Collaborating with external partners and clients in a secure way is a key issue for most companies at the moment. In the case of the company subject to our last case study, they needed fluid access to brand materials for planning, marketing, and sales purposes.
See how the Enterprise File Fabric solved the collaboration challenges of a Global Footwear Firm.
Following on from our last post in which we demonstrated how CIFS Windows shares can be exposed outside of the corporate firewall this blog post will focus on how to Archive CIFS Windows shares to OpenStack Swift.
The SME Enterprise Cloud Appliance allows any primary cloud to be paired with a backup cloud for archive and business continuity purposes.
Google Storage Nearline is a low-cost, highly durable storage service that allows companies to easily backup and store large amounts of data. This makes it ideal for using as an archive and, in the case of this example, for Business Continuity purposes.
Storage pricing for Cloud Storage Nearline is very low at 1 cent per GB, per month and the Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator can help estimate full costs.
What we are going to demonstrate is how Google Storage Nearline can be used as an archive for business continuity purposes using the Storage Made Easy service to provide CloudSurance, or Cloud Insurance of a primary data cloud.
When content on cloud services starts to become useful it also starts to become vulnerable ie. what happens if the service went down or you lost it ? To this end, one of the features that Storage Made Easy provides for Personal, Business, of its service is the ability to backup and/or migrate data from one Cloud Service to another.
The purpose of this post is to demonstrate how data from the InstaPaper service can be be backed up.
First ensure that the account is a personal cloud or business cloud account and choose the Cloud Migration from the right sidebar after logging into the account from the web:
Next choose the Instapaper service from the import section of the Migration Assistant:
This will launch the import wizard and the first steps are to enter the Instapaper username and password for the account (note that it needs to be a premium Instapaper account).
The next step in the wizard is to select the folder where you wish the Instapaper data to be backed up (note you can also create a new folder in the selected destination). This can be within any cloud account that has been added to the SME service.
Now the import can be named and started:
Once the task has started it can be monitored from the SME Cloud Tasks DashBoard:
Once done the content of each folder within Instapaper is backed up and accessible from the cloud location you defined earlier.
The content is simply a HTML file containing the title,description and link of the separate entries for each content folder in Instapaper.
We very often have businesses who want to keep files in sync between two clouds. This can be as simple as having a backup copy held between two providers in the cloud for continuous availability should one provider go down, or it could be due to a particular use case in which files need to be made available on two Clouds. In any case the request is a common enough for us to highlight it in our Cloud use cases section to show how this is easily achieved using the SME Open Cloud Platform.
We will look at providing a continuous backup / sync between Google Docs and DropBox, in which Google Docs is what we will refer to as the primary cloud, and DropBox will be the backup cloud. The first thing to note is that this option that we highlight below is only available to users who have a personal business or Cloud File Server account with us, and that it is available in our normal hosted offering as well as our appliance offering.
The guide to setup the continuous backup / sync are outlined step by step below:
1. Log into the personal business or Cloud File Server account either on the web or the appliance
2. Navigate to the “My DashBoard” link
3. Choose to add a new Backup provider and choose DropBox
4. Authorise the DropBox account to be accessed
5. The DropBox OAuth screen will appear an you can sign into DropBox and choose to authorise access
6. The sync will now be kicked off an you will see the settings screen of the backup provider you just added.
7. If we now visit the dropbox account we can see a new folder called “My GMail files” has been created
8. If we look inside this folder we can see the files and folders have been copied across
After the initial sync any news files that are uploaded direct to Google Docs via SME are also backed up to DropBox. Any files uploaded direct to Google Docs are uploaded to DropBox when SME discovers them either through you accessing your account if real-time update is enabled or by forcing a refresh between the SME meta-data and Google Docs. You are also able to control whether files are deleted on the backup if they are deleted on the primary from the settings page in step 6.
Although we used Google Docs to DropBox as an example this is equally applicable to any of the 35 clouds that SME supports, including private data to public clouds or vice-versa.
Continuing on our theme of presenting interesting use cases that we come across when dealing with customers and businesses, this one is to do with backing up data to Amazon S3 in an automated fashion using Plesk. This was the request from the company involved. The condition being that the control panel can only backup to an external server via FTP. There is no native way to back up to S3 via Plesk.
This of course is tailor made for our CloudFTP product which turns any Storage Cloud into an FTP Server even if the Storage Cloud does not support FTP. This works with any of the Clouds you add to a SME Account, and of course S3 is one of these.
To satisfy this use case, the first thing to do is ensure the relevant S3 account is added to your account. This can even be a free account. You can do this either as part of sign up or from the Cloud DashBoard.
Once you have added the S3 Provider You can add CloudFTP to your account from “Cloud Add On’s” available on the right sidebar after login to the website. Once this is added to your account you can access any Cloud mapped to your account over ftp (Ftp://ftp.storagemadeeasy.com) with your username and password as authentication. This works even though the underlying Cloud, in this case, S3 does not natively support the FTP protocol.
Once this is done you can then automate your website backups using Plesk and your recently created S3-FTP. First login to the Plesk Control Panel:
Next navigate to the correct domain:
and finally navigate to the Backup Manager:
from here you can select to backup to a personal FTP repository:
and then enter the StorageMadeEasy.com FTP settings as outlined earlier in the post:
The end result is your website backed up safely to S3 (or any other Cloud that we support that you can choose).
One of the interesting things you can do when you have added an OpenStack Swift Provider to an Account is to automate the backing up off data to another Cloud, something we call ‘Cloud Safe’. This means if the OpenStack Swift data is not available then you can access the data from the backup Cloud.
We’ll step through an example of how to automate the backing up of data from OpenStack Swift to Amazon S3.
Once you have mapped OpenStack to your Account you can proceed to the Cloud Dashboard to assign a backup Cloud Provider for OpenStack:
If you click on the “Add Cloud Provider” dialog you will be asked to choose whether you wish to add a primary cloud provider or a backup cloud provider:
Ensure you Select the backup provider radio button and also Amazon S3 as the cloud to be used for backup. Once you have done this you will be taken to a wizard to enter your Amazon S3 Details:
Once you have stepped through the wizard and completed adding your S3 account a sync task will be generated that will synchronise the existing data that resides on OpenStack with the Amazon S3 Cloud you just added. You can check on the status of this Cloud sync task from the Cloud Sync task link in the right sidebar after login from SMEStorage.com.
Once this task has completed your data is sync’d to S3. If you upload any new data a sync task will be created to also transfer this to S3. If you delete any data then it will be deleted from your primary cloud but the default action is not to remove it from your backup cloud, in the event you later wish to find such removed data.
This mechanism of “Cloud Safe” or Cloud-to-Cloud backup will actually work with any combination of Clouds that are mapped to your account.
One of the things we get asked about a lot is Sync, especially for the WIndows platform, and especially for Google Docs and Amazon S3. Our Sync tools, Cloud Dashboard, Virtual Drive, shell integration etc, work above any cloud that is mapped to the SMEStorage platform. If you have a multi-cloud account and have 10 clouds mapped to our gateway then you will see 10 cloud directories from each of the different storage providers.
You can set your primary cloud for any sync directly from the Cloud Dashboard tools and and any files you nominate for sync will be sync’d with the underlying cloud. We prepared a small video that you can see below that will show you further details on how this works.
As more and more SMB’s and Organisations move to cloud they want a way to work with their files which is intuitive to the way they worked in the past. They also want ways to keep certain files in sync. For example doc files with Google Docs, maybe video or music files with Amazon S3 etc. This is the aim of our cloud desktop tools. To enable the user to have a more natural user experience and tie the desktop to the cloud environment, but in a more intuitive way, whilst at the same time layering on business features that are useful and productive to the user.
We’ve now released a WordPress multi-cloud backup plug-in which can be downloaded at the WordPress Plug-ins directory. This add-in enables you to backup your WordPress Blog tables to your primary supported backup cloud. We currently support Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, MobileMe, Box.net, GMail-as-a-Cloud, Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP-as-a-Cloud, Microsoft Live SkyDrive, and any WebDav enabled cloud.
SMEStorage functions as an abstraction that enables you to work with any of these clouds. Your files remain stored on your cloud provider and the value we bring is that we build a sophisticated file system with additional cloud services on top of your current cloud storage provider. This is exposed using our multi-cloud API, and enables us to bring value added services, such as the WordPress multi-cloud Backup Plug-In.
Once you have registered for a SMEStorage account (and there are many free plans) all you do is install the plug-in, go to Tools->Backup from WordPress Admin, enter your SMEStorage log-in details, ensure the plug-in is set to backup to SMEStorage rather than to email or file, and click ‘Backup’. The Backup will then run and your Backup can be found in the root node, “All Files” in your SMEStorage Cloud File System.
We have just made live our integration with Evernote and also released our revised cloud import/export function.
Evernote is a software application that allows users to capture information of various types, including text notes, mobile phone snapshots, printed and handwritten text within images, web clips, and digital ink. SMEStorage can now import information you have stored in Evernote directly to SMEStorage. From here you can view it via the web browser, backup to other storage clouds, share with users or just keep it for reference.
You can now use SMEStorage to import/export data to all the storage clouds we support, which are currently Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, Gmail, Email-as-a-Cloud, and Box.net.
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