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Product Features . August 03, 2023

Why File Locking Matters

When multiple people have access to the same file on different servers, it can lead to confusion, “file conflicts” and “data loss.” See how to counter that with file locking.

An Important SureSync MFT Feature Helps You Avoid Confusion Via “File Conflicts”

File access in a multi-server ecosystem is fantastic because it allows employees to collaborate on work files regardless of location. It breaks down barriers and facilitates teamwork. This is where a good file synchronization software comes into play.

However, there’s a flip side to it. When multiple people have access to the same file on different servers, it can lead to confusion and “file conflicts” and “data loss.” Imagine a situation where different individuals are simultaneously making changes to the file. Each person has their version of the file with modifications, which becomes chaotic. This confusion ends up hurting productivity.

In a data loss scenario, imagine User A opens a file on Server A and makes a change. User B opens the same file on Server B and makes another change before synchronization occurs. Two different versions of the file now exist. To resolve the conflict automatically without a locking feature would mean copying the latest version (Version B) and losing the changes made in the older version (Version A). That lost change is going to cause someone to have to redo work.

That’s precisely why file locking is an essential feature of SureSync MFT. It addresses this challenge by locking an open file, ensuring only one person at a time can change the document. This eliminates the chaos and confusion caused by multiple copies of the same file with conflicting changes. It keeps things organized, streamlines collaboration and ultimately boosts productivity for teams using SureSync MFT.

File Locking Defined

File locking is simply about preventing multiple people from changing an active file while it is already open somewhere else. SureSync MFT’s file locking minimizes the problem of “multiple updates.” SureSync MFT locks all the replicated copies of that file across the multi-server ecosystem. This locking process happens during the synchronization process.

Now, if another user tries to open the same file you have locked, they will be restricted to read-only access. They won’t be able to make any changes to the file. However, once you save and close the file, SureSync MFT will synchronize the updated copy to the other machines and release the lock. This allows other users to obtain access to the file.

But wait; what if there are situations where multiple updates can still occur despite file locking? Well, there is one rare scenario. Let’s say there is a network connection outage, causing a loss of communication between the machines. In this case, locks cannot be exchanged between the devices because there is no connection. However, SureSync MFT has a solution for this. Each Communications Agent in the Real-Time Job keeps track of its newly established locks and exchanges them with the other agents once connectivity is restored.

If a multiple update occurs in this scenario, SureSync MFT offers an option to handle conflicts automatically. It has a feature called “resolve multiple updates by copying the latest,” which can be used in that rare situation. This option helps resolve conflicts automatically and ensures that the most recent changes to the file are preserved.

File Locking In Practice

Engineering Scenario

Imagine a large engineering firm that specializes in designing complex machinery. One of their ongoing projects is the development of a new industrial machine. The mechanical engineers are responsible for designing the physical components, while the electrical engineers focus on the wiring and electrical systems. Simultaneously, the software engineers develop the machine’s control software.

Given the complexity of the project, collaboration and coordination are essential. However, without proper file locking mechanisms, chaos could arise. Let’s explore how file locking using SureSync MFT ensures smooth collaboration within the engineering team:

In this scenario, the mechanical engineer opens the design file of the machine, which contains detailed 3D models and specifications. SureSync MFT recognizes that the file is in use and locks it, preventing other team members from making simultaneous changes. Now, if an electrical engineer or a software engineer attempts to access the file, they are granted read-only access, enabling them to review the design but not make modifications.

While the mechanical engineer works on refining the design and making necessary adjustments, the file remains locked.

Once the mechanical engineer completes their work and closes the file, SureSync MFT initiates the synchronization process. It ensures that the latest version of the design file is replicated across all the servers in the multi-server ecosystem.

With the synchronized file available to everyone, the lock is released, granting write access to the other team members. The electrical engineer can now review the design, assess the impact on the electrical systems, and make the necessary modifications. Similarly, the software engineer can integrate the updated design into the control software they are developing.

File locking ensures that only one person can modify the design file at a time, preventing conflicts, discrepancies, and potential errors. It maintains the project’s integrity and allows each engineer to work confidently, knowing they have exclusive access when necessary.

If conflicts still arise despite file locking, SureSync MFT can automatically resolve multiple updates by copying the latest changes. This feature helps handle conflicts efficiently, ensuring that the most recent modifications are preserved without requiring manual intervention from the engineers.

Thus, in this engineering firm’s dynamic environment, file locking through SureSync MFT is vital in facilitating collaboration, maintaining data integrity, and enabling smooth workflow management among the mechanical, electrical, and software engineers working on the same project.

Office Scenario

In this scenario, a team of office employees must collaborate on a critical document for their organization. Team members work in different locations around the region.

The process begins with one of the team members, let’s call them Team Member A, creating the document and saving it in a shared network folder synchronized through SureSync MFT. As Team Member A opens the document, SureSync MFT automatically locks the file, preventing others from making changes simultaneously.

While Team Member A is working on the document, other team members, such as Team Member B, C, and D, can access it, but they are limited to read-only access due to the file lock. Once Team Member A completes their edits and saves the document, SureSync MFT synchronizes the updated file across all locations, releasing the lock. This triggers a notification for the other team members, informing them that the document is now available for their input.

Team Member B then takes the opportunity to add their contributions to the document. As Team Member B locks the document, it prevents any conflicting changes from others. After Team Member B finishes their edits and saves the document, SureSync MFT synchronizes the changes, allowing other team members to access the document.

In the event of a rare scenario, such as an unexpected network outage that disrupts connectivity between the team members’ locations, SureSync MFT detects the situation and temporarily suspends lock exchanges until connectivity is restored.

If multiple updates occur during this network outage, SureSync MFT offers an automatic resolution option – “resolve multiple updates by copying the latest” – once the connection is re-established. This feature automatically resolves the conflicts and preserves the most recent changes made.

About SureSync MFT

SureSync MFT is a powerful next-generation managed file transfer solution that solves modern data management challenges like those described earlier.

The explosive growth of data within companies and the need for that data to be readily available for employee use has strained information technology departments worldwide. A new type of secure, flexible, trackable and intelligent software solution is needed for a network’s file distribution, file synchronization, file replication and file archiving needs. SureSync MFT is the answer!

Ready to explore SureSync MFT? Let’s get started. Speak to an Expert.