DFS Cloud File Sharing

Adding cloud file-sharing capabilities to Microsoft DFS infrastructure and empower mobile workers with simple and straightforward remote file server access.


What is Microsoft DFS

The Distributed File System (DFS) functions provide the ability to logically group shares on multiple servers and transparently link shares into a single hierarchical namespace. Here are two main DFS features.

Global Namespace for Simple Management

DFS simplifies SMB network shares management, so you don't need to remember individual file server names anymore.

DFS Replication for Reliability

A DFS link can have multiple SMB network shares mapped to it and form a replication group for copying files among the shares.

DFS and Windows Server Infrastructure

DFS (Distributed File System) is a Windows Server feature that allows System Administrators to create a single namespace to provide a replicated sharing infrastructure across the network. DFS is a part of the Windows server infrastructure with the following components.

Active Directory

Active Directory (AD) is a directory service for Microsoft Windows domain networks, with which employees can log in to the corporate system with one single set of credentials.

NTFS Permissions

NTFS is the standard file system of Windows, which brings the permission structure to folders and files with well-understood security protection and access control.

Network Shares

The windows file servers provide network shares in SMB/CIFS protocols to client workstations. It is the most basic form of file sharing in the enterprise.

Drive Mapping

Drive mapping is probably the most frequently used feature for employees when they login to their Windows workstation and see drive letters for their home folder and shared workspace.

File Locking

File locking is another frequently used feature from NTFS and the CIFS/SMB protocol to lock files while being edited, necessary for team collaboration.

Windows Storage

Windows Storage is an umbrella title for a broad range of services, including Windows storage server, storage space direct, virtual machines, and many other technologies.

Add Cloud File Sharing to DFS

We use DFS, and the above Windows server features daily for on-premise works. However, when it comes to remote access, there are also Office 365 OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Azure Files, Dropbox, Box, ShareFile, etc public cloud storage services that compete with the Windows file server platform for your data.

Shall you adopt public cloud file-sharing as a DFS alternative and manually copy files between DFS file shares and public cloud storage services? Or shall we add modern cloud services to DFS infrastructure and elevate DFS into the cloud!

Challenges of DFS

DFS is good for on-premise infrastructure within the realm of a local area network. You can think of it as a virtualized access to networked file systems with Server Message Block (SMB) as the underlying building blocks. It works well with Microsoft client workstations, such as a Windows 10 machine. However, it is very different from current file-sharing services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive. As a summary, it wasn't designed to be a web browser and mobile-first or friendly and thus missing important web browser interface, iOS, and Android support.

Like these features added to Microsoft DFS?

When it comes to cloud file sharing, features like accessing files and folders from mobile devices such as from an iPhone or an Android device come to mind immediately. Files and folders showing up inside a web browser is also a popular feature. On remote Windows machines, it is also convenient that the files and folders show up in a mapped drive immediately without the clumsy steps of setting up a VPN.


Mobile Editing

Using iPhone applications such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Applications to edit files in DFS and save it back to DFS.

Drive Mapping

Map a drive remotely to DFS without using a VPN, with file locking features and endpoint protection.

Web Links

File sharing with colleagues and business partners made easy by generating web links to DFS files and send links through Microsoft Outlook instead of sending attachments. 

Offline Folder

Mark files and folders sitting in DFS as favorites and access files and folders on-demand to get jobs done on an iPhone or iPad.

check out the incredible

DFS Cloud File Share

A solution that adds iPhone application, web browser interface, Windows mapped drive, and Mac Finder volume to DFS and turn Microsoft DFS into a corporate cloud file server solution.

Remote Access

Combines HTTPS, web protocols, and DFS for secure remote access without using a VPN.

Disaster Recovery

Leverages private cloud storage as a central cloud file repository with version control, file change history, and audit tracing to provide business continuity for DFS.

Mobile Sharing

Add mobile applications for secure mobile file sharing from a web browser or mobile application.

Cloud Migration

Sets up a hybrid deployment between local file servers and private cloud storage that is flexible for data migration.

Cloud Power + Web Simplicity + DFS Security? How??

The following four steps document the data flow from the Internet to DFS and back to the end-user

01. Triofox Web Server

Triofox creates a web server front end accepting client agent requests from remote Windows, Mac, web browsers, iOS, and Android devices. Client agents provide drive mapping functionality.

02. Agents Send File Requests

Client agents send HTTPS/SSL requests to the Triofox server. Triofox server can log the requests for auditing purposes and also coordinate the file access and sharing demands.

03. Active Directory Integration

Active Directory and NTFS permissions protect and check whether the file requests are allowed. After that, file requests are satisfied and returned via HTTPS/SSL to client agents.

04. DFS Share Integration

The files sitting in a DFS share first get their DFS links resolved to the closest SMB network shares, and the files from the network shares are retrieved and sent back to users over HTTPS streaming.


Related Use Cases


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Compare Dropbox and Windows file server strengths and weaknesses and come up with a solution.


Providing a corporate file-sharing solution to enterprises by integrating active directory and DFS.

Ready to boost mobile productivity with the "DFS Cloud" solution and enable remote workforce today?