by June 7, 2006 0 comments



Setting up quotas on your storage is an efficient way to
manage misuse. However, Win 2003 servers did not provide much in the way of
letting administrators do this efficiently other than setting up limits on how
much can be used. There was no way to find out, for instance, how that space was
being utilized or who was flouting internal directives and storing files of
unacceptable nature on the server space. The refresh release of the Windows
server, ‘R2’ solves these problems by providing you with features like
extensive and customizable file screening, scheduled reporting as well as the
ability to find out exactly who is storing what. In this article, we will take
you through what is possible in this direction and how to achieve it.

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File type grouping
Create groups of file types (called a ‘file screen template’) to setup
various controls on files of that type. For example, if you don’t want the
hassle of listing out the hundred-odd image file extensions every time you need
to manage them, simply create a template (say ‘picture files’) and add your
extensions to that. If certain file extensions need to be excluded, simply move
them off the particular group (and possibly into another one). Now that groups
have been created, you can ban them, view what files are being stored by those
types and so on. To create file groups, open the FSRM (File Server Resource
Manager) console and the File Screen Management node  and ‘File Groups’
under it. To create a group, you need to specify a name for the group and add
filename pattern filters.  You can add two types of filters here-those to
include in the group and those to exclude from it. File exclusion is required in
some circumstances. For instance, you create a group called ‘Approval
Documents’ which can be a set of all files of type DOC and XLS, but you wish
to exclude all DOC files that have the word ‘request’ (‘*request*.doc’,
‘*request*.xls’) in it.

The FSRM report will tell you exactly what large files are there and who own’s them. Use this info for fine tuning quota settings

Per path limits
Earlier, it was only possible to create quotas on volumes. That is, you
could limit the space used by a user on ‘D’ drive, but not into
‘D:\Public’. Win 2003 R2 lets you define per path quotas. So, users can
different quota limits within different folders on the same drive. This greatly
enhances your ability to manage your storage resources better depending on what
each share-folder is used for. By default,  R2’s quota manager creates
per-path quotas. To create a new quota entry, you need to open FSRM>’Quota
Management’>’Quotas’. Select the path, and define the quota’s
parameters. To make life easy, you can derive the quota’s limits, filters and
exclusions from predefined quota templates.

 When you select the first ‘Create quota on path’
option instead of the one to apply it onto all existing and new subfolders, the
quota is only applied at the root level of the path you select. To have it
propagate to child folders which may be created at a later date as well as have
it propagate into existing ones, you need to select the second option.

Ban and monitor files
You can prevent people from storing files of a certain type, size or
combination of both and this can again be done per path. You can directly
configure your server to reject any storage attempt of ‘Music and Video files
over 10 MB in size from the Public\Media share’. This is called a ‘file
screen.’ You can define your own file screens from the ‘File Screening
Management’ node in the FSRM console. Again, file screens can be setup on a
per path basis. You can setup file screens on an ‘Active’ or a ‘Passive’
basis. Active screens will thwart attempts by users to place those files (in
that path). Passive ones are only for monitoring purposes, and setup alerts to
notify yourself, the administrator of the system, the user, the support
personnel and so on about disk usage patterns. You also have the ability to
select multiple file groups to monitor.

Reports
The way to find out what to fine-tune and where a configuration may be
bettered is through proper reports. R2’s file server management lets you
generate flexible reports on a schedule and sent to you as e-mail. These reports
can be on a variety of fully selectable and customizable parameters. For
instance, one can create a report of all the files above a certain file size
stored by a particular group of users and on particular shares every Saturday at
6 pm and sent on to that server’s administrator. These reports use graphs and
tables to present information. The administrator can then use the report data to
determine if further fine tuning or disk clean-up procedures are necessary. Two
very useful reports in this direction are: reports of duplicate files on the
server and disk usage pattern. Both can be accessed directly from the list on
the Scenario selection screen when you click on the ‘File Server Management’
root node in the console. Users on file servers can frequently have the same
files-typically these are files they have received individually, or downloaded
from the Internet. The report can help you locate the files precisely down to
the exact folder where it is stored. You can then selectively move them (not a
feature of the report) to a common location and reclaim disk space.

FSRM allows you to schedule reports and have them either
saved to disk (default) or send them to an email address you specify. If
selected to be saved to disk, are saved in ‘WINDOWS_DRIVE\ StorageReports’
folder. You can have reports run immediately using the ‘Generate Reports
Now’ from the menu. To generate a report, you need to select the paths, the
type of report you want with customization and select a file format type (DHTML,
HTML, XML, CSV or Text). When you schedule a report, you can edit its
parameters. This is not possible when you ask for immediate runs, because the
report task when running is locked against edits and is deleted after it is run.

These features definitely  take the ease of managing
disk space on your Windows server box a notch higher. Now, you can find out
exactly how much space is being used by  each user and what they are
storing, and what duplicate files are on the disk. You also get to set up quotas
at a much granular level than before.

Sujay V Sarma

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