Top 5 things to know when using the Enterprise File Fabric

If you are one of those people who hates looking at help pages and manuals then this very short guide is for you ! It details the top 5 things you should understand when using the Enterprise File Fabric.

The Enterprise File Fabric provides accelerated VPN-Less collaboration with file and object storage for hybrid and remote workers.

The File Fabric enables the unification and access of private / public storage providers in one global file system. This global file system view is the same view from all of the File Fabric clients, whether it is the web file manager, mobile, or the desktop Cloud Drive's.

The File Fabric adds extra features and provides Apps available that are not available from storage vendors, making accessing, managing and securely sharing data from different sources easy.

1 Understanding the unified Global File System

Any Storage Provider added is accessible from one “Global File System”. This enables access and management of all data as if it existed in one unified namespace. To store or access files on a different storage provider, just navigate to a different directory.

When you are working with files through the File Fabric files are not copied or moved from their original location. The File Fabric smart indexes storage in-place, whether it is on cloud or on-premises, and only caches the directory listing and information about the files (it effectively creates and leverages metadata).

To upload or download files from any mapped storage system users simply navigate to the directory and upload/download. If users drag a file from one cloud mapped folder to the other, it will actually be moved (or copied) from one storage system to another.

Admins can choose the name that the storage is referred to on setup or simply change it later by right clicking and choosing rename on the storage provider root node.

2 Refreshing the Storage View

When storage is first added, indexing in-place occurs and a metadata cache is created to enable quick access to files. No files are moved. They remain on the default storage. This metadata cache is merely information about files ie. filename, datestamp, size etc. and enables users to view data without the File Fabric continually asking the storage for the file list. This can be a very timely optimization particularly where large file or object lists exist.

The default access mode is 'cached mode'. End users can force a refresh when operating in cached mode simply by click Refresh from the menu bar on the web File Manager and choosing Cloud Refresh.

Admin's can choose as an alternative to cached mode, real-time mode, which, on each folder navigation, does a call to the remote storage. This may be slower if the remote file or object list is large (such as an S3 bucket with millions of objects in it for example ,although in practice paging would be implement). Real-Time or cached mode can be setup on a per storage basis from the storage provider settings in the DashBoard by the Team Admin.

3 Deleting Files

When files are deleted using a File Fabric client the files move to the “Trash” view before they are deleted on the actual storage. Directly on the storage the files deleted via the File Fabric will be accessible, until trash is emptied, from the .trash Folder.

If users then choose to remove files from the Trash or empty the Trash then the files are also removed on the storage provider.

As with a desktop operating system, Trash is a safety feature to ensure users don't accidentally remove files. This can also offer some protection from Ransomware threats that update and lock files and delete the original file (see the Forever File feature for further Ransomware protection information).

There is no time limit to how long files will remain in trash unless a Trash expiration policy is set.. Without a policy files will remain in Trash until they are deleted or Trash is emptied.

To remove files as soon as they are deleted  or to let the storage provider handles files that are deleted then there is an option that can be accessed from “Dashboard” to completely turn off the File Fabric Trash setting.

4 Full bi-modal Access to Data

As the File Fabric is non-proprietary it means end that IT can offer access to the underlying storage as well as concurrent access to the same storage through the File Fabric. This is especially useful with file storage such as that offered by Windows Filers, SAN / NAS or other SMB accessible storage as it enables users to work directly from a share in the office whilst other users are able to work against the same share remotely.

If Files or Objects are added/removed/updated directly to the underlying storage then the File Fabric will discover them using its smart indexing features and the files or objects will be added or removed to the Global File Tree.

5 Policy Driven

The File Fabric is policy driven. A number of policies in relations to things like Security, Sharing, UI etc can be setup by the Administrator for end users enabling the system to be as comprehensive or as simple as required,