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Author Topic: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location  (Read 2080 times)

questorfla

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method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« on: August 28, 2014, 02:40:46 AM »
This is something that I started looking into when I ran across a method of of setting different printers to be the default based on the location of the unit.  If you were at home, your system would know that your HOME installed printer would be the one chosen by default when clicking print.  But if you went to your office, the change of location ( I assume triggered by the change in system IP) would be enough to enable some routine to switch your default from printer A to printer B.

This would be a useful function to have but I never got back to looking into it and I mention this because if that can be done, hopefull there is a similar way to accomplish the following:

We have a database program that requires all data files to be stored on a "networked" drive location designated R: 
When a laptop system is on the local network, that R: drive letter is mapped to an IP address containing a shared folder.  This part works fine.
But for the past couple of years we have had issues blocked this even using a VPN.  The solution we were advised was to use CLOUD Storage mapped to the same drive letter.  when the direct mapped IP was unavailable.  This required changing the mapping from "Local IP address/shared folder" location to the "Cloud mapped drive" location.

If it is possible, I would like to be able to make this switch happen automatically, remap the drive letter from ONE (the local IP) to the other "cloud Mapped" location based on some factor that could be used to determine which mapping would be correct.  I am not sure this can even be done nor if it can, what to use as the determination for which path to choose.

The problem with the dual location was always how to keep so many (50 thousand) files that are in use and changed quite a bit in some kind of synchronization.

Recently, I ran some tests using the newest version of Western Digital  4TB My Cloud unit.  I found that the remote access was not nearly as bad as the other Cloud Service AND since this is a Local 4TB Appliance that would be connected to out 1GB Intranet, it would give people blazing fast speeds when at the office and decent speeds when not.   Plus since it is the same versions of each file regardless of how they get there,  no Sync would ne needed.

With the speed of transfer remaining in the hundreds of KBPS instead of usually Less than 100 kbps, remote access was acceptable for use and those who tried it were happy with it.

The only problem left was the changes in the mapping.  Once the drive letter was mapped to the correct path for inside the office, it takes a bit of restructuring to get this to work correctly outside the office network because that uses the newest WebDAV form of drive mapping.

The WD My-Cloud access , even though it was still a form of WebDAV  as able to handle this arrangement speeds up to 10 times faster than any other Cloud Arrangement I had tried.

Has anyone ever run across a drive mapping utility that could switch the path for the drive mapping based on some criteria i can locate?  Map the dribve to whichever layout provided the best path to follow to reach the files?

I am sure i can do probably write some kind of script and tell the users to run Local.bat fi inthe office or Remote.bat if not to remap the drives to the correct settings based on their location but it would be a "slick trick" to make this fully automatic.  :)

Ath

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2014, 05:39:54 AM »
Network Settings Manager (both a free and a paid version available) sounds like just what your doctor ordered :)


I wrote a tool with somewhat similar features, around the Windows 95/98 availability period (15 to 18 years ago), but I never updated it when Window 2000 (and later XP) with it's improved login procedures arrived, as it was to be started before/on top op the Win9x logon screen.
Never really published on the interwebs.

Stoic Joker

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 06:37:53 AM »
Split zone DNS - which requires zero moving parts - would allow the target's name to resolve to the internal IP at the office, and the external IP when not.

40hz

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2014, 01:26:06 PM »
Split zone DNS - which requires zero moving parts - would allow the target's name to resolve to the internal IP at the office, and the external IP when not.

@SJ - Sweet! Completely forgot about that trick. :Thmbsup:

But I think Ath's suggestion is probably more practical for the average deployment since access to the fw/router, hosts file, and DHCP server to create the external host zone might not be doable - or allowed.

FWIW I have the pro version of Network Settings Manager on one of the laptops I trundle with me when I go to client sites. Works the charm. And with no need to involve any of my client's IT people (yay!) once they give me the info I need to configure the settings. Recommended! :up:
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 05:34:41 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 03:43:06 PM »
Network Settings Manager (both a free and a paid version available) sounds like just what your doctor ordered :)


I wrote a tool with somewhat similar features, around the Windows 95/98 availability period (15 to 18 years ago), but I never updated it when Window 2000 (and later XP) with it's improved login procedures arrived, as it was to be started before/on top op the Win9x logon screen.
Never really published on the interwebs.
omg i didn't know about this great tool.  thanks!!

questorfla

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 12:28:53 AM »
Heck, I am always glad to ask a question that helps others.  Those are the best kind.  I am going to have to look at this utility.  What is the difference in the free and the paid versions?  Personally, I might want the paid version if it offers multiple options the Free one doesn't.  But  for the users of the network that I need to get this to work on, I wonder if all they need is the free one.
I am just looking for a reliable way to make their "Mapped R:  Drive"  Always be available wherever they are.
In the office, everyone would be better off using the Interoffice Network which is full GB throughout. 
But when they leave the office, they have to map back through a "WD My Cloud" configuration to reach the same files. 
This setup allows me to use a single location for all access by everyone so I don't have to "sync" 50,000 files to a "Cloud Storage" and a "Local Server"

Most of the users though, have zero tech-smarts.  They don't know anything about networks or mapping or anything other than they can't find the files needed if R: isn't there.  "net use" can only do so much  :)

I hope this proves to be the solution.  Thanks ATH!

And to you as well Stoic.  I was just reading you post on http://stoicjoker.com/ClosePort445.html
It was the port 445 block that caused me to have to switch to cloud hosting instead of direct mapping anyway.

I have not looked at Split Zone DNS and to be honest, I am not familiar with the setup either.  Neverused it so I have to get out the manuals and do some reading.  Whatever it take to make the mapped drive letter switch from local network to cloud access as automatic, painless, and reliable as possible for people who just know that "R: should have all the files they need"   That is what I need.

4wd

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 06:27:15 AM »
What is the difference in the free and the paid versions?  Personally, I might want the paid version if it offers multiple options the Free one doesn't.  But  for the users of the network that I need to get this to work on, I wonder if all they need is the free one.

They've made it easy for you:

Quote
Licence

NetSetMan is Freeware for non-commercial use.

You may use NetSetMan for free as long as you don't save paid time. Any commercial use (at work, company notebook, etc.) requires a NetSetMan Pro license.

Thus the difference between free/paid versions is purely academic in your situation.   ;)

x16wda

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 09:04:49 AM »
NetProfiles looks like an open source alternative.  I haven't tried either; I don't want my box doing anything without asking me first...
vi vi vi - editor of the beast

40hz

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Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2014, 12:17:33 PM »
The real big technical differences are that the pro version allows you to configure Microsoft domain and proxy settings. That and store as many profiles as you want. If you're a roving tech, those are all 'must have' features. For home or small workgroup use, the free version should have everything you need.

Hopefully we're also all the decent type of downloader who abides by that "not for commercial use" clause in their license. Because this dev operates purely on the honor system. There's no "phone home" checks built into their software.