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Introduction

What is ShadowConnect?

ShadowConnect is a feature included with ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 and later that leverages Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) to allow Mac users to browse and restore previous versions of modified or deleted files. Using built-in Windows functionality, Windows users can right-click on a file located on a file server volume and select a Restore previous versions option. This allows them to browse a list of previously saved versions of the file, which they can choose to restore. Before ShadowConnect, Mac users were not able to take advantage this technology. By using ShadowConnect, Mac users can browse these same previous versions of files and folders using familiar Mac OS features, such as Cover Flow and Quick Look. After locating the desired version, ShadowConnect allows the Mac user to restore the file or folder to its original location or a copy can be made in a location of their choosing. ShadowConnect brings the ability to restore previous versions to Mac users, while providing enhanced browsing capabilities that make it easier than ever to find the file they're looking for.

Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS)

Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) is a background service that can be configured to save point-in-time copies of files located on a Windows file server's shared volumes. These copies are taken at a configurable time interval and can later be used to restore previous versions of the files. ShadowConnect interfaces with the Shadow Copies of Shared Folders functionality provided by VSS. For ShadowConnect to function, the VSS service must be enabled on your file server and you must enable shadow copies on the file server's physical drives that your ExtremeZ-IP volumes reside on. More details on this service can be found on the Microsoft TechNet site: Shadow Copies of Shared Folders

System Requirements

Macintosh Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
  • The ShadowConnect Mac client application must be installed

Server Requirements

  • Windows Server Platforms: 2008, 2003, Windows Storage Server
  • Windows Professional Platforms: Windows 7, Vista, XP Professional (SP2 or later)
  • ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 or later must be installed

Installation on the Server

Enabling the Volume Shadow Copy Service

Because ShadowConnect is dependent on the Volume Shadow Copy Service for access to previous versions, you must first enable it on any physical drives on which your ExtremeZ-IP volumes reside. If your Windows clients are already using the Restore previous versions functionality on file server based files, Volume Shadow Services are likely already enabled.

You can enable shadow copies for a physical drive by right-clicking that drive in Windows Explorer and selecting Configure Shadow Copies.

You can use the Shadow Copies dialog to select and enable any necessary physical drives. You can also use the Settings option to modify where the shadow copies are stored, how much storage space they can consume, and how often shadow copies are created. By default, Windows will devote 10% of the space on the selected physical disk to store shadow copies and will create shadow copies at 7 AM and 12 PM, Monday - Friday. If you are enabling shadow copies for the first time, you can click Create Now and generate your first set of shadow copies for use to confirm ShadowConnect is working on the Mac.

As you consider your Windows server Volume Shadow Copy Services configuration, we recommend you refer to Microsoft's Best Practices for Shadow Copies of Shared Folders documentation.

Enabling ShadowConnect support in ExtremeZ-IP

ShadowConnect requires ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 or later installed on your file server. If you are running an earlier version, please upgrade to 7.2 or later.

If you have not yet purchased ExtremeZ-IP, you can download a trial version that includes ExtremeZ-IP and ShadowConnect.

Please submit the ExtremeZ-IP Free Trial request form to obtain your free trial.

If you've already installed a trial version of ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 or later, you can continue to the Installation on the Macintosh step.

Once you're running ExtremeZ-IP 7.2 or later in trial mode or licensed mode, ShadowConnect is enabled on your server. There is no other configuration required on the server side.

Installation on the Macintosh

Installing the ShadowConnect client application

The ShadowConnect application must be installed on all Mac clients that will need access to shadow copies. The latest version of ShadowConnect can be downloaded from the following location:

Unzip the installer and run the Group Logic ShadowConnect installer package.

Click Continue, accept the license agreement, and choose all defaults. There are no options to choose and no serial number is required. You can use Apple Remote Desktop to remotely install ShadowConnect on all your Macs and you won't need to worry about product activation. ShadowConnect licensing is controlled by the server-side serial number included with your purchase.

You may be prompted by the Mac OS installer routine to restart your Mac at the end of the installation process. This is typically not necessary for ShadowConnect to function.

Once installed, right-click or control-click on a file or folder in the Finder. You will see two new menu options. For files, you will see Restore Previous Version. For Folders, you will see Restore Previous Version and Restore Deleted Files.

If you select one of these options for files or folders located on your local Mac drive or on a file server volume that is not a ShadowConnect-enabled ExtremeZ-IP Server volume, you will be notified ShadowConnect is not supported on that drive or volume.

If ShadowConnect is enabled, you will be presented with the ShadowConnect application, which will allow you to browse and restore previous versions.

Please see the ShadowConnect User Guide for further details on using the ShadowConnect Mac client application.

Upgrading a Macintosh client

If you already have ShadowConnect installed on a Mac client, you can simply run the newer version's installer and ShadowConnect will be upgraded.

Known Issues and Limitations

ExtremeZ-IP volumes must reside on a Windows physical drive with shadow copies enabled

ShadowConnect relies on the Volume Shadow Copy Service built into the Windows server for access to previous versions of files. When you enable shadow copies on your server, you do so on a per-physical drive level. If your shared volumes are on your G: drive, for instance, you must enable shadow copies on your G: drive. Windows then includes any files that exist on that drive when it creates shadow copies. If you find ShadowConnect is not working for a certain volume, determine which physical drive it resides on and make sure shadow copies are enabled on your server for that drive. The volume's files will then be included in shadow copies.

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