Legacy Product Discussions

VFM (Virtual File Manager): End of life and replacement products


In our organization, we are heavy users of VFM (Virtual File Manager) for DFS management and file replication.  Unfortunately VFM is going end of life in Nov 2012 and we have not been able to find suitable product(s) to replace its functionality.

We have looked at many alternate products, including Autovirt and ScriptLogic SecureCopy for DFS management and file migration/replication and have not found a suitable replacement so-far.  The products we have seen so-far do not scale well for larger environments and do not provide the ability to import or batch create tasks.  For the DFS management functionality, it looks like Netapp may be able to create a custom tool for us, but we have not found anything suitable from the replication/migration side of things.  Either way, off the shelf products would be preferable to a custom made tool if available.

Here is a breakdown of the VFM features that we use and their importance to our teams:

Feature UsedFeature TypeFeature DescriptionImportance
Availability PoliciesAdmin View, Namespace PoliciesDFS Link replicationHigh, used to replicate DFS namespace between servers
Backup PoliciesAdmin View, Namespace PoliciesBackup DFS namespaceHigh, used for contingency
Client Recovery PoliciesAdmin View, Business Continuity PolicyAlllows failover of DFS links from PROD to DRHigh, used for BCP / DR
Creation PoliciesAdmin View, Namespace Policies
Filer recovery policies Admin View, Business Continuity PolicyDFS link managementVery, currently used for contingency
Migration PoliciesAdmin View, Data Movement PolicyData copy/ migrationHigh, many migrations
Replication PoliciesAdmin View, Data Movement Policy
Server recovery policiesAdmin View, Business Continuity PolicyDFS link managementVery, currently used for contingency
VFM GUILogical View, add linksDFS link addition / update / deleteVery, used to manage all links

We are looking for suggestions for replacement products for the functionality of VFM.  Has anyone identified a successor for VFM that would still work within larger environments?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.




Even we are also using VFM for last 5 years and are heavy users for VFM. We have not got any replacement for this tool. Pls suggest if you have found anything in this regards.


There's a company called data dynamics inc  http://www.datadynamicsinc.com/ touting a product called StorageX v7, implying it's a replacement / development of VFM. They seem very new and are a bit vague on the exact relationship between their product and the previous versions, but we're talk to them this week.


There is a product named PeerSync from Peer Software (http:// www.peersoftware.com) that I use that comes close to what the original poster is looking for except possibly the DFS Link Management depending on what that means. The product works with and without MS DFS but has no management capabilities for the DFS namespace


You can get the same functionality that was provided by this product if you take a slightly different approach by using symlinks or CIFS widelinks.  I've been using a script I wrote which effectively replaced what we were doing in Netapp VFM.


I create symlinks in the main share that I consider to be the primary tier of storage. The symlinks are to the folders residing on secondary SATA tiers of storage. This script parses through the secondary tier, then adds said symlink into the main tier.


To enable this you basically change the options in your share to allow external shares to be traversed (though, it's on the same storage system itself). Create a hidden clone share for the primary tier and change the option on that share to not follow external links/only allow internal. That share will then show the secondary tier folders as 0 byte files that are the shortcuts, you can literally manage those by deleting those files, or using the remove-nafile command in the PowerShell toolkit. This is 7-mode still, but you could do this approach all the same w/ cifs widelinks. This script itself only parses and creates the symlinks that point to secondary tiers of storage, it isn't doing any data migration. You could very easily integrate it into a data migration workflow where you scanned your main tier for folders that have files that haven't been modified in say a year, then auto move those to the SATA tier, then run this script. You could go one step further and auto move them back to primary if you detect your SATA share were in use again, just delete the symlink shortcut and migrate back to primary by doing a standard copy from the one share to other.


In addition, this in my opinion is better than using a DFS shortcut for reach folder on each tier of storage whereever it was (like NetApp/Brocade VFM did). Essentially the client was handling linking the shortcuts. This moves the responsibility to the server building and presenting the share and the client knows no different. On a Mac system, this makes a HUGE difference as it is only seeing one DFS pointer in this approach.


You can download it here:



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