April 25th, 2011
So far our straight-talking series on file sharing applications has dealt with the pros and cons of content management systems, file replication and mirroring and WAN optimisation.
Now it’s Wide Area File Services (WAFS) technology’s turn to go under the Purple Rage Software spotlight.
Also known as Collaborative File Sharing, WAFS permits distributed team members to find, open and save shared files as if they were all available locally.
WAFS combines three key elements:
- File synchronisation;
- Remote file locking;
- Management features to control and monitor file sharing.
Bonus features include configuring the software to synchronise the contents of designated file shares at two or more locations.
And WAFS can also sense when one copy of a file is open and lock other copies across the network. A computerised ‘hands off!’ notice is posted until the open copy is saved and access to the other copies can be blocked entirely or restricted to read-only mode. It’s the ideal antidote to those ‘who’s been over-writing my file?’ arguments.
If you need any more persuading, WAFS costs are low and no special hardware is needed. Users can find files on familiar file shares and files can be retrieved and saved at LAN speeds.
Additional extras include:
- Deletion protection – prevents accidental data loss by storing deleted files in a special folder;
- Cross-platform support – allows file sharing across Windows and NetApp environments;
- Centralised event-level logging and reporting – makes the administrator’s life a lot easier by providing a record of file add, open, modify, delete, replicate and synchronise events.
You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to improve the efficiency of voice, video or other non-file based applications.
But that’s a minor quibble as WAFS products are an ideal fit for businesses who require extensive file sharing with version control.
If you have any queries about WAFS or other file sharing applications, contact Jan Gregson at Purple Rage Software on 01684 576343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
April 18th, 2011
If the only WAN you’ve heard of is bespectacled telly presenter and makeover merchant Gok, then you’re about to learn something.
Hot on the heels of content management systems and file replication, Purple Rage Software’s no-nonsense series on file sharing applications continues with WAN optimisation.
Designed to improve the efficiency of distributed teams, WAN optimisation products use techniques including compression and data re-duplication to increase the size of the pipes between locations.
And they differ from the applications we’ve previously mentioned as they can deal with all types of network traffic, including voice and video.
Other WAN plus points include:
- Supporting more IP-based voice conversations, teleconferencing sessions and file transfers;
- Improving user productivity;
- Reducing networking costs by using fewer high priced T1 and T3 connections;
- Storing small files in a central place and speedily transmitting to remote locations.
The downsides are:
- Unsuitable for large files – users still have to request files from a central repository and a common gripe is slow file access performance;
- Too costly to install across widely distributed locations;
- Vulnerable to unreliable connections – users may have to down tools completely (and sulk) when network interruptions mean remote files are unavailable.
In short, WAN is an economical solution for organisations with a small number of large offices, especially if improving the efficiency of voice and video traffic is a priority.
Purple Rage Software’s experienced and friendly team can evaluate your organisation’s exact needs and recommend the most suitable file sharing solution.
For more details, contact Jan Gregson on 01684 576343 or email email@example.com
April 11th, 2011
Deciding which file sharing system to choose can be as tricky as selecting a freshly baked savoury from Greggs’ window.
In business, you’ll get fewer crumbs on your clothes but potentially more headaches if your selection isn’t a perfect fit.
Purple Rage Software can help with their no-nonsense guide to file sharing. Following on from CMS is file replication and mirroring.
These products, like Microsoft DFS, move copies of files to distributed locations where they may be needed. In short, they are a simple, low cost solution for businesses that don’t require version control and have only a few locations.
Naturally, we’ll start with this system’s strengths. Users can find and save files locally or from the nearest server, rather than waiting for them to be retrieved from and saved back to a central store.
The technology usually includes techniques that conserve bandwidth and reduce network loads at busy times. The licence cost is low and users need little or no re-training because the files are easy to find.
Moving on to the weaknesses:
- As basic replication products lack file checkout and remote locking, two or more people could be working on the same file at the same time, potentially resulting in lost modifications and arguments;
- They don’t provide real-time monitoring tools that allow administrators to track which files have been replaced, are being worked on and where the process has failed;
- A number of products are single-threaded or allow only a few threads, which could lead to bottlenecks when the number of locations and files starts to grow.
Purple Rage Software can quickly identify whether file replication and mirroring would suit your business. For expert advice, call Jan or Rob on 01684 576343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
April 7th, 2011
Distributed teams are as much a feature of modern day working life as early morning lattes and sneaky Facebook posts.
In a wide range of industries across the world, colleagues team up to create and develop products. It sounds like an employment Utopia but file sharing problems can lead to lost time, money and clients – plus fraught office relationships.
Over the coming weeks, Purple Rage Software will share their expertise of file sharing systems, enabling you to make an informed decision about what method best suits your business needs.
Leading the way are Content Management Systems (CMS) or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) such as Microsoft SharePoint or EMC Documentum.
These work best when most files are stored in one office and not shared with other locations. It also ticks the right boxes for documents with repetitive workflows that require stringent management, for example website content or submissions to government agencies.
Tailor-made workflows will organise the process of creating, editing, reviewing and approving complex documents. Version control ensures that everyone works with the latest versions and nobody’s changes are ignored or overwritten, which in turn means no-one gets sent to Coventry or left out of the cake run.
There are drawbacks to CMS, however. Users must be trained to work on the system, which can cause resentment and increase support costs; file open and save time can be sluggish at distributed locations and network performance can be hampered by heavy demand for large files during peak periods.
To find out if a Content Management System could help your business run more efficiently, contact either Jan or Rob at Purple Rage Software on 01684 576343 or email email@example.com