Top 3 Most Wanted Services From ITS: #3) A Network Drive

I like simple solutions. Tools that don't require me to read user manuals or help files. Tools that get out of my way to help me do my job. Tools that are easily integrated, easy to use, and do one thing and do that one thing well.

Back when I worked at Weatherhead, we had these things called M: drives. They were incredibly simple, and they were the most popular service we offered second only to the Exchange server. All we did to setup the service was buy a big Windows NT server with lots of hard disk (it was later upgraded to a NAS). I think it cost around 40k. We attached it to our NT 4.0 domain, had folders created for each user shared via SMB, and stuck a one-liner into the domain logon script so that the drives were automatically mounted to a user's computer if he or she logged into the domain. It was beautifully simple. And it worked wonderfully! I think they had 50MB quotas, but that was plenty enough back then to store your academic documents, resume, Outlook backup, mish-mash of presentations and word documents, and whatever else.

At the University level, I think a service like that would be great. I would change it in a couple of ways. SMB sharing should still be there, but WebDAV should also. I would like two drives, one labeled "public" and one labeled "private" (with the obvious functionality associated with each). And a bit bigger on the quotas, maybe 100MB for each drive. But that's it — minor changes to a very similar implementation.

There has been a project bouncing around inside ITS called OCS. It stands for "Oracle Collaboration Suite" and was mentioned in this January's edition of the ITS newsletter. Several times we have had internal pre-Alpha versions of the software up, and a couple of times I have tried to configure it in such a way to act just like the M: drives acted (seems like something that should be easy). Each time, I spent 60-90 minutes clicking around and poking through the 70.1MB of documentation on how to use the system and could never quite get it right. In all fairness though, that documentation covers all of the aspects of the Collaboration System which, yes, does come with a kitchen sink component.

There are other services out there that can serve as a network drive right now. let's you share your photos online., run by the EECS department, lets you upload and download arbitrary files and provides WebDAV access. You can mount your blog's root through WebDAV, and I have actually been using that fairly often as my network drive. I take what I can get.

But for my #3 most wanted new ITS service, I would like an official University network drive, 2 of them, labeled "public" and "private" available via SMB and WebDAV.


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Top 3 Most Wanted Services From ITS
Excerpt: This was originally one entry; one big, long entry. But I am always put off by entries that require me...
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Tracked: January 30, 2006 03:42 PM


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