One of the added benefits of the Microsoft Live SkyDrive support that we recently announced is thatit becomes accessible via the SMEStorage rich multi-cloud API becomes available for developers who want to access Microsoft Live SkyDrive programmtically. On the API’s Google Code site, as well as a detailed manual, there are PHP, PERL, and .Net examples and sample applications, and soon there will follow fully featured .Net & Cocoa libraries. Remember also, that the sames API also supports Amazon S3, Box.net, RackSpace Cloud Files, MobileMe, WebDav, Gmail Clouds, Email Clouds, FTP Clouds as well as Google Docs and Evernote. Expect to see support for at least two more storage clouds before the end of the year.
Many of the above storage clouds not only lack a proper file system (file support, but no folders, with only basic operations) but some, such as MobileMe, SkyDrive, GMail etc, lack any sort of API at all. That’s why we built the SMEStorage Multi-Cloud File System. We built it to enable us to have a universal API to support the storage clouds we plugged into our platform for our own purposes. Indeed it is what all our client tools are based on.
Given that is it is proven and more feature rich than the alternatives we made the decision to make it available as a generic storage cloud API for those wishing to use the SMEStorage platform as a Gateway to support multiple Cloud platforms in their applications or services. It supports multiple connections and multiple users and it does not impact the actual files themsevles as they are still stored on the original cloud service. SMEStorage merely keeps information about the metadata of the files and enables a file system, with services, on top of the remote storage cloud.
In the case of SkyDrive the lack of an API means our implementation is tightly coupled to Microsoft’s web implementation. Any major changes could render the API temporarily inoperable, but we are committed to make the necessary changes to continue support of this Cloud Provider as we move forward in our pursuit of supporting all major storage clouds.
We’ve got a couple of clients using our LIfetime Cloud package (which enables users to mix and match Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, Box.net, Gmail-as-a-Cloud, Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP-as-a-Cloud, MobileMe, and Webdav clouds) to integrate with Microsoft Sharepoint to enable them to:
Access Sharepoint files via SMEStorage clients, such as the iPhone client.
Automate Sharepoint backups to any of the cloud providers they choose from their Lifetime cloud package, such as Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files etc.
Enter the URL of your SharePoint site (ex. http://sharepoint.yourdomain.com/) as your WebDav server host
Enter your SharePoint login credentials as your username and passsword
Enter any folder path
To access Sharepoint they use the WebDav provider. Once the WebDav provider has been added as a Cloud Provider (from My Account -> Packages) you need to enter the following details:
Once you have done this you can choose whether to sync the metada from the files and folders held in Sharepoint to SMEStorage and then you will also be able to access the files through the SMEStorage platform.
After you have done this you can choose to do a scheduled background sync to another cloud provider such as Amazon S3. To do this go to MyAccount->Providers and choose to add a ‘New Provider‘. Choose the Primary Providers as your WebDav SharePoint Provider and choose the new Backup Provider to be Amazon S3 (or whichever other cloud you wish). You can then choose how often you want the sync to occur i.e. hourly, daily, weekly.
That is it, you now have Sharepoint integrated with your SMEStorage account.
We are please to announce support for MobileME, iDisk and any WebDav compliant storage cloud from today. WebDAV is the Distributed Authoring and Versioning extension to the standard HTTP/HTTPS web protocol. It allows a client to browse a remote filesystem, usually with a graphical browser that makes it appear that your files are on your desktop.
This means that anyone who uses these storage clouds with SMEStorage (and remember this does not stop you using them with your normal clients) will get access to our clients:
Web: Rich File Manager, features integration with best of breed web 2.0 vendors and collaboration features
Windows: Virtual Drive, Shell Integration, Sync Features, Dedicated Explorer, Integration with MS Office & Open Office
iPhone: Web based iPhone client in which files can be viewed, shared, collaborated on, and also viewed offline
Facebook: Share your files on Facebook with your friends
iGoogle: Access your files directly from your iGoogle Portal Page.
Amongst ther storage vendors apart from Apple that support WebDav are Bingo Disk, FilesAnywhere, iDrive.
You can also create WebDav compliant folders in Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems and webdav can also be used to access email systems like Microsoft Exchange and also intranet systems such as Sharepoint.
There was an interesting post on PC World recently that asks the question “What happens to the data when an online storage site closes?”. After all two of the main reasons for offline storage are for backup and for access. What we are starting to see happen in the world of online storage is consolidation and of course the non sustainability of ‘free’ business models. As the article states, “Online storage services that have announced closings in the past ten months include big names in tech: AOL (Xdrive and AOL Pictures), Hewlett-Packard (Upline), Sony (Image Station), and Yahoo (Briefcase). Plenty of lesser-known online storage firms also have kicked the bucket, including Digital Railroad and Streamload MediaMax, which turned into The Linkup.”
One of the reasons we never used proprietary storage services for SMEStorage is that, ultimately, it is very difficult to keep up with the big guys in terms of price. Just look at Amazon. They are the 1oo pound gorilla of being able to sell at a high volume for low margin.
At SMEStorage we have concentrated on providing interoperability with best-of-breed Storage providers and building value services over and above this. For example things such as clients for different platforms, integrations with the best-of-breed Web 2.0, Desktop and social media tools. Innovations such as Email-backup-to-storage, and the ability to move data about from one storage provider to another. Or even have a real-time Cloud Data Backup which, if the primary provider disappears, will have kept the data in sync and available with a secondary provider. Key to this is that you own your data, not us.
If you are using our free Amazon S3 service we give you 250MB, but even using these you are free at any time to export it to any other provider you want at any time, including our other free services such as email-as-a-cloud or gmail-as-a-cloud, but of course you still own the account and therefore the data.
We believe that the most valuable thing is your data and we will keep doing all we can to help you keep it safe, accessible, and available.
Today we released our Organisational Cloud Package. This is specifically for businesses who want to take advantage of Cloud Storage. The Organisational Cloud package supports Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, Box.net, Email-as-a-Cloud, Private Cloud, and GMail-as-a-Cloud.
Specific features are:
– Mix and Match Cloud Providers and view all your files from all providers in one File System
– Use one or more Cloud Providers between as many users as you prefer. We offer 5 and 10 user packages but ask us if you want more than this.
– Administrator can invite and manage users, decide which clouds are used, is responsible for public organisation folders, and can monitor logs.
– Use your preferred client – Web, Firefox plug-in, Windows Virtual Drive (with explorer, shell and sync tools), iGoogle, iPhone
– Easily Backup or import from different Cloud Providers, which also includes Google Docs and Evernote.
– Integration with Microsoft Office and Open Office
– All Backups can be scheduled to happen in real-time or offline at a specific time each hour,day,week or month.
– Support automated emails backup using POP3 or IMAP with plug-ins available for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
– Encrypt your files at any time using SHA-1 secure encryption. Only you have the private key so your files can be absolutely secure.
– Incorporate your own Private Organisation Cloud using a simple FTP Server. This can be used to access files in the virtual file system or even backup from private to public cloud or vice-versa.
– Web platform offers integrations with Zoho Office (create documents directly in the cloud), Evernote, Google Docs, Picnik (inline image editing), ScribD (view PDF’s and other documents), and Twitter (file share using Twitter or be notified of users sharing files with you)
– Rich Collaboration, document workflow and file sharing features.
– Sophisticated Filter mechanisms to deal with large volume of files
We have now integrated some new features into our SMEStorage platform. You can now edit your code directly in the cloud. Any code files that you upload to our supported providers, either S3, Mosso, Box.net, GMail, email-as-a-cloud or evernote can be edited directly by choosing to edit as a document or edit as source.
If you choose the document editing view you can edit your file in a WYSIWIG view as show below:
THe Firefox plug-in for SMEStorage that is part of the FireUPloader product has been updated.
It now has support for Groups and shared content:
To create a new group click into groups and choose the create new folder icon which will not be used to create a group.
It also now supports encryption:
and also supports file filtering:
To access the Filter icon within the Firefox plug-in you need to be at the root folder. When content is filtered you will see “isfiltered” in the path bar.
And of course you can also choose to fileshare any of your files stored on SMEStorage directly within the plug-in by right clicking on the file and choosing “Send to”.
You can download the new plug-in here.