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Windows Server 2008: Verifying File Replication during DFSR SYSVOL Migration

You’ve probably already started reading about how Windows Server 2008 now supports using Distributed File System Replication (DFSR) technology to synchronize SYSVOL. This means that the legacy File Replication Service (FRS) is no longer necessary and all the DFSR advantages for reliability, scalability, and performance can be realized.

As with any migration, it’s important that you enter and leave in a stable state – we don’t want to fight the domain environment’s issues midstream in the migration after all. So today we will talk about how to validate that replication is working in FRS before you migrate and that DFSR is working when the migration is completed.

Before I begin – the official TechNet documentation for the migration process is still in progress. Also, when it is released the docs will reference using (a not yet released version of) the Ultrasound tool. This post will not be about Ultrasound. Instead, I am going to use a combination of FRSDIAG and the DFSR Propagation tool. This is not as sophisticated as using Ultrasound, but it’s considerably simpler and easier – both good selling points.

Understanding the Migration Process

Before you attempt the migration, there is some mandatory reading. Even though I stated earlier that the SYSVOL TechNet docs are coming, there is an outstanding series of articles from the DFSR Core Development team PM Mahesh Unnikrishnan that covers the process in a systematic manner:

SYSVOL Migration Series: Part 1 – Introduction to the SYSVOL migration process
SYSVOL Migration Series: Part 2 – Dfsrmig.exe: The SYSVOL migration tool
SYSVOL Migration Series: Part 3 – Migrating to the ‘PREPARED’ state
SYSVOL Migration Series: Part 4 – Migrating to the ‘REDIRECTED’ state
SYSVOL Migration Series: Part 5 – Migrating to the ‘ELIMINATED’ state

These docs cover the entire migration end to end. You will see in Part 3 that it quickly covers verifying your FRS replication health with SONAR, FRSDIAG, or Ultrasound (and I’d throw MOM 2005 or SCOM 2007 in there as well).

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