Hi Folks -
My list of Top 10 Features in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 included Work Folders, a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. In this post, I’ll take a closer look at Work Folders, how it compares to other Microsoft synchronization technologies, and how you can benefit from it.
Work Folders gives users access to files on a company file server while allowing organizations to maintain control over that data. It works by syncing the data between end-user devices and the file server, which means you can use all the familiar file server management tools to manage and secure that data. Windows 8.1, which is releasing later this month has the new Work Folders feature built into the Control Panel and it looks like this:
After you configure Work Folders you will see the folder appear inside your file explorer, like this:
In simple terms, you can think of Work Folders as folders that reside on your own infrastructure, contain files you need to work on, and can appear in multiple locations—enabled through synchronization. The following table shows how Work Folders compares to other Microsoft sync technologies, including Offline Files, SkyDrive, and SkyDrive Pro.
Configure and Deploy Work Folders from Within Server Manager
Work Folders setup requires three basic steps:
With Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, you can easily setup Work Folders using Server Manager. Here is a screenshot of Server Manager that shows the new “Work Folders” role, which is located under File and Storage Services.
After Work Folders has been deployed, users can securely access a copy of their data on supported devices while still empowering the IT department to help protect corporate data using these “must-have” security features:
One of the cool features in Work Folders is that there is no conflict resolution UI. That’s right, if you are editing a file on three different devices at the same time, Work Folders will automatically save all copies of the document and append the date and the machine name to the file so you know exactly which doc has the particular edits.
If Work Folders sounds interesting and you’d like to learn more, here are some additional resources:
Work Folders will make information workers very happy and it’s a great gift for the holidays! They get to have their critical data available on their devices, and IT administrators get confidence knowing that the data is secure on the server, the device and across the internet. The way I look at it, you can now securely deploy terabytes of synchronized data in your own private cloud for a fraction of the cost of buying cloud storage.
Cheers, Scott M. Johnson Senior Program Manager Windows Storage Server @supersquatchy
The matrix is incorrect.
It implies that Work Folders will only work on Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. It should be all versions of Windows Server 2012 R2.
Thanks Ryan. Table corrected!
thanks for the article. A question I'm struggling with is: is this technology going to be suitable for plugging into a team share - where multiple users collaborate on documents within it, or is it intended for single user usage only? Hope you can help, thanks in advance. Sean
Sean, everything I've heard in various briefings eventually note that this version of Work Folders is NOT a "collaborative solution." It's user-by-user.
What synchronization technology does this use? Basically, will it just back up the delta changes of updated files?
Can Work Folders be used for user home drives?