A namespace is a virtual view of shared folders in an organization. The path to a namespace is similar to a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to a shared folder, such as \\Server1\Public\Software\Tools. In this example, the shared folder Public and its subfolders Software and Tools are all hosted on Server1.
If you want to give users a single place to locate data, but you want to host data on different servers for availability and performance purposes, you can deploy a namespace similar to the one shown in the following figure. The elements of this namespace are described following the figure.
- Namespace server. A namespace server
hosts a namespace. The namespace server can be a member server or a
- Namespace root. The namespace root is
the starting point of the namespace. In the previous figure, the
name of the root is Public, and the namespace path is
\\Contoso\Public. This type of namespace is a domain-based
namespace because it begins with a domain name (for example,
Contoso) and its metadata is stored in Active Directory Domain
Services (AD DS). Although a single namespace server is shown
in the previous figure, a domain-based namespace can be hosted on
multiple namespace servers to increase the availability of the
- Folder. Folders without folder targets
add structure and hierarchy to the namespace, and folders with
folder targets provide users with actual content. When users browse
a folder that has folder targets in the namespace, the client
computer receives a referral that transparently redirects the
client computer to one of the folder targets.
- Folder targets. A folder target is the
UNC path of a shared folder or another namespace that is associated
with a folder in a namespace. The folder target is where data and
content is stored. In the previous figure, the folder named Tools
has two folder targets, one in London and one in New York, and the
folder named Training Guides has a single folder target in New
York. A user who browses to \\Contoso\Public\Software\Tools is
transparently redirected to the shared folder \\LDN-SVR-01\Tools or
\\NYC-SVR-01\Tools, depending on which site the user is currently
Folders can contain folder targets or other DFS folders, but not both at the same level in the folder hierarchy.
You can administer namespaces by using DFS Management, the
DfsUtil command, or scripts that call WMI.