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Our company uses Symantec Enterprise Vault to archive network folders and files, presumably to save on disk space. I can't see any other benefits.

Our company is an architectural firm, and the problem our users face is locating particular images in network folders. Because all the files are archived, Windows Explorer is unable to generate image thumbnails. Each image needs to be individually restored from archive by double-click before it can be viewed. This is a big time-waster for our architects.

Symantec say there is no workaround for this.

Does anyone know of an alternative we could use for archiving images?

Alternatively, some batch utility to create and maintain a thumbs.db file in each folder?


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You might consider looking into a different solution/technology like possibly ZFS with its compression and maybe even deduplication (a.k.a. SIS - Single Instance Storage) technologies.

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ZFS will not help matters - since these are images, they are likely to be compressed already. Since they are compressed, deduplication will not help except in the case of exact copies. What will help however is a hierarchical storage system. – the-wabbit Jun 29 '11 at 10:17
That's assuming that there are no duplicated files which are already compressed. The compression assumption may be way off based on - "Because all the files are archived, Windows Explorer is unable to generate image thumbnails." – user48838 Jun 29 '11 at 13:06

Without knowing more about your actual requirements, it is difficult to recommend a product. You might look into hierarchical storage management as a possible solution. Solaris introduced SAM-FS a while ago, which would allow the administrator to seamlessly and transparently map data on archive storage into the filesystem.

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So what about the possible "Windows Explorer is unable to generate image thumbnails" requirement? Does/can it address that? – user48838 Jun 29 '11 at 13:07
As SAM-FS is transparent, it does, yes. You would need to expose the dataset (typically you would set this up upon zfs) via SMB to the clients. The big drawback with this solution is that your storage (archival as well as primary) would have to be nearly all-oracle (you could mount in 3rd party storage via NFS or SMB of course, but the head would have to be Oracle). – the-wabbit Jun 29 '11 at 14:15
"typically you would set this up upon zfs" Hey... Isn't that a "180" from your comment of "ZFS will not help matters"??? Are you contradicting yourself? I don't see any actual requirements for a replacement File Manager layer in the OP since it is stated that the users are using Windows Explorer to navigate through the existing system/arrangement??? – user48838 Jun 29 '11 at 14:34
The implementation of SAM-FS is Solaris-specific and Solaris' filesystem of choice is ZFS. ZFS alone will not help though, so there is no contradiction. Furthermore, there are other HSM systems which natually would not rely upon Solaris or ZFS. Symantec Enterprise Vault installs a filesystem filter where actual files are replaced by "placeholders" - something that is not transparent for file access. This is different with most HSM solutions, hence the recommendation for replacement. – the-wabbit Jun 30 '11 at 8:57

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