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Re: Evaluating SVN as a Document Management Solution

From: Thomas Harold <tgh_at_tgharold.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 07:49:01 -0400

Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen wrote:
> Perhaps you should just look at the shadow folder system in windows 2003
> server, perhaps it would suit your needs better.

We use this feature on our Windows 2003 server. Here's my take on it:

1) You'll need to allow about 10-20% overhead for the shadow copies.
Depending on how fast your files change, how often you snapshot, and how
many snapshots you keep around. You can, however, set a maximum size
limit and store the snapshots on a separate volume.

2) You can't snapshot on-demand. Shadow copies are like LVM snapshots
in linux, they're a point in time view of the entire disk. So you
schedule the time of day when you want snapshots to occur. We do ours
at 7am and noon, M-F.

3) There can only be 50(?) 64(?) shadow copies of a volume at any one
time. So if you snapshot twice a day and have enough disk space, you
can have roughly 30 days of history. Pretty sure the limit is 64 (ours
is managing about 52 copies before it runs past our size limit and goes
back to Feb 18th).

4) Only windows clients (90% sure OS X clients can't, I know Win9x
clients can't, 90% sure that Linux clients can't) can interact with the
file history for any file. So if you need to revert a file, you either
have to Terminal Service into the Windows 2003 server or use a Windows
XP/Vista client. Previous versions show up in a nice tab on the file
properties window.

So with all that said... if you have the disk space, I'd turn the
feature on. While I much prefer keeping stuff in SVN, shadow copies on
Win 2003 do serve a useful function even with their limitations.

The primary use is one of pulling up a previous revision to fix/restore
a file that got corrupted by a user. Which beats having to fire up the
daily backup program and wade through a few dozen backup files to find
what you want.

(I had the pleasure of using a VMS mini/mainframe back in college.
Every time you would save a file, it would keep the previous 3 revisions
around. Which was extremely handy. Which is what gave me the bug for
working with version control systems.)

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Received on 2008-03-12 12:49:17 CET

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