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Multiple Office / DFS

Overview

OpenAsset supports multiple offices with a robust and proven architecture used by many of our clients. While the web server and database are located at a single office, the stores of images in OpenAsset can be replicated to any number of other offices. This ensures the other offices always have easy access to the images even in the case of inter-office networking failure. 

Image Storage

Offices with their own image store will have a complete copy of every image in OpenAsset. This image store is just a standard file system organised in a logical manner that if necessary can be browsed through. 

OpenAsset can store the images it catalogues on:

  • the same machine as the OpenAsset server
  • separate storage, including NAS boxes and SANs
  • other physical locations, such as offices abroad
 
When OpenAsset catalogues an image it generates a read-only copy of the file in any number of locations on your local or remote networks. Whether you have a single office with 30 employees or 10 offices with 2000 employees  in 5 countries in different time zones, OpenAsset provides a solution. 

DFS Setup

DFS is built into Windows 2003 R2 Server and later and nullifies the need for netmask ordering and DNS.

Active Directory Configuration

We have a “Site” under Active Directory Sites and Services for each office (AA, BB, DD). The sites are associated with all of the subnets in each office. That allows a computer in DD to know to look at the DD file server.

DFS Replication

We will assume that DD is the location of the primary image store for OpenAsset. Images should only be replicated from the primary image store onto the secondary image stores in the other offices. Setup a DFS replication group sending files from DD to each of the other offices, but not in the other direction.

Namespace Setup

Finally setup a Namespace that direct users to the appropriate server for that site.

Common Questions

Here are some common questions we answer on OpenAsset support:

What happens when there is a inter-office network failure?

As the OpenAsset image store is just a normal (read only) set of well named directories, should the web server be unavailable due to networking failure your users can still get to their images very easily. They could even in these extreme cases use a basic thumbnail browser such as Picassa from Google or Adobe Bridge to view and browse through the images.
 

When are the images replicated?

When you upload an image to OpenAsset it is immediately replicated out to all the other image stores. It therefore ensures there is immediate availability to an image in any of your offices.
 
 

How does DNS work with multiple image stores?

When you drag and drop an image from OpenAsset into an application such as InDesign a UNC path is handed to the application. For example:  \\OpenAsset\Projects\1234\1234_Facade.jpg
 
The application will then translate the server name into an IP address using DNS. For example: London =  192.168.1.100
 
However with multiple image stores you need to ensure your DNS server gives an address based on the location of the user.  For example:
London = 192.168.1.100
Hong Kong = 172.16.0.40
New York = 10.0.0.50
 
With Windows DNS server this is very simple:
  • Add multiple type A addresses for the server name (“openasset” in this example)
  • Enable netmask ordering, which returns addresses based on a users subnet / proximity
  • Turn off the round robin feature that randomizes a returned DNS list

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Last modified
07:25, 20 Mar 2015

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