File and DFS migration script

Currently I am in a project which will migrate several users in a large AD environment from one site to another as the current site is being decommissioned. This involves (among other things) migrating files and DFS Namespace to another file server and domain controllers and since this is a repetitive task for each department, I’ve made myself a sort of workbook in Powershell that I’d like to share with you.

This is a script which I load into an elevated PowerShell ISE, and change the input variables in the top and save a copy for each department. Then I can load the script I need, run all parameters and just mark and run selection (F8 hotkey) depending on the task at hand. The script is divided into 11 parts for tasks during preparation and during cut over. I’ve used comments to clearly divide the tasks.

To put it in perspective: The script linked will handle:

  • The department “Billing”
  • Short-reference “Bill”
  • Currently has a share named “Billing$” on the old file server
  • Linked to the DFS Namespace “\\corp.contoso.com\Bill” which is used for drive mapping.

The script will check and perform the different tasks needed to move their data to another file server and update both DFS Root Targets to the new domain controllers (which will host the namespace itself).and Folder Targets which points to the new file server.

The script can be downloaded here

Personally I found this makes it a lot easier, as the project goes on, to handle several ongoing migration jobs either in preparation or at cut over phase. It also makes sure the result is consistent and reduces the risk for failure.

As always feel free to use and customize to meet your own requirements

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Branchcache demonstration, part 2

Welcome back to my Branchcache demonstration.

Configure the Hosted Cache server

Picking up where part 1 left off, the next step is to configure the host cache server, though you can implement Branchcache without this. In hosted cache mode we store the cache on a designated server in the branch office and clients can pick up cached content from here. On the server located in the branch office , just start up Powershell and run

Install-WindowsFeature BranchCache -IncludeManagementTools

Once the feature is installed you configure the server, still from Powershell with

Enable-BCHostedServer (For servers who’s not domain joined)

or

Enable-BCHostedServer -RegisterSCP (For domain joined, enables automatic discovery from BC-clients)

To confirm the configuration you run

Get-BCStatus

You should see the status something like this

BC_hc_confirm1

and further down

BC_hc_confirm2

Configure the clients

As for the clients things are simply configured in Group Policy

First we go to “Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Network, BranchCache” and set the following settings

BC_client_gpo1

Setting both the Distributed cache mode and the automatic hosted cache discovery makes the client search AD for a hosted cache server. If it finds a local server then it operates in hosted cache mode, and if not then the clients switch over to distributed mode.

Next we need the firewall configured. In the GPO we navigate to “Computer Configuration, Policies, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security”

  1. Create a new inbound rule, select “predefined” and “BranchCache – Content Retrieval (Uses HTTP)“, next twice and then “Allow the connection” and click Finish
  2. Create a new inbound rule, select “predefined” and “BranchCache – Peer Discovery (Uses WSD)“, next twice and then “Allow the connection” and click Finish
  3. In outbound rules, create the exact same 2 rules as you just did for inbound.

After the GPO is done and linked to the correct OU you can turn to your clients and run

gpupdate /force

Then the Brachcache service must be restarted, so run from Powershell

Restart-Service PeerDistSvc

And to check the status it’s

Get-BCStatus

Notice that the client has detected a hosted cache server and is then set itself to use it.

BC_client_confirm1

So from now on the data from the file share on the content server will be cached on the hosted cache server whenever a client in the branch office access it.

Does it work?

In order to verify this I have performed the following test:

  1. On the hosted cache server, start performance monitor and load all Branchcache counters
  2. From one client copy a file from the file share on the content server to the local hard drive
  3. From another client copy the same file to its local hard drive
  4. Check the Branchcache counters on the hosted cache server that Branchcache works.

And after these steps I had the following result i Performance Monitor

BC_hostedcache_demoresult

“SMB:Bytes from server” is from the first copy operation where the data is copied from the content server and then cached on this server. “SMB:Bytes from cache” is the second copy operation where the clients get all the data from the cache on the hosted cache server instead of from the content server which is located in another site. Looks great! 🙂

Finally, if you want to read more aboiut deploying Branchcache I recommend you read the Branchcache Deployment Guide from Microsoft. It can be downloaded here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30418

Branchcache demonstration, part 1

Introduction to Branchcahce

Branchcache was introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 and it is a tool to reduce the impact of having low bandwidth between a branchoffice and a central file server. The short description would be that either a dedicated server, or the clients themselves, cache the content when a file is opened or copied across the WAN link. When the next client access the same file, most of the content is available on the LAN and the need to copy data across the WAN link is reduced, resulting in a better user experience.

If you want to read more about Branchcache you can check out my own post about it: https://pertorben.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/dfs-r-or-branchcache/

In Windows Server 2012 there has been many improvements to Branchcache. A few highlights include:

  • No limitation to number of hosted cache servers in each branch office
  • No need for a separate GPO for each site
  • No need to deploy a certificate to the hosted cache servers
  • Clients can autoconfigure between hosted cache and distributed cache mode
  • Duplicate content is only downloaded once
  • Cache is encrypted by default
  • Cache can now be pre-loaded

Full list of changes are located here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj127252.aspx

Branchcache can operate in either “hosted cache mode” where a server in the branch office stores the cache, or in “distributed cache mode” where the clients store and shares the cache among themselves. Now I want to make a simple demonstration of Branchcache in hosted cache mode using Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. First of all:

The lab setup

  • 1 domain divided in 2 sites “HQ” and “SmallOffice” (guess which one is the branch office) with a DC in each site.
  • 1 centralized file server as “content server” (the server containing the files)
  • 1 server in the branch office as “hosted cache server” (the server containing the cache of the content)
  • 2 clients in the branch office
  • All servers are Windows Server 2012, all clients are Windows 8

AD Sites is one of the key components here so make sure you define your sites and subnets correctly.

Setting up the content server

In Windows Server 2012 Powershell is dramatically expanded and improved so it’s no surprise that we use Powershell in the implementation  On the newly installed Windows Server open Powershell and run

Install-WindowsFeature FS-BranchCache -IncludeManagementTools

Restart-Computer

Next up is to enable the hash publication of the content server. Here we make a GPO and link it to the OU containing the content server. 2 simple settings located under “Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Network, Lanman Server”. Once it’s deployed it’s time for a “gpupdate” on the content server

BC_gpo1

After the group policy is set you have to share a folder and enable brachcache on that share. Simpe way to do so in the GUI

BC_fileshare1

Now that the content server is ready I’m gonna fill it up with some files and in part 2 we will set up the Hosted cache server and the clients and I’ll do a proof of concept.

See you in part 2!