Archives, Archives, who's got my Archives?

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 @ 03:35 PM

Tags: Xinet, DAM Systems, Xinet server DAM Systems, digital asset management, Ad Agencies, DAM, NAPC, data, data management, digital asset protection

We were all thrown into a whirlwind of activity with North Plain's (NP)  notice this year of the End of Life of SGL's FlashNet for Xinet. Here's the State of the Nation with regard to Archives:

In the immediate near term there's a great new archiving solution using modern software. The builder of the integration has a long history of writing to exactly this space, and his current tools allow restores from FlashNet as well. For the medium term, we can help you setup a system that will give you easy access to archives using the familiar tools, while you restore as much legacy archives as you feel needed. Long term- you restore files using the base FlashNet software, for as long as you can find hardware that will support the tape technology in use at time of archive.


SGL's FlashNet is going away, and in it's place we'll be relying on Archiware's P5 Archive. This backup software is robust, modern, with a hugely enhanced toolset, and a long history or being present in this exact space of Graphic Arts. We're excited by the options and capabilities it presents, from hyper-intelligent backups to much better hardware support, to a modern web-based interface. Archive to Disk? check. Perpetual intelligent incremental backups? check. Ability to offload backup off primary disk to either other disk or tape? check. It's great stuff, and we can't wait to help you getting  it in place and using it.

FlashWeb and it's recent replacement WebNative Archive are going away, being replaced by InPress' OnFile. InPress has been building solutions for Xinet for forever, and has a rich history and understanding of how to write robust code for the ecosystem. They have hundreds and hundreds of instances of InPressive and Accelerator out there, and a great tool set that enhances the Xinet experience. NAPC has been doing business with them for years, and are really excited and pleased by North Plains choosing of InPress as the heir to building out the interface between Xinet and Archive. Jorgen and Co. are well on the way to an initial release that will fulfill the common need- an easy way to find archives, submit them for restore, monitor progress, or ask an admin to restore files.

The other large concern we've been facing is how to ensure continued access to legacy archives. SGL's licensing machine is going dark next summer, so if there's a HW failure that requires a new license, one won't be available after that, which is a crippling prospect. We've worked out with NP a strategy for setting up a legacy restore server: a separate, static Xinet setup, one that has a small license but full access to archives through the web interface, to allow for easy user restores while a larger restore operation takes place. We're envisioning this as a small older server (or VM) with the older tape library attached.

In the longer term, for 'deep' archives that weren't worth the effort of restoring in bulk, you'll be able to attach a standalone drive to an even smaller box, and restore the very occasional file through the much beloved X interface. There's never been a license needed for FlashNet to restore through a single tape drive, licenses are only needed to drive a robot or to use the higher level functionality.

We're all over this- we understand the value and need for robust archiving and access to the lifework of your company. Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns, etc..., etc....

rob

Video: An In-Depth Look At Xinet Pilot

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

Tags: Xinet, digital asset management, Xinet Pilot

Xinet Pilot from FlatheadU on Vimeo.

I blogged about the new North Plains, Xinet Pilot, when it first came out and we've had a few inquiries about it's configuration and functionality. Xinet Pilot is a Desktop Service. North Plains' description is an evolution from the Asset Browser feature into a Xinet-aware media browser for Mac client desktops. That's the fancy speak. I just call it awesome!

They further explain that Xinet Pilot runs on the client as a service, no longer restricted to working within the a Adobe application. And that's the awesome part: Freedom from the individual applications!

I provide a look at Xinet Pilot in our latest Flathead U video. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

Tutorial: Installing Xinet Elegant Plugins

Posted by Michael Carusi on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

Tags: Xinet, Elegant, Xinet Plug-ins, Xinet How To

In a previous blog, we discussed NAPC developer plugins for Elegant. These plugins allow you to modify an Elegant site in a less intrusive way. The goal is to allow site's your modifications to work or be easily ported across major new releases of Elegant admin/portal. Plugins reduce the need to wade through the templates for any changes you may have/need to make. Additionally they allow you to enable and disable customized features on a per site basis. This will give you more granular control over your end-users experience.

This quick tutorial will walk you through the three step process of installing Elegant plugins to enhance your Xinet functionality.

WARNING: Do not install a demo (30 day trial) plugin on a production server. It will halt production if it expires!

Installing a plugin is easy. Simply log into elegant admin as nativeadmin on your portal server: http://your-portal-server/elegant_admin/ Be warned: You need a web browser that supports HTML 5 (this tutorial uses FireFox version 20.0)

On the homepage, you want to click the button to the far right called “Manage Plugins”. It will take you to the plugin screen. After that you can follow the steps below:


Step 1: Click Install Plugin

elegant plugin

 

Step 2: Click and drag the Plugin to the grey area. You should see a loading bar and a green checkmark when it’s completed the install

 elegant xinet plugin

 

Step 3: Refresh the page and make sure the plugin appears on the list

 

elegant step 3

That was easy, wasn’t it? Congratulations: You’ve successfully installed your new Elegant plugin. If you’ve taken a look at existing plugins but we aren’t offering functionality that you would like to see, contact us to make a plugin request.

Xinet Goes Mobile With Elegant 5

Posted by Kenny Kirsch on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 @ 05:03 PM

Tags: Xinet, Elegant, digital asset management, mobile, tablet, smartphone

We live in a mobile world, and the odds are that you do as much work on your smartphone or tablet as you do on a desktop. When Xinet version 17 was released, it was optimized for tablets but it didn't know you were on an iPad. There was no variable between Xinet tablet access and regular desktop access.

NAPC leveraged its UX team and pushed the envelope with delivering theme-based user interfaces for the Xinet community, and we felt it was important to put a lot of time and energy into the mobile experience. As a result, Elegant 5 is intelligent and can easily be enabled for iPad. It’s more intuitive for a tablet and disables everything that wouldn’t work in a tablet setting. The ability to download a high resolution asset, for example, is disabled.

Elegant 5 mobile

As a result, the Elegant 5 experience on a tablet is not not going to confuse the user. Everything you can do on a tablet with Xinet is focused exactly on what works with the tablet. It’s the full experience without the frustrations and any added bloat. It even feels like an iOS application, but you don’t need one. You come in through the browser.

Check out our video for a more detailed walkthrough of Elegant 5 so you can start taking your work mobile.

How NAPC Plugins Expand Your Xinet Capabilities

Posted by Sean Kenny on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

Tags: plugins, Xinet, digital asset management

xinet plugins

Whatever NAPC BrandControl product you’re using - Elegant, CreativeBanks, nTransit - the ability to expand and customize them allows you to tailor these programs to do exactly what you want. Enter NAPC BrandControl plugins. NAPC is the only Xinet reseller with its own in-house development team,and these plugins have the potential to make Xinet work just for you.

NAPC BrandControl plugins are software modules that provide new features to NAPC BrandControl products allowing you to utilize Xinet in new and exciting ways. In a manner reminiscent of WordPress plugins, you can expand the functionality of our core products to provide new features that meet your ever changing business needs.

Best of all - you can alter the functionality of the core product and it will still be supported. Say you want to change the navigation tooltips. Normally you would have to customize the product outside the spectrum of support, but using the plugin you can do it in a very controlled way. You can have multiple plugins enabled or disabled for different sites depending on who needs specific types of functionality. Normally you would have to create an entirely separate site.

Plugins are flexible. If you’re using Elegant 4.5.6 and we release 4.5.7, you would still be able to take advantage of the plugin. You aren’t locking yourself out of features and bug fixes. We used to have totally separate portal sites with different features and customization options, but plugins are easy to enable and disable on the fly.

elegant admin

One of the most popular plugins currently in use is Name Truncation, which is available on the plugin page. This lets you customize the filenames and directory names to a specific length. It avoids Xinet names being truncated with ellipses so you can organize and find your files more easily. It’s a paid plugin, but there are free ones

Most importantly, if you have a specific need just for your client you can get it done with a plugin and not break the bank. You don’t need to do an extensive, time-consuming rewrite. You can even have NAPC make customizations for you; NAPC is still developing plugins and taking requests. Contact us if there’s a plugin you’d like to see on Xinet.

The Archive to the Cloud: A Sunny Process

Posted by Mike Gershowitz on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Tags: Xinet, digital asset management, cloud software, Amazon S3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloud Storage

The idea of taking your finished goods, project files, or other files you don't think you'll need ready, and sending them to the ‘cloud’ has gained tremendous steam over the past several years. Historically, the archive environment blended itself very well to maintaining databases, dealing with hierarchies and storage, especially as discs with more space became commercially available.

Unfortunately, the archive has always had some big problems:

-People need to buy new technology to replace legacy technology, not only creating an upfront cost but causing learning curves.

-The archive creates significant capital expense.

-Large archives inevitably create red tape, which there is significant marketplace pressure to avoid.

The historical kneejerk reaction is to simply buy more discs, but this leads to the archive’s biggest weakness: Disc space grows exponentially because archive data never goes away. Disk storage is more expensive than other media types (i.e.: tape), increasingly difficult to manage, and put you at risk even with an effective disaster recovery plan. Having this massive trove of data somehow backed up or stored in a secure facility isn’t a great answer because you lose easy access.

NAPC believes that the real future is a shift to a cloud storage module with it naturally and conveniently trackable by Xinet, leading to the whole concept Amazon is propagating with its array of cloud storage services.

Approaching cloud resources as part of a hierarchical storage management (HSM) environment will provide highly-leveraged benefits. You’ll be able to define business rules based on how much you archive, how frequently you archive, and how much time from the date you archive to the date you upload. You can put rules in place to automatically manage this information and keep the vast preponderance of your data in the least expensive location. When you need to simultaneously convert a large amount of data, you’ll be able to tap Amazon’s ability to transfer as much as 16 terabytes at once from the discs. Everything will be meticulously maintained by Xinet’s database.

If you can accept a four-hour wait to get your data back, Amazon’s Glacier service is extraordinary cheap (just 1-cent/Gb/month). Keep in mind you could easily spend more than 4-hours sifting through massive, unorganized archives and NEVER find what you need. Cloud storage, including Amazon, is represented by cheap pricing with wonderful enhancements of everything being online.

Amazon promises reliability and access, and some people have raised concerns over Amazon’s reliability, but really: Amazon is one of the most successful web companies ever. If you aren’t going to trust your web storage with them, who can you trust?

At NAPC we’ve embarked on a project working with our own Sean Kenny. Sean builds a very comprehensive step that we expect will take everyone into account who uses any integrator, Xinet or otherwise, BrandControl, took into account things like first period of time that someone archives from live to a final resting place, is your highest possibility of needing it back, incorporated the ability to initially put the archive data into the much more live on demand Amazon S3.

Offline information will show up as offline. Everything shows up as the same environment from a user’s perspective to search and browse, to determine for certain it’s what you want, and to automatically request a restore. You avoid additional infrastructure and IT costs and you eliminate the need for creating secondary copies of all your backup discs and storing them in a secure facility.

At the end of the day, here’s what cloud storage nets you for a very modest price: Support, software configuration, a storage fee, and making the cloud a natural extension of the business environment. Perhaps most importantly, your business looks like real thought leaders to potential leads. Who doesn’t like spending less money for even better results?

Pilot Seat: How Xinet Pilot Liberates Users From Plugins

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

Tags: Xinet, DAM Systems, digital asset management, Xinet Plug-ins, DAM, Adobe, Asset Browser

Xinet

Xinet Pilot is a Xinet-aware media browser that will replace the Asset Browser plugins, and a quick look shows it works extremely well so far. North Plains describes it as a powerful hybrid of web browser and production navigation technology that provides Xinet-related tools within creative media environments.

Instead of an Asset Browser plugin, Xinet Pilot is a service that runs directly from the desktop. By launching it once, you can use it across Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign seamlessly. You can drag and drop files from the Xinet Pilot into the three Adobe programs, but you can also upload files to the server and apply metadata on the fly.

The really exciting part about Pilot's upload ability is that it will respect the Template Permission settings for Uploader, Enabled and "Required". So it will work like the Uploader Application in that respect, that we can set data fields to be required. Great! But unlike the Uploader Application, Pilots uploads are limited to singular assets. That's right, one asset at a time. (So far)

North Plains has said that they’ll be “depreciating” Asset Browser plugins and migrating to Xinet Pilot. North Plains has also promised to evolve Pilot in future releases and it will support Adobe Creative Cloud. I'm speculating that people are going to love Xinet Pilot and the first feature requests are going to be for multiple asset uploads.

There's not a lot of configuration options in this first release, but I imagine that will be coming also. Not everybody likes the 'executive black' background. North Plains is rightly taking the approach of providing the right user experience and tools now, and hopefully providing aesthetics in those later updates.

If you haven’t climbed into the pilot’s seat yet, you should.

Flathead U Tutorial: Filtering Based on Metadata Values

Posted by Michael Carusi on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 03:53 PM

Tags: tutorial, Xinet, how to, Xinet How To, Portal, Xinet Training, online DAM training, metadata

Filtering Based on Metadata Values from FlatheadU on Vimeo.

 

Like all great universities, Flathead U offers summer courses long after everyone has put their learning caps away until September. We know that it's just as fun to continue education. Our latest update to the Flathead U discusses filtering based on metadata values. If the value matches the users primary group on an asset or folder, then the user can see and search for it. Any asset that doesn't have a matching value is filtered from view. This video has a lot to talk about, so kick back and enjoy learning!

Xinet WebNative Suite 17 released - want it?

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:23 PM

Tags: Xinet, DAM Systems, Adobe, Asset Browser, Searching with DAM

Exciting news this week from the DAM front: Xinet released their much awaited upgrade, WebNative Suite 17. It seems every nook and cranny of the product has something new and luscious in it. Details here, but I gotta give an overview:

  • Massively reworked search engine, producing both faster results and more flexible criteria
  • Text content searching across a wide variety of document types
  • Richer Asset Timer, with even more built in functionality
  • Fine grained administration delegation, allowing security and delegation (all within the familiar Xinet GUI)--Screen Shot 2011 12 01 at 8.21.19 PM
  • 3D CAD file support 
  • Versioning from within the Adobe Suite
Great stuff, and we're pumped. As always, we're looking for smart early adopters; customers who want to get their hands dirty and finish quicker than the competition. 
If you're interested, give me a call at NAPC HQ and we can discuss moving ahead with the latest and greatest dynamic Digital Asset Management software out there. If you're not an adventurous soul, we'll start a push to get everyone upgraded and reach out to you as the year goes on.
We'll also start populating our online training site, flatheadu with videos describing the new functionality in WebNative Suite 17 , and how to get the most from it. We look forward to our second hundred videos on the site!
 

Active Directory services in a heterogenous environment:

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 @ 06:11 AM

Tags: Mac, OSX, SOX, Compliance, Security, Xinet, AD, Active Directory, Linux

Once in a while, we find a great tool that solves a big problem, quietly, effectively, and efficiently at an affordable price.

Enter Centrify, a tool that puts all your Linux, Mac and Unix  platforms under Active Directory services. It solves your SOX compliance, security, and auditing requirements, letting you manage and verify all your platforms with minimal effort.

For our customers who operate a Xinet production environment, it brings both the server and the desktops into the AD realm.

We’re aware of two approaches to implementing Centrify in Xinet domains.

One reduces your initial  license cost, but adds some complexity, reduces functionality and is unsupported by Centrify. We don't do this. It does save some upfront costs, and reduces the annual maintenance.

Obviously, we think that approach is deeply flawed.

We’ve built a robust practice around implementing Centrify as a stable, flexible and fully supported tool. Centrify sets a very high standard. Would that all software worked so well.