Novell Updates File Management, Collaboration Tools

Novell adds interface and navigation enhancements for added visibility and management to its latest release.

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Software and IT services specialist Novell announced several solution upgrades focused on file management and collaboration to address enterprise customers' need for secure, productive sharing environments, including updated versions of three of its platforms: Filr 1.1, File Reporter 2.5 and Storage Manager 4.0.

The Filr 1.1 release includes new admin features, such as improvements to net folders, as well as multiple performance improvements related to indexing, synchronization and load management.

Novell has also included interface and navigation enhancements for added visibility and management.

"The exponential growth of unstructured data is driven primarily by files stored and/or shared by end users. The rapid growth of these files creates storage bloat on a network, which can pose a problem for some companies in terms of managing their storage costs," Tom Scearce, senior product marketing manager at Novell, told eWEEK. "Equally or more problematic is the difficulty for IT leaders to know the contents of these unstructured files. They may contain all manner of sensitive information—customer data, financial data, access logs, logins and passwords, sensitive internal memos, chemical formulas, innovative industrial designs, algorithms, trade secrets and other intellectual property. The list goes on."

Also, with the new release, users can manage the Filr app on the mobile devices of users in the company's system, as well as view devices that have accessed the Filr system and wipe the Filr data on specific devices as needed.

In addition, there are Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) improvements, including an updated interface with a tabbed view, an LDAP browser for selecting users and containers in your directory for LDAP configuration, support for non-unique group names, and the ability to filter users and groups on Sync Results pages.

New end-user features include mobile app enhancements (including Windows Phone support). The new app offers the ability to copy and move files and folders (iOS and Android only), share using a File Link (iOS and Android only), and thumbnail displays for viewed images.

The Android mobile client includes integration with Storage Access Framework, which provides users with tighter integration among apps on the device.

Drag-and-drop improvements result in easier, more intuitive functionality for adding files to a folder or area (such as the My Files area), while users who are sharing folders and files can modify the share settings of multiple other users simultaneously, and users can distribute a link (URL) to a file that allows authorized users to access that file.

File Reporter Version 2.5 allows users to generate customized reports by crafting their own database query. The report data is extracted from the scan and generated into a report in delimited text format or a custom report layout through the new report designer.

Custom query report data can be further customized for layout and presentation from a Windows workstation with the Report Designer, and stored reports can now be downloaded and viewed from a Windows workstation with the Report Viewer application.

Finally, Novell's Storage Manager 4.0 update allows users to copy data across the network while preserving rights, ownership, access dates and other metadata without the need for a policy and move files in two stages—closed files first, then open files.

Customers can also now use any version of Microsoft SQL Server—including the free SQL Server Express. Included is a utility for migrating the policies and other content from the previous (SQLite) database to the new one.

"File sharing in the past was mostly done between employees. IT created shared resources and controlled access to those. If a user had to share a file with a person external to the organization, email was used in most cases," Scearce said. "Today, users demand access to their files regardless of where they are and what device they are using. This, of course, introduces a whole new level of complexity and risks. Corporate files get stored on employee devices and policies and solutions need to be in place to protect those."