This is our first post of the new year and in the period between December and February we have been very busy indeed. The SMEStorage web platform has been given a total new look and feel and many new features have been added. We’ve also added support for Microsoft SkyDrive, Microsoft Live Mesh and Google Docs storage clouds.
Our focus is on providing as support for as many commercial storage clouds as possible and enabling you to combine these clouds into a virtual view and providing enhanced features and services on top of the clouds we support. The picture below gives a good overview of the SMEStorage.com platform.
We’ve also put together a video to highlight some of the features and services that are visible to users of clouds that we support via the SMEStorage platform below. Click play and then wait 4 to 5 seconds for the video to load. It is best viewed in full screen:
We have some really exciting things lined up for the New Year, one of which is the re-launch of the site with a new look and feel, and the other is some fantastic new ways you can use SMEStorage. We are currently mid way through developing out Mac and Linux virtual drives and expect both of them to be available before the end of January.
These virtual drives will map onto your underlying clouds just as the windows version does. This will mean that you can double click into the virtual drive and access up to 10 different storage clouds depending on your package.
A screenshot of the Mac version in use can be seen below:
In the meantime all that remains is to wish you all a happy festive season and thanks for your support over 2009 .
We have updated our multi cloud storage API manual to version 0.7. Our multi-cloud API provides a single rest based interface to access over 10 cloud providers including Amazon S3, Microsoft SkyDrive, RackSpace Cloud Files, Mobile Me, Box.net + more.
This update has now had more detailed examples added as to the request and response of each of the API functions.
All our client tools are built on this API, as is our forthcoming iPhone application which should be in the App store in January.
In January, as well as this REST based API, we will be putting on Google Code a complete library of .Net classes that provide the same API functionality but in C#.We will also release the Objective C libraries used to build the iPhone application at a later date.
Recently our founder did a presentation at Skillsmatter in London on the state of Public Cloud Storage. The slides for this can be viewed below, and the video presentation can be view on the Skillsmatter site.
Similar to the WordPress plug-in we released that enables you to share files stored on various cloud files, we have also now done a similar plug-in for Joomla. The plug-in will enable you to share your cloud files on your Joomla site.
How does this work ? SMEStorage provides a gateway in which we sync your file meta-data but all files continue to reside on your storage platform. In this way we are able to offer value added services and clients to your existing storage provider, and provide a single cloud file system which enables you to manage all you files in one file tree.
One of the many value added services we provide is the ability to share files. There are many ways to do this, including RSS, email, Twitter, URL with Private contacts etc, and the Joomla plug-in is now another way. Also note that files that have been made public, and can therefore be shared on Joomla, can still be encrypted, so you can have private files publically available that you can choose ony to share with your userbase.
To get started, download and install the plug-in, and then register for an account on SMEStorage. Select the account that matches your cloud provider. In the process of setting your account up you will do a file meta-data sync and your files will then be available in the Cloud File Manager. From the File manager you can choose to make the file public. This post steps through how to do just that. Once the file is public you can choose to make it visibile on your Joomla site.
If you want to encrypt your files then upload them via SMEStorage to your cloud provider of choice and choose encryption at the point of upload. Don’t worry if your underlhying cloud provider does not support encryption it does not need to. Remember your password for the file though as we don’t keep it ! Once the file is uploaded to your cloud provider via the SMEStorage cloud gateway you can make it public and it will be available just like any other file.
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 now released a WordPress multi-cloud backup plug-in which can be downloaded at the WordPress Plug-ins directory. This add-in enables you to backup your WordPress Blog tables to your primary supported backup cloud. We currently support Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, MobileMe, Box.net, GMail-as-a-Cloud, Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP-as-a-Cloud, Microsoft Live SkyDrive, and any WebDav enabled cloud.
SMEStorage functions as an abstraction that enables you to work with any of these clouds. Your files remain stored on your cloud provider and the value we bring is that we build a sophisticated file system with additional cloud services on top of your current cloud storage provider. This is exposed using our multi-cloud API, and enables us to bring value added services, such as the WordPress multi-cloud Backup Plug-In.
Once you have registered for a SMEStorage account (and there are many free plans) all you do is install the plug-in, go to Tools->Backup from WordPress Admin, enter your SMEStorage log-in details, ensure the plug-in is set to backup to SMEStorage rather than to email or file, and click ‘Backup’. The Backup will then run and your Backup can be found in the root node, “All Files” in your SMEStorage Cloud File System.
During a lightening talk at London CloudCamp we talked about the need for a multi-cloud storage API (slides below). We then presented the options currently available, and of course the SMEStorage multi-cloud API is one of several. We do believe we bring some nice things to the table with out API which include:
– REST based providing an SPI to multiple clouds
– Provides value added services over and above just upload/dowload, and file system view. There are too many to list, but these include file encryption, Email backup, ETL from one cloud to another cloud, content filtering, faxing and much, much more
– Ability to provide a single view of disparate data in different clouds – a cloud data unification within a single file system view.
If you are a developer take the time to check out the API and let us know how we can do more to help and what features you are looking for.
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.
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:
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
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’ve updated our API manual and you can download it from Google Code. It provides a files system on top of one cloud or many. The SMEStorage API is what is used to build all our client tools. You can use it to access any of the clouds we support (which is pretty much all of them) and you can use it to import/export between different cloud, in real-time or as a scheduled sync. You can use the API to backup email to any cloud, as it has specific functionality for this, or pretty much anything you can think of.
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.
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.
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