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There are several options available for configuring how Liferay’s Documents and Media library stores files. Each option is a store which can be configured through the portal-ext.properties file by setting the dl.store.impl= property. Configuring Liferay Documents and Media stores is covered in the Document Repository Configuration Deployment Guide. Let’s consider the ramifications of the various store options.

By default, Liferay Portal uses a document library store option called Simple File Store to store documents and media files on the file system (local or mounted) of the server Liferay Portal’s running on. The store’s default root folder is [Liferay Home]/data/document_library. You can specify a different root folder from within System Settings. To access System Settings, open the Menu (icon-menu.png) and navigate to Control Panel → Configuration → System Settings. From System Settings, navigate to Platform and then search for and select the entry Simple File System Store. For the store’s Root dir value, specify a path relative to the Liferay Home or an absolute path; then click the Update button. The document library store switches immediately to the new root folder.

You can use a variety of methods for storing documents and media files:

Simple File System Store: uses the file system (local or a mounted share) to store files.

Advanced File System Store: nests the files into more directories by version, for faster performance and to store more files.

CMIS Store (Content Management Interoperability Services): uses a system separate from Liferay to store files.

DBStore (Database Storage): stores files in the Liferay Portal database. DBStore’s file (stored as a blob) size limit is 1 gigabyte. To store such large files, use Simple File System Store or Advanced File System Store.

JCRStore (Java Content Repository): stores files to a JSR-170 compliant document repository. You can use any JCR client to access the files. The files are stored to the server’s file system by default. You can optionally configure JCRStore to store files in a database.

S3Store (Amazon Simple Storage): uses Amazon’s cloud-based storage solution.

Using the File System Store

This is the default store. It’s a simple file storage implementation that uses a local folder to store files. You can use the file system for your clustered configuration, but you’d have to make sure the folder to which you point the store can handle things like concurrent requests and file locking. For this reason, you need to use a Storage Area Network or a clustered file system.

The file system store was the first store created for Liferay Portal and is heavily bound to its database. By default, documents are stored in a document_library subfolder of the data folder in a bundle. Of course, you can change this path to anything you want by using the dl.store.file.system.root.dir= property.

This store creates a folder structure based on primary keys in the Liferay database. If, for example, you upload a presentation with the file name workflow.odp into a folder called stuff, the file system store creates a folder structure that looks like the figure below.


Figure 5.2: Liferay’s file system store creates a folder structure based on primary keys in Liferay’s database.

The folder path used by Liferay for storing documents is this:


The first folder name is the company ID to which the site belongs. The second folder name is the Documents and Media folder’s ID where the document resides. The third folder name is the document’s numeric file entry name. Finally, the fourth name is a version number used for storing multiple versions of the document.

As you can see, the File System Store binds your documents very closely to Liferay Portal and may not be exactly what you want. If you’ve been using the default settings for a while and need to migrate your documents, Liferay provides a migration utility in the Control Panel → Configuration → Server AdministrationData Migration. Using this utility, you can move your documents very easily from one store implementation to another.

Speaking of other store implementations, let’s look at some others Liferay provides.

Using the Advanced File System Store

The advanced file system store is similar to the default file system store. Like that store, it saves files to the local file system–which, of course, could be a remote file system mount. It uses a slightly different folder structure to store files, pictured below.


Figure 5.3: The advanced file system store creates a more nested folder structure than the file system store.

So what makes the advanced file system store advanced? Several operating systems have limitations on the number of files that can be stored in a particular folder. The advanced file system store overcomes this limitation by programmatically creating a structure that can expand to millions of files, by alphabetically nesting the files in folders. This not only allows for more files to be stored, but also improves performance as there are fewer files stored per folder.

The same rules apply to the advanced file system store as apply to the default file system store. To cluster this, you must point the store to a network mounted file system that all the nodes can access, and that networked file system must support concurrent requests and file locking. Otherwise, you may experience data corruption issues if two users attempt to write to the same file at the same time from two different nodes.

Follow the Deployment Guide instructions here to use the Advanced File System Store.

You may decide the advanced file system store for whatever reason doesn’t serve your needs. If this is the case, you can of course mount other file systems into the documents and media library. In addition to this, you can also redefine the Liferay store to use one of three other supported protocols. We’ll look at these next.

Using the CMIS Store

Though you can mount as many different CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) repositories as you like in the Documents and Media library, you may wish also to redefine the Liferay repository to point to a CMIS repository as well. Why? Users might want to create a folder or upload content to the Liferay repository. It would be nice if that Liferay repository was connected to a clustered CMIS repository by the administrator without having to mount it through the UI. The CMIS store allows you to do just that.

Follow the Deployment Guide instructions here to use the CMIS Store.

The Liferay repository is connected to CMIS via the CMIS store. As long as all nodes are pointing to your CMIS repository, everything in your Liferay cluster should be fine, as the CMIS protocol prevents multiple simultaneous file access from causing data corruption.

Using the JCR Store

Liferay Portal supports as a store the Java Content Repository standard. Under the hood, Liferay uses Jackrabbit, a project from Apache, as its JSR-170 compliant document repository. By default, Jackrabbit is configured to store the documents on the local file system where Liferay is installed, in the [Liferay Home]/liferay/jackrabbit folder. Inside this folder is Jackrabbit’s configuration file, called repository.xml.

Using the default settings, the JCR store is not very different from the file system stores, except you can use any JCR client to access the files. You can, however, modify Jackrabbit’s configuration so it stores files in a database that can be accessed by all nodes, and so that it operates as a cluster within Liferay’s cluster.

Note that because of file locking issues, this isn’t the best way to share Jackrabbit resources, unless you’re using a networked file system that can handle concurrency and file locking. If you have two people logged in at the same time uploading content, you could encounter data corruption using this method, and because of this, we don’t recommend it for a production system. Instead, if you want to use the Java Content Repository in a cluster, you should redirect Jackrabbit into your database of choice. You can use the Liferay database or another database for this purpose. This requires editing Jackrabbit’s configuration file. This is covered in more detail here.

Note that this configuration doesn’t perform as well as the advanced file system store, because you’re storing documents in a database instead of on the file system. But it does have the benefit of clustering well.

Using Amazon Simple Storage Service

Amazon’s simple storage service (S3) is a cloud-based storage solution that you can use with Liferay Portal. All you need is an account, and you can store your documents to the cloud from all nodes, seamlessly.

When you sign up for the service, Amazon assigns you unique keys that link you to your account. In Amazon’s interface, you can create “buckets” of data optimized by region. Once you’ve created these to your specifications, follow the instructions found here to connect your repository to Liferay Portal.

Consult the Amazon Simple Storage documentation for additional details on using Amazon’s service.

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