Cloud Computing Use Case: CCTV still images stored on Amazon S3 via FTP

Continuing our theme on Cloud Computing user cases, this one makes use of the SMEStorage CloudFTP protocol adaptor that adds the ability for any Cloud that SME supports to be accessible from the ubiquitous FTP protocol. For this particular use case, we now have had four businesses using SMEStorage as enabler for using S3 via FTP so we thought  it would be useful to highlight.

The use case revolves around CCTV cameras that monitor a property and are configured to take pictures (.jpg files) at either intermittent points and/or on movement detection. Currently 2 of the businesses used sensr.net and two where using FTP from an ISP, but all were looking at Amazon S3 and trying to figure out how to get there images onto S3, given S3 does not support FTP.  

Interestingly they had tried automated scripts and other mechanisms but none had really worked. At this point they discovered CloudFTP which simply adds FTP access to S3 (and any other Clouds SME supports).

Everything is accessed using standard FTP and using standard ports (and secure ports for FTPS).

After registering for a SMEStorage Account, adding their S3 account and then purchasing CloudFTP and then adding the correct FTP configuration to the CCTV hardware, this was done.

A Simple but effective use of the Cloud.

 

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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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SME now supports the Google Storage Cloud

We’ve now added the Google Storage Cloud  to our Cloud Gateway so that users can use our clients and tools to manage their Google Storage files. These of course include our Windows Cloud Dashboard, Windows tooling, which includes a virtual Cloud Drive, Mac and Linux tooling, and also clients for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.

You can also use CloudDav, our ubiquitous WebDav layer over any cloud, to access your Google Storage files, or you can use our S3 compatible endpoint to use tools that support S3 compatible endpoints to manage your Google Storage files.

Currently Google Storage is in ‘preview mode’ from Google, which means they have not rolled it out completely yet and if you don’t have an account you can register interest. In the preview mode the capacity is up to 100 gigabytes per object and 1,000 buckets per account. Data replicated in multiple data centers across the U.S. and also within the same data center.

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Tying the Cloud to the Desktop: Cloud Management and Sync for Google Docs, Amazon S3 + other clouds

One of the things we get asked about a lot is Sync, especially for the WIndows platform, and especially for Google Docs and Amazon S3. Our Sync tools, Cloud Dashboard, Virtual Drive, shell integration etc, work above any cloud that is mapped to the SMEStorage platform. If you have a multi-cloud account and have 10 clouds mapped to our gateway then you will see 10 cloud directories from each of the different storage providers.

You can set your primary cloud for any sync directly from the Cloud Dashboard tools and and any files you nominate for sync will be sync’d with the underlying cloud. We prepared a small video that you can see below that will show you further details on how this works.

As more and more SMB’s and Organisations move to cloud they want a way to work with their files which is intuitive to the way they worked in the past. They also want ways to keep certain files in sync. For example doc files with Google Docs, maybe video or music files with Amazon S3 etc. This is the aim of our cloud desktop tools. To enable the user to have a more natural user experience and tie the desktop to the cloud environment, but in a more intuitive way, whilst at the same time layering on business features that are useful and productive to the user.

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Accessing SkyDrive from your iPad with iSMEStorage

Despite all the storage services out there, and I include Google Docs, Amazon S3, Box.net, and DropBox, in these, Microsoft SkyDrive takes some beating. For starters you get a whopping 25GB of free storage, and with the recent Office Live integration, you essentially have the ability to create and edit documents.

Just as with Google Docs, we see a lot of business users use SkyDrive as well as individual professionals / consumers. Like the other cloud platforms we support, we add a lot over and above what you get from Microsoft SkyDrive if you use this with the SMEStorage Cloud Platform.

There has not been an App that supported SkyDrive on the iPhone until we released iSMEStorage, and there has not been an App that allowed you to use your 25 GB of file storage on the iPad until we enhanced iSMEStorage to support the iPad. We’ve put together a video demo below so you can see for yourself.

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