One of the challenges still facing many companies with more than one office, despite the advent of cloud, is that of local storage residing at each site, with each site needing on demand access to files from remote sites.
A cloud first strategy can potentially overcome this problem but there can often be good reasons that this approach does not work, such as low latency links, very sensitive files, very large files that need to be close to a desktop application etc.
Gateway type solutions to this often to try to sychronize all files everywhere and then try and keep track of locking or use versioning to control the integrity of files accessed.
This can become more complex the more remote offices that there are, does not work well over low latency links, and if bandwidth connections are severed then it is possible to end up with a ‘split brain’ and other data integrity issues.
The File Fabric can be installed at each site which has local storage. The File Fabric will index one or more storage endpoints and provide application front-end for access. If Sitelink is enabled at each office with a File Fabric then Administrators can choose to invite roles or users from other offices to local shared team folders by creating a special link. This link can be used to facilitate distributed team access to those folders from other sites.
The clever piece is that each site that has added a Sitelink folder using the special link does not replicate or cache files locally. It merely communicates with the master site (who shared the folder) and creates a local metadata cache of the data that is remotely stored.
When remote users access the (remote) team folder they browse the folder directory structure from the local metadata cache ie. all reads are free. If they need to download or upload a file to the shared folder the this is negotiated between the servers and the upload /download takes place. and metadata is updated in every location that has access to that folder.
Permissions of access are centralised to the corporate Identity Access Management Service, normally Active Directory, LDAP or a SAML based solution.
The File Fabric serves as the ‘single pane of glass’ for storing data from local (and/or cloud) data sources, and Sitelink results in efficient content distribution that effectively supports ‘roaming’ directories that are accessible to other sites.
The Sitelink feature of the Enterprise File Fabric drastically simplifies deployment, provisioning and management of file services and content distribution for remote office architectures.
If you are interested in taking a trial of the Sitelink feature then please contact us and let us know.