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Strategic Info Management: Wide Area File Services

Lewis Carroll would've had a field day satirizing the re-emergence of WAFS (Wide Area File Services), a storage industry acronym with as many meanings as there are vendors offering products. Chase this particular white rabbit down its hole, and Alice the IT manager could embark on a journey at least as bizarre as her namesake's trip to Wonderland.

WAFS defines techniques for facilitating the sharing of files across a wide area network--little more than remote file caching. Say Pattie in Poughkeepsie wants to edit a file that's in use by Dan in Des Moines. Pattie should receive a locked version of the file until Dan completes his work.

Strategic Information Management

From this perspective, WAFS sounds straightforward enough. It establishes a set of coherent rules for file access and sharing, even in cases where there are different OSs and file systems in play. Protocols such as Network File System (NFS), originally from Sun Microsystems; Common Internet File System (CIFS), now quizzically called "SMB" by Microsoft; and HTTP were all created years ago to facilitate long-distance file sharing over networks.

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