File replication that saves bandwidth

By Dave Kearns, Network World |  Operating Systems

The major new product announcement of this year’s BrainShare - at least in my opinion - was the new iFolder service.

This will be packaged with NetWare 6, but will also be available separately for NetWare 4 and 5 (no pricing announced, though). It’s due to ship at the same time as NetWare 6, in late summer.

IFolder is an extension of the JustOn storage technology Novell purchased last year, augmented by a client-side piece that automates everything. It’s similar to Microsoft’s IntelliMirror, but more intuitive, more automated and more flexible.

Essentially, you install the product and it creates a folder inside of C:\My Documents (by default called \My Documents\iFolder) which is linked to a server-side install somewhere in the enterprise or across the Internet (a third party could host it, for example). Whenever a file is placed into this folder, or updated in it, it’s automatically updated at the remote site.

You could then have another installation of the product (say on a desktop machine at the office and one at home, or a desktop and a laptop) and whenever this second machine connects to the net, the folder is " automagically " updated. But modified files are not copied in their entirety, just the changes - preserving bandwidth. Theoretically, you could keep a huge database (say, a sales catalog) in the iFolder directory, and each night when the sales force returned to their hotel and dialed in for e-mail, their local catalog (on their laptop) would be updated. The files are encrypted in transit to ensure that prying eyes aren’t seeing something they shouldn’t.

It should also be quite useful to ensure that files kept locally are also replicated to a server for backup - you only save the file once, but it can then automatically be duplicated at multiple locations.

Read the whole announcement at:

http://www.novell.com/news/press/archive/2001/03/pr01021.html



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