Shared files w/  file locking, maybe OWA public folders?

mike2401
mike2401 used Ask the Experts™
on
Our lan admin just showed off OWA public folders as a means for field users to view & edit a collection of excel files.

The only problem is that if I open one of the files for edit, then another user opens the same file, he won't be notified that I'm working on it till he tries to save changes, and then there's a big mess trying to merge two sets of edits.

A work-a-round I came up with is to create a sub-folder called "These Files Being Edited".  Then, if I want to edit a file, I MOVE the file into that sub-folder, THEN open it.

Of course, people would need to potentially first look in the parent folder, then look in the sub-folder if the file is not there.

Essentially, we need some way for field users to map a drive to a share on our file server.
We don't do VPN because we don't have fancy access control rules, and the vpn laptop would be on our internal network - a scary security threat.  

This morning, I saw this network attached storage device whereby the users run a client setup.exe, and are then able to access shared data on the hard drive.

http://www.buy.com/prod/iomega-storcenter-ix2-200-network-storage-server-marvell-6281-1-ghz-2/q/loc/101/219956356.html

It seems silly to buy an external hard drive when we have a pix, iis, isa, exchange 2007, and file servers running in our vmware infrastructure.

Maybe there's some cloud drive which might solve our problem better?  (like Amazon or google docs?)  (But, it seems like a bad idea to rely on 3rd party for storing data, when we have a fairly fancy network.

So, any solutions to this problem?

All ideas very much welcome and appreciated.

Mike
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Senior Solutions Architect
Commented:
If you're prepared to spend a little money then look at SharePoint.
Otherwise google "online file collaboration sites"

Here are some of the first links I saw:
http://www.brighthub.com/office/collaboration/articles/70475.aspx
http://www.keepandshare.com/htm/free_file_sharing.php

Author

Commented:
Thanks.  I do have the sense that sharepoint is the right solution, but we are not in a position to deploy that right now.

In fact, if OWA public folders imply notified the user that he is attempting to edit a file already being edited, I'd be happy as a clam.

It just seems soo dumb that it only tells you at the end, after you're done editing, and have created a collision.

Mike

PS: the more I think  about it, it doesn't make sense for me to suggest a 3rd party cloud solution because ultimately, it could lead to them out-sourcing our entire operation.  A small designated external hard drive reachable by field folks for the limited purpose of collaborating on a set of documents is probably fine, however.
Leon FesterSenior Solutions Architect

Commented:
The problem is Public Folders does not care about who has files open since it is not designed as a repository system.

"A small designated external hard drive reachable by field folks " creates even more headaches.
Since the data will be accessibile from public locations, somebody could steal your data or at least try.
You're also not solve the issue of users being notified that a file is open before they open the file themselves.

There is nothing wrong with outsourcing and cloud computing, especially since you'll have support and SLA's to maintain your systems and availability. OH SNAP! you're probably the Vendor looking after the site.

At the end of the day, you still want to offer the best solution available.
And if somebody else should mention a simple solution, like cloud computing then it will make you look like you don't know what new technology is available out there.

If you want a check-in / check-out system then consider something free like Subversion/SVN.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Subversion.
It can be published onto the WWW with security, tracking and all the other nice to have's.
11/26 Forrester Webinar: Savings for Enterprise

How can your organization benefit from savings just by replacing your legacy backup solutions with Acronis' #CyberProtection? Join Forrester's Joe Branca and Ryan Davis from Acronis live as they explain how you can too.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the response. I'll take a look at subversion/svn.

BTW, my assumption, and perhaps it's just that, is that a small designated drive (NAS) would behave as does our mapped drive on our lan:   when I double click an excel file, and then another user double clicks on the same file, the 2nd user gets notified and can open the file as read only.

I'm not sure how that works: perhaps it opens a ~temp file when the file is opened, and then the other user's excel sees that???

Mike
Leon FesterSenior Solutions Architect

Commented:
I wouldn't personally advise such a solution.
If you're only sharing Excel spreadsheets then have a look at "shared workbooks"
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/about-shared-workbooks-HP005262294.aspx

Not sure how it will behave with the public folders but I've used it successfully on many LAN/office setups.

Author

Commented:
Thanks dvt_localboy.

I think we ultimately will indeed need to go with sharepoint.

Your other suggestions were indeed interesting and I might use if for some personal stuff.

Mike

Author

Commented:
Thanks!

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial