Distributed File System

Archive for the ‘DFS Best Practices’ Category

Linux

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Distributed File Systems and Linux

We often get asked the question of whether our distributed file system works with Linux, and the short answer is no it does not.  We realize that people are here searching for solutions, so we will at least list some of the possible solutions that could work, but we haven’t personally used any of these systems, so we can’t say how they do with redundency or maintainability.  They will also vary in complexity.  If you would like to speak with our technical expert, feel free to give us a call and ask to speak with Tom.

http://wiki.lustre.org

http://datafarm.apgrid.org/

http://www.redhat.com/gfs

http://lefthandnetworks.com

http://www.TwinPeakSoft.com/

Again, it should be noted the distributed file systems we set up are done with Windows servers and not Linux.  Nevertheless, we want to provide answers for those looking!

How Many Files Before Considering a DFS solution?

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How do I decide when to consider a DFS Solution?

If you are considering a Distributed File System, you might have questions.  The most common questions we hear come along these lines:

  • How many files should be transferred across the WAN before we consider a DFS solution?
  • How many MB (or TB) generally go across offices before IT staff implements a DFS solution?
  • What types of files work best transferring data across the WAN?

These kind of questions are natural and logical.  If you have 5 offices and all of them are sharing files, at what point is it more cost effective to have a DFS solution than a FTP or WAN acceleration product?  The basic answer to this question is essentially when the speed of the connection starts to inhibit the productivity of the office.  If your WAN accelerator is working fine, why change.  However, if people are routinely grabbing cups of coffee while their files are transferred and loaded, it may be time for you to look into a Distributed File System!

Remote Laptop and PC Data Backup

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How Our Data Backup System Works

If you have remote employees, they work on laptops or PC’s at their home offices.  If you think about files, all files represent labor.  Someone had to do work for a file to be created.  So, if the laptop of the engineer in LA dies, what happened to all their data?  Is it protected?  Is it backed up?  Does your process require the user to synch or does it happen automatically?  If it is automatically, is it a system hog so they try and figure out how to shut it down?

Utilizing a distributed file system along with a desktop/laptop backup system is often just the solution.  The whole laptop hard drive does not need to be backed up, just the changes, making this process much faster for the user.  Having an archive is important so you can return to previous revisions if necessary.  Maybe there was a rework done on a project and you can show the client the work that was done and how that changed compared to the final file for billing reasons.  If you are an engineering company or just a regular company with a lot of important remote employees, you should give us a call so we can speak with you on how to get all the remote workers plugged into a system with continuous and reliable updates!

How Can I Revert to an Earlier File Revision?

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Reverting to a Previous Revision with a Distributed File System

If you are looking at a synched distributed file sytem, the obvious question that comes up is, what happens if sales rep X decides to look at an engineers file and messes up this file?  This question can be answered at two levels.

If you are using the MS Distributed File System, the obvious first answer is setting up the proper access rights to users in your organization in the first place.  The fundamental question must arise, should the rep have been allowed to access the file in the first place.  If the answer is no, there was a configuration issue with your distributed file system.

If the answer is yes, then with our products, you can actually revert to former revisions throughout the distributed file system when using PeerSynch.  Here are the steps you would want to take:

1. Make sure your left Menu Tree is in the Advanced mode.

2. Select the Miscellaneous option from the left Menu Tree.

3. Check Use intermediate file during copy.

4. Now click on the Revisioning option from the left Menu Tree.

5. Check the option Revisioning – Keep backup files of overwritten Target Files.

If you would like more information on setting up a distributed file system for your company, we would be happy to go over what you need to do and how you can get started!

PeerLock and Distributed File Systems

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PeerLock and Distributed File Systems

If you have considered employing a distributed file system at your facility, one of the biggest concerns is file locking for revision controls.  If you use the standard Microsoft distributed file system (DFS), you will be able to share files, but when changes are made, those changes can be lost if someone else in the organization happens to be working on the same file at the same time.

PeerLock utilizes the rock solid MS platform, but builds in some safety nets so that revision control is addressed.  The most frustrating thing for companies is to have 2 highly skilled and highly paid professionals working on the same file at the same time because they are not in the same physical location.  With PeerLock, this is eliminated!

Installation of product:

PeerLock is installed on the two watched server machines, PeerLock Server makes sure that no file from the watched folders is accessed with write access while it is in use on the correspondent location. Or more simply stated, files can’t be changed if someone else is viewing!

So what are the benefits of the PeerLock solution with a Distributed file system?

  • Real time detection of whether the file is being used by another person at another location.  Locks file when it is in use.
  • Easy to install
  • Automatically locks the file.  Users don’t have to remember to lock the the files!

If you would like to speak to someone concerning a distributed file system, please give us a call today!

When to Avoid a Distributed File System

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When to Avoid a Distributed File System!

When a company is looking at a distributed file system, they are doing so because there is some pain.  Either there are issues with expensive internal folks not having fast access to files or people who would like to centralize files so there are not problems with versions.  Speed is often the biggest consideration and therefore WAN Optimization must be considered a necessary element to consider when looking at a distributed file system.  If your DFS doesn’t meet basic hardware specs, obviously, you’re going to run into issues.  Having a solid distributed file system is crucial for companies needing peer to peer collaboration, however there tools are not for everyone!

When should you look at avoiding a distributed file system

  • If all the money you have to spend is being spent up front to set up.  Other costs creep in, if you can’t afford this, it’s not good to start!
  • If you are not having access or revision issues
  • If you are in the same location sharing files over a LAN instead of a WANPacket Shapers, etc would be more appropriate if you are trying to solve network throughput issues.

If you have any questions on whether a distributed file system is right for you, please give us a call today!