Creating network shares

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Overview

When you publish new apps to App Session Hosts or reconfigure Desktop Session Hosts, the virtual machines powering these hosts are destroyed and rebuilt from scratch, with the new configuration in place. If you stored any data on the machine that is being rebuilt, this process naturally leads to data loss.

To prevent data loss, Workspaces allows you to create and map network shares that you can use to securely store your data.

You can use two types of network storage:

  1. Workspaces-provisioned: you create these from the Neverfail Workspaces interface.
  2. Custom shares: shares located in the network but created directly on the server from outside the Workspaces interface.

 

Network Drive vs. Network Share Name

When you create a new network share, Workspaces requires you to provide two types of identifiers.

  1. Network drive: when you're adding a new network share to a workspace, the network drive is hosted on either an existing or a new virtual machine. The network drive is the name of the drive visible inside that virtual machine. Users of your organization do not see the drive label.
    • E.g.: Your organization needs a new drive for users from different departments to store data. You create a new network drive on a virtual machine and assign the Storage label.
  2. Network share name: this is the name of the folder your users will store their data in. You can have multiple shares on one drive. The network share name is visible in the Available Network Shares section of your workspace after you map it. Note: We recommend avoiding spaces inside share names.
      • E.g.: You have two user groups, Finance department and Legal department, with users that need access to separate shares. You create two network shares (essentially, two folders) on the previously created Storage drive, and name them Finance and Legal. You grant users from the Finance department access to the Finance share, and those from the Legal department access to the Legal share. Both shares are on the same network drive, so their paths on the host VM would look like this:
        • \\Storage\\Finance\ for the Finance department
        • \\Storage\\Legal\ for the Legal department

Creating hidden shares

As an added layer of data security, Windows allows you to create hidden network shares that are accessible only to users who already know of their existence. This prevents unauthorized access to critical data, should anyone gain access to your environments.

You can create hidden shares by appending $ at the end of a network share name. In the example above, you can hide the Legal share by naming it Legal$.

Adding a Workspaces provisioned network share

When adding a network share, you can either create an additional virtual server that will provide the storage you need or use an existing virtual server.

Using a new Virtual Server

Follow the steps below to create a network share on a new virtual server.

  1. Log in to your Neverfail Workspaces account.
  2. Go to Workspaces.
  3. Click the workspace that you want to add a network share to.TIP: You can use the Quick Link, highlighted in the image above, to directly access the Mapped Drives
  4. Go to the Mapped Drives tab and Click Create Network Share.
  5. You will be presented with the dialogue box below. Click the Create one here link, highlighted in the image, to be taken to the Create Virtual Machine area. NOTE: The Create One Here hyperlink only appears when the mouse is hovered over the Virtual Machine drop down box.
     
    • Click the Type drop down and select File Server.
    • Proved the Hostname and select a Template as shown below. If a template does not exist, you will be given the opportunity to create one. The completed screen should look similar to this image.
  6. Click Create, a new Workflow will start creating the new fileserver.
  7. After the new fileserver has been created you will need to create a new drive on it to host the network share. To do this follow these steps:
    • Locate the Workspace you are creating the server for and access the Workspace Dashboard.
    • Locate the newly created server. The Role will be Network Drive Host as shown in the image above.
    • Double click the server to access the properties for that server.
    • Once you are in the server properties select Create Virtual Drive as shown below.
    • The Create Virtual Drive dialogue box below will be presented.
      • Drive Label: the name of the new network drive. This label is not visible to users.
      • Cloud Storage: the data store to create the drive on.
      • Drive Size: the desired size in GB.
    • Click Create.
  8. After the Workflow creating the drive has completed, once again access the Workspace you are working on and go to the Mapped Drives tab.
  9. Click on Create Network Share. The following dialogue box will open, click on the drop down next to Virtual Machine. You will see the name of the virtual machine that was created, select it.
  10. Click Next
  11. Select the Network Drive from the drop down, press Next.
  12. Enter the network share details:
    • Network Share Name: the name of the new share on the network. This name will be visible to users. Append $ to the end of the name if you want to create a hidden share.
    • User Groups: select the user groups that will have access to the new share. If you need to create a new group use the Create one Here link. You can have multiple groups.
    • Share Permissions: set the permissions for each of the selected User Groups. Each group can have a different level of permissions.
  13. Click Next.
  14. Review the network share summary, make sure all the settings are correct and click Create.

 

Using an existing Virtual Server

Follow the steps below to create a network share on an existing VM.

  1. Log in to your Neverfail Workspaces account.
  2. Go to Workspaces.
  3. Click the workspace that you want to add a network share to.
  4. Go to the Mapped Drives tab.
  5. Click Create Network Share.
  6. Select the virtual machine to use as storage from the drop-down menu.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Since you're using an existing VM, you can choose to store the data on one of its existing drives or create a new one. Select an existing drive from the drop-down menu or create a new one by clicking Create One Here hyperlink that appears when you hover over the drop down field. 
  9. Click Next
  10. Enter the network share details:
    • Network Share Name: the name of the new share on the network. This name will be visible to users. Append $ to the end of the name if you want to create a hidden share.
    • User Groups: select the user groups that will have access to the new share. You can select more than one group and assign different permissions to each.
    • Share Permissions: set the permissions for each of the selected User Groups. Each group can have a different level of permissions.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Review the network share summary, make sure all the settings are correct and click Create.
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