Why Mac OSX WebDav is not it for purpose

WebDav is a great ubiquitous protocol for file transfer. It’s been around a long time and is well supported. If you want to know more about WebDav please check out our white paper on the WebDav protocol.

Unfortunately WebDav for Mac OSX is not implemented well and is the reason we block the use of our own CloudDav WebDav protocol adaptor, that spans all mapped Clouds, and promote the use of the Cloud Drive within our Mac OS X App.

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SFTP access to Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage SFTP

Storage Made Easy have now made live a new SFTP protocol adaptor. SFTP is one of the two primary technologies for secure FTP networking, the other being FTPS, which Storage Made Easy already supports (along with FTP, WebDav, Secure WebDav and S3).

The primary reason we investigated implementing SFTP is due to a government POC in which access was required to secure AWSGov Cloud files from medical terminals. This was the primary requirement, but because Storage Made Easy works with almost any back-end Cloud. once added, it can be used as protocol gateway for any cloud mapped to an account, note that the Port is 2200

Below is an example of using the SFTP protocol to access a Storage Made Easy account using Transmit (a Mac App).

Transmit Cloud SFTP

Once connected, all data and mapped clouds are accessible.

SFTP RackSpace Cloud Files

Access can also be done directly from the command line.

SFTP Command line

Once connected we can do an ‘ls’ to get a file listing and the view of the files is similar to our earlier UI view.

Mac SFTP S3

To find out more about the SME protocol gateway feature that is part of the SME solution please check out the below video.

SFTP Cloud files Access is available for Storage Made Easy Enterprise, IaaS, UK Government G-Cloud, or SaaS (business plan only) solutions.

SaaS access to FTP (for business plan users) can be achieved using the following URL’s:

US
sftp.storagemadeeasy.com

EU
sftpeu.storagemadeeasy.com

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Accessing OpenStack, RackSpace, Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox + more using Storage Made Easy and Transmit for Mac

If you have come across this post whilst researching how to access other storage clouds from Transmit then have a look at our Getting Started Guide to show you how you can register for a free account and get on with mapping your chosen Storage Cloud to the SME Cloud Gateway. When you are ready you can register for a free account here.

As many of you who use it know, CloudDav, from SME adds a WebDav layer over any Cloud, even if the underlying clouds do not support WebDav. SME does no however allow the native Mac WebDav client to connect direct because the performance of the native Mac WebDav client is notoriously abysmal for those with large amounts of files.

You can however choose to use other Mac clients to connect to the Cloud Providers that you have mapped to the SME Gateway. We highlighted Forklift as such a client in a prior post, and you can also choose to use Transmit from Panic.

Once you have CloudDav enabled you can choose to access your clouds, mapped via the SME Gateway, through Transmit. First choose to connect over WebDav as in the screenshot below:

Transmit DropBox

You can then choose to connect directly inside of Transmit or as a Virtual Drive that will appear in Finder.

Transmit  also has a very nice sync feature that will sync between folder structures. In this way you can sync files with Transmit and SME from different Cloud Storage Providers to your desktop.

Initial view before Sync

The Sync screen after choosing Sync

The Sync Simulation

SME CloudDav is available with every account, even free accounts, although on free accounts it is restricted to 150MB of use per month. The CloudDav protocol Adaptor is just one of the protocol adaptors that SME provides, the others being FTP, SFTP and a compatible S3 API. All protocol adaptors are available in the Storage Made Easy Enterprise edition as part of the Cloud Gateway which the SME Enterprise File Share and Sync is built upon.

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Mac Stickies Synchronizer

Here at Storage Made Easy we use Storage Made Easy ourselves to do our day-to-day work. Sometimes our developers build their own tools using the SME REST API to aid them with how they work. One of our developers built a tool that integrates the Mac Stickies desktop Application with the SME API. Stickies is simply a visual Memo style note taking App that is available on all Mac’s.

The SME Developers tend to work on a combination of Mac’s and Linux laptops. The Mac users tend to use Stickies to keep track of things they want to remember and have to do but if they have their laptop close or unavailable they cannot get access to this data. I know they could use a myriad of to do lists but they use the Stickies for more than just to do’s and it fits with their way of working.

Stickies does not really have a formal API but To that end one of the developers wrote a small App to connect to Stickies and replicate the notes data back to a nominated folder on SME where each Sticky entry becomes a note and each sticky title becomes the title of each note. This is a one way sync replication as there is no Stickies API to go back the other way.

The folder of course can be located on any cloud that is mapped to an account. In our case we use Amazon S3.

The Stickies Application just sits in the taskbar and periodically runs the stickies one way sync.

We decided to release the Stickies App into the wild and let anyone who want to use it download and use it. Use of it is governed by our normal terms of use and we’d be happy to hear any feedback.

You can download 0.701 version SME Stickies Synchronizer here.

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Rich Client enabling HP Object Cloud Storage

SMEStorage Cloud File Server now supports HP Object Storage which is in public beta. You can sign up for HP Object Storage from HP Cloud Services here.

To add HP Object Storage to your account after sign up please take the following steps:

Navigate to your DashBoard and choose to add a new Cloud Provider and choose the HP Cloud:

Next follow the wizard to enter the correct information:

When you are authenticated, if there are existing buckets then you can choose to index them to make them available via the SME Cloud File Server and/or you can create a new bucket name:

Next your can choose to sync or index your data. All this does is find out information about your data such as filename, date, size etc.

Once done your data is available to work with through the web rich client as well as other mobile and desktop tools:

In a future blog article we will look at how you can use HP Cloud Storage to implement a full fledged multi-tenant Cloud File Server in which you can assign user permissions and governance controls to data.

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BaseCamp API integration

We recently added support for the BaseCamp cloud which is a more non-traditional type of information Cloud focused on Project or Task Management. As with Other Cloud Providers the BaseCamp Cloud is invoked by choosing to add a provider from the Cloud DashBoard after login:

Choosing this option invokes the Cloud Wizard:

Enter your authentication details and your BaseCamp company endpoint either in classic BaseCamp Classic format (https://yourcompany.basecamphq.com/) or in the newer Basecamp API format (https://basecamp.com/111122111). Which you use will be dependent on your account.

Once the required authentication details have been completed you can choose to index or sync the meta-data associated with your BaseCamp Projects and files:

Once the meta-data is indexed then the BaseCamp files appear in the consolidated files view through any desktop, mobile or web access client:

You can then easily move other assets into BaseCamp folders form other Clouds, or even work directly on documents or share files using the build in integrations with services such as Google Docs and Zoho:

Files can also be accessed directly from integrated Desktop Cloud Drives on the Mac, Windows or Linux. You can see an example of this with a Mac below (personal lifetime or business account needed):

You can also edit your BaseCamp documents directly on your iPad using iWork, or even using a standard  FTP client (personal lifetime or business account needed).

We hope you enjoy the BaseCamp integration which has been frequently requested. It works with the older BaseCamp API accounts and also the new API and we welcome any feedback.

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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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