File Services Overview

A file server provides a central location on your network where you can store files and share them with users across your network. When users require an important file that is intended to be accessed by many users, such as a project plan, they can access the file remotely on the file server instead of having to pass the file between their separate computers.

If your network users need access to the same files and applications, or if centralized backup and file management are important to your organization, you should configure this computer as a file server by adding the File Services role.

The File Services role includes the following role services:

In addition to the role services listed above, you may also want to install the following optional features:

Role services in the File Services role

Share and Storage Management

The Share and Storage Management console provides integrated and simplified management of shared folders and storage resources. You can use Share and Storage Management to share the content of folders and manage the use of shared folders.

You can also use Share and Storage Management to create and configure logical unit numbers (LUNs) to allocate space on storage subsystems in your storage area network (SAN).

For more information, see Share and Storage Management Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh storagemgmt.chm.

Distributed File System (DFS)

Distributed File System consists of two technologies that can be used together or independently to provide fault-tolerant and flexible file sharing and replication services on a Windows-based network.

DFS Namespaces

DFS Namespaces enables you to group shared folders located on different servers into one or more logically structured namespaces. Each namespace appears to users as a single shared folder with a series of subfolders. However, the underlying structure of the namespace can consist of numerous shared folders located on different servers and in multiple sites. Because the underlying structure of shared folders is hidden from users, a single folder in a DFS namespace can correspond to multiple shared folders on multiple servers. This structure provides fault tolerance and the ability to automatically connect users to local shared folders, when available, instead of routing them over wide area network (WAN) connections.

For more information, see Namespaces in DFS Management Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh dfs2.chm.

DFS Replication

DFS Replication is a multimaster replication engine that enables you to synchronize folders on multiple servers across local or wide area network (WAN) network connections. It uses the Remote Differential Compression (RDC) protocol to update only the portions of files that have changed since the last replication. DFS Replication can be used in conjunction with DFS Namespaces, or by itself.

For more information, see Replication in DFS Management Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh dfs2.chm.

File Server Resource Manager (FSRM)

File Server Resource Manager includes several tools that enable administrators to understand, control, and manage the quantity and type of data stored on their servers. By using File Server Resource Manager, administrators can place quotas on folders and volumes, actively screen files, automatically classify files, apply classification-based file expiration and custom tasks, and generate comprehensive storage reports.

For more information, see File Server Resource Manager Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh fsrm.chm.

Services for Network File System (NFS)

Services for Network File System (NFS) provides a file sharing solution for enterprises that have a mixed Windows and UNIX environment. With Services for NFS, you can transfer files between computers running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 and UNIX operating systems using the NFS protocol.

For more information, see Services for Network File System Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh nfs__lh.chm.

Windows Search Service

Windows Search Service enables you to perform fast file searches on a server from client computers that are compatible with Windows Search.

For more information, see Windows Search Service and Indexing Service.

Note

You cannot install both Windows Search Service and Indexing Service on the same computer.

Windows Server 2003 File Services

The File Services role in Windows Server 2008 R2 includes the following role services that are compatible with Windows Server 2003.

Indexing Service

Indexing Service catalogs contents and properties of files on local and remote computers. It also enables you to quickly find files through a flexible query language.

For more information, see Windows Search Service and Indexing Service.

Note

You cannot install both Indexing Service and Windows Search Service on the same computer.

BranchCache for network files

BranchCache for network files enables computers in branch offices to cache commonly downloaded files from shared folders on which BranchCache is enabled, and then provide those files to other computers in the branch office. This reduces network bandwidth usage and provides faster access to the files.

For more information, see the Windows BranchCache Overview topic in the Server Role Features Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh features.chm.

Optional features

You have the option of installing additional features to complement the role services in the File Services role, including the following features.

Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup enables you to reliably back up and recover the operating system, certain applications, and files and folders stored on the server. This feature introduces new backup and recovery technology and replaces the previous backup feature that was available with earlier versions of Windows.

For more information, see Windows Server Backup Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh backup.chm.

Storage Manager for SANs

Storage Manager for SANs enables you to provision storage on one or more Fibre Channel or iSCSI storage subsystems on a storage area network (SAN).

For more information, see Storage Manager for SANs Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh sanmgr.chm.

Failover Clustering

The Failover Clustering feature enables multiple servers to work together to increase the availability of services and applications. The clustered servers (called nodes) are connected by physical cables and by software. If one of the nodes fails, another node begins to provide service through a process known as failover.

For more information, see failover clustering documentation on the Web (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=62911).

Multipath I/O

Multipath I/O provides support for multiple data paths from a file server to a storage device. By using Multipath I/O, you can increase data availability by providing redundant connections to storage subsystems. Multipathing can also provide load balancing of I/O traffic, which improves system and application performance.

For more information, see Multipath I/O documentation on the Web (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=81020).

Hardware and software considerations

Note

A limited set of server roles is available for the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 and for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Additional resources

For File Services documentation on the Web, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=94208.