locked
possible hybrid of local and network access to data files, i.e. mirroring local data files to common WHS network folder, used by all PCs in the household? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I find the libraries folder on Windows 7 to be a great idea - the documents library now giving a single view of multiple documents folders, including those on other computers using a home group.

    Of course the achilles heel of this approach is that unless all client PCs are on all the time, the documents library will not have access to the documents folders on other computers.

    This of course is where a product like WHS comes in, and perhaps WHS2 will integrate these features.

    The golden goal IMO, is to have the same data files available on all computers in the household. Not having that is a real PITA, as I use all 3 of our computers. I tried making a user networked drive such as \\server\Dave\Documents, part of Dave's documents library on all 3 computers, and setting that network location as the default save location.

    Despite having gigabit ethernet, and drives in WHS capable of 50MB/s to 105MB/s sustained throughput, I found performance linked to network folder to be painfully sluggish for common operations. For example if I saved a large compressed file to a network folder (say \\server\Dave\desktop) it would take much longer to extract, than if the same file was stored on a local hard drive.

    I tried using the "always available offline" sync function, but the computer still uses the slower network folder, unless the network is offline.

    My ideal would be something like this:

    -Personal folder files are stored on local hard drives, (such as C:\Users\Dave\Documents) and are mirrored on a common server Drive mapped to \\server\Dave\Documents.
    -Files would be opened from the local drive to improve performance
    -When opening a file on the local drive, the mirrored file on the network, and mirror files on the local drives of other PCs would also be locked
    -make available offline could be used so the files are always available on portable computers
    -of course if the client PC is offline when attempting to open a file, it is not possible to check for a lock on the network drive.  this could cause conflicts, but perhaps a warning to the user would suffice, together with automatic syncrhonisation of changed local files to the network, the moment the PC is once again online

    Is it possible to so something like the paragraph above - to have the benefit of faster access via the local hard drive, but syncrhonising a common file set among all connected computers, on a common network mirror folder?
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:00 PM

Answers

  • I find the libraries folder on Windows 7 to be a great idea - the documents library now giving a single view of multiple documents folders, including those on other computers using a home group.

    Of course the achilles heel of this approach is that unless all client PCs are on all the time, the documents library will not have access to the documents folders on other computers.

    This of course is where a product like WHS comes in, and perhaps WHS2 will integrate these features.

    The golden goal IMO, is to have the same data files available on all computers in the household. Not having that is a real PITA, as I use all 3 of our computers. I tried making a user networked drive such as \\server\Dave\Documents, part of Dave's documents library on all 3 computers, and setting that network location as the default save location.

    Despite having gigabit ethernet, and drives in WHS capable of 50MB/s to 105MB/s sustained throughput, I found performance linked to network folder to be painfully sluggish for common operations. For example if I saved a large compressed file to a network folder (say \\server\Dave\desktop) it would take much longer to extract, than if the same file was stored on a local hard drive.

    I tried using the "always available offline" sync function, but the computer still uses the slower network folder, unless the network is offline.

    My ideal would be something like this:

    -Personal folder files are stored on local hard drives, (such as C:\Users\Dave\Documents) and are mirrored on a common server Drive mapped to \\server\Dave\Documents.
    -Files would be opened from the local drive to improve performance
    -When opening a file on the local drive, the mirrored file on the network, and mirror files on the local drives of other PCs would also be locked
    -make available offline could be used so the files are always available on portable computers
    -of course if the client PC is offline when attempting to open a file, it is not possible to check for a lock on the network drive.  this could cause conflicts, but perhaps a warning to the user would suffice, together with automatic syncrhonisation of changed local files to the network, the moment the PC is once again online

    Is it possible to so something like the paragraph above - to have the benefit of faster access via the local hard drive, but syncrhonising a common file set among all connected computers, on a common network mirror folder?

    You might try an app like RoboCopy or SyncToy to constantly sync the data on your client to a network share (which would also be "offline" in a way).  As I recall, one of them (RoboCopy I think) has a setting to sync after X files are updated.  If you set that to 1, you might get what you're looking for.
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:45 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I find the libraries folder on Windows 7 to be a great idea - the documents library now giving a single view of multiple documents folders, including those on other computers using a home group.

    Of course the achilles heel of this approach is that unless all client PCs are on all the time, the documents library will not have access to the documents folders on other computers.

    This of course is where a product like WHS comes in, and perhaps WHS2 will integrate these features.

    The golden goal IMO, is to have the same data files available on all computers in the household. Not having that is a real PITA, as I use all 3 of our computers. I tried making a user networked drive such as \\server\Dave\Documents, part of Dave's documents library on all 3 computers, and setting that network location as the default save location.

    Despite having gigabit ethernet, and drives in WHS capable of 50MB/s to 105MB/s sustained throughput, I found performance linked to network folder to be painfully sluggish for common operations. For example if I saved a large compressed file to a network folder (say \\server\Dave\desktop) it would take much longer to extract, than if the same file was stored on a local hard drive.

    I tried using the "always available offline" sync function, but the computer still uses the slower network folder, unless the network is offline.

    My ideal would be something like this:

    -Personal folder files are stored on local hard drives, (such as C:\Users\Dave\Documents) and are mirrored on a common server Drive mapped to \\server\Dave\Documents.
    -Files would be opened from the local drive to improve performance
    -When opening a file on the local drive, the mirrored file on the network, and mirror files on the local drives of other PCs would also be locked
    -make available offline could be used so the files are always available on portable computers
    -of course if the client PC is offline when attempting to open a file, it is not possible to check for a lock on the network drive.  this could cause conflicts, but perhaps a warning to the user would suffice, together with automatic syncrhonisation of changed local files to the network, the moment the PC is once again online

    Is it possible to so something like the paragraph above - to have the benefit of faster access via the local hard drive, but syncrhonising a common file set among all connected computers, on a common network mirror folder?

    You might try an app like RoboCopy or SyncToy to constantly sync the data on your client to a network share (which would also be "offline" in a way).  As I recall, one of them (RoboCopy I think) has a setting to sync after X files are updated.  If you set that to 1, you might get what you're looking for.
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:45 PM
    Moderator
  • thanks for the tip.  I knew about Synctoy but not Robocopy. I'll check it out more.


    edit: doing some googling on Robocopy, I found information about a newer tool from Microsoft, called RichCopy.  Currently digging into that as well.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx
    Friday, May 1, 2009 4:13 AM