Webinar: An Introduction to the Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Share and Sync Fabric

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SME Webinar

With the world growing increasingly data-rich, customers are looking for tools to access data at any time, whilst also being as secure as possible.

Storage Made Easy provides a comprehensive control and management solution with the most enriched cloud computing features to enable secure cloud collaboration across data points for corporations.

Continue reading “Webinar: An Introduction to the Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Share and Sync Fabric”

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Editing Office files on iOS and Android from OpenStack and other Object Storage Clouds

More and more companies are turning to Object Storage to handle the growing amounts of structured and unstructured data that is corporately generated and consumed.

As companies move to this new storage paradigm IT is struggling  to not only manage, index, and secure the newly migrated / stored data, but also having difficulty with figuring out how they can expose access to users.

Continue reading “Editing Office files on iOS and Android from OpenStack and other Object Storage Clouds”

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Automatically Archiving CIFS Windows Shares to OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3 and other object storage clouds

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.

Continue reading “Automatically Archiving CIFS Windows Shares to OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3 and other object storage clouds”

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A look at retaining Brand Identity using Storage Made Easy’s File Sync and Share self-service branding

Corporate brand identity management is a key issue for any organisation. Various surveys have indicated that companies who pay special attention to their corporate brand identity  influence employees’ commitment to their organisations, in addition to consolidating their brand identity.

To that end Storage Made Easy has consistently provided a way to brand their Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Share and Sync Solution, either when used as a federated fabric or as a dedicated solution for storage solutions such as OpenStack.

Lets take a look at some of the ways in which the self service features can be used to self-brand.

Continue reading “A look at retaining Brand Identity using Storage Made Easy’s File Sync and Share self-service branding”

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Setting up Google Storage Nearline as a Cloud File Server

Google Nearline which enables customers to store data that is long-lived but infrequently accessed. Nearline data has the same durability and comparable availability as Standard storage but with lower storage costs.  You can read the Google Nearline white paper for more details.

At Storage Made Easy we recently announced the support of Google Nearline and the purpose of this post is to step through how to use Google Nearline with the SME solution.

Continue reading “Setting up Google Storage Nearline as a Cloud File Server”

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Does your Share and Sync handle global file locking and versioning ?

Cloud File LockingAs more and more companies use the Cloud to replace their existing file server the need for similar functionality to that which existed on-premise becomes important. Once such features is file locking.

File locking simply allows a user to lock a file whilst updating to prevent another user editing the same file. If locking does not exist then at worse conflicts occur, at best file updates get overwritten and perhaps even lost. It is a key piece of a collaboration experience.

Storage Made Easy private enterprise file share and sync solution fully supports file locking through all of its web, desktop and mobile clients. When a file is locked, other users only have read only access to it.

Cloud File Locking

Cloud Drive

iOS Locking

In addition to locking, file versioning goes hand in hand as a key feature. Versioned files are files that have been superseded by newer files but which can be kept for audit or archived purposes and which can later be promoted to replace newer version of a file if needed. Storage Made Easy EFSS solution provides full support for both of these features using its unique visual versioning feature.

Visual File Versioning

Updating file versions

The problem with current file sync and share solutions is they miss many of the features needed to really use them as a file server replacement. This do not just include locking and versioning, but also CIFS access from the desktop, file event audit, access over common protocols such as WebDav or FTP, ability to be deployed private and to work with other storage clouds or data points, solve the shadow IT problem etc. The solution from most solution providers is the “my cloud is better than their cloud” approach i.e.. “move to my solution as we have that feature”. This promotes more silos and exacerbates sprawl.

The Storage Made Easy is storage independent and promote interoperability and integration, working with any combination of storage points, be they public or private, so if you have existing solutions that require global locking, versioning, event Audit, Cloud Governance, amongst other things, SME can help.

SME Private EFSS

In summary For companies that have data stored in the cloud, in one or more storage providers, global file locking and versioning should be considered a mandatory feature for enterprise file share and sync.

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Cloud File Server Branding

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.

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New version of Windows Cloud Drive and Sync Tools released

We’ve updated our Windows Cloud Tools which are available to purchase by free users or as part of the Personal Lifetime and Team Cloud File Server Plans. The tools integrate the Cloud directly in the desktop via the means of a Cloud Drive with a drive letter that you can control, and also come with sophisticated sync tooling and a Cloud Management DashBoard

These are now available to all existing users of the Cloud Tools that are under support by logging into their DashBoard  and navigating to Cloud Add In’s.

Updated include:

– Fixed a Sync Centre ordering bug that could occur on scheduled sync

– Added speed (byte rate) limits.

– Sync Center – fixed windows system function GetLastWriteTimeUtc bug that cause an issue with some timestamps.

– saves endpoint when credentials are not saved.

– Added new endpoint MyCompany.FileServerApp.com/api, to be easier for appliance users to manage their private Clouds.

– Sync Center: Now runs in background when launched by schedulers. Shows a log at the end, if there were sync errors, or if “Don’t close” was checked when scheduled.

– Retries failed HTTP requests (3 times, at 3 seconds interval).

– Skip folders that failed to create.

– Logs more info on failed folders.

– Virtual Drive performance improvement

– WIndows 64 bit IFS Virtual Drive Driver update :resolves issue for some 64 bit machines

– other Minor fixes.

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Cloud Computing Use Case: Editing Google Docs, Office365 and DropBox files in iWork on the iPad

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.storagemadeeasy.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.

 

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Cloud federation and governance will dominate in 2012

It’s seasonally topical to write a blog post that will draw a close to the old year with some predictions for the New Year, so read on for a post that fits with that trend…

2011 has been an eventful year for SMEStorage. On the business side we have always been a privately owned self funded company. We have never been VC backed and we’re profitable and have needed to be to be self sufficient. To enable us to expand the founders took a decision to raise some money to enable the company to continue to grow and expand the company. To this end Vehera, the owning entity of SMEStorage sold a small amount of equity enabling Vehera to raise a million dollars to fund the companies push for 2012. This will give the ability to add some more staff to enable us to grow the opportunity we see for our technology with ISP’s and the Enterprise.

On the Technology front we continued building out our support for Cloud’s resulting in SMEStorage now supporting over 35 Storage and SaaS Clouds. We also released a native Windows Phone Client,and also the first versions of Mac and Linux Cloud Tools and we enhanced our native browser plug in’s with support for Google Chrome and Safari. We also enhanced our iOS App for iPhone and iPad many times over the course of the year as well as releasing a native Android client for Phones and tablets. In addition to all of this we also improved our core offering with a myriad of new features which included adding protocol adaptors that exposed Clouds mapped to SMEStorage over WebDav, FTP or the Amazon S3 API, even if the underlying Cloud does not natively support these protocols.

So what for 2012, well, firstly we’ll continue to add more services that can be federated and managed. Shortly we’ll be announcing support for SugarSync, and the UbuntuOne Cloud. We’ll also be adding services less traditionally associated with file stores. The first of these will be BaseCamp, which will be followed by some CRM SaaS services and we have in mind another project / collaboration SaaS tool.

We’ll also be adding even more Cloud governance and e-compliance features. If your interested on our take on Cloud Sprawl and governance please see our prior blog post on this subject.

We intend to push out our revised Cloud Appliance in early 2012. This will give any customer the ability to have a hybrid Cloud governance application that deals with Cloud and local data and service federation that they fully control and own. Customers will be able to host this in their own data centre as it will be available as a VMWare, XEN or KVM appliance. As an alternative we intend to enable easy access to an Amazon EC2 based instance. We also intend to make it easy for resellers to get their ands on it and offer it as a value add to their own business.

It’s our firm belief that with the greater adoption of Cloud, and the increasing array of Cloud Services that 2012 will be the year of Cloud Federation and governance as companies struggle to manage and control the Cloud services deployed in their organisation. We believe that with our advanced service features, comprehensive access clients, and Hybrid on-premise Cloud Appliance that we are well placed to help companies who struggle with these issues.

For general predictions, we’ll make just one, and that is that the “free lunch” is coming to an end. In a volatile economy services that offer “free” may look appealing, but all businesses need to make money to survive and free eventually needs to become paid, and companies need a solid business model to survive. Hoping to capitalise at some point on a large user base of free users is not a business plan. There is room for some element of freemium, we use it ourselves, but our belief is that it has to be underpinned by a solid business plan. If you’d like to read more about this, see this post which goes into a little more depth.

All that remains to be said is to wish you all a “Happy New Year” and we hope all your hopes and dreams are realised in the forthcoming year.

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