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UWRF transitions to FalconFile

February 7, 2008

So “where the heck” are your files? Over the winter break, Information Technology Services moved files saved on the S:/Home and T:/Oasis drives to the much talked about, much advertised, FalconFile.

FalconFile is the University’s $534,411 answer to the failing Oasis and Home drives. The program combines all of the separate S, T, P, G, and H drives with a universally accessible interface and gives students, faculty and staff the ability to share files more easily and safely.

“Oasis hardware was aging and it needed to be replaced by better technology,” FalconFile Project Manager Wendy Helm said. “There were significant concerns about Zeus’ (G:/Dept, H:/Home drives) health, so the project was long overdue.”

The most noticeable changes from the separate drives to the universal FalconFile are the off-campus access of saved files and the “ability to streamline e-mail by sending hyperlinks to documents instead of emailing attachments.”

“The biggest pro would be remote access, anywhere you can get Web services you can get at FalconFile,” Helm said. “And it gives students the ability to collaborate and work with other people.”

Along with off-campus access, files can be shared and modified without having to e-mail attachments. By e-mailing hyperlinks, people will be able to share the original file with changes rather than copies of that file.

“With FalconFile, you send a link and everybody goes to the document,” ITS Executive Director Lisa Wheeler said. “When attached, it sends a copy and creates more traffic on the system, so now the system will be more responsive.”

Less traffic means a less likely risk of a crash, but the project also increases safety by running “redundant” twin datacenters simultaneously in case one goes down.

Redundancy greatly reduces the risk of a crash, but also accounted for nearly 40 percent of the more than $530,000 price tag of the system.

“One of the big decision points was whether to make it redundant or not,” Helm said. “It cost a lot more money but we do have redundancy to help out with crashes and outages.”

Senior education major Jennifer Barber works at the University Center Help Desk and has had a training session in FalconFile.

“It sounds like a good idea,” Barber said. “I like the fact you can access it anywhere without much of a hassle. That really helps because I don’t live on campus anymore.”

Though Barber has had training with FalconFile, she has not used it personally, a trend among students. Only one out of 20 students asked has used FalconFile, though 19 out of those 20 had heard about it.

“I don’t think students really know yet,” Barber said. “They’ve advertised enough but I don’t know of any students using it.”

ITS is offering workshops to inform students and faculty about the uses of FalconFile. During the opening week of the semester, eight students attended the Monday workshop and six attended on Tuesday.