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Remote Server Access

Remote Server Access

Remote Server Access

Two partners, two offices.  Currently using FTP which copies a file to my hard drive, then I copy it back - partner could be doing same thing at same time on the same file - creates a huge opportunity for problems.  We need a way to access a file remotely, as if we're right in the same office using the same server.  Any suggestions?  TIA.


RE: Remote Server Access

A versioning system may be of some use.  It won't make file transfer any easier, but it will help prevent multiple versions from different people being copied to the same place and overwriting each other.

Dan - Owner

RE: Remote Server Access

What you seem to be asking for is "collaborative software".  I believe the auto companies can do it globally on CAD files.  The stuff they're using may cost more than you'd like to pay.

I would swear that I've seen mention of affordable means to do it on your smaller scale, but I'm not recalling the specifics right now.

The trick, I think, is to have one instance of an application working on one file, e.g. on a server, but to allow two users to share the user interface.  So both users see the same image, but only one at a time can "drive it".

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Remote Server Access

A search on |collaboration software| will get you a lot of fluff about enterprise e-mail systems.

Try instead |"cad collaboration" software|.  There will still be a lot of fluff, but more of it on point.

Collaboration means different things to different people.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Remote Server Access

This is a very fundamental problem.

#1 was how to make two computers share files.
#2 was "oops look what that causes!"

Most programs will understand this problem and prevent it. If! and onlyif you open that file on the same computer.  Nothing else makes sense as changes one person makes may be on changes another person is making so you couldn't "merge" the results anyway.

Set up a VPN as johnwm suggests and leave the file on one computer, (which is a more backup-able scenario anyway), and then just open it there from any site.  The file will most likely be locked by the computer it's on since it is 'open for editing', so a second person going to edit the file will be prevented from doing so and the end result won't be some corrupted amalgamation.

Keith Cress
Flamin Systems, Inc.- http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Remote Server Access


Well, there is a free versioning system that has been out for
quite a while.  CVS is/has been used with quite a bit of
success by large groups of programmers for source control
and versioning system.  CVS is concurrent versioning system
and has been with the 'nix (unix, linux) I believe for more
than a decade.  Quite stable and lots of documentation with

It is designed for remote server file sharing.   The user
checks out a copy of the file sets to his/her local
"sandbox" and plays (modifies) his/her files to their hearts

HOWEVER, when "checking in" the files, if there is a
conflict, an error message is generated and the offending
parties resolve the conflict.

Usually, the software team checks out the file set, and
individual programmers work on individual portions of the
file, then checks the modified files back into the
repository (server that holds the files).  If the sandbox
in the user/programmer system is fairly current, then
there is not much of a problem.  I *THINK* a friend of mine
mentioned that there is a windoze version of a cvs server,
but I'm not sure. I personally wouldn't want to support
a windows cvs server.

Clearcase, as mentioned above, provides a similar file
versioning package that is available for a price.  I'm not
sure, but the last time I looked at it, it was on a "per
seat" basis.  In other words, if you had 10 programmers
and 5 licenses, then only 5 programmers at a time could
hold the licenses and then check in / check out.  They
they would release the license (yeah, right) and then
another would grab the license and do his/her check in/
check out.

Many people swear by clearcase, some of us swear at it.....
YMMV.  I found it overly restrictive personally.

Oh, one other tidbit of cvs.  You can "remotely" transfer
files in and out if your server has access to the internet.
For example, you and your laptop are somewhere in the
wilds of where-ever.  You can specify the server and domain
name in the cvs check in /check out along with a user id
and password.  Allows one to do remote work from an
internet cafe (like I'm doing now) or out in the field.
Data encription can be overlaid upon the data stream.

Alternatively, there is file sharing. I will limit my
discussions to SAMBA, again in the 'nix world.  File sharing
is available through windoze only, however, I'm sure that
others can add much more information with much greater
authority than I can in that realm.  This is where the VPN
(virtual private network) comes into play.  However, there
can be some downsides to this.

If your two offices are remote from each other (i.e. not
on a common LAN, then there might be some significant
slowdowns as files are transfered via the inter/intra net.
And again, there is no "locking" of the files.

SAMBA is a software package that allows a 'nix server to
look like a file server for windoze boxes.  I believe
however, that you will have to manually lock and unlock
files with this subsystem.

If it were 'nix to 'nix, then NFS (network file system)
would be the way to go, but I'm making the assumption that
windoze is the client operating system.  The "filesystems"
are mounted and accessed normally after that. There is
still the speed of the network limitation that may cause
problems.  One other quirk I've noticed is that NFS will
hang for quite a while while trying to access the file
server.  I would in my rc.local script make sure that
the file server is up before trying to nfs mount the
file systems.

Hope this little snippet of information is of use.


   Rich S.

RE: Remote Server Access


There might be a fly in the ointment using cvs.  Sorry about
that, I didn't think of it sooner.  CVS is designed to be
a source control package and only plays well with ascii
data.  It does not do well with "cooked" source files, like
word documents and the like.  As the original poster mentioned
that he is structural, then many of his source files might
be binary formatted data files which would render a lot of
the cvs capabilities hampered.

There are "wrapper" file types for including binary files,
however, they can't back reference AFAIK. They can, because
of the wrapper, note when the file is changed.  The cvs
documentation covers this in more detail.

Sorry I didn't think of this sooner.


   Rich S.

RE: Remote Server Access

Hello Everyone!

Your environment seems to be really basic (I hope I'm not over-simplifying) and your need for remote file sharing and version control can be easily addressed.

Take a look at WebDrive; I've not personally used this tool but a developer friend of mine uses it to work with other developers across the US and I understand they've completed complex projects using this tool to collaborate.

You can find detailed information here: http://www.webdrive.com/products/webdrive/index.html

I hope it works for you...

Martin Ayon
Software Engineer

RE: Remote Server Access

Nice answer here.. I will look into some of them myself..

Keith Cress
Flamin Systems, Inc.- http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Remote Server Access

Thanks for the varied responses!  We ended up going with a VPN (virtual private network) and we just log into it from any remote location and we can open files (without having to save them to our hard drive first) modify them and save them back to the remote server, located in our other office.  The software notifies us if the file is already open, so this seems to work for us.  The only problem is that it is so bloody slow, that it discourages us from working remotely.  Someone suggested that the size of the VPN portal was too small (??).  Does anyone have any thoughts?  Thanks again in advance.

RE: Remote Server Access


There are various "flavors" of DSL available that might be interesting to you.  Most of us have ADSL (Asymentirical DSL), but with some of the "commercial" types available you can get various "SDSL" (Symetrical DSL).

Cable modem type broadbands are even worse.  Many folks share the channel (like the old partyline telephone service) and perceived speeds can vary widely. So, I'll limit my chat to DSL services.

Here SDSL the upload and download speeds are set equally.  In standard ADSL, the upload speed is MUCH lower than the download speed.  This is fine for most users.  Most of the time when playing on the internet, the traffic is mostly from the server to the client.  The response back from the client is usually much smaller.  In your case, your "sharing" machines are actually servers.  Indeed, the traffic from the client to the server is symetrical (just as big a write as a read).

SDSL unfortunately has typically been more expensive than ADSL services.  YMMV, but a quick check with the ISP providers in you area might provide a suitable service for your needs.  Look at getting a higher uplink or upload speed.

Hope this helps.


   Rich S.

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