Product Reviews

Network Access, Anywhere

ITWorx's Fileway 1.1 provides a Web tunnel to your internal resources.

Companies typically use corporate virtual private networks (VPNs) to enable users to connect to company resources remotely; but what if there isn't a place to "jack in" and the only thing you have is a public connection? FileWay by ITWorx is a Web-based application that allows users to get access to internal resources from any location.

But before you jump in and use the product, you want to make sure that your system is can deal with the components the application installs. If specific components don't already exist on your system, the installation asks you if you want them. If you refuse, the application won't install properly. You need to ensure that you have the following in place before installation:

  • Microsoft Data Access Components (MSDAC) 2.7 or higher
  • Microsoft (.NET) Framework and Microsoft (.NET) Framework Service Pack 2
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Soft Artisan's FileUp component

I found the installation process straightforward, but not easy. If your system doesn't have MSDAC 2.7 or the .NET Framework, the application will install it for you. The one thing I was prepared for (because I read the documentation beforehand) was that I must have a server running Microsoft SQL Server or have Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE). I was disappointed that the installation didn't automatically install MSDE if no SQL server were available and didn't automatically configure it like other portal software. Be prepared to know the database server name and the database admin account name and password before proceeding or you won't get very far in the installation process.

Installing Fileway
Figure 1. The FileWay installation installs components that make the application .NET-enabled.


Choosing a database type
Figure 2. The FileWay installation requires a database server to be online.

I recommend reading the installation guide, as well as the product's whitepapers, thoroughly before installing the software. The guides provide helpful screenshots to let you know what you should see during the install process. If all the components are in place you'll, for the most part, click "Next" a lot. If the components aren't in place, you'll have an ugly experience. The installation guides should delve deeper into configuring the SQL server portion because this can be frustrating for newbies—really frustrating. I sympathize with users who grab the CD, pop it in, accept the EULA and go. This is definitely not that kind of installation.

The FileWay interface looks like Windows XP, and the navigation is intuitive. The "desktop" appears in your browser and allows you to perform different operations such as configure, upload, setting preferences and so on. FileWay looks and acts like many of the portals on the market, although some have the same functionality with less overhead.

Regarding what you need to run this, remember three words: Add more RAM. Because this application enables your remote users to access resources, you'll have performance issues if you're trying to deploy this to scores of users on Pentium 4s with 256MBs RAM.

With all the solutions on the market that allow users access to resources, FileWay is a viable solution¾but only after making an intense review of all solutions and basing your decision on internal company needs.

About the Author

Rick Taylor, MCSE, MCT, works for Nestlé at the regional data center in Phoenix. He has worked as an instructor for numerous Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers; worked as a consultant for firms such as Honeywell, MicroAge and Pan Energy; and is a former Intel systems engineer. Rick has also authored a book for Coriolis’ Exam Cram series.

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