Manage file storage with File Server Resource Manager

The File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) component in Windows 2003 Server R2 gives administrators the ability to better manage the storage of files.

Windows 2003 Server R2 contains a component, File Server Resource Manager (FSRM), which provides better storage management of files. FSRM enables administrators to set storage quota limits as well as identify and enforce data storage policies.

Unlike quota functions in other operating systems that allow administrators to set quotas for the storage of just file data on servers, FSRM provides more flexibility for managing files themselves.

In typical file quota processes, an administrator may set the storage limit for users as 50MB. That's fine for the typical user who commonly writes small documents, but it may cause problems for the manager responsible for viewing and editing all documents created in the organization. As the final editor of all documents, this manager will exceed the 50MB limit simply because he will frequently open and save the files that he edits. So the organization will change the manager's quota, typically to an unlimited storage amount. But because this manager no longer has a storage limit, the company policy of limiting storage is violated.

FSRM allows administrators to still enforce the 50MB limit on the manager for personal files, but can waive storage limits for all files the manager opens and saves to a specific branch of the filesystem, such as a shared folder or a data directory to which edited documents are commonly saved. This allows the manager to continue to perform the task of editing and saving shared documents, but still enforces the organizational 50MB limit on all other files.

Unfortunately, this creates another hole in the organization's file storage limit process. Therefore, FSRM includes a feature that prevents this manager from potentially overstepping his rights of unlimited shared storage, This feature allows administrators to add a file type limit. So if the users are storing only shared Word documents and Excel spreadsheets for review and edits, the admin can specify an unlimited storage of *.doc and *.xls file types in the shared folder, and block the saving of files that are not .doc or .xls files, such as MP3 audio files or MPG video files.

With SRM, multiple policies and filters can be added to folders, users and groups of users to allow, disallow, enable or disable the users' abilities to store files, certain file types or other designations to help the administrator best manage and administer the environment.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in August 2006

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