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Speed up User Access to Large Remote Files

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Andrew Barker

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Posted: 29 Oct 2004

Many our users required occasional access to files on multiple remote servers across WAN links, most often for reading only, but also they needed to be able to update files when necessary. Users complained that opening large files from a mapped drive or UNC path was typically very slow.

Some users often roamed between several sites and required permanent drive mappings to servers at each site, which often resulted in slow workstation performance and saturation of WAN links.

By using a combination of ZENworks and NetWare Management Portal we have been able to eliminate the drives mapped to servers across WAN links, reduce WAN traffic caused by Windows accessing the mapped drives, and significantly speed up user access to large remote files.

Users now have one or more appropriately named ZENworks icons on their desktop, which start Internet Explorer and open a web page providing HTTP access to the required files on the remote server after the users enter their password.

By making use of ZEN to start Internet Explorer the user's full distinguished name can be passed to IE and automatically enter into the IE authentication box. This is done by using the %DN% variable in ZEN combined with the appropriate syntax for IE. See example.

Normal NetWare security still applies using this method, and users get the same rights they would have if using a mapped drive.

The users find this solution to be much more flexible, much faster and very easy to use. Users have the option of opening a file directly from the web page or downloading a local copy of it. On the rare occasion users need to modify a remote file, the upload function in the NetWare Management Portal provides this. All users that are using this solution have commented on how much easier and better this is.

Some sites are using this method to provide access to a central repository of corporate forms and procedures from remote sites, where previously they had been synchronizing these files to multiple remote servers every night.

As users are already used to accessing the Internet, this solution required almost no user training, just a very brief explanation or demonstration taking about 2 minutes, which is provided over the phone.

EXAMPLE: Executable "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE"

Parameters "http://%DN%:1@servername:8008/vol1/groups"

The "%DN%:1@" passes the user's full distinguished name to IE (the :1 doesn't really have any meaning in this solution but is the syntax by IE for this to work).

Change the servername and path as necessary. Multiple ZEN apps can be created to connect to different paths and or servers if required.

This solution can most probably be configured for different Internet browsers if the correct syntax is known.

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