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Group Logic looks to ease Mac integration headaches for file archives

The maker of software that connects Mac workstations with Windows servers is launching a new product  that it claims will prevent “bad Mac behavior” with data archive stub files.

Group Logic’s main product is ExtremeZ-IP, software used to connect Mac clients with Windows servers. According to CEO Reid Lewis, a problem can arise when Mac clients are attached to Windows file servers where a file archiving program is leaving stubs.

Apple’s Mac OS X operating system includes features for end users called Quick Look, which shows users a preview of documents in the OS X file system. According to Lewis, the call that Quick Look makes to the primary file share can make archiving software think the files are being called back from the stub location. “When the Mac tries to render a prieview, the archive sees that as a read and bumps the file back up to primary storage.” It’s easy to imagine a scenario from there where a quick flip through all the contents of a folder could clog up the primary file server, Lewis added.

Group Logic’s new ArchiveConnect software, when installed on the Mac client, can provide a translation that allows for Quick Look while preventing stub files in the archive from being restored during a preview operation. Group Logic is charging $1.60 per GB of archive data addressed by Mac clients, and contemplating a per-client licensing scheme as well.

It’s a niche issue, said Brian Babineau, senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), and it would be easier for users if this kind of integration came directly from an archiving vendor rather than a third party.

However, he added, non-Windows applications remain an area that has largely been ignored in the enterprise archiving world to date. “We rare all aware of the benefits file archiving can bring–however, Mac environments that need archiving need more than just HSM because the type of data that they store is usually different than your traditional Windows or Linux environment,” Babineau said. “Solutions that can support the applications which generate more content types and archive the data right from the application are more compelling from my standpoint.”

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