How Can I Replace a File Server with Mapped Network Drives with Google Drive?


#1

We currently use a file server to share all of our data. Data on it conforms to a very rigid structure, which we absolutely must retain during migration. For instance folder depth is rather high and many files and folders are linked to various other places. Since we all use Macs, these links are in the form of “Alias”- (or the newer “Bookmark”-)format files.

When performing a test upload to Drive, we noticed that Google Drive ignores our carefully crafted Alias structure. It seems like they are just binary files to Google Drive. Obviously, the links are now broken and can only be downloaded as equally broken text files. We cannot work like this.

So the question is: How do I replace our file server with Google Drive as management requested without destroying dozens of workflows?


#2

So, good news first: Google Drive is in fact capable of mapping the functionality of all of Windows-style .lnk-files as well as a Mac users Alias files or Linux’ symbolic links. You activate this by selecting a file or folder in Google Drive and pressing Shift-Z. That’ll open a menu where you can select which other parents the file or folder should have. A given file or folder may have any number of parent directories. You can remove parents added in this way by going to the “Details” pane and clicking the X next to the parent directory you want to remove.

The bad news is that Google Drive does in fact not offer any automated way to do this (for now). Seeing how you have an entire file server’s worth of data, why not talk to us about our scripting solutions? I’m sure our techs can fix you a script that’ll scan the Drive and set the links as needed. If your so inclined, you may want to do this yourself. For documentation, look into a Google Apps Script.