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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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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Office 365

We’ve had a quite a few requests now for SMEStorage to offer integration with Office 365, Microsoft’s online offering for small businesses. We’re doing some analysis to see whether we can add connection to Office 365 so that users can work with data from iOS, Android, and BlackBerry (with Windows Phone coming soon), as well as, of course, Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Office 365 has built in access to files folders via integrated SharePoint capability and unfortunately the SharePoint in 365 does not seem to have any means to connect via WebDav for users.

We’ll post an update when we have more news on our work to add Office 365 integration.

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Mac Cloud Tools released !

We are really please to announce that we have released the first version of our Mac Cloud Tools.

The cloud tools encompass:

– A virtual Cloud Drive that works within Finder

– A Desktop to Cloud folder sync utility

– Cloud Files integrated into Spotlight indexing

Unlike other silo’d storage provider SMEStorage works as an abstraction layer above over 15 storage clouds and enables users to access and manage files from all the major storage vendors.

The Cloud Tools really bring the Cloud into the Mac desktop enabling users to witch storage cloud providers by simply changing directory, and editing files becomes as easy as double clicking on the file in question from within the Cloud Drive and saving when done. We’ve also integrated file actions into the Mac Finder on right click so that, amongst other things, you can easily get a URL of a file to share, or generate an email with a file link for example.

Our desktop to folder synchronisation tools makes it easy to keep files from different clouds in sync with different desktop folders. Just drop your files into the folder and the sync tool will pick up and ensure they end up on the relevant Cloud.

Lastly, we’ve integrated spotlight to work with all the Clouds mapped to a SMEStorage Account so that when Spotlight indexes the Cloud files are also searched

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Mac Cloud Drive beta 4 for Google Docs, S3, SkyDrive + other clouds released

We’ve just updated our Labs page with the beta 4 of our Mac Drive. This is a huge step forward in our goal of having a robust multi-cloud drive for the Mac OSX. We now have implemented a cache to keep Finder happy when files are first copied or dropped there, and we add them to a queue so that they are uploaded in the background. If you shut down then the files resume next time you fire up the laptop and the drive is mounted

We also catch queueing operations so we can deal with renames and deletes, and we also now support the opening of encrypted files as well as letting you get a URL for a file using Finder Service actions. You can watch the video below to get more of a feel for what the drive does.


Mac Cloud Drive Beta 4 for Google Docs, S3, SkyDrive other Clouds

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Guide to creating a multi-OS shared Linux Cloud Drive with SAMBA using SME

SMEStorage provides a Linux cloud drive that can be mounted on the file system and then used as a normal drive. Samba allows file and print sharing between computers running Windows and computers running Unix. Samba sets up network shares for chosen Unix directories (including all contained subdirectories). These appear to Microsoft Windows users as normal Windows folders accessible via the network.

A SMEStorage Cloud Drive can be set up as a shared drive on a Linux file server allowing you to share it amongst many users on your network. This is useful if you want to share cloud resources from a single user account across many users.

Here is a step by step guide to configuring Samba and SMEStorage Linux drive. First, make sure you have installed Samba. Samba is included with most of the Linux distributions. For this we are using CentOS 5.5.

1. Make a backup of your /etc/samba/smb.conf file and then edit the smb.conf file (Make sure the workgroup is the same as the workgroup windows machines belong to.). It should have the following:

[global]
workgroup = WORKGROUP
encrypt passwords = yes
[smedrive]
comment = smedrive mount
path = /export/sme
read only = no

For further information on Samba configuration file please see http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/using_samba/ch06.html

2. SMEStorage Linux drive uses the open-source Fuse code and the out-of-the-box settings do not allow sharing in this manner. Therefore we need to  create a file /etc/fuse.conf with the following one line content and after we do that the machine needs to be rebooted for it to take effect.

user_allow_other

For further information on Fuse please see http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/fuse/index.php?title=Fuse.conf

3. Create the directory where we will mount the drive:
# mkdir -p /export/sme
# chmod 1777 /export/sme

4. Add linux and samba users:
# groupadd smeuser
# useradd -m -n -ppassword -gsmeuser smeuser
# smbpasswd -a smeuser

New SMB password:
Retype new SMB password:
Added user smeuser.
#
5. In SMEStorage Client select File →Advanced and check share your drive check box. Mount the SMEStorage Linux drive make sure the mount folder is /export/sme. By default SMEStorage mounts with the “allow_other” option enabled.







6. Start the samba services

# service smb start

Starting SMB services:                                     [  OK  ]

Starting NMB services:                                     [  OK  ]

#

7. Test the samba services.

8. If everything has gone correctly so far you can now mount the shared drive in windows and from the Finder in Mac OSX (using ‘Connect to Server->Go’) and any platform that supports SMB protocol

For windows make sure the workgroup is the same as defined in smb.conf file and you can ping the Linux machine.

9) Open a command prompt and run the command

net use t: file://localhost/smb/::172.16.195.161:smedrive /user:smeuser password

10. Open explorer you will see the drive appear in explorer







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