Storage Made Easy made easy provides free WebDav access to Clouds that don’t support WebDav

We are now giving away 150MB of free WebDav access to mapped Clouds to all SME free accounts. This is enough to access around 300 documents on Mobile devices per month and is enough for the average use of WebDav into Clouds such as DropBox, Google Drive, SkyDrive etc.

If you want to access more than just pay a one time $5 fee and get access to 2GB per month of WebDav for the life of your use of our service. If you want unlimited use then just sign up to be a personal cloud or business cloud user.

Also, all free accounts feature 5GB free storage on Amazon S3 and the ability to add up to 3 other Clouds that you wish to access.

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Cloud Computing Use Case: Automatic notifications of new or changed iWork Numbers documents stored on Google Drive

We had an interesting Use Case recently in which the requirements were as follows:

The Company in question had a Google Apps Account and therefore used Google Drive for their Storage. They had a number of iWork Numbers documents that were modified by their team members whilst on the move using iWork and iPad’s. Currently their process was editing the files, and then trying to send the resultant file via email to other team members. Due to file size some files were not received and in general the email server was quickly eating up storage. What they cam to SME for was to figure out how they could refine this process.

With Storage Made Easy the process became much simpler. Firstly the company subscribed to a Cloud File Server SaaS Account. The SME Cloud Admin then added the companies Google Drive account to be accessible via SME and invited other team members to be part of the Cloud File Server. On the Folder(s) in question the Cloud Admin simply set permissions so that relevant team members had access and added a notification rule specific to keynote file to ensure that all subscribers to the shared folder received an email notification on new files or updates to existing files. As per our prior article on Twitter and SMS Gateways on these changes to file events SME can easily generate instant SMS notifications.

As Storage Made Easy enables WebDav above any Cloud added to it then Google Drive becomes instantly accessible via WebDav. For the Company this means that they can simply open and create new keynote files directly in Keynote from their shared Google Drive folder and then on completion simply save them back. The very act of doing this generates a file event on completion which send an email and/or SMS to users subscribed to the shared folder vastly simplifying the process.




Another added benefit to the company is the complete end-to-end joined up audit tracking they get on all Google Drive documents:

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Adding a WebDav Drive for access to almost any Cloud Storage on Windows 8 RT Surface Tablet

Windows RT Surface is a great tablet but the non-pro edition is pretty locked down and getting access to files from the integrated Apps can be an issue. Enter SME Personal Cloud.

Amongst other desktop tools the SME Personal Cloud comes with what we refer to as CloudDav and provides WebDav access to any of the Cloud Storage Accounts that you have mapped to your Account.

Enabling WebDav on the Windows Surface Tablet can be done simply with a batch file in the following format:

NET USE * \\webdav.storagemadeeasy.com@SSL\DavWWWRoot
pause

(or NET USE * \\webdaveu.storagemadeeasy.com@SSL\DavWWWRoot for the SME EU Server)

Once this is done you have a fully functional cloud drive on your Surface Tablet to get to all your public / private cloud files !

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Google Docs WebDav update

We made some changes to accommodate some issues with Google Docs with our CloudDav protocol Adaptor:

1. The first change relates to creating documents directly in Google Docs and then trying to open the files directly in Pages iWork (for example). Previously this failed as the file had a zero size, as the size is unknown until Google exports it. We fixed this. Now such files created directly in Google Docs will open correctly.

2. The second change related to saving files directly back to Google Docs when creating them in Pages (or other Keynote, Numbers). These would fail because pages tried to place a zero size file lock to test write access. Other Clouds allow this but Google Docs does not, and therefore Pages would report that the file could not be saved. This is also now resolved.

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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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CloudDav update – say goodbye to those additional files in iWork

The SMEStorage implementation of CloudDav enables us to provide WebDav over any Cloud whether the underlying Cloud supports it or not. This has great use on devices such as the iPad when users want to use Google Docs with iWork or SKyDrive with iWork etc.

One of the small niggling issues we’ve had is that when files are saved using iWork the CloudDav implementation creates two extra files. One is the original file which is data and timestamped and the other is an empty file. The reason for this is:

1. Whenever SMEStorage changes a file (if file versioning is not turned on) then the original file is actually versioned and moved to Trash. The file is not actually removed from the underlying Cloud until the Trash is emptied and is visible in the same directory as the newly created file, except it has a date and timestamp appended to it.

2. iWork actually creates an empty file when you are working with the file you wish to edit. This file is empty and is a lock on a file  that it  lets go of once the file has been saved, but it results in the creation of a real empty  file.

Most of our users who use CloudDav with iWork just want one file that they changed to be saved and no additional files which they have to manually remove.

To accommodate this we’ve added a new setting in the Cloud DashBoard (accessible from the right sidebar after login):

 

 

 

 

 

This option is on for all new CloudDav accounts and can be turned on for any existing CloudDav accounts. This will prevent the creation of the extra two files in iWork on the iPad / iPhone.

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How to manage your Google Docs, SkyDrive, RackSpace files + more on the Mac using ForkLift 2 with SME

BinaryNights recently updated their Mac OSX File Manager, ForkLift to version 2. This is a nice replacement for Finder on the Mac and supports FTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, as well as being able to manage the Mac files directly using a two pane window.  We’ve got used to using Forklift with our CloudDav offering (which adds a WebDav layer over any cloud we support) and this enables us to manage files on a variety of Clouds, including, Google Docs, RackSpace, SkyDrive, and of course all the other Clouds we support. It is priced reasonably at $29.95 and it has a 14 day trial download.

As a quick guide for use, see the below:

Now choose WebDav and fill in the details for CloudDav:

We can now see our various clouds within the SMEStorage. virtual cloud file system

Ensure you also choose ForkLift->preferences and to queue file operations:

You could receive an error such as the below during copying:

If this occurs then click “Apply to All” and choose to skip. Forklift can instantiate a number of parallel connections and the requests can be refused by our servers which is why the error message occurs. You should check after copy that all your files were uploaded. If not, simply selecte the file missing and drag it across the pane to where you want it to reside.

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