic in working hours. (The network we are using is good, there is no issue just because of the internet speed. We are using good bandwidth lines in all areas.) 

    As this is giving many issues we are planning to move to cloud. Approximately we have 3.5 TB of data today. Each year there is a growing factor of 400-500 GB. So, below are the considerations we are planning to check before we migrate to cloud:

    1. Is cloud environment suitable as a alternate solution of DFS File Server? 

    2. Today, we have all folders on DFS is mapped as drive letters. Can we do the same once we moved to cloud?

    3. We have already Office 365 account and AD is completely in Sync. We are using SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and other services. So, can we use some cloud solution which will be integrated to AD and share data across globe?

    4. If we moved to cloud are there any latency issues if users are accessing from UK, Asia countries?

    5. If the internet is down are there any local backups and when internet is back files will sync back?

    6. On the cloud do we have online backup strategies available?

    We already considered SharePoint Online as one of the options around. But, SP Online is not a replacement for File Share. Each site collection can have only 100GB, which is a blocking factor for us. And the performance wise users reported many issues because of the environment, open in windows explorer, transferring files, syncing issues (Even with SkyDrive Pro etc. ). So, we are planning to withdraw SharePoint online option. We recently gone through some other POC concept like Windows Azure with Windows Server 2012 R2 and which has good replication service improvements with RDC. 

    Please give your valuable suggestions for solving this big problem. 



    ASP.NET and SharePoint developer
    Blog: http://praveenbattula.blogspot.com

    Please click "Propose As Answer" if a post solves your problem or "Vote As Helpful" if a post has been useful to you.

    Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:04 PM

All replies

  • Hi, I am trying to involve someone familiar with this topic to further look at this issue. There might be some time delay. Appreciate your patience. Best Regards

    MSDN Community Support

    Please remember to "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue. It is a common way to recognize those who have helped you, and makes it easier for other visitors to find the resolution later.

    Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:36 AM
  • Hi,

    I think this article can help you: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sql_shep/archive/2013/04/03/multi-terabyte-file-storage-in-the-cloud-using-dfs.aspx

    Christian HL
    Microsoft Online Community Support

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:51 AM
  • Christian,

    Thanks for the link. I have gone through the link but it didn't help me to understand better. Any architecture document or the design document from Microsoft or do you know any case study on this? I really need help here.


    ASP.NET and SharePoint developer
    Blog: http://praveenbattula.blogspot.com

    Please click "Propose As Answer" if a post solves your problem or "Vote As Helpful" if a post has been useful to you.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 6:03 AM
  • Anyone has any new ideas? I am out of ideas... Anyone help me in understanding the current issue I am facing and provide suggestions?


    ASP.NET and SharePoint developer
    Blog: http://praveenbattula.blogspot.com

    Please click "Propose As Answer" if a post solves your problem or "Vote As Helpful" if a post has been useful to you.

    Friday, October 4, 2013 11:52 PM
  • On Twitter you asked me to respond with on-premises SharePoint answers. I'll see what I can do.

    1) For a lot of reasons SharePoint is rarely a good straightup replacement for a file share. It has a hard 2 GB file size limit, it stores everything in expensive SQL storage, it doesn't support and geo-replication, etc. Something like Dropbox for Business, https://www.dropbox.com/business, might be a better fit.

    2) You can map drive letters to SharePoint Document Libraries.

    3) That all depends on what you go with. If you hosted on-premises SharePoint in the cloud with someone like Rackspace (my employer) we have functionality that lets you use your regular AD logins with our offering. Others do as well. Some others use ADFS.

    4) Yes, there will always be latency issues. Light can only travel so fast. :) If you go with something like Dropbox, or something like Rackspace's (my employer) Cloud Files there are often options for geo-replication. So users in Asia would access the files from a server in Asia, even if they were uploaded by me in the US to a US server. Again, each offering is different. SharePoint doesn't support geo-replication, so it will always have latency issues.

    5) If you're using SharePoint then SkyDrive Pro is an included offline option. Just make sure the folders are synced ahead of time. There are other 3rd party programs that offer it as well.

    6) Yup, there are a few. If you're using SharePoint Online you can use something like LeapBackup, http://community.zevenseas.com/Blogs/Daniel/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=151, can backup an online SharePoint site to Azure. I'm sure there are others.

    I hope that helps,


    SharePoint MVP My blog My SharePoint 2010 Admin book: Professional SharePoint 2010 Administration

    Sunday, October 6, 2013 1:33 PM
  • Thank you so much Todd for responding in quick time and helping me. 

    The answer is helpful. And I am voting you as helpful. 

    Anyone else has ideas other than SharePoint on-premises? I am looking for all possible environments around to replace our DFS with cloud implementation. 

    Anyone tried/have ideas using Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Azure platform to use as DFS? 


    ASP.NET and SharePoint developer
    Blog: http://praveenbattula.blogspot.com

    Please click "Propose As Answer" if a post solves your problem or "Vote As Helpful" if a post has been useful to you.

    Monday, October 7, 2013 4:58 PM
  • Hi,

    I'm not very sure what architecture documents you wanna see. As an infrastructure service and a platform service, Windows Azure does not offer file share out of box (as in some SaaS offerings like Office 365). That being said, you have the infrastructure and the platform. You can do (almost) whatever needed:
    For example, you can create several virtual machines, each with several virtual disks. All files are stored in the virtual disks. Each virtual disk is attached to a certain virtual machine (Please check http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/windows/how-to-guides/attach-a-disk/). You can configure each virtual machine to share the root drives (as you do in an on-premises Windows Server), so users can manipulate the shared files, and mount the shared folders as local drives. This answers question 2. You can integrate your virtual machines with Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD, please refer to http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/documentation/services/active-directory/), which allows us to in turn integrate with on-premises AD. From my experience, actually Office 365 also allows us to use WAAD. This answers question 3. For question 4, the latency issues cannot be easily solved, you can create multiple copies of the virtual disks in different data centers if you want, but then it is needed to manually handle synchronization issues (for example, install some file synchronization software on the virtual machines). For question 5 and 6, implement local backup manually may be needed, Windows Azure offers cloud backup out of box (see http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/services/backup/). But please note duplicate several TB of files on a local server can increase costs.

    Best Regards,

    Ming Xu

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    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:14 AM
  • From what I understand of your scenario you may want to look at the solution that StorSimple provides (Recently acquired by Microsoft). http://www.storsimple.com/


    Friday, November 15, 2013 10:34 PM