Distributed File System (DFS) is a set of client and server services that allow an organization using Microsoft Windows servers to organize many distributed SMB file shares into a distributed file system. DFS provides location transparency and redundancy to improve data availability in the face of failure or heavy load by allowing shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder, or DFS root.
A distributed file system is a client/server-based application that allows clients to access and process data stored on the server as if it were on their own computer. When a user accesses a file on the server, the server sends the user a copy of the file, which is cached on the user’s computer while the data is being processed and is then returned to the server.
Ideally, a distributed file system organizes file and directory services of individual servers into a global directory in such a way that remote data access is not location-specific but is identical from any client. All files are accessible to all users of the global file system and organization is hierarchical and directory-based.