If you're not using a cloud storage solution like Dropbox, Box or Google Drive, you have several additional drive options available for working with setup/installation files and data files. This article will describe those options in detail, but let's start with a summary of a set of simple best practices:
The best way to install an application of any size is to launch your Sandbox's Desktop, download the setup/installer files from the internet directly to a location on the C: drive (e.g., Desktop), and then run the installer there. After you've installed the application, delete the installer file.
2. Demo files available to all users:
The best way to distribute read/write demo files to your production instances is to load them to the "Documents" folder on the C: drive from the internet while you are in the Sandbox and then re-publish the Sandbox. Your users will have access to these files during their session -- but note that if they change the files and "Stateless apps" is enabled, their changes will NOT persist (this way each user always has the same, unchanged files to work with in a demo).
3. End-user data files when in production:
The best option is to use the Frame cloud storage integrations with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive (or in special cases where multiple users need to work on the equivalent of a shared network drive, the Team drive or T: -- contact support if you're interested in this option).
Closer look - Available Drives and Best Practices
Let's take a closer look at each of the drives that are available to understand why these are the best practices.
C: drive (Root OS Volume):
- This is a network-attached drive (AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS)) that is the root volume of the instance. This is where the operating system and all applications are installed.
- Windows working folders such as "Documents," "Pictures," "Downloads," "Uploads" and "Desktop" are on the C: drive as well. We've placed the commonly used folders in the "Favorites" shortcut list.
- The C: drive and its folders are visible and can be freely browsed and written to from the Sandbox instance.
- The C: drive is HIDDEN from browsing in production instances, with the exception that the "Documents," "Pictures," and other folders ARE visible and accessible by applications from their file open dialogues. You can place demo files into the "Documents" folder when setting up your Sandbox, so that when you publish it to production, your production instances will each have a copy of those files in the "Documents" folder as well. Note that these files can be read from AND written to by production instances - as the applications have full read/write access to the "Documents" and other folders. But again, changes only persist if you've disabled stateless apps.
- The default drive size is 45GB with 20GB of available storage.
F:, G: and X: drives (Google Drive, Dropbox and Box folders):
- These are virtual drives that map directly to your cloud storage accounts (if you've enabled this and provided your cloud storage credentials).
- Your files are not actually synched from the storage provider -- you only view the files that are in your account via the virtual drives. The only time a file is actually copied from your cloud storage account to the virtual drive is when you use an app to open the file. When you are done working with the file, it will synch back to your cloud storage account, and the local copy will be deleted when you disconnect or exit the application.
Z: drive (local SSD drive for temporary storage unique to each instance - only available on GPU-enabled or "Pro" systems):
- This is a local solid state drive of a fixed size (60 GB).
- This drive is only available on the Pro 16GB instances.
- Each Sandbox and every production instance has its own unique Z: drive.
- Anything stored in this drive will not persist after a reboot of the instance.
- Any data stored in this drive will not be replicated anywhere else.
- You can use this drive when downloading a large setup file from the internet that you wish to install on the Sandbox. You can run the setup file/installer directly from this location for the fastest speed. Note, you need to ensure that the drive the application is installed on needs to have enough space for the installer as well.
- Also, some applications can be configured to use the Z: drives for high-performance temporary storage. Again, note that after a reboot, the files in the Z: drive will disappear.
Where to run your installers:
- You MAY or MAY NOT be able to run a setup/installer file from G: drives (depends on the application), so the best practice is to copy the installer from the G: drive to the C: drive and then run it from there. Remember to delete the installer after your done to save disk space.