What is Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS)?

 With Distributed File System (DFS), administrators can make it easy for users to access and manage files that are physically distributed across a network. They can make files distributed across multiple servers appear to users as if they reside in one place on the network. Users no longer need to know and specify the actual physical location of files in order to access them.

For example, if marketing material is scattered across multiple servers in a domain, administrators can use DFS to make it appear as though all of the material resides on a single server. This eliminates the need for users to go to multiple locations on the network to find the information they need. Using DFS, administrators can group shared folders located on different servers by transparently connecting them to one or more DFS namespaces.

Using the DFS tools, an administrator selects which shared folders to present in the namespace, designs the hierarchy in which those folders appear, and determines the names that the shared folders show in the namespace. When a user views the namespace, the folders appear to reside on a single, high-capacity hard disk. Users can navigate the namespace without needing to know the server names or shared folders hosting the data.

Moreover, DFS also offers the DFS Replication Service, with the help of which multiple copies of the same data can be created and stored in different namespace servers. This facilitates fault-tolerance and load-sharing.