The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Distributed File System (DFS)

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Distributed File System (DFS)


This year brought tremendous changes to the way companies handle their operations. The majority of businesses were forced to start working from home and adjust working environments to remote teams. Moreover, according to recent research, almost 75% of companies will shift their employees to remote work on a permanent basis. Thus, the main attributes of new working conditions such as VPN, Remote Desktop Protocol, and Distributed File System will stay with us for a long time.


In this article, we will be talking about Distributed File System, or DFS, as when it comes to accessing corporate data remotely, it is the most common way to do it.


Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of implementing DFS file sharing starting with the pros: 

Uptime


The great advantage of DFS is high reliability and uptime as a result of data redundancy i.e. the same information is stored on several nodes. It increases access speed and ensures high fault tolerance. If something goes wrong with one node, the same information could be easily retrieved from all others. And the risk of all the nodes experiences downtime simultaneously is close to zero.

Maintenance


Following the previous point, distributed systems are great when it comes to server maintenance, as you can make sure that all the components are up-to-date, and perform system upgrades without work disruption. Even if a reboot is required to implement the changes, you can do it gradually making your data loaded from a different node.

Collaboration and Ease of Access


With DFS your staff will be able to access the corporate data simultaneously from different locations. Apart from the access, your employees will be able to upload, download, and share files giving several people the possibility to work on one file at a time. It decreases the document processing time and boosts productivity even if all the team is working remotely.


Here’s an example of a DFS Structure:

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Distributed File System (DFS)


For sure there are some risks along with implementing DFS, like:

Security Threats


Since the data are stored on multiple physical machines and locations, it requires more investments for the security of storage, file transfer protocols, and connection to the storage since the breach can occur on all these stages. Otherwise, utilizing the system vulnerabilities, sensitive data leakage exposing the information on the internet might take place. That’s why it’s necessary to restrict access with an internal VPN connection, adding several security layers like 2FA or OTP to ensure that the data remains inaccessible outside the company.

Reduced Speed


Depending on the data nature and physical system capacity, if your team is working with big data masses, the reading speed can be slower as the connections, incoming and outgoing server requests consume a lot of CPU and RAM resources. Especially, it’s valid for the SBM servers of the older generation which are still popular for cost-related reasons. The way out from this is using reliable infrastructure both in terms of network and hardware.

Management Complications


Managing distributed system management is a more complex process than a centralized one. Database connection and its management to resolving issues might serve as an example. When data is loaded from different sources, it may be difficult to find a faulty node and conduct proper system diagnostics. That’s why if you opt for the distributed systems, a team of highly skilled engineers is a must. Even if you have one, the time for handling incidents may be longer due to the nature of the system.



Like any technology, introducing the distributed system to your company poses some challenges. However, a reasonable approach when it comes to implementation and risks mitigations along with the benefits DFS offers can make it an invaluable addition to your workflows simplifying the remote working for your team. Thus, your efforts will result in better performance and faster business goals achievement

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