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FSF automates archiving and grooming

May 20, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell launches File System Factory 1.2

Novell announced the latest version of its File System Factory service last week and so far, it’s only available for NetWare. Linux and Windows versions are promised, though, and if you have multiple server operating systems on your network you should be eagerly anticipating that move.

Automatic provisioning of network accounts and resources is nothing new – we cover it extensively in the Identity Management newsletter ( but FSF Version 1.2 adds a new dimension – the automatic creation, maintenance, archiving and removal of file system services for users and groups.

FSF works through policies stored in eDirectory that can specify, among others:

* Rules for disk space quotas.

* Servers to use for storage.

* Rights to assign to folders.

* Rules for archiving and “grooming” (removal based on last used date, for example).

When a user leaves the network, you can even delegate another person – the user’s former manager, for example – to quickly and efficiently decide which files to keep and reassign to someone else; which to place in the “vault” (more about that in a moment); and which can be safely removed. All with full audit trails as each action is logged. In fact, the entire service is transaction tracked so that if any step in a policy fails, the entire transaction can be automatically rolled back.

“Vaulting,” placing files in the vault, refers to FSF’s ability to remember not only who owned the files but also where in the user’s home directory structure it was stored – even after the user and the home directory have been removed! Simply mark the files you never want to lose and FSF takes care of them.

The service can even do storage load balancing according to rules you set up. Give it a range of servers to choose from, decide how to prioritize the balancing service and FSF takes it from there. It can even move a user’s home directory files and folders from one server to another without the user even being aware of the move. Transfer a sales manager from Chicago to Melbourne and on her first day in the new office, her files and folders are ready and locally available. That’s neat.

FSF works with Novell Storage Services (NSS), so any version of NetWare that runs NSS can support FSF. When Open Enterprise Server ships later this year, it will support NSS for Linux volumes so FSF will be able to work with them from the first day. Support for Windows servers (and their NTFS file system) will arrive early next year.

Keeping track of user’s files, moving them about, archiving and grooming are all tedious drudgework. FSF can automate the process and free up your time for better things.