I always have a strange suspicion that Windows DFS (up to W2K3) still needs WINS for it to work, but some people were saying that a purely W2K3 environment should not need to WINS and even have DFS working as such.
Anyway, I went to look up the Microsoft technical reference for DFS and found this:
How DFS Works in Environments Without WINS
The default behavior of DFS is to use NetBIOS names for all target servers in the namespace. This allows clients that support NetBIOS-only name resolution to locate and connect to targets in a DFS namespace. Administrators can use NetBIOS names when specifying target names and those exact paths are added to the DFS metadata. For example, an administrator can specify a target \\FS1\Users, where FS1 is the NetBIOS name of a server whose DNS or FQDN name is FS1.contoso.com.
Organizations that do not use NetBIOS and WINS can still use DFS, but before setting up namespaces the administrators must create the DFSDnsConfig registry entry on all root servers and then restart the DFS service on all root servers. Administrators must then use the DNS names for when adding all targets to the namespace. When these steps are complete, the referrals will contain the DNS names of targets accessed by clients. If a namespace already exists, the administrator must perform the following steps:
- Export the namespace to a data file by using Dfsutil.exe.
- Delete the namespace.
- In the exported data file, change the NetBIOS names to DNS names for all targets.
- Recreate all root targets by using DNS names.
- Import the updated data file.
Now this is interesting because it appears that by default DFS (even in W2K3) still uses NetBIOS and you need to make changes to change this behaviour. Hmm… I wonder how my colleague managed to get his DFS working only on DNS straight out of the box.
Anyway, if anyone managed to get DFS working without WINS and without make the changes to the default above, do drop me a line. I would be interested to find out more.