Distributed File System

Posts Tagged ‘Distributed File System’

Sharing is Caring – Even With Files

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Do Your Offices Know How to Share?

If you have a bunch of branch offices that have to share large files, no doubt you have looked at WAN Optimization and probably other file share systems.  Some people tend to shy away from Distributed File Systems or DFS because of some common concerns regarding distributed file system technology. 

  • File Locking — What hapens if client using server A is accessing a file and a client at server B is also accessing this file, when both save, what revision will “win”… Is one person’s work nullified?
  • Remote Site Connections — If a engineer for your company does their work on a laptop, do their files sync automatically, or do they have to remember to push out updates?
  • Overwriting by Unauthorized Personnel —  Sales rep looks at work engineer has spent time on and changes a few details because their account requests it, engineer is not aware and when the bid comes in, a PR nightmare comes with it.  Is your intermediate files at risk if a change is made, or are they saved?

Any distributed file system that does not answer some of these simple questions should not even be considered. Give us a call if you’d like to know how we address these issues.

How to Know When You’ve Outgrown a FTP System?

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How to Know When a FTP is not Enough...

If you have a company who has to share a lot of large files, such as CAD files or major graphic design files, you may find that there are more and more issues with file revisions with expensive employees.  If you are finding that you have the same files in multiple revisions, then you may have issues.  Sally, the engineer in Tulsa opens a file and Betsy the architect in Seattle are both looking at the same file at the same time, both do a few hours worth of work, Sally saves the file back to the FTP server and 20 minutes later Betsy does the same thing and all of Sally’s work is lost.

If this sounds like your situation, then feel free to give us a call so we can help you understand how a distributed file system can be good for you!

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!

Synchronizing a Desktop to a Server

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How to get Your Desktop and Server to Play Nice!

Finding a solution where the software required to run the file synchronization is hosted on the desktop while the desktop can synch with the server is a pain.  With our solution, this is exactly how file sharing and large file collaboration happens! 

When you use our Peer Synch solution, here’s what you get:

  • Backup and storage of your mission critical files to another PC or storage device
  • An Application that runs in the Background — You don’t have to deal with annoying pop ups and slow downs from the software!
  • Real Time File Updates — Now you know your files are safe no matter what stage of work you are at!
  • Multiple Location or Source destinations for large file sharing.  Don’t worry as the file is updated in several places at the same time!
  • Open File Manager — Saves all files, even the one your people are currently using!
  • Availability for the Network manager to access these files 24 X 7!

If you are looking for a distributed file system solution, please feel free to give us a call!

Comparing Alternatives

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Peer Software vs Riverbed's Steelhead Suite

If you are trying to figure out when to look at different file sharing technologies, it can get a bit confusing, especially as you deal with large file collaboration.  Today, we want to deal with the idea of a WAN Acceleration product like Riverbed’s Steelhead product and compare it with a distributed file system using third party software and helping you know when it’s better to consider WAN Optimization and when it’s better to look at buying a distributed file system package.

When is Riverbed’s  Steelhead a good idea?

  • When you have issues getting all of your data through the pipe currently, apart from your file sharing needs
  • When you share files, but don’t really collaborate on them (i.e. Marketing sends tons of pdf’s across the country, but they don’t get concurrent attention.)
  • When your people are consistently complaining about access speeds.

When to consider a distributed file system (with Peer Software suite)

  • When there are multiple offices sharing and editing files and you are not sure exactly when each group does this
  • The files go back and forth multiple times
  • You want local access speeds at remote locations

If you would like to chat about your situation and how a distributed file system might work for you, please call our sales tech, Tom, and he can go over these details with you.

How Engineers Share Large Files

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How to Make File Collaboration easier!

We work with engineers, and engineers have many large files to collaborate on.  For example, the last engineer we worked with was using a massive FTP file share, and spending tons and tons of time waiting for files to go from the remote server to the users and they finally realized how expensive this kludgy method was for their organization.  Using a distributed file system allows them to have the same file on multiple servers and using the FolderMaestro product, they are able to avoid the common file locking issues associated with traditional distributed file systems.

Another firm we worked with we FEDEXing Thumb drives back and forth and killing themselves on cost.  Maybe this would work (kind of) for a 2 man operation, but when you have 5 or 10 members of a project team, this methodology is impossible.

Another option is to utilize WAN Optimization as this will speed up the file uploads and downloads tremendously. 

For most engineers, we do recommend the distributed file system with a 3rd party file locking program like Folder Maestro.

Distributed File System and WAN Acceleration

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If you have been considering WAN Acceleration for your company, possibly an architecture firm sharing large files or an engineering firm collaborating on various files, you have probably looked at WAN acceleration products to increase your worker productivity.

WAN Acceleration is vital for many Engineering companies who have so many files to share a simple file sharing system like a Distributed File System won’t work.  Why wouldn’t a distributed file system work as well for an engineering company with a lot of files?  Mainly, the files still need to be transferred back and forth.  If the primary issue is data throughput, a WAN acceleration product such as Riverbed’s Steelhead appliance makes sense.  This is when files go back and forth more on a single occurance basis.

If, however, the problem has to do with collaboration, getting the updated files open more quickly, a distributed file system should be chosen.  Choosing the right types of technology to address your pain points is the most important facet to solving the real world issues your business faces!

Please call us for more information on WAN acceleration products or for the proper set up of a distributed file system.

Distributed File System vs WAN Optimization

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A distributed file system can work with WAN Optimization or in leiu of it...

If you have had data flow problems…  multiple sites which require access to servers and it has been obvious that a new solution is necessary, you have probably started looking into WAN Optimization through Riverbed or Cisco or Bluecoat to address these issues.  These are solid systems, to be sure, and if you desire to maintain a centralized file system, then they can make a lot of sense.  We are a Bluecoat partner as well as Cisco certrified.  One thing you should keep in mind is that a distributed file system with the right plug ins may acheive a result that is far closer to meeting your needs than getting a WAN Optimizer or even extra T1 capability.

What our solution does is push the files out to the edges, so to speak.  Each local user in the group has local access, but the plugin software ensures that there are not several people working on the same files at the same time (which would create revision issues…)  Having a system that fully takes advantage of the faster LAN speeds is essential if your highly paid employees spend a lot of their time wait to upload or download large files.  We have an awesome large file collaboration methodology which we can get you a demo copy for free or schedule a webinar so that your business can see the advantages of going to a distributed file system over a centralized filing system.

WAN Optimization works better than a distributed file system when the files that get pushed back and forth are not consistently being worked on or touched by others in the group.  Even with a distributed file system, original files have to be push out and replicated to the remote servers.  If the files are not changing much once they get there, a distributed file system with file locking capabilities really won’t solve the issues you are trying to solve.  A WAN Optimizer makes more sense when there are limited numbers of transfers of the file from the home office to to remote location.  A distributed file system makes more sense when revisions and efficiency of populating the new data to all the servers is essential.

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!