Zextras Drive

Zextras Drive is a Zimbra component that provides both a complete file storage system integrated with the Zimbra WebClient and a replacement to the old “Briefcase” component.

Zextras Drive is not compatible with Zimbra version 8.8.11 and lower.

Features

Let’s find out the various features of this component.

From Frontend side, we have

  • Upload, manage and download files
  • Organize files within navigable folders
  • Preview files
  • Mark files as “preferred” for quick access
  • Add custom notes (descriptions) to files
  • Share files with internal users
  • Share files to external users (NYI)
  • Integration with Zimbra Docs
  • File search
  • Folder-based navigation
  • Quick “stateful” navigation
  • Open File in separate tabs – New Feature from 3.1.7 release

Not much to say related to backend, except that you have the option to store files on dedicated Zimbra volumes and zxsuite drive CLI.

What’s new compared to Briefcase

The main difference you can find is that Zextras Drive does not follow the usual mailbox-driven behaviors when it comes to file storage, navigation, sharing, and item deletion. Besides that, there are all the features listed above.

Drive UI

The UI is very simple and user friendly so it doesn’t need particular explanations.

Some notes and description about Drive Features

Upload and Download

To upload a file you can either click the “upload” button or drag and drop one or more files to the main window. You can download items by clicking “download” button and rename them by right clicking them and selecting “rename”.

Navigating through Drive folders is done through the Navigation Bar on top of the UI.

On the left side, you can find a “Quick Access” menu, which let you view Preferred Items, Recently edited, Shared with me, Shared by me and Marked for deletion items

Files and Folders

You can easily create a new folder doing a click on the “new” button above the file list and by selecting “Folder” option.

You must note that there are also some rules about files and folders naming, since there are some characters that cannot be used:

  • Slash – /
  • Backslash – \
  • Semicolon – :
  • Question Mark – ?
  • Plus sign – +
  • Asterisk – *
  • Percent sign – %

Sharing

Drive files and folders can be shared independently choosing from 3 different types of permissions: “View”, “Edit” and “Edit and Share”

To share a file or a folder, right-click on it and select “Edit Shares”. After entering the email address of the destination user and selecting the sharing permissions, click the (+) button to add the share to the list.

In Drive sharing rights are only “positive”, so it’s not possible to share an item with a lower permission than its parent

Item Deletion

When deleted, Drive items are “marked for deletion” instead of being sent to trash.

Items marked for deletion are displayed on the bottom of the file list with a strikethrough line and can be deleted permanently clicking on the “Delete Permanently” entry within the right-click context menu of a file marked for deletion while the “Restore” entry will unmark the file.

While any user with “Edit” or “Edit and Share” rights on an item or folder can mark it for deletion, only the original owner can delete it permanently.

InfoBox

The InfoBox is a collapsible element that contains all information and controls for the selected file or folder, as well as a preview of the file itself if in a compatible format.

File Versioning

File versioning keeps track of all the versions of files stored in {zdrivev2-name} and allows end users to recover and download previous file versions.

To access the versioning menu of a file, simply right-click the file and select “File Versions” from the drop down menu.

The File Versioning Menu lists all stored versions of a file, sorted by date descending, and allows to open, download or permanently store each single version through the “options” button on the right side of every entry. On top of this, it is also allowed to upload a new version or to purge all existing versions using the “Upload Version” and “Purge Versions” buttons at the bottom of the window.

Files can only be opened for editing if Zextras Docs is installed and the file type is supported.

To change the default option that saves 20 versions for each file for up to 90 days, you can set the following NG properties at global, COS or account level:

driveMaxVersionRetentionDays

maximum retention time in days. Value between 0 (no time limit) and 365. Default 90.

driveMaxVersionNumber

maximum number of versions to store. Value 0 (no limit) or higher. Default 20. An example of usage is shown below:

zxsuite config global set attribute driveMaxVersionRetentionDays value 120

This will set the the maximum retention duration to 120 at global level

Technical information

File Storage

Drive v2 folders do not appear as mailbox folders. Metadata are stored in a dedicated HSQL Database while all files are stored in a dedicated folder within a volume’s root. File naming is now hash-based to achieve native deduplication, compression rules follow the volume’s settings

Volumes

Drive v2 files are stored in the Current Primary volume as any other item.

If the Zimbra Docs zimlet is correctly installed, dedicated document options will appear in the “New” button above the file list.

Furthermore, Zimbra Docs will also allow for previews of compatible document formats to be displayed in the InfoBox.

URLs and Ports

To build URLs and links (e.g. for External Shares) Zextras Drive uses the default Zimbra settings for the domain of the account in use, through the zimbraPublicServiceHostname property for the URL and the zimbraPublicServicePort property for the port.

Should any of the two not be set up, the system will always fall back to the zimbraServiceHostname and zimbraMailPort or zimbraMailSSLPort server-level properties.

Zextras Drive Backup and HSM

Backup NG

Drive V2 files are included in Backup NG, and both the RealTime Scanner and the SmartScan are aware of those and no additional actions must be taken in order to ensure the files’ safety.

The Restore on New Account and External Restore modes will also restore Drive V2 files, while other restore modes such as the Undelete Restore do not operate on such files.

HSM NG

Drive V2 can store its data on a different volume than the default Current Primary one, and HSM policies can move Drive V2 files onto a different volume than the Current Secondary one, thus effectively allowing independent storage management for Drive V2 files.

When an HSM policy is applied, Drive V2 files will be handled under the “document” item type.

This setting is applied at the server level so that different mailbox servers can use different volumes.

Setting the Drive Primary volume

To set the Drive Primary volume, first of all you need to find out the volumeID of the target volume:

zxsuite hsm getAllVolumes

Once the volumeID has been identified, you can run the following command:

zxsuite config server set `zmhostname` attribute driveStore value [volumeID]

Setting the Drive Secondary volume

To set the Drive Secondary volume, after finding out the volumeID of the target volume (see the description above), just run the following command:

zxsuite config server set `zmhostname` attribute driveSecondaryStore value [volumeID]

Mobile App

A dedicated Zextras Drive mobile app is available for both Android and iOS:

Technical writer at Zextras. Linux and technology enthusiast. He describes himself as an atypical and polyhedric IT expert, thanks to a creative and open minded attitude, and to the experience gained over time as an IT technician, system engineer and developer.

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