ArchiveConnect Installation and Administration Guide

 

File Archiving and Mac clients

File Archiving is a data storage technique that automatically moves files between high-cost and low-cost storage media. In practice, most file archiving software works by disallowing direct access to data on slower, low-cost media. Instead, data stored on low-cost media is considered "offline". When a service or application attempts to access this offline data, the file archiving software will automatically migrate the data from the low-cost media to the faster, high-cost media, bringing the data "online".

In a network file-sharing environment, typical file archiving software presents archived files to clients by indicating a file is offline using file metadata. Windows clients are able to recognize that a file is offline and convey this status to the end user. Applications on the Windows client can be designed to recognize that files are offline and only bring them online if necessary.

Mac OS X is not designed to understand the concept of offline files. The Mac OS X network file-sharing clients and file system architecture do not have support for understanding the metadata indicating a file's offline status. Since file archiving software will migrate files from low-cost to high-cost devices when they are accessed, Mac OS X presents a problem if applications or services read from a large number of files. Doing so will cause each of the files to be migrated from offline to online storage. If an application or service reads from enough separate files, it undermines the purpose of file archiving, as lots of unneeded data is being moved to high-cost storage. This is especially problematic with Mac OS X clients because applications, such as Finder, often read a small amount of data from a large number of files, simply to generate thumbnail or preview images.


How ArchiveConnect enables access to file archives from the Mac client

ArchiveConnect is a Mac client-side application that enables Mac OS X clients to access file archives without triggering unintended retrieval of offline files. This is accomplished by denying Finder requests for access to files, which occur during routine file browsing. While this disables some Mac OS X features for files that are offline, such as thumbnail icon previews and Quick Look, it keeps the Finder from bringing files online en masse. With ArchiveConnect, Mac OS X clients can easily access offline files by double-clicking them, as would normally be expected. In addition, ArchiveConnect includes a contextual menu plug-in that allows the client to right-click on one or more files and folders and bring them online simultaneously.

In its default configuration, ArchiveConnect only filters the access of files by the Finder. Other applications that allow browsing of files directly from the application, such as Adobe's Creative Suite, remain able to initiate the retrieval of multiple files while browsing. If file archive browsing through other applications is common and causes unintended file retrieval, ArchiveConnect can be used in conjunction with Group Logic's ExtremeZ-IP File Server in 'Bring online explicitly' mode. This option denies access to offline files by all applications, except for the Finder contextual menu plug-in. This option will be further detailed later in this document.


Macintosh Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later Leopard

Server Requirements

  • SMB-based file servers: Windows 2000, 2003, 2008, XP, Vista
  • AFP-based file servers: ExtremeZ-IP 6.0.1 or later
  • ExtremeZ-IP is required for optional features such as: offline file color labels & "Bring online explicitly" mode

Advantages of using ArchiveConnect with ExtremeZ-IP File Server

Beginning with version 6.0.1, the ExtremeZ-IP File Server has been enhanced to provide additional functionality when used in conjunction with ArchiveConnect.

Offline file color labels - When clients are connected to ExtremeZ-IP shared volumes using the AFP protocol, offline files can be highlighted with a customizable color label. This allows files to be easily distinguished as offline. This feature is not available on other AFP file servers or on SMB file servers.

Bring online explicitly mode - This option requires clients to use the Finder contextual menu plug-in to bring offline files online. This mode can be used to block all applications, in addition to the Mac OS Finder, from accidentally bringing files online. Again, this feature is only supported on ExtremeZ-IP 6.0.1 or later.

Installation and deployment - Single client installer package

The Group Logic ArchiveConnect installer package is used to install ArchiveConnect on an individual Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 or 10.8 client.

Double-click the installer package to begin.


Select Continue to begin the installation process.


Select Continue and accept the Software License Agreement.


Select Install to continue.


Enter your Company name and Serial Number exactly as they are listed on your license agreement.


Once the installation routine concludes, select Close to exit the installer.

Please note: You will need to log out of Mac OS and log back in before the ArchiveConnect contextual menu items will appear in the Finder.


Installation and deployment - Apple Remote Desktop installation

ArchiveConnect can be deployed to multiple Mac clients simultaneously using Apple Remote Desktop.

First, install ArchiveConnect on a single client as detailed above. A license file is created during installation and this file must be copied to the same location on the target Mac clients at the start of the Apple Remote Desktop installation routine:

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/ArchiveConnectLicense.txt

Apple Remote Desktop can then run a default install of the ArchiveConnect installer package, which will pick up the existing license file automatically and start up without requiring a reboot of the client.


Installation and deployment - Multiple client file copy installation

After completing an initial installation using the ArchiveConnect installer package, it is possible to deploy ArchiveConnect to one or more additional Mac clients by transferring the required program and license files.

To deploy ArchiveConnect on a Mac client in this fashion, copy the following files from the Mac that was previously set up to the same locations on the target Mac:

/System/Library/Extensions/ArchiveConnect.kext

/Library/Contextual Menu Items/ArchiveConnect.plugin

/Library/StartupItems/ArchiveConnect/ArchiveConnect

/Library/StartupItems/ArchiveConnect/StartupParameters.plist

/usr/local/bin/bringonline

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/LoadArchiveConnectDriver.sh

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/ArchiveConnect Documentation.webloc

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/RegisterAndStartArchiveConnect.sh

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/Register ArchiveConnect.app

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/Uninstall ArchiveConnect.sh

/Library/LaunchAgents/com_grouplogic_afpmessages.plist

In addition, a license file is created during the initial installation and this must also be copied over:

/Library/Application Support/Group Logic/ArchiveConnectLicense.txt

Finally, to start ArchiveConnect, run the following shell scripts, located in /Library/Application Support/Group Logic/, from the command line:

./LoadArchiveConnectDriver.sh

./RegisterAndStartArchiveConnect.sh


ExtremeZ-IP configuration options

Using ArchiveConnect with ExtremeZ-IP File Server provides an enhanced user experience, as described above in Advantages of using ArchiveConnect with ExtremeZ-IP File Server. These features are enabled through the ExtremeZ-IP Administrator application on the ExtremeZ-IP server.


On the File Server tab of the Settings dialog, check the Enable ArchiveConnect option to turn on enhanced ArchiveConnect support for any file archive volumes shared with ExtremeZ-IP. Select a custom Mark Offline Files color to specify the label color that will be used to highlight offline files within the Mac OS X Finder.


Bring online explicitly mode can be enabled on a per-volume basis in the Volume Properties dialog. This will require that the recall of offline files be done through the Finder contextual menu plug-in. Offline files will not be recalled through any other Finder operations or by other applications until they have been brought online using the contextual menu.

CommVault Configuration Note: If using ExtremeZ-IP and ArchiveConnect with a CommVault archive, two registry settings must be changed. Click here to for detailed instructions on making these changes.


Known Issues and Limitations

Applications can bring unintended files online

Even with ArchiveConnect installed, files may inadvertently be brought online if users browse folders using an application's file open dialog. This is because ArchiveConnect, by default, only blocks file open requests from the Finder. An example of this behavior would be browsing files from Adobe Photoshop. This behavior can be avoided by using ExtremeZ-IP File Server, with the Bring online explicitly option enabled, to share volumes containing archived files.

Color label intermittently reappears after a file is brought online

Due to Finder caching behavior, the color label indicating a file's offline status may temporarily return after a file has been brought online. This will only effect user sessions that are browsing the file's folder at or just before the time it was brought online. This behavior will resolve itself after a short period of time.

Distinguishing offline files on non-ExtremeZ-IP shared volumes

If you are connecting to a Group Logic ExtremeZ-IP file server, offline files will be highlighted with a color label for easy identification. When connected to other types of file servers from Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, offline files will not include color labels but may be displayed with a file size of 0 KB, which typically indicates that they are offline.

Offline files cannot be copied from server to client (AFP or SMB)

An error message will be received if a Mac OS X client attempts to copy an offline file from an AFP or SMB file archive to the local client. Offline files must first be brought online before they can be copied to the client.

._ files will be recalled when browsing over SMB

It is not possible to block the recall of offline ._ metadata files. These files are often created by Mac OS X on SMB volumes. In a folder containing many ._ files, this could trigger a large number of unnecessary recalls. It is recommended that your file archiving software be configured to not archive ._ files. These files are very small and retaining them will not have a sizable impact on online storage usage.

Toggling the locked status of an offline file via SMB brings the file online

This behavior only occurs when accessing a file archive using SMB.

Users get an error when duplicating offline files on an SMB volume

For an offline file on an SMB volume, using the duplicate option or dragging & dropping a file with the alt key held to perform a copy produces an error message. If a file must be duplicated, it must first be brought online by opening it or by using the contextual menu.