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Moving Win DFS Namespace to Nutanix Files

  • 14 April 2020
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I’m standing-up a Nutanix File cluster and want to move an existing WIndows DFS Namespace to the cluster. The namespace needs to remain the same as it is used by web apps. I thought I could simply add the AFS cluster as a Namespace server, replicate the files, and then remove the old namespace servers. However, when I go to add the new namespace server, it wants a local folder location which isn’t available. I was sure I saw that Nutanix Files is compatible with Windows DFS but I don’t know what I’m missing. Suggestions?

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Best answer by DavidN 14 April 2020, 22:03

Hi @DenaliDan 

We migrated to Files from another NAS like system. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong) Nutanix Files can only be a DFS-N folder target, not a namespace server…

Searching their latest 3.6 documentation & release notes, I didn’t find any references for a namespace server migration or support. To be 100% I’d recommend calling support...

Add new Namespace server(s) to each namespace - (Windows Server)

(wait ‘til clients refresh/pickup new namespace servers)

Replicate data (& verify) - Depending on amount of data, this could be going on in the background before cutover

Add new folder target (shares on Nutanix Files) but leave their state Disabled 

 

Maintenance window

Disable old folder target (if this can be offline at all)
Replicate one last time & verify data is identical

Enable new Folder target on Nutanix Files

Disable old Folder target

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Hi @DenaliDan 

We migrated to Files from another NAS like system. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong) Nutanix Files can only be a DFS-N folder target, not a namespace server…

Searching their latest 3.6 documentation & release notes, I didn’t find any references for a namespace server migration or support. To be 100% I’d recommend calling support...

Add new Namespace server(s) to each namespace - (Windows Server)

(wait ‘til clients refresh/pickup new namespace servers)

Replicate data (& verify) - Depending on amount of data, this could be going on in the background before cutover

Add new folder target (shares on Nutanix Files) but leave their state Disabled 

 

Maintenance window

Disable old folder target (if this can be offline at all)
Replicate one last time & verify data is identical

Enable new Folder target on Nutanix Files

Disable old Folder target

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Hi @DenaliDan 

We migrated to Files from another NAS like system. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong) Nutanix Files can only be a DFS-N folder target, not a namespace server…

Searching their latest 3.6 documentation & release notes, I didn’t find any references for a namespace server migration or support. To be 100% I’d recommend calling support...

Add new Namespace server(s) to each namespace - (Windows Server)

(wait ‘til clients refresh/pickup new namespace servers)

Replicate data (& verify) - Depending on amount of data, this could be going on in the background before cutover

Add new folder target (shares on Nutanix Files) but leave their state Disabled 

 

Maintenance window

Disable old folder target (if this can be offline at all)
Replicate one last time & verify data is identical

Enable new Folder target on Nutanix Files

Disable old Folder target

 

Thanks for that, DavidN. The first step you mentioned, “Add new Namespace server to each namespace” is the stumbling block. Windows insists on specifying a local drive on the target namespace server to place the files. Of course, there is no local drive on the Nutanix Files server. I’ve also tried mapping the network location as a drive but the DFS namespace server dialog doesn’t see the mapped network drive as a local drive so still can’t select it. 

I have engaged Nutanix support and they have replied but not with a suggestion that works. 

 

 

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I think I know what you mean → the step #1.2.5 shown on this site

https://shabaztech.com/installing-and-configuring-dfs-n-on-windows-server-2016/

You’re wanting to point “Local path of shared folder:” to \\<NutanixFilesCluster>\Share right?

Whatever server you want to make the DFS-N namespace server has to support certain APIs…  I think that’s where this gets kind of tricky.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/dfs/distributed-file-system-dfs-functions

“Targets on computers that are running Microsoft Windows can be published in a DFS namespace. You can also publish any non-Microsoft shares for which client redirectors are available in a DFS namespace. However, unlike a share that is published on a server that is running Windows Server, they cannot host a DFS root or provide referrals to other DFS targets.”

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I think I know what you mean → the step #1.2.5 shown on this site

https://shabaztech.com/installing-and-configuring-dfs-n-on-windows-server-2016/

You’re wanting to point “Local path of shared folder:” to \\<NutanixFilesCluster>\Share right?

 

Whatever server you want to make the DFS-N namespace server has to support certain APIs…  I think that’s where this gets kind of tricky.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/dfs/distributed-file-system-dfs-functions

“Targets on computers that are running Microsoft Windows can be published in a DFS namespace. You can also publish any non-Microsoft shares for which client redirectors are available in a DFS namespace. However, unlike a share that is published on a server that is running Windows Server, they cannot host a DFS root or provide referrals to other DFS targets.”

 

I think I get it now.

  • Copy the files to the Nutanix files share
  • Add the folders to the namespace as targets
  • Remove the non-nutanix file targets that hold the duplicate data so the only targets that remain will be on Nutanix Files

 

So the namespace servers have to remain even though they will not host the files. I was wanting to shut those servers down but that may not be possible.

Userlevel 2
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Based on what I’ve read/had done in our environment, Yes, a Windows OS based namespace server needs to stay around.

 

Also, note that there is some DFS-N cache timeouts that you should be aware of between adding the new namespace targets and removing them….

Best to be done in a maintenance window and ask anyone who left their Windows clients to reboot before they attempt to connect to DFS-N based folders.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/dfs-namespaces/change-the-amount-of-time-that-clients-cache-referrals

 

 

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Agreed. Thank you for your assistance.