File Server 7.1.4 - Like a Bat Out of Hell

It’s been a little while in the making but we’re excited to announce the latest update to NXPowerLite for File Servers. We’ve been working hard to bring you a giant leap forward in speed and stability, as well as many improvements and bug fixes. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect from our latest File server release...

I Feel the Need...the Need for Speed

Maverick was definitely onto something when he uttered those now seminal words in 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. Well, Mav, we hear you! We’ve been working on increasing the speed of NXPowerLite File Server for some time and by jove we’ve done it. NXPowerLite now supports the optimizing of multiple files simultaneously meaning you’ll see a huge difference in the time taken to optimize files. When we tested it on a typical dataset we found it compressed around 1TB of data in a 24 hour period. To put that into perspective, the previous version could only manage around 240GB in the same time period. As a default you’ll be able to run two optimizers at once, however you’ll be able to change your settings to ramp this up further and handle multiple files at the same time. Boom!

But that’s not the only new feature we’ve created to add some haste to proceedings. While processing files, our software makes heavy use of the default TEMP folder which could cause disk IO issues and slow things down considerably. The latest release allows you to hook up the TEMP directory to a faster disk and crank things up to 11.

Reclaiming space faster and more efficiently

One major bugbear we’ve been hearing from you is the time it takes to start optimizing files after a run has been actioned. Previously, before the first file was optimized, a scan was performed to highlight the content eligible for optimization. Depending on the amount of data you wanted to process you could be waiting a while before seeing any results. It’s like in the TV show Gladiators when the contestants would face the final round “eliminator”. Referee John Anderson would tell one contender to go on his first whistle and the other would have to wait and go on his second whistle. What were we thinking?

Well, due to popular demand, we’ve binned this and brought scanning and processing together so now files are found and optimized at the same time. As soon as you start processing we’ll start reclaiming space. 

In addition, we’ve switched up the order in which our software processes files to deliver storage savings more quickly. Einstein said that the definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”, so we’ve taken a new approach, upped the ante and seen some great results. Each  scanned file is added to a file-type bucket, then each bucket is ordered by size. The software then optimizes files in the new running order (see below) starting with the largest first: 

JPEG > PowerPoint > Word > PDF > Excel > TIFF > Zip  

The main reason for the change is that JPEG is by far the quickest file format to process with the best results. PDF is generally the slowest, so putting PowerPoint and Word above it makes sense too. We also switched TIFF and ZIP because ZIP files take the longest to process (depending on content). 

Credit Where Credit is Due

We know that some of you have experienced issues using credit in our metered mode when connected to the internet via proxy server. Chances are that you came across this message on the registration page when you’ve purchased credit:

Unable to verify the license server ID. Please check your network connection and ensure you have entered your license server ID correctly. Please view event log for details.

Well, after a bit of fine tuning we’ve been able to improve metered mode so that it now supports networks with proxy servers. It’s possible to enter credentials into the registry to allow proxy access. Sorry it’s taken so long.

Shiny New Audit Tool

Regardless of the situation auditing (snore!) is seldom a fun process, especially when you have to do it by hand. To make life more bearable we’re getting the machines to do the work for you. We’ve added a new Tag Viewer tool to NXPowerLite so administrators can audit and monitor their file systems for files that NXPowerLite has optimized. You’ll receive an audit trail report .CSV file showing what files NXPowerLite has edited so you no longer have to do this manually. You’re welcome.

PDF Library Upgrade  

We’re always looking to improve our file coverage and this release is no exception. We’ve upgraded our PDF library so that more files will be optimized than ever before. If you spot any files that aren’t being optimized, let us know.

Making Life Easier for You

Finally, a few quick mentions of other improvements we’ve made to File Server to make your experience more enjoyable. Firstly, if you ever hit ‘Cancel’ you’ll see it happens much more responsively now. Previously you may have experienced large delays if NXPowerLite was busy processing a large Zip file. We’ve also decided to store the application state in a database rather than a text file to ensure the software is more robust and less likely to move to a fatal error state. Finally we’ve updated NXPowerLite so it will run on machines with .NET 4.0 installed without the additional requirement of installing .NET 3.5. 
As always, thanks to everyone who’s been in touch since our last release to report bugs or suggest new features and improvements. Your feedback drives us to continually improve our product and we’re incredibly grateful for that. Please let us know what you think you our latest release and continue to share your requests and suggestions with us so we can make the next release of NXPowerLite even better than this one.