Archive for the ‘cloud file server’ Category
Posted on January 21st, 2013 in Cloud Appliance, cloud file server, Cloud Governance, Cloud Security, Cloud Sprawl, Storage Made Easy | No Comments »
Now that 2012 has drawn to a close and we are in mid January we thought it would be useful to reflect on what we have seen through our own business as trends and pointers, look at some of the things we have done over the course of the last year and finish by looking at what Storage Made Easy brings into 2013.
A key trend for our business was a switch from online personal and SMB clients to more direct channel and corporate clients using our hybrid Appliance. The work we are doing with Huddle on the channel side and Xtime and Finser on the direct side are great examples of this trend. From July our business moved from a model of online Personal / SMB SaaS to Direct Corporate / Channel sales utilising our hybrid on-premise cloud appliance. Pre July the revenue split was 90:10 online SaaS and today the model is 10:90 weighted towards the direct business/channel revenue stream. We see this as a key indication that :
a. Larger companies want to ‘own’ their own data and are focused on making their storage integrate with what they already have such as their existing identity management systems (in many case Active Directory) and existing structured data systems.
b. Companies want to stop staff using un-authorised services and have come to the conclusion that they need to put structures in place to not only prevent this but to offer an alternative.
b. Companies are focused on the data legislation and governance of structured data so that they can track all file events, a mandatory requirement for certain verticals, such as government and healthcare for example.
c. The ability to search across disparate data sets easily and also on the move is becoming more and more important for companies as they try to make productive use of their core corporate asset, their data !
Our Focus for 2013:
Our Focus for 2013 is going to be as follows:
1. Simplifying our pricing proposition. The result of this will be visible over the next few weeks. We have tried to be as flexible as possible with what we provide to users but we find that this can result in users being paralysed by the paradox of choice so we will be making these much easier to understand.
2. Concentrating on formally launching our on-premise cloud Appliance. Having done a limited release launch in 2012, we will be shortly making available the ability to download the Appliance direct from our site.We have spent a fair bit of time re-designing the installation procedure with regards to networking, https keys etc, to make it easy to install and get going. Below is an overview of the Architecture of the SME Appliance.
3. Enabling easy IaaS deployments so that users and companies can easily deploy their own personal or company cloud onto IaaS infrastructures. We already do this for Linode but we will be expanding this to Amazon EC2 (and maybe one other provider we cannot discuss yet) and making the whole process an easier click through process.
We had a great growth year in 2012 and we look forward to continuing that in 2013.
Posted on December 12th, 2012 in cloud file server, CloudDav, iPad Cloud App, Iphone Cloud App, Storage Made Easy | No Comments »
We’ve updated the Storage Made Easy iPad / iPhone App. As with all Storage Made Easy mobile clients, the App unifies public cloud services such as Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon S3 as well as private cloud services such as OpenStack, FTP(s), WebDav, Zimbra etc.
The App also features our innovative CloudDav feature. CloudDav enables WebDav across any Cloud that is mapped to the App. This then enables users to edit documents using any of their storage services with Doc editing Apps such as iWork, even if the native Cloud does not actually support WebDav.
This update includes a number of refinements and changing such as slight tweak to support the iPhone 5 screen resolution, and the release also extends the Business WorkSpaces feature. This feature lets users create Business WorkSpaces directly from the App and enables members of the group to share files securely with each other.
Cross Cloud Search is also a feature of the App. This means, for example, that if you need to search for files related to a a certain project keyword you can simply type the search terms and all the cloud data sources that you have mapped to the App will be searched and the aggregated results returned.
For the SME business SaaS and on-premise Appliance customers the integration of the SaaS and hybrid Appliance with on-premise Active Directory servers enables single sign-on as users can authenticate with their Active Directory username and passwords.
Some review comments taken from the App store reviews can be seen below:
“This app is a must have if you want to easily manage and have functionality between up to 3 cloud apps. SME is e a very advanced app. So far I’ve been able to download zip files from my email, un-zip (or in SME terminology unarchive) and send to any of my cloud accounts. I can transfer files between clouds from the app either by cloud copy or cloud cut, the later of which will move the file. There’s definitely a learning curve for the advanced features, but the ones I described are easy learn. SME has bar non the best tech support I’ve ever dealt with. On three occasions I needed help to learn the functions, and within 30 minutes tech support had my problem resolved. P.S. not being tech savvy the 3 problems were on my end. By far this is one of the best apps I’ve purchased. The functionality it provides the Pages App alone makes SME worth every penny.”
“Needed a WebDav solution for iWork apps in order to move files to and from the iPad. Dropbox does not support WebDav, iWork does not support Dropbox. iSMEStorage fills the void, providing WebDav services to Dropbox and many other cloud storage providers. Getting WebDav enabled via SME’s CloudDav was not as easy as it could have been, but SME Support was fantastic, getting me up and running on the weekend. All I can say is well done! Now I can move files on & off the iPad seamlessly. Very nice! Well worth the one time charge for the app.”
“First App I’ve used that lets me sync a few different folders on different clouds in one go, and editing files from clouds that iWork does not support is pretty cool however they manage to do it !”
“This is a great supplement for creating your own personal cloud service. Great!”
iSMEStorage from Storage Made Easy is available in the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone users.
Posted on August 24th, 2012 in cloud file server, Storage Made Easy | No Comments »
We’ve been asked many times from our Cloud File Server clients how they can customise their accounts to incorporate a unique link and logo branding. I’m pleased to be able to day this is now live on the site. A short overview on how to do this below:
1. How to brand your Cloud File Server
Branding your Cloud File Server is straightforward, when logged in as the Cloud Admin, just navigate to the Option setting and upload your own logos. One will be use for the login screen and the other will be used for the logo icon in the top left when logged in.
Any logos uploaded, if larger than the file sizes requested will be cropped.
2. Unique Link
Once you have updated the graphics you will be given a unique link to access your Cloud File Server for your company.
3. Branding complete
Once you have completed the branding exercise your Cloud File Server can be accessed using the unique home page and your brand will be displayed subsequently after login.
You can change this as many times as you wish.
Posted on June 23rd, 2012 in Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, BaseCamp, Box.net, cloud file server, DropBox, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Storage, HP Object Storage, iCloud, Mezeo, Office 365, OpenStack, PogoPlug, RackSpace Cloud Files, Scality, skydrive, Storage Made Easy, SugarSync, UbuntuOne, Webdav, WP7, Zimbra Cloud | No Comments »
We recently updated The Windows Phone Cloud File Manager. Features include:
- Instant access to unified Cloud files anytime, anywhere direct from a WP7 device.
- Assign lengthy tasks and operations to the SME Platform Tasks Engine (PTE). Use your phone while tasks are completed in background. Check progress at anytime in cloud tasks.
- Manage multiple Clouds in a single view. Easily move files between different clouds, done in background.
- Advanced Cloud Search feature that can search for files across multiple clouds.
- Unique Cloud Clipboard feature enables file management from different clouds in batches, without downloading & then uploading.
- Unique Direct Upload uploads files from web directly, no need to download and then upload, just enter file address and our servers will upload it in background.
- Open files in the phone in Microsoft Office, MediaPlayer etc.
- Share and collaborate – share files to social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Windows Live, etc.), over email or with users groups.
- Record audio (even with screen locked), take notes and 2-way sync with chosen Cloud(s). No need for another recording App.
- 2-way sync pictures with different Clouds. Integrated with Pictures hub. Pictures can be uploaded (shared) directly from the hub.
We have seen a recent surge in business customers wanting to use the Windows Phone with our Cloud File Server SaaS and hosted hybrid appliance and expect this to continue with the recently announced windows phone business features.
Posted on June 19th, 2012 in BYOD, Cloud Appliance, cloud file server, Cloud Governance, Cloud Security, Cloud Sprawl | No Comments »
You may have missed it but IBM recently banned their 400,000 user based from using DropBox and other services like it. Jeanette Horan, IBM’s chief information officer, said that the restrictions has been in place since a review of IBM’s BYOD policy. A great article underlining the reasons IBM made this policy change can be found in this Information Week article from Kevin Casey.
“The risk of allowing BYOC is inherent in any organization that owns confidential or critical information, which I would assume is every corporation in existence”
however how do you enforce it ?
“There’s also that minor matter of enforcement. IBM has the wherewithal to practice what it preaches, but when IT and financial resources are already spread thin, trying to keep people from sending corporate files to their personal Gmail accounts might be an exercise in futility.”
Enforcement of policy is of course a good question and one that we are happy to expand on. What IBM are really describing is the issue of what is being termed as “Cloud Sprawl” ie. the plethora of online services that can be responsible for not only information leak, but also prevent cohesive company information visibility. We have blogged about this previously.
The SME Cloud Appliance and service is the enabler for governance and control of different Cloud Storage providers, such as DropBox, and of SaaS Services, such as BaseCamp for example. There are specific controls built into the Appliance to enable IT to govern how access is granter to information and also specific controls to not only restrict access but audit access:
This can audit access of all cloud storage types including personal clouds (if it is decided to allow them in the organisation). The auditing is granular and logs each event type and IP address of any file or resource interaction:
User login can groups can be controlled by Active Directory integration and Access permissions can be set against groups/roles across all information resources:
As we have shown, the Cloud File Server Appliance is a mechanism for IT within SMB’s and other companies to keep control of diverse information clouds and SaaS Cloud services whilst still promoting things such as BYOD and can be used as a SaaS hosted service or can be obtained as a Virtual Machine and hosted in-house.
Posted on May 16th, 2012 in Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, BaseCamp, Box.net, cloud file server, DropBox, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Storage, HP Object Storage, Linux Cloud Drive, Linux Sync, Live. SkyDrive, Mezeo, Office 365, OpenStack, PogoPlug, RackSpace Cloud Files, skydrive, Storage Made Easy, SugarSync, UbuntuOne, Zimbra Cloud | No Comments »
We’ve updated our Linux Cloud Tools to 3.0.12. The changes include:
1. Supports deleting of files during sync
If a user deletes files locally and syncs then the files will be deleted on the server. If a user deletes files on the server and then syncs then files will be deleted locally. These 2 options are ‘Off’ by default. and can be turned on in settings of the sync center.
2. In Ubuntu 11.10+ “Hide in tray” works correctly.
3. Fixed Menu duplication
4. Fix for large fonts bug.
5. In Explorer new option to upload folder (previously only individual files were possible to upload).
6. Fixed bug with trash in explorer (not all files from trash were displayed)
7. Sync center works as per other OS sync tooling. The ”My syncs” folder concept is not used any more and desktop to different cloud folders can be mapped. ie. any folder can now be nominated for sync. The free version has a restriction of 3 folders that can be sync’d
9. Small fix for Properties window for small screens. Scrolling works correctly now.
The Linux Cloud Tools can be used with the following Clouds:
Google Docs, Google Storage, Google Sites,
Amazon S3, MobileMe, Microsoft Live Mesh (read only),
Microsoft SkyDrive, DropBox, Azure Blob Storage,
Box.net, RackSpace Cloud Files, OpenStack Swift,
Gmail-as-a-Cloud, Email-as-a-Cloud, Mezeo,
HP Object Cloud Storage, S3 compliant Clouds such as (Eucalyptus Walrus),
Ubuntu One Cloud, iKeepinCloud, PogoPlug,
BaseCamp SaaS Service, IBM Connections Files,
EMC Atmos, Office365, SharePoint, CloudMe,
HostingSolutions.it, Scality, Alfresco (on-premise),
Zimbra Briefcase, SafeSync(WebDav enabled),
FilesAnywhere (WebDav enabled), and any WebDav enabled Cloud.
The tools can be downloaded from the Linux Cloud Tools Page.
Posted on March 4th, 2012 in Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, cloud file server, Storage Made Easy | No Comments »
The recent highly publicised outage of the Azure Cloud infrastructure had the Cloud doomsayers out in force. They pointed to the outage and the prior highly publicised Amazon infrastructure outage as illustrations that Cloud had a fatal flaw or was too unreliable to use:
Point 1: Such outages are highly publicised because they happen so infrequently. In general most of the major Cloud Providers are averaging 99.99% up time and over per year.This is only 52.56 minutes unscheduled downtime per year !
Point 2. Imagine the alternative of providing similar infrastructure services and achieving the same, could you do it ? Not likely, and you would not benefit from the agility and productivity of it “just” being available ready for use.
Point 3: Bad things can happen to the best laid plans, so no matter what, you should have a disaster recovery plan based on total outage. This is applicable whether you are a business using the Cloud or a consumer using Cloud Services. It may not mean that you’ll be back up and running immediately, but it does mean you’ll be organised with steps to take if an outage occurs.
For Azure and Amazon, our particular focus is data rather than the infrastructure services, and this means Azure Blob Storage and Amazon S3.
If you believe what the Egnyte CEO, Vineet Jain, says the outage exposed a flaw in Cloud Computing infrastructure and only his Egnyte hybrid product can fill the gap ie. Move all your data out of Azure and S3 and into Egnyte. Hmmmmm…. Don’t think so.
So what can you do if you store your data on a Cloud Service? Well, here is how SME Azure Cloud users can deal with it:
1. First SME personal business or Cloud File Server business users can simply assign a backup Cloud Provider to a primary Cloud Provider ie. If your using Azure, then add S3 (or another cloud provider) as a backup and all data will be replicated from the primary to the backup, including any new data you upload.also if the primary cloud goes down, when you try to access you data we will retrieve it from the Backup.
You can do this for up to 1GB of data using our hosted service and with as much data and you need using the on-premise or managed hosted Cloud Appliance. See the prior blog article on backup clouds for more information.
2. You can simply backup Cloud Data to an on-premise NAS, SAN, or other data store. We provide our own desktop sync tools for doing this, or you can of course look at other tools that enable you to achieve the same thing.
The key thing is, don’t do nothing as murphy’s law predicts the services you use will be unavailable when you really need access to them.
Posted on February 24th, 2012 in Cloud Computing Use Cases, cloud file server, Cloud Governance, CloudDav, DropBox, Google Docs, Office 365, Organisation Cloud, Webdav | No Comments »
We recently did a roll out of our Cloud File Server service to a company of just under 150 people. The primary driver of this was federating data sources, governance and auditing of data, and the ability to edit files directly on iWork on the iPad.
For this use case we’ll concentrate on the latter, enabling ubiquitous document editing on the iPad using the Apple iWork product which encompasses Pages, Keynote and Numbers.
The company is a technology company in which different parts of the businesses use different Cloud Services. The core business admin and management uses Office365. Google Docs is used by the sales team, primarily as a way to share Google Docs files easily with their customers and prospects, whom they found to be predominately Google Docs users. DropBox is used by the tech team who like the ability to have replicated to all their code, tech papers etc instantly to any device.
Interestingly, whereas you would think this disparate use of similar Cloud storage services is an edge case, we find it is not. The storage vendor names may change, but the disparate number, of what appear to be, similar services remains.
When questioned about why they don’t use the other in-house services each team had a different USP as to why:
Tech Team: “With DropBox I don’t have to remember to bring my files. They are always with me”
Admin / Management: “Office365 works and Syncs with what I use like my Outlook task list and calendar”
Sales Team: “most of our customers use Google Apps, so sharing files with the Google Group we have setup for Sales is the best way to get new deals / propositions to them”
One thing this company has jointly bought into was iPad’s. They all used them and their preference was to use Apple iWork as their document editor as they liked it’s simplicity, ease of use, and WYSIWYG features. The problem was it did not work with any of their Cloud products.as it only supported iCloud, MobileMe and WebDav.
The company in question had already bought into the SME Cloud File Server. It enabled them to audit files above all the clouds they used and provide Organisation Shared folders that worked above a “set” of Clouds, giving them a single view on disparate resources.
As the SME Cloud File Server also supports a WebDav protocol adaptor above any Cloud, something we call CloudDav, then it became very easy for all the teams to create, load, edit, and save documents to either Google Docs, Office365, or DropBox.
The steps to achieve this were simple:
1. Launch Pages, Numbers or Keynote
2. Click the ‘+’ button and choose ‘Copy from Webdav’ (assume a doc is to be loaded)
3. Enter https://Webdav.smestorage.com as the server address and your smestorage username and password as authentication. This will then load the file tree and the clouds available to the account.
4. Tap on a document to load it and start editing
5. When finished just choose the “Copy to WebDAV” button and it will be saved.
In this way documents in Clouds not supported by iWork can be edited and saved.
Posted on February 21st, 2012 in cloud file server, CloudDav, CloudFTP, PogoPlug, Storage Made Easy, Webdav | No Comments »
We’ve enhanced the PogoPlug cloud provider so that as well as supporting PogoPlug appliances, we support also the newly announced PogoPlug Cloud. This means that you can use SMEStorage desktop and mobile access clients to manage your PogoPlug Cloud(s) and also business users can use PogoPlug as the data store for a Cloud File Server, and users who want ubiquitous access to PogoPlug from FTP and WebDav can use our CloudDav and CloudFTP protocol adaptors.