ArchiveConnect User Guide


File Archiving and Mac clients

File Archiving is a data storage technique that automatically moves infrequently accessed files from the file servers you routinely use to an alternative location. This frees up storage space on the file server. Files that have been archived remain visible on the file server but really only exist in the archive. These files are considered to be "offline". When you attempt to access an offline file, the file archiving system will automatically move the data from the archive to the file server, bringing this data "online".

Microsoft Windows includes features for showing the status of offline files and selectively bringing them online. Mac OS X does not include these same features. The Mac OS X Finder typically reads from a large number of files during routine file browsing and doing so causes each of the files to be migrated from the file archive to the file server. If the Finder reads from many files, it undermines the purpose of file archiving, as lots of unneeded files will be brought online.

How ArchiveConnect enables access to file archives from the Mac client

ArchiveConnect is an application that enables Macs to access file servers that contain archived files, without triggering the unintended retrieval of offline files. ArchiveConnect restricts the Finder's ability to read the contents of files until you choose to open them by double-clicking or until you select the "Bring online" option from a Finder contextual menu. By default, ArchiveConnect only keeps the Finder from accidentally bringing files online. Other applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, will still be able to bring unintended files online, if file servers containing archived files are browsed from their File - Open menus. Your system administrator has the option of blocking all applications from accessing offline files and requiring that the "Bring online" Finder contextual menu be used to recall any necessary offline files. Further details are provided in the next section.

Using ArchiveConnect

With ArchiveConnect installed, server-based files will be presented somewhat differently in the Mac OS X Finder. ArchiveConnect restricts the Finder's ability to read offline files without your intervention. For this reason, file icon previews, such as those shown for images, may not be available. Instead, you will see a generic icon for these files. In addition, features such as Quick Look will not be available for offline files.

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 "Zero KB", which typically indicates that they are offline. ArchiveConnect requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

In order to open an offline file, it needs to be brought online. This process may also be referred to as "recalling" a file.

A single file can be brought online by simply double-clicking it, as you normally would. Once the file has been recalled, it will open automatically. If the file is large, there may be a noticeable delay while the file is retrieved.

One or more files can also be brought online by selecting them in the Finder. Once all required files are selected, right-click or control-click the file(s) to open the Finder contextual menu and select Bring Online. On Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, this command is located in the More sub-menu. On Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, it is located directly in the contextual menu.

You will be presented with the number and total size of the files selected and asked to confirm that you would like to recall the files. Select Recall to continue or Cancel to abort.

It is also possible to right click on a folder and bring any offline files within that folder online.

You will again be asked to confirm that you would like to recall the contents of the folder. If offline files exist directly in the selected folder and also in subfolders contained within the selected folder, you will be presented with the option to recall just the offline files directly in the selected folder or all offline files in that folder and all of its subfolders. To recall only offline files directly in the folder, select Recall. To recall all offline files in the selected folder and all of its subfolders, select Recall all.

Copying offline files from the file server to your Mac

Offline files must first be brought online before they can be copied to your Mac. An error message will be displayed if you attempt to copy an offline file from the file server without first bringing it online.

Bring Online Explicitly option

In order to prevent applications other than the Finder from bringing unintended files online, your systems administrator has the option of enabling a 'Bring Online Explicitly' option. This option blocks any attempt to bring a file online, except for the use of the Bring Online contextual menu option.

If you attempt to open an offline file on a file server with this option enabled, you will receive a Finder error such as the following:

In order to access the file, you will first need to bring it online using the contextual menu.

Right-click on the file and select Bring Online. Once the file has been recalled, you will be able to open it.

Notes and Common Issues

Applications can bring unintended files online

Even with ArchiveConnect installed, files may inadvertently be brought online if you browse folders using an application's file open dialog. This is because ArchiveConnect, by default, only restricts file open requests for the Finder. An example of this behavior would be browsing files from Adobe Photoshop.

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 browsing the file's folder at or just before the time it was brought online and will resolve itself after a short period of time.

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

For an offline file on an SMB (Windows File Sharing) 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.