Use offline files to allow caching of files for offline use overview

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ONTAP supports the Microsoft Offline Files feature, or client-side caching, which allows files to be cached on the local host for offline use. Users can use the offline files functionality to continue working on files even when they are disconnected from the network.

You can specify whether Windows user documents and programs are automatically cached on a share or whether the files must be manually selected for caching. Manual caching is enabled by default for new shares. The files that are made available offline are synchronized to the Windows client’s local disk. Synchronization occurs when network connectivity to a specific storage system share is restored.

Because offline files and folders retain the same access permissions as the version of the files and folders saved on the CIFS server, the user must have sufficient permissions on the files and folders saved on the CIFS server to perform actions on the offline files and folders.

When the user and someone else on the network make changes to the same file, the user can save the local version of the file to the network, keep the other version, or save both. If the user keeps both versions, a new file with the local user’s changes is saved locally and the cached file is overwritten with changes from the version of the file saved on the CIFS server.

You can configure offline files on a share-by-share basis by using share configuration settings. You can choose one of the four offline folder configurations when you create or modify shares:

  • No caching

    Disables client-side caching for the share. Files and folders are not automatically cached locally on clients and users cannot choose to cache files or folders locally.

  • Manual caching

    Enables manual selection of files to be cached on the share. This is the default setting. By default, no files or folders are cached on the local client. Users can choose which files and folders they want to cache locally for offline use.

  • Automatic document caching

    Enables user documents to be automatically cached on the share. Only files and folders that are accessed are cached locally.

  • Automatic program caching

    Enables programs and user documents to be automatically cached on the share. Only files, folders, and programs that are accessed are cached locally. Additionally, this setting allows the client to run locally cached executables even when connected to the network.

For more information about configuring offline files on Windows servers and clients, consult the Microsoft TechNet Library.

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