Posts Tagged ‘unc’

Using Host Files for UNC Paths

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Years ago I strongly advocated the use of host files for “better environment portability and mobility”. Over the years I’ve used this trick to simplify WCI patch installs, database migrations, and server upgrades.

But, one use of host files has always proven a bit troublesome – the UNC path for published content in WebCenter Interaction Publisher:
publisher-unc-path-alias

Specifically, in Windows Explorer, if you’re trying to access a share called “publish” on a machine called PROD-FILESERVER, you can type this in Windows Explorer:

\\PROD-FILESERVER\publish\

If you are back-filling your database from production to a development environment, this name is also synchronized, and you certainly don’t want your Dev environment connecting to your Prod file server. The solution would be to use the host name aliases we’ve already discussed, so you could use a name like this:

\\WCI-NAS\publish\

… and then have WCI-NAS resolve to the respective file server in each environment.

This tweak, though, doesn’t work unless you use the trick found here: Disable Strict Name Checking.

NETBIOS enforces “strict name checking”, so connecting to a machine by name that’s not the actual machine name is prohibited by default. But that’s exactly what we want – our Production, Development, and Staging environments all using \\WCI-NAS\publish\ as the file share. That way, when we sync the database between environments, we don’t have to change the UNC paths all over the place.

In other words, to make this host file aliasing work work with UNC paths, you can just add a DWORD with a value of 1 called DisableStrictNameChecking to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\ LanmanServer\ Parameters.