Best Practice Before Initial Upload To Cloud

Description

This article will cover evaluating your Customers data, environment and permissions before you begin an initial upload and sync.

Requirements

  • A Customer setup in Workplace
  • The data you want to upload
  • The permissions you want to set

The Process

Evaluating the clients existing Data

The first step when setting up a new Workplace team is to evaluate the team, their data and how the team uses and accesses that data.

Some important questions to consider when setting up a new team are:

  • What data do users need access to and what level of permissions should they have for that data?
  • What in particular is the team trying to achieve with implementing the Workplace service?
  • How will users access the data? Workplace Online, Workplace Desktop, Workplace Mobile or a combination of all three?
  • Do you have a significant number of remote employees or employees who work off-site regularly?
  • Will all users access the service, or will some access a centralised data set via the LAN which syncs to the cloud.
  • What data is most important? What files are going to be used frequently and use the Workplace file-sharing features? Organise this key data into projects and sync those projects first.

Do you have sufficient bandwidth

For syncing to function effectively, it is imperative that Workplace Desktop has sufficient bandwidth to successfully transfer files. This concept applies both to the Internet connection and the connection to the local storage, particularly when the storage is not an internal hard drive (e.g. A server or NAS).

Any constraints at any point between the Workplace servers and the storage can cause a bottleneck and have a detrimental affect on syncing.

We recommend performing a test with a moderate size data set to verify that syncing speed is as expected. Please note if you have a large number of small files the syncing speed can appear slow as each file needs to have the metadata transferred first.

Keep in mind that shared volumes can have high load which may affect the throughput of data, so testing should additionally be performed during periods of peak traffic.

File types not suitable for syncing

Files that are simultaneously accessed by multiple people (such as databases or accounting software) or are frequently updated outside of the control of the user (such as email repositories) should not be synced with Cloud services.

Due to the nature of Cloud services and these file types, syncing such files will result in unexpected consequences and potential data loss.

For full details, refer to this article.

The best practice for these files types is to store them on a locally-accessible drive and then use Workplace's backup feature.

File count per project

For cloud services to operate, a mechanism must track when changes are made, and initiate the syncing process - most commonly a kind of database. The number of entries in that database file increases with every file and folder added. While this is not very different from how local storage works, cloud storage must also watch all the files in the database for changes and begin a syncing sequence when a change occurs. For this reason, cloud storage is sensitive to file count. Keeping file count to a minimum ensure the underlying mechanism functions efficiently.

While Workplace has no restrictions on the number of files that can be stored, to ensure best performance we recommend keeping the total file count within each project to less than 100,000 files.

This recommendation is per project - there is no limit on the number of projects that can be created.

There are a range of variables (network speed and quality, machine specifications, available resource on the machine, amount of data syncing, etc.) that will affect the performance of the Workplace service - in some scenarios you may find no degradation with much larger file counts.

While it isn't possible to account for all the possible variables, keeping projects small (in terms of file count) is strongly advised to ensure all recipients of a project enjoy fast, reliable syncing. Additionally, by splitting the data set into multiple projects, the data is easier to administer, both with regard to relocating data and, more importantly, setting permissions.

The Workplace permissions model

Workplace's permission model may be different from those you've used before. Traditional permission models are often difficult for average users to use. As a result, they are assigned to the IT staff to implement and manage. Once implemented, permissions can be difficult to keep track of, so it's not clear who has access to what.

Workplace makes providing and managing access easy, so that both IT staff and novice end-users can use them to ensure that their data is safe.

It's critical that you understand the following properties of the Workplace permissions model, because you may wish to re-organise your data structure to ensure long-term management of user access is kept simple. It's also important to understand these properties to ensure that only authorised users have access to the

  • Permissions are granular, meaning you can provide access to only certain folder within a project if desired. If you want team members to only have access to specific folders, then only share those specific folders with them. They will see the project and folder structure leading to the shared folder, but will not see any other folders or files in the project structure.
  • Permissions are inherited. Any folders and files within the project or folder you have shared will automatically have the same permissions applied to them.
  • A lower level of permissions cannot be applied than the inherited permission. For instance, if you have given Full Access to a project, you cannot restrict that Team Member to Read-Only or Modify permissions for any of the contents of that project. This also means that access cannot be restricted to a folder or file within a project or folder that has been shared.
  • Permissions can be increased for sub-folders. For instance, if you've granted Read-Only at the project level, you can grant Modify access to a sub-folder and Full Access to a sub-folder with that sub-folder.

Provision minimum required permissions

We recommend always providing the minimum permissions necessary. Permissions can always be amended later; this is easier to do than trying to locate and correct a carefully crafted folder structure that has been unwittingly changed by a user.

We recommend providing a low level of permissions (or no permissions) at a project level and possibly the first level of the folder structure within each project. By granting only the absolutely necessary permissions to the actual working folders required by the users, you will ensure the integrity of your folder structure.

By restricting permissions, accidental deletions can be avoided. While Workplace makes it easy to restore deleted files, it is an unnecessary disruption that can easily be avoided by applying the minimum required permissions.

Leverage permissions with groups

To reduce the administrative task of sharing with several users, we recommend organising users into Groups via Workplace Online > Team > Groups.

By placing users in groups, permissions can be granted to the entire group, thereby reducing the amount of steps to grant access to a project or folder.

File name constraints

While Workplace has no restrictions on file name length, Operating Systems do. In particular, Microsoft Windows has a file path limit of 255 characters. As the default path for the Workplace folder is within the user folder, this could result in an increase in the file path length if the current location of the files is in a root level folder. While this scenario is rare, it will cause syncing issues due to the Microsoft Windows restriction.

Note that Workplace Manager does not sync hidden files/folders. This includes any file name where the first character is a period (.), as this denotes a hidden file in the Mac Operating System.

For more information, refer to File Name Constraints and Best Practices.

Restructure the data

Before deploying Workplace, we strongly recommend that you restructure the data with the above concepts in mind. While each scenario is unique and will require a customised folder structure, if you consider the current usage in the context of how Workplace functions and apply this to the data, you will ensure best performance and easier administration.

Prioritise the data upload

The last preparatory step is to have a clear understanding of which projects should be uploaded first. Dependant on the data, the initial upload can take a long time.

To ensure the team can begin using the Workplace service as soon as possible, assess what data is most frequently accessed and is most critical for the team to work on collaboratively. With this in mind, plan which projects will be uploaded first.

Once the key projects are uploaded, then upload the lower priority projects, leaving the least important data to be uploaded last.

Leverage the Workplace implementation features

Some features of the Workplace service can be particularly useful during deployment. We recommend reviewing these features in full to gain a clear comprehension of the functionality:

Project Loader

The Project Loader feature can save a massive amount of time and bandwidth when getting your team in sync. The Project Loader allows a local data source to be specified - this local data source is then scanned, and any files that are precise matches to those in the specified project are copied from the local source and linked to the counterpart in the Workplace service. This means this actual files do not have to be downloaded but merely copied and linked, saving time and bandwidth.

Once complete, any files available in the Workplace service that were not copied from the local source will be synced down to ensure a complete, locally-cached project.

Folder Sync

By default, all projects are synced to the Workplace folder. The Folder Sync feature allows projects to be synced to alternative locations. This is particularly useful when deploying in an environment where the team wants to retain the current folder structure and not move the data to the Workplace folder.

Note the Folder Sync feature is only available to administrators on the Workplace team.

Selective Sync

Selective Sync allows you to specify which folders within a project are synced to the local machine. This is especially useful when large projects exist and only sub-sections of the project must be synced to the local machine.

Plan user education

During the deployment, we recommend educating your team on the basics of the Workplace service. Use your judgement concerning when to provide training - you want your users to understand the basics before providing them access to Workplace, but you want the users to have access so that detailed information provided makes sense.

The following concepts are the most critical to users when starting on the Workplace service:

Sharing & Permissions

Ensure that users understand how to share projects, folders and files.

It is recommended that you run through the Workplace permissions model section above with them.

Deleting

A common mistake users new to cloud computing make is removing synced files that they don't want on their machines. Please understand that removing data from projects, via Workplace Online or your Workplace folder on your desktop or laptop, results in the removal of that data from Workplace, and therefore, from all your devices and all your team members devices.

Give it time to sync

Depending on the file size, the pending files in the queue, and a variety of factors, there may be a slight delay in the syncing of files.

If a user has been offline for a period of time it may require some time to get fully in sync.

Ensure that users understand the significance of the sync status icons and let them know that they can monitor the Progress window if desired.