Article

Using NFS with WebDocs – iSeries

Posted:
Jan. 24th, 2017

WebDocs – iSeries references the documents it stores by an IFS (Integrated File System) path. There is, however, no requirement that the IFS path refer to a file system on local disk. In fact, for many WebDocs iSeries implementations, it is advantageous to store some or all of the documents from WebDocs on remote file systems that are shared using NFS (Network File System) and mounted into the IFS. As far as WebDocs is concerned, these are simply IFS paths like any others; the operating system abstracts the details.

That said, there are some potential complications that may occur. The objective of this appendice* is to show what options are available to the WebDocs administrator and how NFS shares may be seamlessly integrated into a new or existing setup.

First, some clarifications. In the context we are describing, the iSeries that is hosting WebDocs will be the NFS client. The server actually storing the files for WebDocs will be the NFS client, and may be another iSeries, or a Windows or Linux server.

The mount point we will use in our examples is /RJSIMAGEDOC/NFS, and the assumption is that this directory is empty prior to mounting any shares to it.

This document will not describe how to configure an NFS server, nor how to mount an NFS share to the iSeries, nor how to configure user securities so that the iSeries may read and write appropriately to the NFS share. A future white paper will address these questions; until that is available, please contact RJS Technical Support with any questions.

So, assuming you have your NFS server configured, mounted to /RJSIMAGEDOC/NFS and the relevant users are able to read and write to this share, there are two ways you may incorporate it into your WebDocs – iSeries implementation.

Staging

Staging is where all documents are checked in to a local disk, and periodically a process is called that moves old documents to remote storage. This process may be an ongoing job, but is more commonly a scheduled job that runs at the end of the month or the quarter or whatever interim you specify. This job would perform a query against DOCS00 in RJSIMAGE, setting the DARCHSEL field to ‘Y’ for all documents to be moved, and then call the DOCMOVLOC command with the new path. Assuming a staging setup that moves documents off of local disk once per quarter, the DOCMOVLOC command would specify a path such as /RJSIMAGEDOC/NFS/2013/Q1, assuming that the folder 2013 and subfolder Q1 exist in the shared directory on the NFS server.

This process is a little more complex to set up initially, but the biggest benefit is that you are strictly dealing with iSeries authority for checking in documents. Since write authority to the NFS share can be a little complex to set up correctly with NFS, if you have many different iSeries user profiles checking in to WebDocs (note: iSeries users, not WebDocs users, which are irrelevant in this context), it’s often easier to just check in to local disk and move the documents later.

Staging is also ideal if the documents users reference are overwhelmingly recent documents and your connection to the network share is less than ideal. As long as the documents are from the current quarter (in our example), they’ll be pulled from local disk instead of the remote file system, resulting in slightly lower latency.

Finally, the staging method does not require modifying the folders defined in the WebDocs configuration screen (Option 11).

Direct

The direct method, on the other hand, checks documents in directly to the network share location. Assuming you are storing documents by quarter, all WebDocs – iSeries folders will need to be edited (using option 11 from the menu) to specify the correct IFS path to the remote share location, /RJSIMAGEDOC/NFS/2013/Q1 in our example. On April 1st, these paths will need to be updated manually or with a program to /RJSIMAGEDOC/NFS/2013/Q2 (which must have already been created on the remote file server).

The direct method is a little more complex to set up to get all the read/write permissions working, but once its up it just works, and it completely removes the storage load of IFS files from the local disk.

Other Considerations

We strongly recommend scheduling a discussion with RJS Technical Support before implementing NFS with WebDocs – iSeries, to ensure a smooth implementation process.

Windows Server 2008 R2, or Linux (Red Hat, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, SuSE), with or without SAN attached storage are the recommended platforms. Other OSes will likely work but have not been tested by RJS Software.

We generally advise against NAS devices, since most NAS devices, even if they run Linux, do not provide root access and instead provide their own simpler, usually web, interface. In several cases they have been simple to the point of being simplistic, and not being capable of being configured to work appropriately with an iSeries NFS client. If you decide to go with a NAS solution we advise testing it with WebDocs prior to purchase.

 

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