[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Yang Cao from the Windows Server Essentials product team]
For midsize businesses, having more than one server becomes necessary. Even for small businesses, it is common to have more than one server. One of the servers might be the domain controller, another might be running a line of business application; maybe there is a server hosted in the public cloud, while another file server might be sitting on-premises for faster file access. In situations like these, the data might be stored on multiple servers, and the end user needs to access the data with different Server Message Blog (SMB) path forms, for example, \\server1\folder1 and \\server2\folder2. This becomes a burden for the end user to remember which file is on which server; it is also inconvenient for the administrator if he or she needs to move data from one server to another without confusing the end user or breaking existing applications.
In Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role enabled, it is possible to create and manage a server folder on a second server within the same network, and to allow the end user to access the share with one SMB path form, for example, \\Contoso\Shared Folders\folder1 or \\Contoso\Shared Folders\folder2.
Creating a server folder on a second server is easy. You start with the Add a folder task on the STORAGE page.
The Add a Folder Wizard opens:
Fill in the name of the server folder, and then click Browse. If there are other servers in the same domain, those servers will be found and listed in the tree view. You could expand the node and find the folder that you want to share. If the folder doesn’t exist yet, click Create New Folder to create the folder at the desired location first.
Follow the guidance and finish the wizard. On the last page of the wizard, you will notice the sharing path of the new server; although it is physically located on a second server, the path starts with the name of the primary server running Windows Server Essentials.
From the administrator’s perspective, the new folder’s location is on a different server, and he or she can continue managing all the server folders by using the Dashboard.
From an end user’s perspective, when she opens the Shared Folders shortcut from the desktop of a client computer, she sees all the shared folders, and she doesn’t need to know that the HRFolder is actually on another server.