When you first encounter the term “file locking” it really doesn’t generate much excitement. The concept is pretty basic, and you might even come to a quick conclusion that modern computing and data storage systems have fully addressed file locking years ago, or did they? Let’s take a closer look.
File locking is very useful; it restricts access to a computer file by allowing only one user or process access at a time which enables busy file systems to maintain order. The concept of file locking is ignored by most users until they have a problem related to it. One common scenario for this is when they join project teams that share and contribute to a common set of project files, a process often referred to as file collaboration.
Small teams at one location using a single file server rarely encounter challenges with file collaboration. But, as organizations evolve into extended enterprises project teams often need to be quickly assembled from within the organization and with partners, typically in different locations with their own file servers.
Without the proper IT infrastructure to support file collaboration, larger more distributed teams will eventually experience overwritten or corrupted files as users attempt to update and share them. Frustration and lost productivity quickly follow.
File Locking is a Key Technology for Managing Project File Collaboration
As project teams collaborate with shared files, the need to prevent simultaneous edits to these files quickly becomes an enterprise-wide requirement. Two approaches to consider for reliably managing file access and updates include:
- Content management systems with check in and check out functionality. These systems tend to be centralized and are acceptable for teams with fast connectivity that collaborate with smaller files, but tend to become problematic with larger files that eat up bandwidth and add to network congestion as they have to be fully uploaded and downloaded to the central repository each time they are updated.
- Global file collaboration systems. These systems overcome the performance challenges of centralized content management systems by utilizing distributed file storage with real-time replication and distributed file locking to enable up-to-date project files to be stored on servers where project teams are located.
Working in concert with real-time replication, distributed file locking, sometimes referred to as global file locking, is a critical file collaboration technology that averts the threat of simultaneous edits. By locking replicas of a file stored on several servers when a user opens the file for editing, distributed file locking prevents the file from being modified at the same time by other users. As soon as the file is closed or saved, changes to the file are then replicated to the other servers and the locks are released.
When implemented properly, distributed file locking works automatically and seamlessly in the background. And, unlike check in and check out procedures in content management systems, requires little to no additional effort from users. They continue to open, edit and save files on their local server and the system automatically replicates changes to the other servers.
Building Innovative File Collaboration Systems Since 2003
As one of the pioneers in developing global file locking systems for Microsoft server environments, Peer Software introduced its distributed file locking technology for file collaboration in 2003. Today, Peer's flagship product PeerLink is recognized as a class leading global file collaboration solution for Microsoft and NetApp environments. Enabling secure multi-site file collaboration for leading design applications including AutoCAD, Revit, Bentley, CATIA, Adobe and more, as well as productivity applications like Microsoft Office, PeerLink is flexible, offers great performance and is remarkably easy to implement and manage.
Click here to learn more about PeerLink or to request a trial version of PeerLink.