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From Shaul Dar <shaul...@gmail.com>
Subject Q: Using JackRabbit as a distributed file store
Date Thu, 12 Feb 2009 19:12:16 GMT
I hope you can help me with the following. I apologize for the length of
this message...

My organization (non-profit) has a need for what I think of as a
distributed, virtual file system. The idea is to abstract logical files and
folders from their physical location. I.e. logical file = handle, physical
file = data.

There are 2 main user categories: (1) normal users = content creators (e.g.
video, audio and docs) need to deposit files into logical folders (i.e.
create "logical files"), and give them properties (e.g. file content type,
intended audience). Based on predefined rules, the file should
automatically be moved to 1 or more physical servers in the 3 worldwide
locations we have, and stored there using the local file system (Windows,
Linux etc). (2) Administrators need to control file distribution, i.e.
mapping of logical files to physical replicas (e.g. delete/add replicas).

We need a Web GUI for users and admins. Should support the logical folder
system (create space, create/delete move folder etc), search (by file name,
size, date created or last modified, and possibly hash value), and a
coarse-grain permissions system (e.g. user vs. admin). The back-end should
perform the necessary file transfers, e.g. add/fetch a replica (reliably),
preferably over HTTP (i.e. OS agnostic). In between should be a mapping
layer that maps logical files to physical files. All metadata should be kept
in a DB (MySQL).

To clarify, I am aware of distributed file systems (*FS), this is not what I
am looking for. I am looking rather for (1) management piece (Web based
interface) described above + (2) the physical transfer layer, and (3) the
layer that maps logical/physical files.

So my questions are: does JackRabbit provide what we want? Having read thru
the documentation, I am still unclear on whether it is a framework or a
full-blown system, and does it have only back-end components or also a
front-end. In short, I'm trying to understand how much we would need to
develop? I saw that Day is developing a commercial system, but for a hefty
sum - is there a free alternative? Also I understand that JackRabbit
currently supports JCR 1.x, which does not include distribution across
locations? Is there an estimate when it will support JCR 2.x, i.e.
WAN distribution?

The other concept I've seen is the WebDav spec, which seems to be about 10
years old. I don't know if there are any implementation (e.g.
webdav <http://goog_1234415942981>/ <http://goog_1234415942981>
http://ftp.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/webdav/implementation.html), or systems
built on top of it, that provides what I want.

Any suggestions, corrections,feedback? You are welcome to mail me...

-- Shaul

Dr. Shaul Dar
Email: shauldar@gmail.com
Web: www.shauldar.com

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