1.3 Key Concepts of Archive and Version Services

Novell Archive and Version Services for OES 2 Linux saves versions of user files at scheduled intervals, stores file versions in an archive database, and makes file versions available on demand to users. Novell Open Enterprise Server installs Novell Archive and Version Services by default as part of the OES 2 Linux install. However, the service does not run until you configure and start it. For information, see Section 5.0, Setting Up Archive and Version Services.

It is important to understand several key concepts and tools:

1.3.1 The Archive Server

The archive server runs Novell Archive and Version Services for OES 2 Linux, which includes the following services:

  • Allowing users to search and restore file versions

  • Versions of files based of configurable epoch intervals

  • Non-intrusive backup of files

  • Full access control, Workgroup based access

  • Increased productivity

An archive server and the volumes resides in the same Novell eDirectory tree.

Novell Archive and Version Services supports several storage topologies, as shown in the following figure. Because file versions are transferred in decrypted format, the archive server should reside behind the corporate firewall. Any transfer of files during file versioning or restoration should occur over a secure connection such as a virtual private network (VPN). The volumes with files to be versioned can reside on local or remote servers and in single or clustered configurations.

For information, see Planning for Archive and Version Services.

Figure 1-1 Example of Storage Topologies Supported by Novell Archive and Version Services


ArkManager is the software component that manages the file version process. This guide refers to Archive server as the server which runs the arkManager software.

For each archive server, you must configure the server’s basic properties, optionally configure default job settings, and configure properties for one or more individual jobs. Basic properties include details about the archive server and database. Default job properties specify the property settings to use instead of property settings specific to a particular job. An individual job specifies the property settings to use when archiving file versions for a specified volume that resides in the same eDirectory tree as the archive server.

The Archive Versioning plug-in for Novell Archive and Version Services allows you to configure server, defaults, and job settings and to manage jobs. For information, see Configuring Jobs in iManager.

1.3.2 The Archive Database

Novell Archive and Version Services 2.1 for Linux uses an PostgreSQL database. PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) based on POSTGRES package.

The Archive server stores the metadata information of the versions of the files in the PostgreSQL database. The database is known as the Archive database and resides on the Archive server.

1.3.3 NSS Volumes

  • Primary Volume: The Primary volume contains the user files to be versioned.

  • Archive Volume: The Archive volume contains the versions of the user files.

1.3.4 Versioning Jobs

A versioning job captures copies of eligible files on a specified source volume at specified intervals. Eligible files are those that exist in the source volume at the time the volume is versioned, meet the general versioning criteria, and pass any administrator-specified filtering criteria. You can define only one job for a given source volume.

Each job identifies the settings for the following properties. For details, see Section 3.4, Understanding Job Properties.

Table 1-1 Overview of Job Properties




The unique, administrator-specified job name that represents the relationship between the archive server and a given source volume. The job name persists for the life of the archive server and can represent only the specified source volume.


The OES 2 Linux server where the data to be versioned is located.

Mount Point

The OES 2 Linux NSS volume where the data to be versioned is located. Each volume can be the target of only one versioning job.

Snapshot Pool

The OES 2 Linux NSS pool where the snapshots of the source volume are temporarily stored while file versions are written to the archive database.

Free Space ID

ID of the free space object to be used for storing snapshot data. For example, /dev/hda.


Specifies the number of sectors on free space to be used for storing snapshot data. The value needs to be an integer, for example, 409600.


Sets criteria to determine which files in the source volume are eligible for versioning.

Run Schedule

Specifies when to start the job and the frequency for running the job

Delete Policy

Determines the lifetime of file versions in the archive.

Archive Version Services is not supported on iFolder and Novell Distributed File Service.

1.3.5 Job Schedules

You must establish a schedule for each versioning job that meets users’ requirements for file versioning, given limited storage and bandwidth resources. Versioning occurs for eligible files at scheduled intervals, called epochs. In Novell iManager, you can also manually pause versioning jobs and run jobs on demand, as needed.

A file’s lifetime must span the end of an epoch to be versioned. Only files that exist when the versioning occurs are eligible to be versioned. If a user creates and deletes a file within the epoch, it cannot be versioned.

For more information, see Section 3.4.3, Run Schedule.

1.3.6 File Versions

File versions are actual copies of files taken at scheduled intervals, as determined by the administrator. No matter how many changes users makes to files during an epoch, only those eligible files that exist at the end of the epoch are saved.

Novell Archive and Version Services 2.1 for OES 2 Linux can use NSS pool snapshot technology to capture point-in-time copies of all files, even if the file is in use when the versioning process begins. If the snapshot option is not used, the versioning process captures only eligible files that are not deleted and not exclusively opened at the time.

User needs and limited storage and bandwidth resources are key considerations for setting the criteria to determine which files are eligible for versioning. Files can be filtered to include or exclude source files, according to their path, file extension, or filename patterns. If a user’s files meet the filtering criteria, they are eligible for versioning. For information, see Section 3.4.5, Filter.

Users do not have direct control over which of their files get versioned, when the versioning occurs, or the state of their files when the epoch ends and the copy is made. Users can access files natively with the NSS File Version Utility on a SLED 10/ SLED 10 SP1 or Windows 2000/ XP/ Vista desktop, or they can access their file versions at any time and from anywhere using the NetStorage Archive function. For information, see the OES 2 SP3: Novell Archive and Version Services 2.1 User Guide.

1.3.7 Delete Policy

The Delete Policy determines when and which of a job’s file versions to automatically delete from the archive database. Versioned files can have a limited lifetime in the archive. You optionally configure a job’s Delete Policy to set the maximum keep time and the maximum number of versions to retain. The Delete Policy can allow indefinite retention of at least one most recent versioned file.

For more information, see Section 3.4.4, Delete Policy.

1.3.8 Archive Versioning Plug-In for Novell iManager

After you configure your archive server and its versioning jobs, you can use the Archive Versioning plug-in for Novell iManager to manage those jobs. You can start and stop jobs, view a list of jobs, and view information about jobs, such as their current status, configuration details, and run schedules. You can also view the ArkManager log, which lists all normal, warning, and error messages for each job on the archive server.

For information, see Section 7.1, Accessing the Archive Versioning Plug-In in iManager.

1.3.9 Versioning Policy

The Versioning Policy determines the criteria to filter the type of files to be versioned, duration and number of versions retained for a given volume. To access this information, the user right-clicks the versioning icon in the system tray and selects View Versioning Policy.

1.3.10 NSS File Version Utility

The NSS File Version Utility provides convenient and direct access in a native Windows 2000/ XP/ Vista or SLED 10/ SLED 10 SP 1 environment to archived versions of user files. The utility integrates with your desktop to provide a Restored Archived Versions option, which allows users to view recent versions of their files and restore the desired file. Users select the desired version of the file, then click Restore to view the file locally or to restore the file version to a network storage location.

The NSS File Version Utility, is provided on the Welcome page. For information about using the utility, see the Novell Archive and Version Services User Guide.

1.3.11 NetStorage Archive Function

File versions reside in the archive database on the archive server. Users can restore file versions from the archive database at any time from anywhere using the Archive function in Novell NetStorage. Using the NetStorage interface in the enterprise portal, a user views a list of available versions of a file. The user simply selects the previous version of the file, then clicks Restore to download the file version to a specified location where the user has the necessary permissions.

If a user restores the file version to a OES 2 Linux NSS storage location, the archive server recovers the file version and all the rights and metadata about the file. If a user opts to download the file version elsewhere, the file is saved as a new file, without the prior rights and associations.

For information, see the OES 2 SP3: Novell Archive and Version Services 2.1 User Guide.