Multi User File Locking

The Enterprise File Fabric provides federated locking services across all mapped storage providers, even if those storage providers don’t support locking themselves.

Appertains to:

  • SaaS hosted Service
  • IaaS Use
  • Enterprise on-premises use

A critical feature of shared file systems, file locking is a protection mechanism that prevents two users from editing the same file at the same time. Within the File Fabric the first user “locks” the file before editing. The lock is added to the file metadata tracking who made the lock and when. When a second user attempts to edit the same file they get an error that the file is locked. This second user can still download the file for read only. When the first user completes or cancels their editing session the lock is removed.

The File Fabric uses implicit and explicit locking. When a file is opened through a desktop application or drive implicit locks (aka auto-locks) are created. These locks are released when the file is closed and any changes uploaded.

Users can also explicitly lock and unlock files themselves through the drive, desktop applications and through the web-based Cloud File Manager.

Users can only unlock files they have locked. The Organization Administrator and users with Admin role can remove any lock.

The same users can lock and unlock the same file through different applications or even computers. Note that a user can also open the same file for editing on different computers.

Locks do not expire automatically. Manual locks are often used to temporarily prevent files from being modified or deleted.

Locking a file will also lock all versions.

Locked files are identifiable by the lock icon seen in the Cloud File Manager and in desktop and mobile applications. The files that are user has currently locked are also listed in the Cloud File Manager under LOCKS. The file metadata, viewable in the Cloud File Manager through “File Info” shows who currently has the file locked, and when they locked it.

File locking is supported with all mapped storage providers. In general direct access to the storage outside of the File Fabric circumvents the lock. Locks for Microsoft Office, OpenOffice and LibreOffice are however synchronized with CIFS filesystems.

When a user attempts to upload, update or lock a file through the File Fabric a check is made for a lock in CIFS. If the file is locked in CIFS an error is returned that document is locked.

When an office application (Microsoft Office, OpenOffice or LibreOffice) opens a document through a File Fabric cloud drive a lock file is created. This file is detected and File Fabric automatically creates the same lock file in the CIFS filesystem. Office applications that are accessing CIFS outside of the File Fabric will then know that the file is locked.

1 Cloud File Manager (web)

Files can be locked and unlocked from both web file managers on right click and a file has a lock icon if it is in a locked status.

2 Windows SME Explorer

In the Windows dedicated explorer if you double click on a file to edit then you will be prompted to lock the file prior to it being opened.

3 Windows SME Explorer explicit locking

Locking / unlocking   of files from the Windows explorer can also be done explicitly on right click

Files can also be easily locked / unlocked on open/save using the SME OpenOffice and Microsoft Office toolbar plug-in's.

4 Windows Drive file locking

Locking from the Windows Virtual drive or WebDav drive can be achieved explicitly from a right click file action.

Also if a Microsoft office or Libre Office file is double clicked and opened from the drive then the file is auto-locked. The same file is auto-unlocked when the App is closed. A try icon is shown when this occurs.

5 Mac File Locking

The Mac Drive also features explicit file locking and unlocking. Locked files can be identified on the drive by the lock icon against the file.

As with the Windows Drive if office files are launched directly from Mac Finder then they are auto-locked and auto-unlocked on exit.

NOTE:

If a file remains locked it can be because: * A User explicitly locks a file and forgets to unlock it. * If a file is locked automatically using a desktop app such as Microsoft Word and the App crashes the file then remains locked until explicitly unlocked.

Also note a Cloud Administrator can unlock files (in addition to the users).