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NDrive migration for www.personal.reading.ac.uk users

An overview of the impact of the migration on www.personal.reading.ac.uk users and why it is necessary.

Why are we migrating

The current file server has reached it end of life and we have run out of capacity to increase user quotas.

In order to continue providing Home folders to users and to increase the quotas assigned to each user, we have procured and deployed a replacement file server. In order to make use of the new file server we need to migrate everyone's data from the old file server to the new file server.

Current Configuration

The current configuration is that files to be shared via www.personal.reading.ac.uk\~username are kept in a folder called public_html in a user's Home Folder (NDrive). A script called publish can be run on sshgate.rdg.ac.uk to set the correct permissions to allow the webserver to read the files. These files are then shared with the webserver via NFS.

What's changing and why

At the moment, users Home Folders (N-Drive) are made available using two file sharing protocols, SMB and NFS. Most users access their files from a Windows PC via SMB (Network shares), and so for the majority of users, the only time they need to venture into the realm of NFS and Linux is when they want to publish files to their personal website. As the replacement file server is unable to support the same flexibility with NFS exports as the current file server, we have decided to split user Home Folders (N-Drive) into two separate entities.

As we migrate users to the new file server, we will be duplicating a user's Home folder, one which can be accessed via SMB and the other that can be accessed via NFS. The two folders will start as identical copies but will diverge over time. Linux users can of cause mount their SMB Home folder using mount.cifs and likewise Windows users can mount their NFS Home folder. The majority of users will nether know or care that they have a separate NFS Home folder, and so the split will be all but invisible to them.

To provide the least amount of disruption for the most number of users, we have decided to keep the public_html folder with the Windows (SMB) Home folders.

After the migration the web server will look for the public_html folder in a user's SMB Home folder and permissions will be granted to the web server using NTFS permissions rather than unix. On the plus side, public_html users should no longer have to re-publich each time they create new files in order for the webserver to be able to read them. The down side if that sshgate and NFS will no longer provide a route to editing personal web pages.

What do I need to do?

As part of the migration we will be updating the permissions on existing public_html folders to set the correct access for the web server, so in theory you should not have to do anything.

If for some reason your web pages are not accessible after the migration, you will no longer need to log into sshgate and run publish in order to correct the permissions. All you will need to do is open a command prompt (https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-open-command-prompt-2618089)

And type:

icacls \\dfs.rdg.ac.uk\homes\%USERNAME% /grant RDG-HOME\apache:(RX)

icacls \\dfs.rdg.ac.uk\homes\%USERNAME%\public_html /grant RDG-HOME\apache:(OI)(CI)(RX)

If you are a Linux users who used to edit your personal web pages from an NFS export. You will need to mount your N-Drive via mount.cifs in order to access the correct public_html folder.