Metadata is in basic terms, data about other data. We can think of Metadata is similar to an iceberg, on the surface is what is visible ie. the file with basic information such as time, date etc, but beneath the surface is a wealth of valuable data which can make finding and working with certain types of data easier.by
Storage Made Easy offers three different hosting models for its Enterprise File FabricTM product solutions.
Below are some notes to help understand the choices and decide which offering may be best suited for an organization. Continue reading “Exploring The Deployment Topologies and Service Offerings for the Enterprise File Fabric”by
We are pleased to announce a new Dicom viewer for the Storage Made Easy File Fabric™.
Dicom images are mostly used in the medical industry and enable viewing of images such as X-rays, MRI’s, CT Scans etc.
The File Fabric Dicom Viewer supports the following transfer syntaxes:by
Multi-Cloud is a term that is in vogue now, but Storage Made Easy were one of the very original multi-cloud companies. We have always had a focus on unification of data assets whether on-cloud or on-premise and whether in-storage on in-app.
Having a unified approach to data provides the means in which companies can apply collaboration across data assets in addition to setting common policy for data governance and control to satisfy every increasingly robust compliance regimes.
Today is an exciting day as we announce the General Availability of the next generation of Storage Made Easy’s Enterprise File Fabric application.by
Here at Storage Made Easy we have been touting the benefits of not selling YASS (Yet another storage Silo) and providing an ‘Enterprise File Share and Sync Fabric’ with a single control point / pane of glass for all files within a company for several years now, something that Egnyte cottoned onto and attempted to move its focus to only recently.
This strategy and product focus is the reason SME has connectors to over 50 storage clouds and why we have focused on letting companies install our entire EFSS stack on-premise, on IAAS or in their own data centre.by
As 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.
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.
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.
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.by
With the recent celebrity photo scandal fresh in the minds of companies who are either using or anticipating moving to use Cloud questions regarding security, architecture and governance are fair ones to ask.
Without a doubt cloud computing offers advantages to companies that encompass ease of use, productivity and cost savings, however companies have concerns about if, how and where they store their sensitive data. This is where hybrid cloud can play a part.
What is Hybrid Cloud ? Hybrid Cloud essentially continues to offer businesses all the benefits associated with the public cloud whilst enabling them to continue to have choices of storing certain types of data privately.
The benefits of a hybrid cloud strategy are that it addresses the security concerns of sensitive data whilst offering a dual strategy, unlike a pure private cloud implementation.
The Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Share and Sync platform provides such a public / private hybrid cloud solution but takes it a step further in the following ways:
– SME integrates with many existing private data applications and public cloud solutions. Private data application examples are Jive, CMIS, SharePoint, FTP and CIFS. Public cloud solution examples are Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud Files, Google Storage, Azure Blog Storage, Salesforce etc. SME does not force you to work with other storage or data that comes with the solution. SME is storage agnostic and it works with what you have.
-SME offers a control point for all corporate data wherever it is stored. As a control points Storage Made Easy can be configured to audit log all file events which can be exported as an excel file or as Syslog events for use with Business DashBoards. It also enables encrypting of sensitive files through the gateway that reside on public cloud Apps, or the choice of keeping these files entirely private behind the firewall but still accessible. GEO location tracking and restrictions are also built into the platform as is secure file sharing across all data stores enabling a common file sharing policy to be set.
– SME provides a single pane of glass into all cloud services and integrates into corporate identity management systems such as LDAP and Active Directory. It can function as a public and private cloud data control point and can also be set to enable users to add their own consumer cloud accounts if this is a company policy, and it can track which corporate documents are moved, or shared, into a users consumer cloud account.
– More effective governance is provided as the SME Enterprise File Share and Sync gateway not only provides the flexibility and security of the hybrid cloud model, it also provides a cloud control point for existing private data and public cloud data sets.
Below are the slides presented at the OpenStack London Summit.by
File Sharing is a key part of a companies ability to collaborate and share corporate data, which increasingly can be stored in many disparate services. The purpose of this post is to offer suggestion businesses should consider for their corporate file sharing strategy:
Many business just let employees share files with no control and no checks. This needs a policy. This is the businesses core asset and it needs to be protected and secure. Also, compliance and legislation of data is increasingly becoming important. The business needs to ensure it does not get caught in a compliance trap.
Point 1: Implement a control mechanism for your users. For example Storage Made Easy enables users to share files using links that can be password protected and in which the link can be set to expire. This protects against the user forwarding file. The file link can be set to expire on first download for example or set to download after 24 hours (or any other specified time period). If the file is password protected, even if the file is forwarded by the recipient then the file cannot be accessed unless the password is provided. A control mechanism promotes best practice security management of files and reduces operational risk.
Point 2: Point Solution or not ? Consider whether your strategy should be a point solution or whether it works with your existing data sets. Many vendors may purport to promote managed secure file sharing but often you find you have to move your data to their Cloud to have the solution work for you. Storage Made Easy works with private on-premise data, public cloud data such as DropBox, SkyDrive, Box etc and also with SaaS services such as BaseCamp. This promotes a ‘joined up’ strategy for company file sharing.
Point 3: Integrates with what you have ? Consider whether the solution works how you work so that it does not get in the way of business or productivity. For example Storage Made Easy integrates directly in the desktop as a network drive with simple right click options to share files. This behaviour supports Windows, Mac and Linux. Also integration has been done with other core business productivity tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail to promote easy secure file sharing using links directly from the corporate mail client. Similar integrations exists for core productivity tools such as Microsoft Office and Open Office or Libre Office.
Point 4: Compliance, Compliance Compliance – Compliance is fast catching up with all verticals when it comes to storing and accessing corporate files off site. There is specific industry legislation related to this, such as HIPPA in healthcare and FERPA in education, but there are various legislation proposals being processed at various levels in the USA and EU and it is a safe bet that the ability to track historic file events will become more of a requirement not less of a one. Also for companies, the ability to search against historic file sharing or data access should be just part of an overall joined up corporate security policy.
Point 5: On-Premise, Hybrid or Cloud ? The last point is to do with implementation. You should be able to decide how you manage data or metadata associated with storing files and sharing files. This can be behind the corporate firewall, totally on Cloud., or some combination of both. The key word here is choice.by
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.
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.
In the past we have written about Amazon S3 and how, aas the 100 pound gorilla, of the Cloud Storage world, it’s S3 API has become almost a de facto interface for developers. This is one of the reasons that we originally added an S3 API protocol adaptor to our service.
Many start up’s, small businesses and even enterprises choose initially to use S3 for storage. This can be fine initially, however, when the volume increases the monthly bill can become an OPEX issue and small companies (and Enterprise) are looking for ways to slash their costs in any way they can. Aside from this other companies have stringent issues about where data is stored (for clarification, Amazon S3 is PCI DSS 2.0 compliant, SAS 70 Type II certified, and VPV ISO 27001 certified) or wish to store it within their own data centre or site.
As SMEStorage supports over 35 Clouds and SaaS services, you could very easily turn Google Docs, Box, Windows Azure or DropBox into an S3 Platform, or you could just add your own NetGear or PogoPlug appliance, or other private storage implementation.
The SME hosted service, and Cloud Appliance, provides the ability access to any Saas or cloud storage mapped to your account via multiple protocols. These include FTP, WebDav and also S3. These work even if the backend provider does not support the protocol natively. The SME protocol adaptors will do the protocol translation to the native storage provider protocol. One of the benefits of this that the users don’t need any special software to be able to access the Clouds. They can use any FTP, or WebDav client, or in the case of S3 any S3 client or code in which the host endpoint can be changed.
To demonstrate compatibility with the S3 API and tools we will now look at how to use AWS s3curl with a smestorage account.
To use s3 curl you will need to modify s3curl.pl and change the end point to
‘s3.smetorage.com’ (US Server) or ‘s3eu.storagemadeeasy.com‘ (EU Server) e.g my @endpoints = ( ‘s3.storagemadeeasy.com‘);
Your id is your smestorage account user name and you can obtain your secret key by logging into SMEStorage.com going to “My Dashboard” (from the sidebar) and copying the API key from the“Tech Info” section where the “API secret Key” resides.
Now you are all set to use s3curl. For example to list all the buckets you can use
./s3curl.pl –id smestorageusername –key API secret key http://s3.storagemadeeasy.com
For s3curl command line options please see the README file that is part of the s3curl package. Also note that the secure way to use s3curl is to use the .s3curl file in your home directory to pass the id and and key.by