File Collaboration for Windows and NetApp Systems
Based on Peer's technology, PeerLink was created to provide distributed teams with a fast and efficient way to collaborate with shared files. PeerLink integrates an enterprise-class, real-time synchronization engine with distributed file locking. The real-time synchronization engine ensures that the same data exists on all participating servers, regardless of where changes may occur. The file locking component prevents users from accessing files that are currently being worked on by another user at any location.
The entire system works cross platform between Windows and NetApp systems.
PeerLink does NOT use any type of database for storage or replication. Instead, it works directly with your existing file system. One or more file collaboration jobs can be created across the PeerLink environment to work with different groupings of projects, data, servers, and/or sites. Each job consists of two or more participating servers and a folder structure on each participating server. This folder structure is called the “Watch Set” and is kept synchronized across all participating servers in real-time. In addition, locks are propagated across all participating servers as users open and begin modifying data at any one location.
The main pieces of the architecture are the PeerLink Hub/Broker and the PeerLink Agent. The former handles communication, monitoring, and management. The latter is installed on all file servers that are to participate in collaboration. In the case of NetApp environments, the PeerLink Agent is installed on a Windows machine in front of the NetApp device, allowing PeerLink to interact with NetApp.
- Real-time File Synchronization
- Byte-Level Replication
- Version Conflict Prevention
- Cross-Platform Support
(Windows and NetApp)
- Smart Data Seeding
- Remote Conflict Resolution
- Easy install and unobtrusive operation
- Centralized Management & Monitoring
- Unicode compliant
- Full Support for DFS namespace
- Admin Log Reporting
- Email Alerts
- Web based Management Console
- Intelligent Connection Check
- Cross-Domain and Cross-Active Directory Collaboration
Centralized Management and Monitoring
Service Level Agreements are common these days, whether they are internal or external. To ensure that these service levels are met, control over processes is crucial. PeerLink’s central management console allows you to
easily configure and monitor all file collaboration jobs, each with different groupings of projects, data, servers, and/or sites.
PeerLink also includes a fully functioning web client along with the standard-rich client. This web client not only provides remote access to PeerLink’s central management console but also provides customers with a role-based access system through a local user database or Microsoft Active Directory. Out of the box, it supports admin-type accounts with full management and monitoring access and helpdesk-type accounts with the ability to remotely resolve conflicts across all collaboration jobs.
Traditionally, a change to a file is replicated from one participating server to another only after the user has saved his or her changes to the file and has closed it. However, this does not help users who work on large files, typically without closing them for hours or even days.
With Sync-on-Save functionality enabled, PeerLink will update the other participating servers every time a user saves a file, even when the file remains open.
PeerLink leverages byte-level replication to only synchronize the parts of a file that have changed. The parts of a file that have changed are sent to the PeerLink hub, which then relays the changes to all other participating servers. The combination of byte-level replication and the hub-and-spoke architecture minimize the amount of bytes that flow between locations, keeping connections between locations as open as possible while potentially reducing costs.
Intelligent Connection Check
PeerLink is tuned to gracefully handle momentary connection breaks between any two parts of the PeerLink environment. When connectivity is restored, any events (such as file opens or file modifications) that have been missed by any participating server will be processed immediately.
Pre-Seeding of Data
Pre-seeding of data between all locations is possible and recommended. Upon the start of a file collaboration job, PeerLink will compare the defined folder structures of all participating servers and sync only the changes across servers. If data pre-seeding is not an option, PeerLink will do an initial sync of all participating servers upon the start of a collaboration job.
Supported File Types
PeerLink can lock all file types from applications that put read-only handles on files. These read-only handles prevent multiple users from modifying the same file at the same location at the same time. If this functionality is available on a single server, it will work with PeerLink in a distributed server environment.
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 - 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, NetApp Data ONTAP 7.3.5 and higher, 8x (7-Mode), 8.2 and higher (cDOT), and Cloud ONTAP
Cross-Platform Example (Windows / NetApp)
The diagram below illustrates how PeerLink works within a cross-platform environment of two Windows file servers and two NetApp devices. If you use a NetApp FAS device, the PeerLink Agent will be installed on a Windows server (physical or virtual) in front of the NetApp device, communicating with it via CIFS and fPolicy. User traffic is NOT routed through the Agent server. All users continue to access the NetApp device as usual.