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No More AD Chaos

Novell File Management Suite Brings Even Greater Control to File Storage in Active Directory Environments

Written by Ken Baker

Novell recently released an update to Novell File Management Suite, an offering that combines Novell expertise in file storage and identity technologies to deliver intelligent file management. With integration between Active Directory and the following three Novell products, the suite works together to provision, relocate, optimize and report on file storage based on user roles and customized business policies:

  • Novell Storage Manager
  • Novell File Reporter
  • Novell Dynamic File Services

Policy Power

The major update to Novell File Management Suite is that its Novell Storage Manager component now delivers feature parity between Active Directory and Novell eDirectory environments. The significant enhancements in this new version of Novell Storage Manager bring to Active Directory environments the same powerful file-level management capabilities that used to be available only in eDirectory environments. In short, there is no longer a requirement for any Novell infrastructure to enjoy the full benefits of Novell File Management Suite.

Novell Storage Manager ties together the directory, identity and file systems, enabling organizations to align user storage resources with corporate policy. The product accomplishes this by dynamically managing and provisioning storage based on user and group events that occur in either Novell eDirectory or Microsoft Active Directory.

Prior to this update, Novell Storage Manager could only manage file storage in a user's home folder in Active Directory environments. Now it has the ability to manage almost every aspect of storage as it relates to Active Directory users and groups, including auxiliary or collaborative storage (discrete pieces of storage associated with a user or group).

Much of the power in Novell Storage Manager comes from its ability to apply a variety of changes to file-level storage based on policies that you define. For example, when users are created in Active Directory, a policy can dictate that home folders—as well as personal storage in collaborative or group folders—be created for those users with specific rights and permissions based on their roles in the organization. This can be especially helpful for Active Directory administrators who—by corporate policy—don’t want users to have “full rights” in their folders that Active Directory assigns by default.

In the past, to correct Active Directory’s over-assigning of rights, administrators would either have to manually scale the rights backs or create scripts to change those rights assignments. Novell Storage Manager does away with this need for scripts or manual rights adjustment. You simply create a policy that dictates what rights you want users to have, and Novell Storage Manager will assign those rights upon user creation. (See Figure 1.) The policy can also be used to change the rights and permissions of existing users and their storage.

Additionally, if you have corporate user storage policies that your administrators are supposed to adhere to when they set up user accounts, Novell Storage Manager can automatically implement those policies to save your administrators time and ensure compliance.

But policy enforcement isn’t limited to the assignment of rights and the creation of storage folders. In your Active Directory environment you can use Novell Storage Manager policies to govern what types of files users can store and how much storage they can have. For example, Novell Storage Manager provides what it refers to as file grooming and scrubbing capabilities. These new features—available to the Active Directory version for the first time—allow administrators to set policies that remove file types that the organization deems inappropriate for network storage. These file types might be MP3 or .AVI files, or files associated with specific MIME types like video or audio. When Novell Storage Manager finds any of these file types- based on policy - it can remove the files and either delete them or vault them to another storage device.

In terms of how much storage users can have, Novell Storage Manager now enables Active Directory environments to set quotas for users and groups. As part of this effort, you can use reports provided by Novell File Reporter (see File Storage Reporting) to get an overview of how storage space is being used by your users. Using the sizing information provided by these reports, you can create storage quota policies in Novell Storage Manager that provide appropriate storage capacity for different user types, as well as prevent unnecessary storage consumption by individual users.

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